“It was really funny when I found out I would be graduating at the same time as Samantha,” Gibboney says. “I asked her if she wanted me to wait to take the last class. She said no, that it would be great to graduate together. I thought that was nice she wanted to do that.”

Gibboney, who is the director of enrollment and alumni engagement at the College, began taking courses eight years ago. Building on her associate’s degree, she began studies as a non-degree seeking student, but soon decided to actively pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

When she came to Juniata, Gibboney says she was impressed with the intensity the professors bring to the classroom and how intelligent the students are.

“I attended a community college for one year, in Oklahoma, and then, when we were overseas in Germany, I took a lot of courses ad hoc from the University of Maryland and City College of Chicago,” she says. “I would take all of these courses, but I never had a real college experience. That made me want to work harder. I wanted to prove that I could do it and I didn’t want to disappoint because I had been given this gift.”

“We did take a summer class online, cognitive psychology. We had a little competition. Whoever got the best grade got treated to ice cream. I won!”Samantha Ochs ’18, Huntingdon, Pa.

Ochs, who graduated with a degree in environmental studies, came to Juniata following her graduation from Juniata Valley High School in 2014.

“I liked how it was not a very big campus, so I couldn’t get too lost when I first came,” she says. “The people were always friendly and nice. The environmental program was really good, too.”

Another draw for Ochs was the Raystown Field Station and the College’s study abroad program, which she took advantage of to spend a semester in Cork, Ireland, last spring.

The only class the two took together turned into a bit of a competition.

“We did take a summer class online, cognitive psychology,” Ochs says. “We had a little competition. Whoever got the best grade got treated to ice cream. I won!”

“She won by 0.2 percent,” Gibboney quickly counters. “It was so close.”

Adding to the fun, Gibboney’s younger daughter, Danielle Ochs, just completed her sophomore year at Juniata, where she is studying digital integrated media studio arts.

“She makes a lot of movies, so we’ve been able to be a part of her projects and to help her out,” says Gibboney.

During commencement, both mother and daughter proudly wore cords indicating their membership in the National Society of Leadership and Success, with Gibboney also being a member of the Tau Pi Phi business honor society.

Following their graduation, Gibboney is continuing in her current position and Ochs is applying to internships within the botanical field in hopes of launching a career at a botanical garden.