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Young Harris College Confers 261 Degrees During Commencement Ceremony
Former President of the Carolina Panthers Dr. Danny Morrison Delivers Address to Graduates

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College conferred 261 degrees on graduates participating in the College’s Commencement ceremony on May 5 in the YHC Recreation and Fitness Center. The College awarded bachelor’s degrees in art, biology, business and public policy, chemistry, communication studies, creative writing, education, English, history, interdisciplinary studies, mathematics, music, music education, outdoor leadership, psychology, religious studies, Spanish, and theatre.

Former President of the Carolina Panthers Danny Morrison, Ph.D., delivered the Commencement address to graduates, sharing with them an important message of achieving success and being a leader.

“Risk and progress are complimentary variables. You have got to take some risk to get some progress,” said Dr. Morrison to the graduates. “Leaders come in all sizes and all shapes. Be who you are, do it in your own style and learn from others. But, you can’t replicate genuine—you have to be genuine.”

YHC President Drew Van Horn, Ph.D., presented Dr. Morrison with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Dr. Morrison has proven to be an innovative leader in both athletics and higher education. For eight years, he served as President of the Carolina Panthers. During this time, he led the organization in coordinating a three-year $112.5 million renovation plan for Bank of America Stadium.

Prior to his time with the Panthers, he served as assistant athletics director, assistant basketball coach, head tennis coach and mathematics instructor at Elon College, before going on to Wofford College where he served as Director of Athletics before being named Vice President of the college. Dr. Morrison then went on to serve as Director of Athletics at Texas Christian University where he developed one of the most successful programs in the nation.

The Young Harris College Medallion, the highest honor bestowed by YHC to alumni and friends who have made extraordinary contributions, was awarded to Brantley Barrow, ’74, of Atlanta.

Barrow, who has served as Chairman of the YHC Board of Trustees since 2013, has been instrumental in shaping the landscape of the College for more than a decade. Since joining the Board of Trustees in 2004, Barrow has assisted on various assignments such as reviewing the College’s enrollment and mission, which began the first discussions about becoming a four-year institution, and building new housing that would complement the existing campus community.

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 Taylor Bilicki, of Blairsville, Ga., and Sarah Gossett, of Tunnel Hill, Ga.

Dr. Van Horn also recognized those students who received senior awards during the College’s annual Honor Ceremony held on the YHC campus on April 20.

YHC is among an elite group of colleges and universities who annually bestow the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation Awards to outstanding male and female graduating seniors. Created nearly a century ago to honor the servant 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. This year’s recipients were Kenneth Boykin, Jr., of Columbus, Ga., and Madison Barnes, of Blairsville, Ga.

Jada Williams, of Snellville, Ga., was presented the Zell B. Miller Leadership Award for significant contributions to campus life at YHC as an outstanding leader and role model.

Laura Gregory, of Flowery Branch, Ga., and Michael Livingston, of Suwanee, Ga., both received the Young Harris Spirit Award, which recognizes students who best demonstrate outstanding levels of personal integrity, friendliness and engagement with the campus community.

“In this class there are tremendous voices, wonderful actors, talented athletes, activists, innovative thinkers, counselors and leaders,” said Dr. Van Horn in a final charge to the graduates. “You are capable of many things and you can accomplish what you set your mind to. While uncertainty can be scary, do not let fear gain a foothold in your life . . . remember that the people you will serve and the world that you will tend belong to something bigger than any human.”

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 1,100 students across three divisions—Arts and Humanities, Professional Studies, and Mathematics, Science, and Technology. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., has completed major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. Recent LEED-certified campus improvements include the 121,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center, new residence facilities, and a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center. The College is an active member of NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2017-2018 list of Colleges of Distinction and is listed as a “Best National Liberal Arts College” by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit