UNC system President Tim Ross shares leadership advice with graduating seniors at NC Central University, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. It was his final commencement address before stepping down Jan 3, 2016. (Photo: Courtesy of NC Central University)
Chancellor Debra Saunders-White and University of North Carolina President Tom Ross
NC Central Chancellor Debra Saunders-White, left, presents UNC system President Tim Ross with a formal commendation recognizing his achievements as a proponent for public higher education in North Carolina. (Photo: NC Central University)

Tim Ross delivered his final commencement address as UNC system president Saturday when he shared advice on leadership with 560 graduating seniors at North Carolina Central University.

“To be a effective leader: know yourself; communicate well; care for yourself; clarify your values; embrace differences; involve others with talent; and take risks,” said Ross, according to university statement.

“We need leaders now more than ever,” he said. “Each of you can be a strong effective leader.”

Ross concluded his address by advising graduates to seize the opportunity to make a difference by leading for the common good.

Salima Taylor, Department of Public Health Education graduate
Department of Public Health Education graduate Salima Taylor was recognized for her pivotal role in establishing the university’s community garden in 2013. (Photo: NC Central University)

Ross will step down Jan. 3, 2016 as head of North Carolina’s 17 public universities after being forced out by the UNC Board of Governors. He will be replaced by Margaret Spellings, former U.S. secretary of education under former President George W. Bush.

During Saturday’s commencement ceremony, NCCU Chancellor Debra Saunders-White recognized Department of Public Health Education graduate Salima Taylor.

Taylor, a Durham native, played a pivotal role in establishing the university’s community garden in 2013 and conducted a summer internship in Gaborone, Botswana. Taylor will continue her research studies at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management before applying to medical school.

Saunders-White closed with words of encouragement to graduates, saying: “I charge you to eradicate the world of fear, because in fear we will never succeed. Soar and be great, for it is not enough to be leaders but also be change agents. Stand and dare others to do the right thing everyday of your life.”

Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.