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USM-H graduates honored at ceremony

May 19, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- Gayle McCrossin wanted a master's degree in nursing, but there was no way she could commute to a university in another part of Maryland and continue working full time for the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

The University System of Maryland at Hagerstown came to the Sharpsburg woman's rescue.

By being able to take her classes at the local university on Washington Street, McCrossin was able to fit her studies in among her work duties.

"It's wonderful. I'm really happy to have this done," McCrossin said.

McCrossin was among the first group of students to receive master's degrees in nursing through the 4-year-old local university and among 139 graduates who were honored at the university Tuesday evening.

The students will go through graduation ceremonies at their respective schools, but the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown honored them in a separate ceremony.

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The University System of Maryland at Hagerstown is a regional higher-education center through which Frostburg State University, Towson University, University of Maryland-College Park, University of Maryland University College and Salisbury University offer degrees.

About 54 students came to the ceremony, which was a Hollywood-themed event that featured a music revue of Academy Award-winning songs. Graduates were also able to pose for caricature artists.

This spring also marks the first graduating group of social work students studying through Salisbury University and the first graduating group of early childhood/elementary education students through Frostburg State University, school officials said.

"We have a lot of firsts here this evening," David Warner, executive director of the local university, told a crowd in the lobby of the school.

Lindsey Fouke of Hagerstown was among the first group of early childhood/elementary education students graduating.

Fouke went to Hagerstown Community College for two years, then finished her program at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown. Fouke said one of the biggest advantages of attending the local university was being able to stay home, therefore avoiding room and board costs.

Mandi Glines, another Hagerstown resident graduating in early childhood/elementary education, said there were some "bumps" in her program as school officials worked through it the first time. But the experience turned out great, Glines said.

Number of graduates being honored Tuesday night: 139

Schools from where they graduated: Frostburg State University, Salisbury University, Towson University and University of Maryland University College.

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