News Garrett College Celebrates 47th Commencement - Garrett College

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Garrett College celebrates 47th commencement

Hannah implores graduates to make and maintain connections


McHenry, MD – Garrett College alumnus Jacob Hannah uses an engaging, interactive string demonstration to encourage the Class of 2019 to make ties and maintain connections.

Jacob Hannah - 2019 Guest Speaker Garrett College Commencement

Jacob Hannah: GC alum Jacob Hannah addresses the 2019 graduating class with an interactive display, emphasizing the importance of making and maintaining connections as they keep striving for greatness. Hannah was also honored at commencement as this year's recipient of the Garrett College Distinguished Alumni Award. Photo credit: Bob Carney.

"Never forget where you come from, what makes you ‘you', and above all, I encourage you to keep striving for greatness," said Hannah, who served as the featured speaker during GC's 47th commencement exercises on Saturday morning, which took place in the CARC gymnasium.

"I never thought I was college material, but I took that challenge and moved forward," added Hannah, a first-generation college student who went on to earn a bachelor's degree at Bucknell University.

Hannah, who currently serves as conservation director for Coalfield Development in his native West Virginia, told the 107-member graduating class their purpose is only just beginning, and they are now ready for the next challenge.

"Know what you have and know what holds you together – whether it's family, home, culture, courage or hardships," stated Hannah. "Keep your strength, stay tethered and don't give up on opportunities."

Hannah was honored with the 2019 Garrett College Distinguished Alumni Award, one of the most prestigious awards bestowed upon former students and alumni, recognizing individuals who have excelled in their academic and professional pursuits.

Seth Adams

Student Speaker Seth Adams: Seth Adams, of Oakland, was selected as this year's student speaker. In addressing his fellow graduating class, he encouraged graduates to remain true to themselves, find what's important to them, and everything else will fall into place. Adams will be attending Frostburg State University this fall to study graphic design and illustration. Photo credit: Bob Carney.

Student speaker Seth Adams, who is best described by Garrett faculty and staff as a ‘character of his own design', explained the process he used for developing his speech which also helped him determine his message.

"Find what is important to you, and focus on that," said Adams, who shared the Highest Grade Point Average Award with fellow graduate Lauren Porter. "Everything else will fall into place.

"It might not turn out how you originally planned," added Adams. "It might not be what everyone was expecting, but that's OK. . . . Always remain true to who you are, and never lose sight of what you care about."

Seven other graduates also received academic awards.

Tori Neece and Jenna Smith shared the Inspiration and Excellence Award while Trevor Byler and Michael Nugent were Outstanding Transfer Student and Outstanding Career Student, respectively. Porter, in addition to sharing the Highest Grade Point Average Award, received the Leadership and Excellence Award.

Lauryn Moon and Zack Harvey were recognized as Female and Male Scholar Athletes, respectively.

Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president, lauded a graduating class that featured an average grade-point average of 3.23. He also provided some interesting numbers on the graduating class, including noting that 68 percent of the graduates were from Garrett County while the graduating class also included international students from Morocco and Croatia.

"Forty-four members of this class attended with the support of the Garrett County Scholarship Program, at a cost of $311,887 and an average award of $7,088," said Dr. Midcap. "I sincerely thank the Garrett County Commissioners for their continued support of this important program, which dramatically increases access to higher education."

Natural Resources & Wildlife Technology Program

NRWT Graduates: Pictured are graduates of Garrett College’s Natural Resources & Wildlife Technology Program at GC’s 47th annual Commencement. Photo credit: Bob Carney.

Highest GPA

Adams and Porter: Dr. Qing Yuan, dean of academic affairs (far left) and President Richard Midcap (far right) honor both student speaker Seth Adams and Lauryn Porter, with the Highest Grade Point Average Award. Photo credit: Bob Carney.