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Young Harris College Announces the 2023 Commencement Speaker

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Young Harris College is pleased and excited to announce the 2023 Commencement Speaker: Matthew (Mateo) George, who completed his degree in December of 2022, majoring in Communication Studies and Spanish.

Matthew grew up in Santiago, Chile, where he was enrolled in a small, community centric school. His move to Georgia and his subsequent time in larger U.S. high schools, helped him realize just how much he thrived in a smaller educational community. It didn’t take long before he heard about Young Harris College at a college fair and later enrolled in YHC’s Early College Program. He experienced a seamless transition to YHC, where he found his college home. 

His choice to major in Communication Studies reflects an early desire to go into journalism, but he says the program taught him much more. Matthew stresses how it prepared him to approach difficult situations with an open and inquisitive attitude. Matthew’s second major in Spanish, as a native speaker, enabled him to deepen and broaden his understanding of the nuances of the language. He feels that both programs of study contribute in important ways to his current position as a flight attendant with Delta Airlines subsidiary, Endeavor Air.

Matthew was a highly involved student at Young Harris College. He served as a Senator for the Student Government Association and was a member of Sigma Beta Sigma, Alpha Omega, and service organization SPAT Club. He received a Distinguished Research Scholar Award at the 10th Annual Undergraduate Research Day, where he has presented his work across disciplines for several years. Matthew also contributed to an article on genres of speech, which was recently published in The Year in C-SPAN Archives Research. 

Community and family are what stand out the most to Matthew upon reflection of his time at YHC. He believes that getting involved on campus is important at a place like Young Harris.

“The sense of belonging at this school is unmatched, unrivaled anywhere else,” Matthew said, which he understands even more now that he is working his first post-graduation job. He has been able once again to find a place where community matters. Further, he also commented that the staff across campus make the place feel so special. Matthew has particularly fond memories of the Grace Rollins Dining Hall staff, both as a part-time employee for Sodexo, but also as a student. He knows that he not only received an exceptional education at YHC, but that he will be able to take what he learned here, both inside the classroom and out, and use it to make each of his future communities better. 

Each year, YHC solicits nominations from the members of the graduating class and from faculty and staff, which are then reviewed by a selection committee to choose the speaker. 

“I am proud of Matthew and all he accomplished during his time in the Enchanted Valley,” said Young Harris College’s Provost, Dr. Jason Pierce. “I am proud of our YHC tradition of having a member of the graduating class as our keynote commencement speaker, as it puts the focus of our commencement ceremony squarely on our students.”

About Young Harris College 

Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution 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 an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science and Technology; and Professional Studies. More than 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit