More than 200 Johnson C. Smith University seniors are expected to graduate Sunday during ceremonies on the Eddie McGuirt Memorial Football Field.

The on-campus ceremony marks a turning point for the school, which previously held graduation events at the former Cricket Arena, now Bojangles’ Coliseum. But newly installed JCSU President Ronald Carter has made a point of bringing more activities back on campus.

Last month, as part of Carter’s inauguration, the school hosted a “Passport to the World Cultural Extravaganza.” The event drew hundreds of visitors and and featured foods and entertainment from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

I am so excited that we are moving a sacred event such as our commencement back on campus,” Carter said in a statement Friday. “We have a beautiful campus and this is yet another chance for us to show the community Charlotte’s premier independent urban university.”

The event is free to the public, with parking available both on and off campus adjacent to the university. Details about the parking can be found on the university’s Web site at

The commencement speaker will be Daud Hari, who escaped the Darfur region of Sudan and has written a book about his life.

Hari was born in the Darfur region of Sudan. After escaping an attack on his village, he entered the refugee camps in Chad and began serving as a translator for major news organizations including The New York Times, NBC, and the BBC, as well as the United Nations and other aid groups. He now lives in the United States and was part of’s Voices from Darfur tour.

Hari’s book, “The Translator: A Tribesman’s Memoir of Darfur,” chronicles the power of the human spirit and will be given to each graduate.

Hari will speak at 10 am Sunday inside the Irwin Belk Complex on campus.

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