YHC Confers 146 Degrees During Commencement Ceremony

Monday, May 6, 2013

Relive the Memories!
A DVD recording of the 2013 Baccalaureate Service and Commencement are available for $15. The DVDs can be purchased online at yhc.edu/graduationDVD. The DVDs will be mailed approximately six weeks after the event.

Media Contact: LeAnn Waldroup
(706) 379-5310, klwaldroup@yhc.edu

Young Harris College Confers 146 Degrees During Commencement Ceremony
Celebrated Television Anchor Monica Kaufman Pearson Delivers Motivational Address to Graduates

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College conferred 146 degrees on graduates participating in the College’s Commencement ceremony on May 4 in the YHC Recreation and Fitness Center, including 131 seniors earning degrees in art, biology, business and public policy, communication studies, education, English, history, mathematics, music, music education, musical theatre, outdoor leadership, psychology and theatre. This marks the third year that YHC has awarded bachelor’s degrees since receiving accreditation in 2008 to offer four-year programs.

Also on Saturday, the College awarded 15 associate degrees in art, allied health, business, education, liberal arts, outdoor leadership and science, and many of these students will return in the fall to continue pursuing their bachelor’s degrees.

Monica Kaufman Pearson, retired veteran anchor of WSB-TV’s Channel 2 Action News in Atlanta, Ga., delivered the Commencement address to the graduates, sharing with them advice about how to be successful as they continue their education and enter the workforce. She closed by encouraging the graduates to “aim high, reach for the stars and change the world.”

YHC President Cathy Cox presented Pearson with an honorary doctor of public service degree. Pearson retired in 2012 after a celebrated 37-year career with WSB-TV. She changed the face of news when she joined the Channel 2 Action News staff in 1975 as Atlanta’s first woman and first minority to anchor the 6 p.m. news. She is also well known for her long-running “Close-Ups,” in which she interviewed nationally known celebrities and world leaders.

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 Jerry Nix, in recognition of his leadership as the College’s Board of Trustees Chairman through possibly the greatest transformation in its 127-year history. Nix recently retired from his position as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Atlanta-based Genuine Parts Company.

Last year, YHC 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. President Cox presented this year’s Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award to Wezly Barnard of Boksburg, South Africa, and the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award to Mary Beth Maxwell of Carrollton, Ga. 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 special student awards during the ceremony. The Dr. Charles R. Clegg Outstanding Scholar Award, which was named in memory of a beloved past president of the College and recognizes graduating seniors with the overall highest grade point average, was presented to Ian Calhoun of Young Harris, Ga., and Connie Wallace of Hiawassee, Ga. Emalyn Cork of Marietta, Ga., was presented the Zell B. Miller Leadership Award for significant contributions to campus life at YHC as an outstanding leader and role model. The award’s name honors former U.S. Senator and Georgia Governor Zell B. Miller, ’51, a YHC trustee and distinguished alumnus. Matt Wilmer of Loganville, Ga., 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:

  • Jesse Brock, of Watkinsville, Ga., who was accepted into the University of North Alabama’s master of arts in history program; 
  • Thomas Ian John Crosby, of Coventry, England, who was accepted into the master of arts in history program at the University of Arkansas;
  • JeRee Dukes, of Lincolnton, Ga., who was accepted into the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford in Hartford, Conn.;
  • ​Anna Hunter, of Houlka, Ga., who was accepted into the master of arts in communication program at the University of Memphis;
  • Dane Knudsen, of Savannah, Ga., who was accepted into the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia;
  • Evan McLean, of Woodstock, Ga., who will join the 2013-2014 Apprentice Company at the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, Ga.;
  • Heather Richbourg, of Hayesville, N.C., who was accepted into Louisiana State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine;
  • Collin Rodgers, of McDonough, Ga., who was accepted into the doctor of chiropractic program at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa;
  • Cheyenne Teeple, of Englewood, Fla., who was accepted into the University of West Georgia’s master’s in humanistic psychology program;
  • Austin Thomas, of Kennesaw, Ga., who will pursue a master of divinity degree at Wake Forest School of Divinity;
  • James Thorpe, of Nuneaton, England, who was accepted into Florida State University’s master of business administration program; and
  • Katheryn Woods, of Cleveland, Ga., who was accepted into North Georgia College and State University’s master of education program.

About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. The College currently has more than 1,000 students across five divisions—Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences—and plans to increase enrollment to 1,200 over the next few years. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., is currently undergoing major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth, including recent completion of a 200-bed, LEED Silver-certified residence hall, Georgia’s first higher education facility north of Atlanta to achieve this certification, a 57,000-square-foot, LEED-certified recreation center, the second higher educational recreation facility in Georgia to achieve this certification, and a 248-bed, apartment-style residential village. In 2011, the College was granted candidacy for NCAA Division II athletics. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2012-2013 list of Colleges of Distinction. For more information, visit www.yhc.edu.

Young Harris College awarded 131 bachelor’s degree and 15 associates degree during its 2013 Commencement ceremony on May 4. 

Veteran television journalist and broadcaster Monica Kaufman Pearson addressed Young Harris College graduates during the College’s 2013 Commencement ceremony.