WPU Announces Jamie Valvano as 2018 Commencement Speaker and Dr. Harold Briscoe as 2018 Baccalaureate Speaker

March 29, 2018
Jamie Valvano serves as 2018 WPU Commencement Speaker

William Peace University is proud to name Jamie Valvano as its 2018 Commencement Speaker and Dr. Harold Briscoe as its 2018 Baccaluareate Speaker.

This year’s Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. on the University’s Main Lawn, located at 15 E. Peace Street.

Jamie Valvano has lived an exciting life, despite encountering extraordinary challenges. A cancer survivor and mother of two, Jamie has stood tall and faced her obstacles head on with optimism and a positive disposition. She now works tirelessly to share her encouraging message with others who may also be fighting battles of their own.

Jamie is the daughter of the late legendary basketball coach, Jim Valvano. Her journey took a sharp turn from celebration, when her father’s NC State basketball team won the 1983 NCAA Men’s Division I National Championship, to devastation when he was later diagnosed with terminal cancer. Jamie was an audience member when her father gave his famous 1993 ESPY speech and was inspired by his plea to the nation to help fund quality cancer research.

“I am excited for the Class of 2018 and all of our Commencement ceremony guests to hear a word of inspiration from Jamie Valvano. Jamie is passionate about life and has persevered through many of its challenges. She has a moving story to tell – a story that will encourage all of us to embrace each and every moment of our lives.”

Brian C. Ralph, Ph.D., William Peace University President

Jamie and Jim Valvano.
Jamie (left) and her father Jim Valvano (right). Photo courtesy of Jamie Valvano.

Upon graduating North Carolina State University, Jamie carried on her father’s legacy and began working for the cancer research organization founded in his honor, The V Foundation. She worked for The V Foundation in its formative years, helping to establish the world-renowned organization that has since awarded more than $200 million to cancer facilities across the United States.

In 2005, adversity would again befall Jamie as she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33. Due to groundbreaking cancer research, like the research funded by The V Foundation, doctors were able to find an inherited genetic mutation and created a course of treatment for Jamie that would greatly increase her odds of survival.

Thirteen years after her diagnosis, Jamie is still dedicated to funding cancer research with a new found appreciation for life. She works tirelessly to share her journey as a cancer survivor and advocate, spreading her father’s message, “to laugh, to think, and to cry”, every day.

Dr. Briscoe, WPU's 2018 Baccalaureate Speaker
Photo courtesy of Dr. Harold Briscoe

Dr. Harold Dorrell Briscoe will serve as the University’s Baccalaureate Speaker on Friday, May 4, 2017, at 4:00 p.m. at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, across from the WPU campus. The Baccalaureate Ceremony is an annual tradition at WPU that precedes Commencement.

This year’s Baccalaureate speaker, Dorrell Briscoe, serves as the Raleigh Campus Pastor at Hope Community Church where he has served as both pastor and Young Professional’s Director since 2016. Briscoe is a graduate of the University of North Florida, Texas A&M University (Masters in Public Administration), Liberty University (Masters in Theological Studies), and Duke University (Doctor of Ministry).

Briscoe has had an active career in government, academia, and ministry. He served at Southpoint Community Church in Jacksonville, FL as a Pastor and the Director of Local Outreach Ministry and taught various courses as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, the University of North Florida.

In addition, Briscoe is a writer, speaker, and public theologian. His writing and speaking topics primarily focus on the intersections of race, religion, law, and power. Briscoe and his wife, Tracy, have four children, Luke, Noah, Amelia Hope, and Ella Grace.

“Dr. Briscoe is an energetic leader with a deep passion for impacting his community,” Ralph said. “Throughout his career, he has been focused on engaging and leading recent graduates and young professionals. He is an excellent speaker who will bring a powerful message to our graduates and their families – one that will challenge them and equip them for their journey beyond Peace.”



Saturday, May 5
9:30 a.m. – Noon
University Main Lawn


Friday, May 4
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Holy Trinity Anglican Church (across from campus)

For more University news and updates on Commencement 2018, please visit www.peace.edu/Commencement.