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Commencement is May 4 at 10 a.m.; Interesting graduates share their stories

5/1/2013 —

Penn State Mont Alto’s 2013 Spring Commencement ceremony is scheduled for this Saturday, May 4 at 10 a.m. in the Multipurpose Activities Center on campus. Mont Alto is the oldest Penn State campus outside of University Park and has been graduating students for more than 100 years. Among the graduates are three students who began their college experience together four years ago in the inaugural class of the campus’ ‘Jump Start’ program, and two veterans who returned to the classroom after military careers.

An optional program for first-generation students—those most at risk—Jump Start paired students with a trained peer mentor to support them in their transition to college. They  participated in Math and English preparatory modules and other sessions to prepare them for the classroom experience including practical study tips, time management, understanding syllabi, classroom etiquette and professor politics, financial aid, and more. One of those first-generation students, Omar Abdelhafez (of Philadelphia), will be recognized for his completion of the baccalaureate degree in Business. Abdelhafez beat the odds to conquer the college regime, and he even received the Eric A. and Josephine S. Walker Award from the campus in 2012 in recognition of outstanding qualities of character, scholarship, leadership and citizenship.

Brian Albright of Chambersburg is a medic with the PA-Army National Guard. He is one of the top two students in this year’s graduating class for  nursing (associate-degree RN program),  and he will be recognized as a candidate with distinction for a cumulative GPA of at least 3.73. Albright became interested in nursing while in high school. He joined the National Guard in 2005 and spent a year in Iraq as an Army medic. With the help of the VA’s Post 9-11 G.I. Bill and the Pennsylvania Education Assistance Program for guardsmen, Albright enrolled at Mont Alto to pursue a degree. He has a job lined up upon graduation in the ICU at Chambersburg Hospital, and he is enrolled to start the bachelor’s degree program for nursing at Penn State in the fall. Albright and his wife are expecting their first child together in June.

Kevin Santrock of Chamberburg is a candidate for a bachelor’s degree in Business. He came to Mont Alto in 2010 after retiring from the Navy after 20 years of service. In the Navy, he was a culinary specialist on one surface ship and three submarines, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer (CPO E-7).   Santrock also took advantage of the VA’s Post-911 G.I. Bill to return to college. He completed his degree in 2.5 years while working full time. Santrock has been married for 22 years to Charlotte, and they  have three boys ages 22, 18 and 16. His son, Aryn, will graduate from Chambersburg Area High School in June and has been accepted to attend the University Park campus in the fall.
Members of the media are invited to attend the ceremony. Please contact Kristie Fry at 717-749-6112 for additional information.

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