GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – After years of hard work, thousands of East Carolina University students are getting ready to walk across the stage on Friday to get their diplomas.

Fall graduation ceremonies will be held for ECU students on Friday at 9 a.m. in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

Misty Miller, a member of the class of 1999, will be the keynote speaker. She is the senior vice president of organizational development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, one of the largest youth-serving nonprofits with nearly 5,000 locations serving more than 3.6 million children and teens each year.

ECU reported in a press release about Miller’s participation that, for almost 20 years, she has dedicated her career to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain in eastern North Carolina. Miller is also involved in a variety of continuing education programs including Leadership Summit, a selective educational program for CEOs of high-performing Boys & Girls Club organizations designed by Harvard Business School and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

A livestream of the event will be available for those unable to attend. The link to the livestream will be posted on the commencement website and become active Friday morning.

Approximately 2,000 students will graduate from ECU this fall, representing 90 North Carolina counties and 28 states.

“It feels pretty surreal, it feels like not too long ago I came out here,” said Malcolm Henry, a graduating senior.

Many of the graduates will be hitting the job market.

“I’m looking for some jobs, I’m a bio major, so I’m either going to look for as a scientist or something as far as a medical assistant,” Henry said. “Greenville has a lot of opportunities for biology and public health majors.”

Dr. Meghan Millea is an economics professor at ECU. She said with the aftermath of the pandemic and the great resignation, many employed people plus graduates are looking for new careers right now.

“So if we’re only looking at the new graduates entering into the labor market, we’re really missing the fact that they’re competing against people who are employed and looking to switch jobs,” Millea said.

ECU Career Services Director Tom Halasz said there has been some difficulty helping students find employment.

“There are more jobs available than ever before, however, the job search is harder in many cases than ever before,” Halasz said. “Employers are being extremely selective so they have many openings but they aren’t willing to hire just any person to fill the position, they’re looking for the right person.”

ECU reports those not attending the commencement or recognition ceremonies should avoid areas near the Grady-White Boats Athletic Campus and main campus. Most traffic for the 9 a.m. ceremony will enter using Charles Boulevard. Elm Street, 14th Street, 10th Street and Greenville Boulevard will also have additional traffic. Motorists should expect traffic impacts in the area through late afternoon.