Grade school friends from Cockeysville to Towson University, these three will graduate together as well
When Daniel Andrews got to Towson University as a freshman, he was a touch overwhelmed.
Sure, he grew up just up the road in Cockeysville. But the large campus seemed daunting—abuzz with students on a mission.
“I remember walking around the first week. Then I saw them, and I said, ‘Thank God!’”
In this case, “them” was Karuga Koinange and Finn Hasson, who were also freshmen. All three are members of the Honors College and this week will graduate after distinguished careers on TU's campus.
Karuga and Finn met at Warren Elementary School when they were in first grade.
Daniel joined them in middle school.
The trio became even closer among their respective circles of friends before graduating from Dulaney High School.
At TU, they hang out about once a week. They keep up with each other on a couple group messages—either on Facebook Messenger or Snapchat.
And when Commencement Week passes, they're confident they'll remain in touch, as all three have plans to stay in the area long-term.
“We also didn't plan anything else, and it's worked out OK,” Finn said, drawing a laugh from the group.
Asked what they'll remember the most about their time at TU, and the answers align with their personalities:
“Mass communications professors, like Professors Atwater, Spaulding and Elia Powers. They're in constant contact with you,” Karuga says.
“Construction,” Finn says, drawing more laughs.
“It wouldn't have been the same without these guys,” Daniel says.
“It just happened that way,” he says, adding that he's excited to find a way to combine the two into a career.
He would like to eventually teach or involve himself in humanitarian work.
“It's never not relevant seeing how culture intersects with what we do,” he said.
After graduation, he plans to travel. His first destination: the American Southwest.
He isn't alone in planning to travel, either.
Finn Hasson came to TU knowing what he wanted to do. He pursued a degree in foreign languages.
He has plans to become a translator, perhaps in Puerto Rico. He certainly has the language ability to travel to any number of countries, having studied Spanish, French, Russian and German at TU.
“It sort of happened that way,” Finn says of the roster of languages he's mastered.
TU was the only school Finn applied to in his senior year at Dulaney.
Now, with another graduation approaching, he's being choosy about his next steps yet again. He's looking to stay in the general Baltimore metro area. But he's also letting opportunities present themselves.
Asked what his plans are after this week, he draws more laughs from the group.
“Float around listlessly for a little while,” he says.
In the past year, Karuga Koinange has held one of the more unique and demanding student employment roles on campus—editor-in-chief of The Towerlight, TU's independent student newspaper.
Each week, he guided his staff of students through the story writing and editing process, developing plans for photography or page layouts. And every Monday, he put in long hours with his colleagues at the paper's University Union newsroom, finishing the week's edition for the campus community to read the following morning.
He'll graduate this week with a degree in mass communication, via the journalism & new media track.
After that, his plans are fairly simple: keep writing.
He has been applying to jobs throughout the spring semester and plans to travel to Kenya for three weeks in July.
Karuga ended up at TU because it was the first institution of higher education to accept his application. Settling on a major wasn't quite as easy. He started out hoping to pursue creative writing, but his mom encouraged him to find a degree that may afford him more professional opportunities upon graduation.
Three young men from the same Baltimore County community. All with unique interests. All with big goals for the world.
All chose TU. And this week, they'll all cross the same stage, in the same caps and gowns, hear similar remarks and experience the euphoria of becoming college graduates.
And then they'll go their separate ways. Leaving behind the safety net of their own backyard and the community feeling in a place they've called home for four years.
As Daniel sees the past four years, “It's an opportunity not many people have.”