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YHC Graduates

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Graduates from Young Harris College’s 2023–2024 academic year walked the stage Saturday, culminating four years of education and earning their degrees. Over 200 graduates received their degrees at Saturday’s ceremony on Young Harris College campus, the largest graduating class in the college’s history. 

“I want to welcome everyone to Commencement, a time to celebrate and recognize the hard work of all these graduates,” said Dr. Drew Van Horn, Young Harris College president. “And I congratulate all of you, both the students and the parents and faculty that have taken part in this historic point in their journey.” 

YHC GraduatesCommencement capped a week of activity, ranging from the annual Senior Reception to a Baccalaureate Service. The traditional Commencement ceremony was held on Saturday, May 4, in the Harp Recreation and Commencement Center. The ceremony began with the traditional awards given to students recognizing their academic efforts. 

Jackson Taylor received the Master of Arts in Teaching Representative Award for best representing the mission and ideals of Young Harris College’s MAT program.  

The Clegg Outstanding Student Award, named for Dr Charles R. Clegg, who served as President of Young Harris College from 1950 to 1963, is awarded to the graduating bachelor’s degree student or students with the highest cumulative grade point average.  

Six graduates earned the award this year, with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average: 

  • Trinity Aycock, an Interdisciplinary Studies major, and a member of the Mountain Lions softball team.  
  • Alex Boydstone, Communication Studies major, with minors in Management and Sport Studies, and a member of the Mountain Lions volleyball team. 
  • Katie D’Ambrosio, English major, with a minor in Creative Writing, and a member of the Honors Program and ODK leadership honor society. 
  • Kylie Ferguson, Public Policy & Law major, and a member of the Mountain Lions softball team. 
  • Morgan Johnson, Elementary Education major, and member of the Mountain Lions softball team. 
  • Mati Teague, Elementary Education major, member of the Honors Program, Alpha Chi Honor Society, and Delta Phi Epsilon sorority. 

Will Jones 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. 

Alex Boydstone and Janie Jones received the Young Harris College Spirit Award, which recognizes graduating seniors who best exemplify the spirit of YHC.  

Kristin Trice received the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award, and Hayden Durrett 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.  

“The commencement is a celebration for every student who has earned the right to walk this stage, but it’s also an opportunity to recognize and honor the students and their efforts,” said Dr. Jason Pierce, Provost of Young Harris College. “The 2024 class is the largest in Young Harris College history and testament to the hard work of students and faculty here.” 

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter received the Medallion Award at Young Harris College’s Commencement May 4 from YHC President Dr. Drew Van Horn, right, and Bill Johnston, chairman of the YHC Board of Trustees.

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-GA, received Young Harris College’s highest honor, the YHC Medallion, at the ceremony. An alumnus of Young Harris College, Class of 1977, he was honored for his diligent service both to the College and the state of Georgia. He received an honorary degree – Doctor of Humane Letters – during the May 4 ceremony. 

“I am honored to receive this from Young Harris College, a college that has made such a difference in my life and helped me get where I am in my career,” Carter said. “I congratulate these graduates on the work they’ve done and encourage them to never forget this place and the people they met here.” 

Hear Rep. Carter’s comments at the Commencement here.

Born in Port Wentworth, Carter is a lifelong resident of the state of Georgia. He graduated from Young Harris College in 1977 with an associate degree, before transferring to the University of Georgia, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy. Carter began his career in politics in 1994 in Pooler as a member of the City Council before becoming mayor in 1996. He moved on to the Georgia House of Representatives before being elected to the U.S. Congress as Representative of Georgia’s First District in 2014. 

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 Conference Carolinas. For more information, visit