A little humor helps

“I never took any lessons, and I never practice,” he said, cracking a smile. “I just get up there and read them in my Northeastern North Carolina dialect, which everybody seems to think is so clever.”

For 20 years Joseph Ferrell has read the citations for honorary degrees at the Spring commencement. Over the course of those two decades, Ferrell has given out close to 200 distinguished alumnus awards and honorary doctorates. But on May 8, Ferrell gave his final Commencement as he retires from his position as secretary of the faculty.

Beyond his role at commencement, Ferrell was a notable member of the faculty in the School of Government. A trusted advisor to both University and governmental leaders, his impact to the state of North Carolina runs deep. In 2003, Ferrell’s peers honored him with the prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award, and the University recognized his many contributions with a C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award.

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