2021 Garrett College Commencement Presidential Address
President, Garrett College
The past 14 months have required individuals world-wide to be both flexible and innovative. We have experienced a lot – and we've learned a lot. Garrett College's 49th Commencement is a prime example of our ability to adapt to our circumstances. While all of us would have preferred a traditional, in-person graduation, that was not a practical option. Instead, we have used all of the technological resources at our disposal to create a virtual graduation that we sincerely hope accurately reflects the immense pride we feel in the many accomplishments of the Class of 2021. This virtual graduation, launched on the day our in-person commencement was to have taken place, will remain on our website for viewing – and re-viewing – whenever our students and their families and friends wish to do.
As Garrett College's president, I'm impressed – even awed – by our graduates' collective achievements. Many of today's graduates have spent nearly three-quarters of their time at GC persevering in their education during a global pandemic. It's not the experience our students desired, or the experience we desired for our students. But they kept their eyes on the prize – the degree that will be awarded during today's event.
While saluting our students, I also want to express my deep gratitude to our faculty, staff and Board of Trustees for their fortitude and courage throughout this pandemic. I will never forget their commitment, ingenuity and even courage in addressing the complex issues we faced in order to keep this college open during a pandemic.
2021 Graduate Awards & Recognition
Hometown: Oakland, MD
Major: General Studies
Future Plans: Attend a four-year college to pursue at least a bachelor's degree in Cybersecurity. I have been accepted into UMBC, George Washington University, and the University of Maryland College Park and am awaiting an admissions decision from Georgetown and Cornell.
GC Activities: Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, President and Student Ambassador
In his own words:
On life goals: My goals are to graduate college with a good GPA in the computer science/cybersecurity field. I also envision working for a government contractor or government agency after graduation. I personally think that it would be cool to have a bachelor’s degree before I turn 21, but very specific circumstances would have to occur for me to achieve this goal.
On how GC has worked to his advantage: Attending Garrett College was very advantageous for me. I was able to find my academic passion, which I was desperately searching for prior to coming to GC. Despite being a general studies major, the computer science course I took in the Fall 2020 semester led to me wanting to pursue a degree in cybersecurity. I was able to work two jobs while at Garrett, which allowed for me to graduate debt free AND have more money than I had when I started college, which is a unique privilege nowadays.
On some of his best memories at GC: Being elected as President of the Garrett College Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Omicron Chapter and being selected as the student speaker for commencement.
On helping him get where he is today: Faith is a hard thing to come by. All of the insights, recommendations, personal advice, and guidance I received have only added to my character and experiences and in turn has made me a more complete person. I would like to thank Professor Ziegler, Professor Lewis, and Professor Sisler. If it was not for their passion towards cybersecurity and computer science, I surely would not be as motivated as I am today to pursue a rigorous, but worthwhile, degree and career path.
Highest GPA Co-AwardTo recognize the attainment of excellence in academic achievement, this award is presented to the student who has maintained the Highest Grade Point Average while completing 60 or more hours of college credit classes in studies at Garrett College.
Outstanding Transfer Student AwardThe Outstanding Transfer Student is a student who receives an Associate of Arts Degree or an Associate of Science degree and is transferring to a four-year institution. The student is chosen for their excellence and enthusiasm in the classroom, and qualities of leadership.
Male Scholar Athlete AwardGarrett College is proud of its student athletes who combine excellence in competition with excellence in the classroom. Each year we recognize graduating student athletes that have obtained the highest GPA.
Hometown: Lonaconing, MD
Major: Business Administration – FSU Transfer
Future Plans: I plan to get my realtor license as well as get my master's degree in a business field at Frostburg State University.
GC Activities: Baseball (with memories I’ll never forget)
In his own words:
On life goals: Have a good paying job that allows me to have nice luxuries and a house in the future along with a wife and kids.
On how GC has worked to his advantage: Being from Garrett County, I did not have to pay a dime to attend GC which has been very significant for me. Along the way, I obtained the knowledge that I needed to move forward to reach my goals.
On helping him get where he is today: I'd like to thank my parents for helping me and making me the hardworking person I am today. Thank you, Garrett College!
Highest GPA Co-Award
To recognize the attainment of excellence in academic achievement, this award is presented to the student who has maintained the Highest Grade Point Average while completing 60 or more hours of college credit classes in studies at Garrett College.
Hometown: Swanton, MD
Major: Business Administration
Future Plans: I plan to use the knowledge I have attained to enhance the services I provide to students, parents, and the campus community here at Garrett College.
GC Activities: Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Business Accounts Specialist in the Business Office at Garrett College
In her own words:
On how GC helped her to achieve her goals: As a non-traditional student and a full-time employee, I knew online classes would be my best option for attaining my degree. Although Business Administration is not technically a degree that Garrett College offers online, with help from Academics, I was able to complete my degree entirely through online classes. This gave me the flexibility of completing my classes in the evenings and weekends while still working full time during the week.
On why she decided to pursue a business administration degree: As an employee in the Business Office here at Garrett College, I knew that the Business Administration degree would enhance my knowledge and better prepare me for my ever-changing job duties. The more knowledge I gain, the better I can perform the services involved in my job and the services I provide to the students, parents, staff, and community of Garrett College.
On her advice to other non-traditional students looking to enhance their education and/or gain new skills: Reach for that goal and start that process toward a degree. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, you will have doubts that you can do it. Yes, you will feel overwhelmed, and it will seem impossible at first. But give yourself a chance. Take those first steps and you will find that although you may still experience doubts and you will feel overwhelmed at times, you will also find that you can do it. And not only can you do it, you can excel at it. You may be the oldest person in your class, but you can offer insight that some of the younger generation has not experienced. Your life experiences will provide added knowledge that can be applied in your courses. Don’t let fear or anxiety stop you from reaching for your goals. You can do it!
Female Scholar Athlete Award
Garrett College is proud of its student athletes who combine excellence in competition with excellence in the classroom. Each year we recognize graduating student athletes that have obtained the highest GPA.
Hometown: Frostburg, MD
Major: Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology
Future Plans: I plan on transferring to Frostburg State University to major in Earth Science with a concentration in Environmental Science and minor in Forestry and Business. After getting my bachelor’s, I would like to travel before settling down and beginning a career.
GC Activities: Cross Country, GC Wildlife Club, Tutor
In her own words:
On choosing GC: I chose to go to Garrett College since it is close to home and all the things that I love (specifically the outdoors!) and has a great Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology program. I decided that I was going to Garrett my junior year of high school, and I began taking college classes as a dual-enrolled student in my senior year of high school.
On some of her best GC memories: Going to cross country meets and going out in the field in my classes are some of the most memorable experiences that I have had at Garrett. Being involved in several activities provided me with opportunities that have enhanced my college experience, my ability to learn time management skills, and allowed me to meet new people.
On her advice to new students: Cherish every moment of life. Join a club, play a sport, meet new people, and make the most of every class, because if you do not experience these things, you may regret it in the future.
Outstanding Career Advancement Student Award
The Career Advancement Student, also selected by faculty, receives an Associate of Applied Science Degree and plans to enter a career, although many of these students also go on to a four-year institution. The student is chosen for their excellence and enthusiasm in the classroom, and qualities of leadership.
Hometown: Oakland, MD
Major: Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology
Future Plans: Attend Frostburg State University and complete my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in wildlife biology.
GC Activities: Wildlife Club and all the other various activities in the NRWT program
In his own words:
On life goals: Continue working for Maryland Department of Natural Resources, purchase my first home, and start a family.
On how GC has worked to his advantage: Garrett College was affordable, close to home, and the NRWT program provides a top-notch education.
On some of his best memories at GC: Working the bear check station, electrofishing with Alan Klotz, going to our annual trip to Arizona with Kevin Dodge, handling firearms at Woodmont, and countless others. I will forever cherish my time here and our family, which is the NRWT program.
On helping him get where he is today: I'd like to thank my mother, father, girlfriend, and baby brother for being my support and sanity throughout college. Also, I’d like to thank Kevin Dodge, Peter Skylstad, and all our adjunct professors for believing in me and providing me with the skills to succeed in the workforce.
Inspiration and Excellence Award
In the quest for a college education there are students who encounter and overcome many different obstacles. Sometimes such a student persists in attaining these goals not only with dedication but with cheerfulness, a positive attitude, and an irrepressible spirit of enthusiasm that is an inspiration to other students and faculty.
Hometown: McHenry, MD
Major: Fine & Performing Arts: Theater
Future Plans: Working, volunteering my skills at my church, spending time traveling with my daughter.
GC Activities: Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Vice President
In her own words:
On life goals: See all 50 states and travel abroad. Serve my community. Raise my daughter to be a strong, independent, good, and kind asset to society.
On how GC has worked to her advantage: It is close to home and the small classes make learning more intimate. I have gained so much from my teachers here that I did not get from my teachers at a large campus.
