News Commencement 2023 - Garrett College
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Commencement 2023

Campus News

May 20th, 2023

Miller encourages fellow grads to persevere

Garrett College graduates 97 students in 51st commencement

Commencement 2023

Photo by: Hannah Sickles

Commencement 2023

Photo by: Chad Yoder

A father's advice generally seems wiser as time goes by.

"I never fully understood why my dad always said ‘when you least feel like doing something, that is the moment that you should begin doing it,' " said Jaydason Miller, the student speaker Saturday at Garrett College's 51st commencement." Now I do.

"I know that many of you are asking yourselves, ‘Where from here?' " continued Miller, selected by the Garrett College faculty as this year's student speaker. "I applaud you because even knowing that-that question lingers, you still plot tomorrow, you still head into each day with your blade of courage, your armor of persistence, and the thrilling mindset of newcomings."

Miller, an Oakland resident who graduated with a degree in computer science, reminded his fellow graduates that success would lose its meaning if failure ceased to exist and perseverance was not required.

"There would be no reward, no feeling of victory, no passion if we as people were perfect, or knew it all," observed Miller, who offered a poker analogy to illustrate his point.

" . . . Each [of us] had a different hand of cards dealt to them," said Miller. "The key is how you play this hand of cards."

"It may not seem like a winning hand, it is more than likely not the perfect hand," continued Miller, "but the greatest stories come from the hardest situations due to the outcomes that were made possible by not retreating when faced with difficulty or unfavorable odds."

Garrett College graduated 97 students as part of Saturday's commencement exercises. Graduates ranged in age from 18 to 65, with an average age of 23, and an average grade-point average of 3.25.

Thirty-eight graduates attended with the support of the Garrett County Scholarship Program, which funded $193,654 of the students' tuition and fees. The average scholarship amount per student was $5,096.

The College also honored students receiving awards annually selected by the faculty.

Oakland residents Emily Helms and Teresa Wolf shared the George C. Edwards Outstanding Transfer Student Award. That award is given for classroom excellence and leadership to a student receiving an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science degree with plans to transfer to a four-year institution.

With a 4.0 GPA, Wolf was also recognized for having the highest grade-point average among the graduates.

Michael Gillert (Morgantown, WV) received the Wendell R. Beitzel Outstanding Career Advancement Student Award. That award is given for classroom excellence and leadership to a student receiving an Associate in Applied Science degree with plans to immediately enter into a career.

Kylie Mark (Grantsville) received the Inspiration Award, given to a student who persists in attaining their goals with cheerfulness, positivity, and enthusiasm in a manner that inspires other.

Alexis Meyers (Friendsville) and Valerie Stemac (McHenry) shared the Leadership Award, awarded for displaying leadership qualities among their peers.

Stemac and Richard Johnson (Oakland) were recognized as the Class of 2023's two military veteran graduates. Marlysse Calling (Oakland), Emily Pysell (Oakland), Harmoni Swain (Fredericksburg, VA) and Olivia Warne (Swanton) were recognized as graduating members of the Campus Advisory & Activities Board, which develops and promotes student programming.

Thirteen students were recognized for earning membership in the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society. They were: Gillert, Helms, Mark, Meyers, Miller, Warne, Beverly Rasel (Swanton), Whitney Reall (Oakland), Aaliyah Rhodes (Oakland), Cambria Snyder (Oakland), Sabrina Hinebaugh (Kitzmiller), Emmalie Thomas (Oakland), and Tobias Unger (Oakland).

Aimma Miller was named Female Scholar Athlete while Zachary Swanger was recognized as Male Scholar Athlete.

The Garrett College Board of Trustees honored two retired employees with the awarding of emeritus status. Former administrator Jim Allen was named Dean Emeritus while former faculty member Lonnie Brewster was named Professor Emeritus.