WPU Announces Machelle Sanders, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Administration, as 2019 Commencement Speaker

March 12, 2019

William Peace University is proud to name Machelle Sanders, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Administration, as its 2019 Commencement Speaker.

This year’s Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. on the University’s Main Lawn, located at 15 E. Peace Street.

Machelle Sanders, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Administration.
Machelle Sanders, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Administration (left) meeting with Brian C. Ralph, Ph.D., President of William Peace University (right).

Machelle Sanders is a natural-born leader in every facet of her life and career. As a wife and mother of two, Secretary Sanders has had an expansive career in leadership and management positions throughout a variety of business sectors. She is a seasoned pharmaceutical and biotechnology executive who has previously served in the role of vice president for Biogen, in the Research Triangle Park. She has taken on leadership positions overseeing manufacturing operations, quality assurance, and quality control functions for multiple companies.

Secretary Sanders is a native of Belhaven, North Carolina, and is dedicated to serving her home state. Her passion for improving the lives of North Carolinians led to her current appointment by Governor Roy Cooper as the Secretary of the N.C. Department of Administration. She is an ardent believer of improving the status of women in North Carolina and some of her work includes creating a Women’s Innovation Network at Biogen.

“I am excited for the Class of 2019 and all of our Commencement ceremony guests to hear a powerful message from Secretary Sanders. She has an incredible story, one of proud roots, diligence and perseverance. She has found success on her journey and has built an incredible career and life. I am confident she will inspire us all.”

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

Secretary Sanders is a tireless advocate for the marginalized in North Carolina, and a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion. She currently serves as the Chair of the North Carolina Commission on Inclusion and the North Carolina Complete Count Commission. Additionally, she serves on the Interagency Council for Coordinating Homeless Programs, the Governor’s Advisory Council Commission on Aging, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs, the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs, and the N.C. State University Board of Visitors.

Secretary Sanders holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from North Carolina State University and a Master of Health Administration from Pfeiffer University.

“I am excited and looking forward to the commencement here at William Peace University,” Secretary Sanders said. “I’m looking forward to having a conversation about the possibilities for this great graduating class.”



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


Friday, May 3
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Holy Trinity Anglican Church (across from campus)

For more University news and updates on Commencement 2019, please visit www.peace.edu/Commencement.