On her time as a student at GC: Finding out that I am capable of so much more than I ever gave myself credit for. I know I can work hard and do anything I set my mind to now.
On helping her get where she is today: My parents for supporting me and watching my daughter while I attended classes – I couldn’t do this without them. Christopher, I miss you terribly, but I couldn’t have done this without your presence in my life. This is for our little girl so I can show her anything is possible. Jesus for all the blessings he has bestowed upon me. I have been filled with love and support from so many people and I can’t thank them all enough.
Leadership and Excellence Award
The following individual has been selected for displaying the qualities of a leader among their peers.
Hometown: Nanjemoy, MD
Major: Natural Resources & Wildlife Technology
Future Plans: Transfer and get my bachelor’s degree at either West Virginia University or California University of Pennsylvania.
GC Activities: GC Wildlife Club President (2020-2021) and Secretary (2019-2020) and was part of Northern Saw-whet owl banding for 3 years.
In her own words:
On choosing GC: To earn my bachelor’s degree.
On how GC has worked to her advantage: I learned a lot about natural resources, added amazing experiences to my resume, obtained a job in natural resources, and I have made some amazing friends.
On her best GC memories: There are too many to mention, but my one of my favorite times was spending a week in Arizona during spring break in 2019 and 2020 with the NRWT program and Wildlife Club.
Student Government Association Graduates
Madison Embleton, President
Emma Helton, Sophomore Rep
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Graduates
Associate of Arts Degree
Arts and Sciences
Fine and Performing Arts ConcentrationKatie Marie Cantrell; McHenry, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Jeremiah Austin Quarles; Takoma Park, MD
Liberal Arts ConcentrationCatherine Elizabeth O'Brien; Oakland, MD
Mathematics/Science ConcentrationCarter Blake Bowers; Oakland, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Christopher Anthony Kerr; Friendsville, MD
Megan Elise Lindsey; McHenry, MD
Ashley Nicole Meyers; Cumberland, MD
Eli Alexander Reed; McHenry, MD, Magna Cum Laude
Psychology ConcentrationLiberty Anne Cheshire; Swanton, MD
Taylor Paige Reams; Oakland, MD, Cum Laude
Social & Behavioral Sciences ConcentrationTrista Ann Aronhalt; Oakland, MD
Anne Marie Borga; Preston, MD
Brittany Nicole Gank; Oakland, MD
Amy Ann Herbaugh; Grantsville, MD
Coby Fredrick Howatineck; Citrus Springs, FL
Katherine Marie Keyes; Fort Washington, MD
Ashley Victoria McKenzie; Frostburg, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Sophia Louise Newman; Swanton, MD
Melina Kaye Schultz; Oakland, MD, Cum Laude
Madison Taylor Shaffer; Oakland, MD
Shaila Ann VanSickle; McHenry, MD, Cum Laude
Brady Ray Villa; Saxton, PA
Business AdministrationBreshai Macayla Bundy; Baltimore, MD
Caileigh Raine Calhoun; Friendsville, MD, Magna Cum Laude
Peyton Drew Carr; McHenry, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Brody Douglas Collins; Bittinger, MD
Madison Jolie Embleton; Oakland, MD
Cody Jack Eyler; Friendsville, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Nicole Elizabeth Glotfelty; Oakland, MD
Brandon Scott Hill; Oakland, MD, Magna Cum Laude
Strahinja Ivic; Accident, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Colby Alexander Johnson; Frederick, MD
Ally Marie Kisner; Friendsville, MD
Steven Anthony Minnick; Grantsville, MD
Jack Davis Molloy; Hilton Head Island, SC
Bradie Michael Moore; Lonaconing, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Allison Nicole Morris; Accident, MD
Joseph Carlton Mousch, Jr.; Oakland, MD
Eric Scott Peters; Shohola, PA, Magna Cum Laude
Susan Elizabeth Rexroad; Swanton, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Lucas James Root; Oakland, MD
Morgan Nicole Schrock; Accident, MD, Summa Cum Laude
General StudiesPatrick William Bart; Shinnston, WV
Robert Gregory Bittinger; Grantsville, MD
