By Wyatt Crosher, Assistant Director of Communications for Student Affairs
Eniolaoluwa “Enny” Hasanat Ogunyemi, Mahrukh Maqsood, Kayla Poteat and Tiera Tavonna Ray were chosen as the bell ringers for UNC Charlotte’s 2023 Spring Commencement, taking place on Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13.
The bell ringer performs the longstanding tradition of ringing the Charlotte "victory bell", which was gifted to Ms. Bonnie Cone in 1961 when Charlotte College moved from its old site at Central High School to the current UNC Charlotte location. Students chosen as bell ringers have demonstrated exemplary 49er spirit within organizations, volunteerism and/or service to others.
Eniolaoluwa “Enny” Hasanat Ogunyemi — 10 a.m., May 12
Ogunyemi is a double major in biology and psychology in the College of Liberal Arts & Science.
During her time at the University, Ogunyemi has been a part of the International Advisory Student Council (ISAC), as an advisor for the University Center for Academic Excellence (UCAE) and as a member of the 49er Students Engaging in Rewarding Volunteer Experiences (SERVE) team.
In her bell ringer application, Ogunyemi recalled a lesson from her aunt that helped shape her experiences at the University.
“Aside from being a successful student, I understand the importance of getting involved in the school and the community,” Ogunyemi said. “Prior to coming to Charlotte, my aunt would always say: ‘Do not just pass through the school, let the school pass through you.’ I have lived my Charlotte days doing exactly this.”
Mahrukh Maqsood — 3 p.m., May 12
Maqsood is graduating from the College of Liberal Arts & Science with a master of arts in communications studies.
While at Charlotte, Maqsood has been a member of the ISAC and as president of Communication Studies Graduate Students Association (CSGSA), Expanding Your Horizons and the Peace Haven Student Association. Recently, she was also a speaker for TEDxUNCCharlotte, speaking on the topic, “How colleges and universities can be more inclusive for Muslim students.”
“I believe that my contributions and engagement in international programs and scholarship have been significant and impactful,” Maqsood wrote. “I have been dedicated to helping promote diversity, inclusivity and cultural understanding on campus to make the University a better place for all students.”
Kayla Poteat — 10 a.m., May 13
Poteat is a double major in elementary education and special education from the Cato College of Education.
While achieving Chancellor’s List in each semester, Poteat has also worked as a Resident Advisor (RA), a teach tech ambassador for the College of Education and as a communication consultant for an Elementary Education (ELED) course.
Poteat wrote in her application that she came to Charlotte because of her sister, and that she is leaving the University with pride, both from herself and her family.
“My love for UNC Charlotte began when my older sister began to attend in 2014,” Poteat said. “All my sister and I have ever wanted to do was make our parents proud, but most importantly, live the lives that make ourselves proud. Just like my sister, I knew my mark was going to start at UNC Charlotte.”
Tiera Tavonna Ray — 3 p.m., May 13
Ray is a finance major in the Belk College of Business, with a minor in Africana studies.
In her tenure at Charlotte, Ray has been involved with the Association of Black Entrepreneurs and Creators (ABEC), along with the SPARK Leadership and Activate! Social Justice institutes. Her efforts earned Ray the Who’s Who award, Distinguished Leader medal and the Chancellor’s Citation for Leadership and Service.
“Being selected as a bell ringer has been a goal of mine since my freshman year. I have a strong appreciation and passion for traditions, especially at Charlotte,” Ray said. The bell symbolizes the start of a new journey. This new journey will be victorious, exciting and flourishing. Becoming a bell ringer is the ultimate Niner accomplishment for me, but it’s also not about me. It's about everyone in the room that worked hard for this moment and their future.”