30 Apr 2024

SAU Announces 2024 Commencement Ceremony & 93rd Baccalaureate Exercise: A Celebration of Resilience, Hope, & Achievement

Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) is buzzing with excitement as it announces the highly anticipated 2024 Commencement Ceremony and 93rd Baccalaureate Exercise, a momentous occasion on May 4th. This event marks a significant milestone in the university’s history. It is a testament to the tireless dedication of its faculty, staff, and students, who have continued to shine amidst challenges and adversity.

“I’ve grown to love these students. I’ve been here the whole time with them this semester, hearing their stories, their ups and downs, and what they have learned since being here,” said SAU Interim President Dr. Marcus H. Burgess while on The Bird’s Eye View. “They love SAU, and ensuring that they have the graduation is what all of us want them to have. It is very important that they leave on a high note. So, by any means necessary, we want to ensure it’s a successful time.”

The Class of 2024, a shining example of SAU’s enduring legacy, is ready to cross the stage and embark on the next chapter of their lives. With close to 150 students, this graduating class is the largest in almost a decade, a testament to the resilience and perseverance of both students and the university itself.

“Our core business is producing graduates. That is what we do. When we have the commencement exercises and see the students walk across the stage, we also see the great work that has happened on our campus to help facilitate that. It brings me pride in our faculty, who have made it possible,” said SAU Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Janelle Jennings-Alexander while on The Bird’s Eye View. “It’s a testament to the hard work that we are doing to help retain students, to help support them, to help ensure their success.”

The 2024 Commencement Ceremony and 93rd Baccalaureate Exercise at SAU are poignant reminders of the university’s resilience, vitality, and unwavering dedication to student success.

“As a 2020 high school graduate, I had no ambitions of college when it was time to start thinking about going to school. The world was at a halt, and by the time I took college seriously, every college I was interested in attending was already spoken for. One day #SaintAugustineUniversity gave me a chance,” said graduating senior and Student Trustee Miles Beasley in an Instagram Post. “If it had not been for the people here, God knows where I would be. It’s my honor to serve, help, guide, and learn that the environment here at #SaintAugustine’sUniversity is like no other.”

Thanks to the steadfast support and commitment of the university’s alumni and supporters, the event promises to celebrate hope, achievement, and the enduring legacy of Saint Augustine’s University.

“As we celebrate this momentous occasion, remember the resilience and unity defining the SAU community. The Class of 2024 represents our collective strength and perseverance,” said graduating senior and Student Government Association President Ariana White while on The Bird’s Eye View. “With graduation on the way, I feel good about the future of SAU. My faith is strong.”

The commencement ceremony will feature SAU alumnus Rev. Charles W. Brooks, ’82, as the distinguished keynote speaker. Rev. Brooks, a pillar of the community and organizer of the Raleigh Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance’s support for SAU, embodies the spirit of service and commitment to uplifting the next generation of leaders.

Rev. Charles Weldon Brooks, born December 19th, 1959, is a native of Winston Salem, North Carolina. Rev. Brooks is the seventh of eight children born to the late William C. and Ruby Sorrell Brooks. At the age of five, Rev. Brooks lost his mother and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, to be raised by his grandparents, the late Weldon and Grace Sorrell. While in Raleigh, he grew up in the Manly Street United Church of Christ, known today as Macedonia New Life Church.

In 1978, Rev. Brooks graduated from Broughton High School. He began a successful study of history and government at Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh. In September of 1979, Rev. Brooks answered the call. He preached his initial sermon under then Pastor D.A. Peace, Sr. While in college, God called Rev. Brooks to serve as Pastor of the Pleasant Union United Church of Christ in Raleigh. After serving the church for three years, Rev. Brooks graduated from Saint Augustine’s College with a B.A. in History and Government in 1982. After graduation, Rev. Brooks was accepted and entered Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC, later transferring to The School of Theology at Virginia Union University, earning a Master of Divinity degree in 1987. During his tenure in the seminary, he served two years as interim pastor of the Providence United Church of Christ in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Upon graduation, he returned to North Carolina to serve as Pastor of the Children’s Chapel United Church of Christ until July 1990. In 1990, Charles accepted the challenge of leading a great congregation in Raleigh, the Poplar Springs Christian Church. Since this union, the church has grown from 300 to 1200 disciples. In 1996, they added a new sanctuary and educational wing to the old structure for 1.2 million.

With all his success, Rev. Brooks declares that his greatest accomplishment was marrying his friend Regina M. Brooks, whom he has known for 35 years. Mrs. Brooks is the IT Manager for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Child Development. They have three children, Charles II, Renita, and Briana, all proud graduates of HBCUs, Morehouse, Tuskegee, and North Carolina Central University.

SAU’s Class of 2024 is a testament to excellence and diversity, with more than half (54%) graduating with a 3.0 GPA or better and over a third (35%) with honors and students from 16 states and three countries.

Click here for more information about the 2024 Commencement.