When Garrett Mack heard his name boom out of the loud speakers, he wasn’t sure what was happening.
Commencement ceremonies were just getting underway at Alfred State College’s Pioneer Stadium, with Dr. Skip Sullivan welcoming everyone in attendance. As Mack settled in his seat, he heard the president say his name at the podium on stage.
“I thought he was going to tell me I got a parking ticket because I parked in the wrong spot or something,” he said.
As it turned out, Mack, a construction management grad from Avon, was not in trouble after all. However, the reason for his name being mentioned did involve a vehicle – a 2015 Ford Focus Hatchback, to be specific.
Mack had just became the proud owner of that vehicle and the fifth Alfred State graduate to win a car at commencement after his name was randomly selected in a drawing. The annual giveaway began in 2015 to add to the graduation celebrations at ASC. The car is a gift from the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc.
The giveaway was one of a number of bright spots during an otherwise rainy afternoon. Spirits couldn’t be dampened, however, as hundreds of Pioneers and their families and friends came out to celebrate the big day.
Mack’s excitement over winning the car was obvious as he entered the vehicle for the first time, grinning from ear to ear, pumping his fist, and beeping the horn a few times. His family and friends joined in on the celebration, shaking his hand, taking pictures, and cheering at his good fortune.
His mother, Cindy Mack, explained just how lucky he really was: “He left his (entry) slip to win the car in our car. He called his brother, ‘Can you get it?’ His brother couldn’t find it so he had to fill out another one when he got here.”
With her son graduating and winning a new car on Mother’s Day, Cindy certainly had a lot to celebrate. The mother of three sons joked that Garrett is “probably” one of her three favorites.
As with hundreds of other Alfred State grads, Mack had a job lined up prior to Sunday’s ceremony. He is all set to work for the Department of Transportation in Rochester, and needs a reliable ride to visit construction sites across the region.
“I’m going to put it to good use,” he said. “I’m going to drive it to work every day.”