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YHC Confers 146 Degrees During Commencement Ceremony

Monday, May 7, 2012

Media Contact: Krystin Dean
(706) 379-5310,

Young Harris College Confers 146 Degrees During Commencement Ceremony
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson Delivers Inspiring Message to Graduates

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College conferred 146 degrees on graduates participating in the College’s commencement ceremony on May 5 in the YHC Recreation and Fitness Center, including 99 seniors earning degrees in biology, business and public policy, communication studies, English, history, music, musical theatre, outdoor leadership and theatre. This marks the second year that YHC has awarded bachelor’s degrees since receiving accreditation in 2008 to offer four-year programs.

Also on Saturday, the College awarded 47 associate degrees in liberal arts, art, music, theatre, science, allied health, business and education, and many of these students will return in the fall to continue pursuing their bachelor’s degrees.

United States Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., delivered the commencement address to the graduates, sharing with them “six secrets to success.”

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox presented Isakson with an honorary doctor of public service degree. For more than four decades, he has served the citizens of the State of Georgia and the United States through roles in the Georgia Legislature, the Georgia Board of Education, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Prior to entering politics, Isakson served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972.

President Cox also conferred an honorary doctor of humane letters degree on YHC trustee Dr. W. Harry Hill and his wife Harriet Hargrove Hill, of Powder Springs. Few couples have had as great an impact on the physical and financial landscape of the College as Dr. and Mrs. Hill, and their longtime financial support and leadership at YHC has included playing an integral part in establishing the College’s planned giving program.

The Young Harris College Medallion, the highest honor bestowed by YHC to alumni and friends who have made extraordinary contributions, was awarded to Atlanta’s Pam R. Rollins, in recognition of her leadership on the College’s Board of Trustees and as chair of the College’s capital campaign. In March, Rollins announced a $22 million lead gift from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation to help YHC build a new 125,000-square-foot campus center.

Earlier this year Young Harris College was selected to join an elite group of Southeastern colleges and universities who annually bestow the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation Awards on outstanding male and female graduating seniors, and Foundation President Stephan McDavid presented the College’s inaugural Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award to Austin Dean Freeman, of Hartwell, and the inaugural Mary Mildred Sullivan Award to Alexandria Nicole Neese, of Marietta. Created nearly a century ago to honor the service leadership of their namesakes, the awards are given annually by the Foundation to individuals whose nobility of character and dedication to service sets them apart as examples for others.

President Cox also presented three student awards established last year as part of the College’s four-year transformation.

Created to recognize the graduating senior with the overall highest grade point average and named in memory of a beloved past president of the College, the Dr. Charles R. Clegg Outstanding Scholar Award was presented in a five-way tie to Heather Catherine DelGiorno, of Juliette, Mayeli Medina, of Dalton, Heidi Louise Kruger Sherlock, of Warne, N.C., Miriam D. Torres, of Roswell, and Rachel Lynne Wilkes, of Crawford.

Allison Matulia, of Fayetteville, was presented the Zell B. Miller Leadership Award for significant contributions to campus life at Young Harris College as an outstanding leader and role model. The award’s name honors Former U.S. Senator and Georgia Governor Zell B. Miller, a YHC trustee and distinguished alumnus and member of the Class of 1951.

Tara Lynn Shiver, of Covington, received the Young Harris Spirit Award, which recognizes the student who best demonstrates outstanding levels of personal integrity, friendliness and engagement with the campus community.

Many members of the senior class will go on to begin graduate programs and careers, including:

  • Rebecca Armstrong, of Covington, who will join Brevard Music Center as associate stage crew supervisor;
  • Jordan Fleming, of Marietta, who was accepted into Columbia Theological Seminary’s master of arts in practical theology program;
  • Mallory Holland, of Woodstock, who will join Adventure Treks, a company that provides educational outdoor programming across the U.S., where she will serve as a wilderness instructor for the organization’s “Oregon Cascades Adventure” program;
  • Eric Hoppe, of Alpharetta, who was accepted into Georgia State University’s graduate program in economics;
  • Marcus McGill, of Young Harris, who was accepted to Asbury Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, George W. Truett Seminary at Baylor University, Baptist Seminary at Liberty University and Wake Forest School of Divinity;
  • Carlos Ocampo, of Lawrenceville, who will join the Cleveland Indians as a sales consultant;
  • Genevieve Rodriguez, of Calhoun, who was accepted into Lee University’s graduate program in music education and will work this summer at the internationally renowned Interlochen Arts Camp for young artists in grades 3-12 in Interlochen, Mich.;
  • Emma Witherington, of Winder, who was accepted into the University of West Florida’s graduate program in biology.

Young Harris College awarded 99 bachelor’s degrees and 47 associate degrees during its 2012 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 5. The graduates are pictured with Young Harris College President Cathy Cox (front row, far left).

(From left to right) U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Young Harris College President Cathy Cox.