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YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — The Young Harris College 2021-2022 academic year has come to an end, and the members of the Class of 2022 have finished their final year in the Enchanted Valley. After celebrating YHC seniors at the annual Senior Reception, Vespers service, and Baccalaureate service, the College held its traditional Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7 in the newly renamed Harp Recreation and Commencement Center.

On behalf of all YHC faculty and staff, YHC President Dr. Drew Van Horn congratulates all YHC graduates on their great academic achievements. Deserving of specific recognition are this year’s Commencement award recipients. Dustin Root received the newly created MAT Representative Award for best representing the mission and ideals of YHC’s MAT program. Jing Dong, Ben Eklund, Madeline Studebaker, and Joshua Wood received the Clegg Outstanding Student Award, which is awarded to the graduating student or students with the highest cumulative grade point average. Mary Grace Nelson and Jenna Thomas received the Young Harris College Spirit Award, which recognizes the graduating seniors who best exemplify the spirit of YHC. Bethany Viar received the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award, and Will Yeiser received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. These two awards go to graduates whose nobility of character and dedication to service sets them apart as examples for others. Guerin Brown received the Zell B. Miller Leadership Award, which goes to a senior who has made significant contributions to campus life as an outstanding leader and role model.

“We are all exceptionally proud of the resilience shown by the Class of 2022,” said Academic Provost Dr. Jason Pierce. “Though the COVID-19 pandemic affected their time at YHC, these graduates showed extraordinary grit to earn the right to walk across the Commencement stage.”

The Young Harris College Medallion is the highest honor bestowed by the College to alumni and friends who have made extraordinary contributions to YHC. This year’s recipient was current YHC Trustee Board Chair Mr. Kurt Momand, Class of 1977. Momand has been a trustee since 2008 and was elected Board Chair in 2018. He served on the 2017 Presidential Search Committee and is a member of the Development, Endowment, and Trusteeship Committees. He served as Chair of the Student Affairs Committee for two years, Chair of the Endowment Committee for four years, and has served as Chair of the Executive Committee for the past four years. He attends many alumni gatherings and greatly impacts the campus and community. United States Congressman and YHC Trustee Buddy Carter, Class of 1977, presented Momand with his award. This was a surprise reunion for Momand, as the two were roommates at YHC.

“It was a joy to surprise Mr. Momand by having Congressman Buddy Carter present him with the College Medallion,” said Dr. Drew Van Horn. “Mr. Momand is so deserving of this honor.”

Because Momand’s term as Board Chair will end in June, he ceremonially passed the Board of Trustees gavel on to upcoming Chairman William “Bill” Johnston, Class of 1975, after his speech in the ceremony. Johnston’s term will begin July 1.

After recent years’ Commencement ceremonies were limited by the worldwide pandemic, YHC was glad to give the Class of 2022 the celebration they deserved.

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. Approximately 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