Livingstone College will hold an in-person winter Conferral of Degrees on Friday at 10 a.m. in Varick Auditorium, featuring retired District Court Judge Edward A. “Ed” Pone as guest speaker.
The ceremony, which was held virtually last year due to the global pandemic, will be conducted under COVID-19 safety protocols. All guests must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 diagnostic PCR test within 72 hours of the program to attend.
Proper mask wearing – covering the nose and mouth – will also be mandatory during the duration of the program.
All guests must have a general entry ticket to attend. Each graduate will be given eight tickets to distribute.
“Adhering to our COVID-19 protocols have proven effective during this academic semester,” said Dr. Anthony Davis, Livingstone’s COVID-19 Task Force chairman, senior vice president and chief operating officer. “We are attempting to manage our way through a global pandemic, which has been responsible for 260 million cases and 5.2 million deaths. Every protocol must be followed and executed fully to ensure the health and safety of the entire campus community, our graduates and their families as we head into the holiday season.”
Pone, a lifetime resident of Cumberland County, will address the graduating seniors. In February 1996, he was appointed as a District Court Judge for the 12th Judicial District by Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., and was elected by the citizens of Cumberland County in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and most recently in November 2020.
In February 2020, he was appointed as the Chief District Court Judge for Cumberland County by then Chief Justice Cheri Beasley.
Pone retired from the bench after 25 years of doing what he calls, “the people’s business” on March 31, 2021.
He graduated with honors from South View High School in 1975 and from North Carolina Central University in 1979, also with high honors. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law and graduated in 1982.
During his tenure, he was a member of the North Carolina Bar Association; the Cumberland County Bar Association; the North Carolina Association of District Court Judges; a certified Juvenile Court Judge; a Family Court Judge; the presiding judge for Cumberland County’s Family Drug Treatment Court; the coordinating judge for the Cumberland County Misdemeanor Diversion Program, which was designed to keep 16- and 17-year old first offenders out of the criminal justice system; and the Judicial Fellow for Cumberland County Reclaiming Futures, an initiative helping youth with substance abuse issues.
“We are happy to accommodate our graduating seniors with an in-person ceremony this year,” said Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. “This is a celebratory time not just for our graduates, most of whom are first-generation college students, but for their families as well. We urge everyone to adhere to our protocols. They may be inconvenient, but inconvenience is the trade-off for an in-person graduation.”
Livingstone held its first winter commencement in December 2014.