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UC December Commencement’s Youngest Graduate is Summa Cum Laude

Zac Cloud graduated from high school just a couple of months before finishing his degree at UC.

Date: 12/4/2006
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Provided by Zachary Cloud
UC ingot The youngest graduate in the University of Cincinnati’s December Commencement Class started at UC when he was a junior in high school, finished at UC with a 4.0 grade-point-average, and is currently pursuing a double major at the University of Chicago.

Zac Cloud

Zachary Cloud, 18, of West Union in Adams County, Ohio, earned his associate of arts degree from UC’s Clermont College last summer, just a couple of months after he graduated from West Union High School. He is pursuing a double major in political science and psychology at the University of Chicago; after which, he plans to attend law school.

Zac received an early start on his college career through the Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEOP), which allows academically talented high school students to simultaneously earn high school and college credit, free of charge. Zac spent his junior and senior years in high school on the Clermont College campus where he earned his associate’s degree in liberal arts as well as credit for his high school diploma.

“I saw PSEOP as a way to challenge myself academically,” he says. “Coming from a small high school with a tight budget, there were no advanced placement programs. I saw this as a good opportunity to prepare myself for what to expect in college.”

Kimberly Jacobs-Beck, UC Clermont assistant professor of English, recalls having Zac in her classroom virtually every quarter that he was attending Clermont College. She wrote his letter of recommendation to the University of Chicago.

“He was a great student – very bright and had a great sense of humor,” says Jacobs-Beck. “He had interesting, rather offbeat ways of looking at things. For instance, he once asked if romantic poets could be compared with punk rockers. He was creative and insightful. I miss having him in my class,” she says.

Zac says his experience at Clermont College was unique, noting that, “A lot of the people there didn’t go to college right out of high school, but you see how dedicated they are at getting a college degree. They’re serious about their education, about attending class and about trying to learn.”

Now that Zac is studying at the University of Chicago, he says his time at Clermont College helped prepare him for registering for classes, writing college papers and preparing for finals – all situations that can result in angst for the typical first-year college student.

After finals, he’s due for a well-deserved break before getting back to his studies after the New Year.


PSEOP Students Enrolled at UC as of Fall 2006

  • UC Clermont College – 162 students
    Information on PSEOP Programs at Clermont College, contact Debra Clark, 513-732-5294
  • Raymond Walters College – 26 students
    Information on PSEOP Programs at Raymond Walters College, contact Chris Powers, director of enrollment services, 513-745-5700
  • Uptown West Campus – 75 students
    Information on PSEOP Programs on the Uptown West Campus

UC’s Youngest Baccalaureate Degree Graduate

Darwin T. Turner

In 1947 at age 16, Darwin Turner earned his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Cincinnati and earned his master’s degree in English in 1949. Turner, an African-American, was later recognized as one of the greatest scholars in African-American literature. UC’s scholarship program for academically talented students of color is named after him. Celebrating its 30th year on campus, the Darwin T. Turner Scholars program is one of the oldest ethnic scholarship programs in the nation.

With his family in attendance, UC honored the memory of Darwin Turner in 2002 with the dedication of the Darwin T. Turner Residence Hall

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