Garrett College celebrates 46th commencement
Baker, Eyler encourage GC's graduates to strive for excellence
Kalynn Eyler, member of the Class of 2018, was both the student speaker at Garrett College’s 46th commencement on Saturday morning and winner of the faculty’s award for Leadership and Excellence. Photo by Bob Carney
"Experience. Explore. Excel." Kalynn Eyler told her fellow Class of 2018 graduates that's not just Garrett College's motto. The student speaker said it provided a roadmap for each graduate's achievements during their college career.
"While at Garrett College we have all been exposed to a plethora of experiences," said Eyler, who cited examples ranging from late nights finishing homework and prepping for exams to balancing academics with relationships and co- and extra-curricular activities. "These experiences have stretched us and given us the ability to persist . . . to be resilient, and have gifted us the spirit of dedication."
Eyler said the college experience was built around "career and self-exploration," noting college students "are all adventurers who have set out to explore and understand our discipline and the world." In excelling, Eyler said, "we reap the harvest of the seeds we have sown."
And Eyler – who also received the faculty award for Leadership and Excellence during commencement – left her 102 fellow graduates with a challenge, quoting Gandhi's exhortation to "be the change you wish to see in the world."
Garrett County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Baker, the featured commencement speaker, laid out seven related points for future success. She emphasized the willingness to work hard, the flexibility to adapt a plan when situations change, the tenacity to not to let weaknesses be self-limiting, the boldness to explore new things, the confidence to believe in one's self, the wisdom to accept being less than the best as long as you've put in your best effort, and the lifelong conviction to never stop learning.
Barbara Baker, Garrett County Superintendent of Schools, addresses Garrett College’s Class of 2018 at Saturday’s 46th commencement. Photo by Bob Carney
"Every single tip for success has one common theme – strive to be your best," said Superintendent Baker. "Never, ever settle for less than your best."
Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president, praised the graduates for their high academic achievement.
"The average grade-point average of the 2018 graduating class is 3.04, clearly indicating your commitment to making the most of this educational opportunity," Dr. Midcap told the graduates. "Twenty-one members of this year's class are graduating with honors, and 11 are members of the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society. Clearly, your time at Garrett College has been time well spent."
Thirty-eight members of this year's class received tuition assistance through the Garrett County Scholarship Program, a cooperative partnership between the Garrett County Board of County Commissioners, the Garrett County Board of Education, and Garrett College. Those students received $230,424 in aid through the program.
"I wish to again publicly thank our county commissioners for the incredible commitment they have made to educating our residents through the Garrett County Scholarship Program," said Dr. Midcap.
Several other members of the Class of 2018 were recognized at commencement.
Angela Lowry, honored earlier this month as a member of the All-Maryland Academic Team, was named Outstanding Transfer Student, while Rob Mulligan was named Outstanding Career Advancement Student. Dana Brown and Ashley Elliott were co-winners of the Inspiration and Excellence Award. Mikaila Tice was recognized for the highest grade-point average among graduates completing 60 or more credit hours at Garrett College.
Liutauras Repsys was recognized as the Bucknell University Scholar, receiving a full, two-year transfer scholarship to that prestigious university. Repsys and Brianna Evans were honored as the Male and Female Scholar Athletes, respectively.
While most of Saturday's ceremony honored members of the Class of 2018, two former faculty members and a current Garrett College staff member were also recognized.
Oscar Harman and the late David Slagle were each awarded the honor of faculty emeritus. Professor Harman had a 34-year career at Garrett College, including serving as the college's interim president from 1982 to 1985. Professor Slagle served at Garrett College for 28 years in a number of academic and administrative roles.
Oscar Harman, center, served 34 years at Garrett College, including three years as interim president during the 1980s. He was honored at the college’s 46th commencement ceremony on May 19th by the awarding of the title of Professor Emeritus. Pictured with Professor Emeritus Harman is Garrett College President Richard Midcap, left, and GC Dean of Academic Affairs Qing Yuan. Photo by Bob Carney.
The late Franklin David Slagle was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus during Garrett College’s 46th commencement on May 19th. Professor Emeritus Slagle served in a number of administrative and leadership roles at the college, including playing a pivotal role in the college’s digital conversion. Wife Carol Slagle (holding proclamation), son and daughter Michael and Becky Slagle (third and fourth from left, respectively) accepted the award on his behalf. Also pictured are Garrett College President Richard Midcap, far left, and GC Dean of Academic Affairs Qing Yuan, far right.
Cissy Vansickle, the college's director of financial aid, received the Board Award for Outstanding Contributions to Garrett College. Vansickle has served at Garrett College a combined 25 years in two different stints in addition to financial aid roles with the U.S. Department of Education, University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland at Baltimore, the American Public University System, and Bank of America.
The late Kalie Hostutler Ashby, who served as the college's assistant director of institutional research and planning before her untimely death in a car accident, was honored posthumously with the Garrett College Distinguished Alumni Award. Ashby earned 30 college credits while still in high school and had completed her associate degree at GC as well as her baccalaureate degree and Master of Business Administration degree all within four years of her high school graduation.
Notes: GC's graduates ranged in age from 18 to 49, with an average age of 23. Just under two-thirds of the graduates are from Garrett County while just over half (52) earned Associate of Arts degrees. There were 44 Associate of Applied Science, four Associate of Science in Engineering, one Associate of Arts in Teaching, and two certificates also awarded.
Of the 21 individuals who graduated with honors, nine graduated cum laude (with honors), seven graduated magna cum laude (with great honor), and five graduated summa cum laude (with highest honors). That total represents just over one-fifth of the graduating class.