Young Harris College’s Classes of 2020 and 2021 earn 411 Degrees
Young Harris College (YHC) conferred 172 degrees on graduates participating in the College’s Commencement Ceremonies for the class of 2020 on Saturday, May 1, and 209 degrees on class of 2021 graduates on Saturday, May 8. The College awarded bachelor’s degrees in accounting, art, biology, business administration, business and public policy, chemistry, communication studies, creative writing, economics, education, English, environmental science, finance, graphic design, history, interdisciplinary studies, management, marketing, mathematics, music, music education, musical theatre, outdoor leadership, psychology, public policy, religious studies, Spanish, theatre and theatrical design and production. The College’s first Master of Arts in Teaching Commencement and Hooding Ceremony for the classes of 2020 and 2021 was held on Friday, May 7, and YHC conferred 30 master’s degrees to graduates. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, Commencement for the class of 2020 was split between two ceremonies, both with portions led by students. The morning Commencement address was delivered by Erin Buehring, ’20. The afternoon ceremony began when Cindy Mosqueda, ’20, led the graduates, their families, faculty and staff in the invocation, and the Commencement address was delivered by Sam Gaston, ’20. Special music was performed by Joshua Wood, ’22, on French horn, accompanied by Suzanne West, ’85, on piano. YHC President Dr. Drew Van Horn presented Rev. Bob Bone, ’57, and his wife Barbara with the Young Harris College Medallion, which is the highest honor bestowed by YHC to alumni and friends who have made extraordinary contributions to the College. A YHC graduate, Rev. Bob Bone, ’57, has been affiliated with the College for more than six decades. After graduating and marrying Barbara, the couple has influenced many family members and friends to attend YHC, particularly those Bob came into contact with during his 45 years of ministry. Together, the Bones have established and endowed numerous scholarship funds and enjoy getting to know the recipients. The Bone family’s enormous contributions will pave the way for generations of students to enjoy a prosperous future at Young Harris College. YHC Provost Dr. Jason Pierce announced the seniors who received special awards. 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 Hannah Walker, ’20, of Cumming, Georgia. YHC is among an elite group of colleges and universities that annually bestow the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and Mary Mildred Sullivan Award on a male and female graduating senior, respectively. Created in 1890 to honor the servant leadership of their namesakes, the awards are given annually by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation to individuals whose nobility of character and dedication to service sets them apart as examples for others. The 2020 recipients were Laura Grace Holton, ’20, of Marietta, Georgia, and Austin Watson, ’20, of Hayesville, North Carolina. Sam Gaston, ’20, of Young Harris, Georgia, was presented with the Zell B. Miller Leadership Award for significant contributions to campus life at YHC as an outstanding leader and role model. Paige Rayburn, ’20, of Commerce, Georgia, received the Young Harris Spirit Award, which recognizes students who best demonstrate outstanding levels of personal integrity, friendliness and engagement with the campus community. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, Commencement for the class of 2021 was split between three ceremonies, all with significant portions led by students. During the morning ceremony, Anna Faith Adair, ’21, led the graduates, their families, faculty and staff in the invocation, followed by the Commencement address delivered by Victoria Beck, ’21. The midday ceremony began with an invocation from Cathleen Chance, ’21, and the Commencement address was delivered by Page Davis, ’21. The afternoon ceremony’s invocation was led by Oliver Whiten, ’21, and Zach Burns, ’21, delivered the Commencement address. The morning ceremony had special music by soprano Kanani Crandall, ’21, and soprano Tori Payne, ’21, accompanied by Anita Guss on piano. The midday and afternoon ceremonies had special music by Rex DiPietro, ’23, on trumpet, accompanied by Suzanne West, ’85, on piano. YHC President Dr. Drew Van Horn honored the late Henry “Hank” Huckaby, ’62, with an honorary doctorate and the YHC Medallion. His wife Amy, ’62, received the YHC Medallion as well. Hank Huckaby was elected to the YHC Board of Trustees in 2005, chaired the Academic Affairs and Endowment committees for six years and served on the Development, Executive and 2017 Presidential Search committees. A student of Zell Miller, ’51, Huckaby worked at the state capitol to create the HOPE Scholarship, which has been invaluable to the more than 1.8 million students who have received it to date. Despite retiring in December 2016, he and Amy continued to be involved with YHC. Amy plays a large role in the YHC Alumni Association by serving as a Class Coordinator and on the Association’s Board of Directors. Together, the Huckabys have made numerous gifts in support of the Zell and Shirley Miller Library, Class of 1962 Endowed Scholarship, and the College’s athletics and fine arts programs. YHC Provost Dr. Jason Pierce announced the seniors who received special awards. The Dr. Charles R. Clegg Outstanding Scholar Award, which recognizes graduating seniors with the overall highest grade point average, was presented to Kristen Brown, ’21, of Sugar Hill, Georgia, Makenna Mellott, ’21, of Hoschton, Georgia, and Erin Tozier, ’21, of Cumming, Georgia. The Sullivan Awards are given annually by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation to individuals whose nobility of character and dedication to service sets them apart as examples for others. This year’s recipients were Erin Tozier, ’21, of Cumming, Georgia, and Kurt Mueller, ’21, of Woodstock, Georgia. Victoria Beck, ’21, of Hayesville, North Carolina, was presented with the Zell B. Miller Leadership Award for significant contributions to campus life at YHC as an outstanding leader and role model. Sarah Faneuff, ’21, of Blairsville, Georgia, received the Young Harris Spirit Award, which recognizes students who best demonstrate outstanding levels of personal integrity, friendliness and engagement with the campus community. YHC held its inaugural Master of Arts in Teaching Commencement and Hooding Ceremony on Friday, May 7, for the classes of 2020 and 2021, collectively. A significant portion of the intimate ceremony was led by the graduates. Sam Darby, ’21, welcomed the graduates, their families and friends, and YHC faculty and staff. Caitlyn Sloan, ’21, provided a description of the Master of Arts in Teaching program, the first graduate course of study offered at the College. Imani Crosby, ’21, delivered a message to the graduates, and John Trainor, ’20, closed the ceremony with a benediction. The Master of Arts in Teaching at YHC is an affordable opportunity for students to learn and implement best practices in secondary education. Upon graduation, students receive teaching certification in either history, mathematics, English or biology, along with their master’s degree in teaching. The program takes a year to complete, and the first two cohorts already have an impressively high employment rate. “The Young Harris College Master of Arts in Teaching 2020 and 2021 Cohorts project a vision of graduate education as a complement to who we are as a College: A diverse group of talented, caring individuals who excel individually as emerging teacher-leaders in schools, as well as collectively as a powerful support network for one another,” said MAT Program Coordinator Dr. George Boggs. In his final charge to all 2020 and 2021 graduates, President Van Horn said, “I charge you to keep moving forward. In your moment of truth, if you worry that you may not be able to live up to what is expected of you or what you expect of yourself—I hope you remember that you are a Young Harris Mountain Lion. And Mountain Lions don’t retreat.” 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 yhc.edu.