DAHLONEGA - For the McClusky family, attending commencement exercises is getting to be a bit of a habit. On Aug. 3, they attended their 10th college graduation ceremony at the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Dahlonega Campus.
Stephanie McClusky of Gainesville earned her second degree on Aug. 3, a Master of Public Administration. In 2009, she earned a bachelor's degree in political science. McClusky's husband, Kevin, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 2002.
McClusky said that she learned life skills while pursuing her degrees.
"I have learned over the past two years, while working full time and obtaining my master's degree, important skills for work, and for life, include time management, problem-solving, organization, self-motivation, and confidence," she said. "As students, we learn how to think strategically, work hard, and accomplish our goals."
Four other members of the family, including her two sisters-in-law and their spouses, have earned degrees at UNG. Sister-in-law Caitlin Stauf has earned bachelor's, master's and education specialist degrees at UNG, while her husband, Nicholas Stauf, earned a bachelor's. Sister-in-law Shannon Blasick earned bachelor's and master's degrees in education, while her husband, Brian Blasick, earned a master's. The McClusky family has earned a total of 13 degrees, but three were earned at other institutions.
With so many family members pursuing higher education, McClusky said she has felt supported throughout her education.
"It is important to understand that we are not alone, and that it is okay to accept the support and help of others," she said. "Know that we can accomplish absolutely anything, no matter how far we fall, when we have the support of family, friends, professors, and colleagues."
The University of North Georgia conferred some 214 degrees on Aug. 3, including 36 graduate degrees and 178 undergraduate degrees.
On Aug. 3, two dozen graduating members of UNG's Corps of Cadets also commissioned as second lieutenants, including Michael Carty, who served as the Boar's Head Brigade commander during the 2012-13 academic year.
Carty, who ranked in the top 15 percent of the more than 5,600 ROTC cadets in the country, commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army's transportation corps and earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry/pre-medicine.
"Being here at UNG and working with the professional staff in the Department of Military Science, has prepared me by giving me a lot of the values and experiences necessary to lead our soldiers. It has taught me how to be an officer and it has taught me a lot about morale, integrity, and respect," he said. "Without them, I don't think I'd know half the things I know now. Definitely, coming here has prepared me to be a better officer and a better person overall."