Lindsay Elizabeth Brewer; Grantsville, MD
Cassidy Marie Caldwell; Dundalk, MD
Kiara Phelina Cole; Newport News, VA
Christa Lynn Coleman; Kitzmiller, MD
Sydney Brook Corley; Oakland, MD
Lillian Shea Cuozzo; McHenry, MD, Magna Cum Laude
Richard Cameren Douglas; Lutz, FL
Dylan Matthew Hammers; Oakland, MD
Jasmine Marie Heath; Oakland, MD
Ibrahim Hassan Kanu; Silver Spring, MD
Brianna Marie LeMay; Mt. Lake Park, MD
Aaron James Lindsey; Hagerstown, MD
Katrina Noel Marraccini; Oakland, MD
Luke Thomas O'Brien; Oakland, MD
Charles Erik Olsson; Oakland, MD
Juan Justin Pinero, Jr.; Bronx, NY
Cross Charles Ritchey; Frostburg, MD
Isaiah Christian Skipper; Mtn Lake Park, MD
Felisha Lynn Tasker; Kitzmiller, MD
Tenisha Rose Thomas; Oakland, MD
Riley Nathaniel Upole; Oakland, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Malik Bernell Whitaker; Humble, TX
Elementary Education ConcentrationSamuel Richard Beeman; Lonaconing, MD, Cum Laude
Megan Grace O'Neill; Oakland, MD
Associate of Arts in Teaching Degree
Elementary Education / Special EducationBrandon Scott Green; Oakland, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Associate of Science Degree
Computer ScienceRoger Allen Dixon; Oakland, MD
Eli Jacob Hott; Augusta, WV
Austin Zachary Jones; Virginia Beach, VA
Allison Paige Oswald; Blairsville, PA, Cum Laude
Associate of Science in Engineering Degree
Electrical EngineeringDawson Ray Beitzel; Grantsville, MD, Cum Laude
Associate of Applied Science Degree
Addictions CounselingMikali Rain Artice; Friendsville, MD, Cum Laude
Alyson Marie Bennett; Grantsville, MD, Cum Laude
Samantha Lynn Guthrie; Grantsville, MD
Katelyn Ann Price; Cumberland, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Chelsea Michelle Sines-Ortiz; Oakland, MD
Susan Beth Smith; Oakland, MD
Adventure Sports ManagementDezmon Patrick Gladney; Lusby, MD
Emma Grace Helton; Oakland, MD
Hayley Davis Lawrence; Pamplin, VA
Cassandra Aspen Leach; Knoxville, MD
Ivy Jane Rodeheaver; Keyser, WV
Business & Information Technology
Business Management & Entrepreneurship ConcentrationChristy Nichole Beckman; Oakland, MD
Sandy Lynn Fazenbaker; Grantsville, MD
Robert Alan O'Brien; Swanton, MD
Breyell Denise Powell; Essex, MD
Kazzie Quinton Sisler; Oakland, MD
Kennedy Scott Weeks; Oakland, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Computer Applications for Business Concentration
Graphic/Web Design ConcentrationThomas Bradley Brown; Oakland, MD
Justin David Shafer; Swanton, MD
Olivia Joy Weeks; Oakland, MD, Summa Cum Laude
CybersecuritySohn Michael Cottrell; Westernport, MD
Jordan Christopher Sherbin; McHenry, MD
Claude Frank Webb; Morgantown, WV
Natural Resources & Wildlife TechnologyLogan Chase Beeman; Accident, MD
Jennifer Edith Pearl Condon; Laurel, MD
William Austin Decker; Garrett, PA
Aaron Thomas Graham; Oakland, MD
Joseph Ashley Hadaway; Swanton, MD
Grant Elliott Helmstetter; Abbottstown, PA
Stephen Matthew Jones; Oakland, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Dakota June Knott; McHenry, MD, Cum Laude
Samantha Erin Miller; Sykesville, MD
Tess Kennedy Nichols; Sykesville, MD
Brady Alan O'Brien; Swanton, MD
EllaRose Edwards Warnick; Frostburg, MD, Cum Laude
Paramedic StudiesJoshua Timothy Bosley; Cumberland, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Sport ManagementIan Christopher Eggleston; McHenry, MD, Summa Cum Laude
Hunter Jon Eitelbach; Brewster, MA
Andrew David Hamilton; Fairmont, WV
Michael Garrett Joyce; Land O Lakes, FL
Cameron Scott Selders; Morgantown, WV
CybersecuritySeth Joseph Leone; Springs, PA
Brock Alan Lewis; Oakland, MD
Class of 2021 by the numbers
- Graduates: 106
- Youngest: 17
- Oldest: 61
- Average Age: 23
- Average GPA: 3.23
- % Garrett Co. Residents: 66%
44 graduates attended with the support of the Garrett County Scholarship Program, at a cost of $253,927.
32 graduates are graduating with honors (10 Cum Laude, 5 Magna Cum Laude, 17 Suma Cum Laude).
7 graduates are members of the Garrett College Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.