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HCC graduates 'fulfill mission'

May 24, 2002|BY SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

It took some doing, but Anita Kipe said she was always confident she would complete the administration of justice program and graduate from the Hagerstown Community College, as she did with high honors Thursday.

Kipe, 40, of Hagerstown, attended college while working full time and raising four teenagers as a single mom, she said.

During the four years it took to finish the program she worked as a security specialist for the U.S. Department of Energy in Germantown, Md.

"I was determined," she said. "I took night school, weekend classes, anything I could cram in," she said.

She finished with a 3.81 grade point average, she said. She was helped by the support of family and friends, she said.

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"I am just glad it's over with," she said.

She plans to attend the University of Maryland in the fall, majoring in psychology or sociology.

"I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up," she joked.

Kipe was one of 320 students who graduated during the 55th annual commencement at the college's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

It was the final graduation ceremony as HCC president for Norman Shea, who is retiring at the end of June after 16 years in the school's top post.

Guy Altieri, an administrator at a community college in Michigan, will take over as president when Shea retires.

Washington County Commission President Gregory I. Snook led the audience of about 2,000 in a round of applause for Shea.

"We will miss him. He has done a fine job," Snook said.

"This is my 21st and last commencement," Shea said in his closing remarks. "The last thing you want to hear is another speech so I won't give one."

Shea came to HCC after serving five years as president of Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood, Pa.

Snook and other speakers congratulated the graduates.

"It is a big day for everyone. You have worked hard and you have fulfilled your mission," Snook said. He asked the graduates to remember what the community has given them so they can find a way to give back one day.

"We send you out with love," Faculty Assembly Chairman Vaughn D. Crowl told the graduates.

Speaking on behalf of the graduates, Angela Clark, 19, a biology major, said they could not have succeeded without the help of the faculty and the moral, emotional and, sometimes, financial support of friends and family.

Clark is president of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society at the college. She plans to attend Shippensburg University.

Dean of Students Carl Galligan said 193 students received associate's degrees in the transfer curricula, designed for students who plan to continue their education at four-year schools.

Eva Phillips, 32, of Hagerstown, graduated with a general studies major after attending college off and on for 10 years. She is now one step closer to her goal of becoming an elementary school teacher.

"If it would have taken me 30 years it would not have been 30 years wasted," she said.

Karry Pifer, 39, of Hagerstown, graduated with an accounting major after attending school part-time for five years.

"I'm thrilled," she said. "I did not think this day would ever come."

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