Higher education

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MARS HILL – Mars Hill University conferred degrees on 161 graduates at the conclusion of the spring 2020 semester. Including double- and triple-majors, the university presented 174 bachelor's and master's degrees. The most popular majors were business, criminal justice, nursing, and social work.

Among the graduates are:

Albemarle – Katie Nichole Lanier, Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Therapy and Psychology; Austin Charles Herlocker, Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.

Concord – River Andrew Medlin, Bachelor of Science degree in Biology; Michael Eugene Baker, Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

Harrisburg – Jessica Lynn Minton, Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Art Therapy; Ryan Davis, Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology.

Kannapolis – Brittany Michelle Duncan, Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.

Stanfield – Cody Scott Cline, Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

Although precautions around the COVID-19 pandemic meant the graduates weren't able to walk across the stage to receive their degrees, as originally planned, they will get that opportunity later. The university has rescheduled the commencement ceremony for the class of 2020 for Sunday, October 4, at 2 p.m. Graduation will happen during the university's annual homecoming weekend, assuming public health conditions at the time will allow it.

"We're very proud of these spring graduates," said university President Tony Floyd. "They have persevered through unprecedented challenges during their final semester. Missing the spring commencement celebration means missing one of the most important days in the life of our university and the launching of our graduates into their bright future. So this fall, we are going to pull out all the stops to give them the acknowledgment they deserve."

Even without a commencement ceremony, the university still celebrated the graduates over the weekend. Mars Hill staged a visual representation of the path that graduates usually take as they leave Moore Auditorium and walk to the campus quad to be welcomed by faculty, family, and friends, lining that path with paper lanterns in school colors. The university also shared a video online (https://youtu.be/qBCKLemvAaI) featuring photos of the spring graduates, along with words of celebration from faculty.

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