ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Friday night marked the last night students would walk with diplomas from Darton State College. The school held it's final pinning and commencement ceremony before it's merger with Albany State University.
It was a historic night at Darton State College, as hundreds of students became the final graduating class before the school joined with Albany State University.
Draped in the traditional cap and gown, and topped with decorated caps, students cheered at the sight of closing a chapter at a college basking in the excitement of Darton's State College final commencement.
Joining forces with Albany State University will make for a historic change that has been in the works for months.
The words neatly etched across Samantha Tome's, 24, cap were indicative of why she stuck with Darton until the very end.
"It's great that I know I'm going out with a bang, it's the last Darton Class so it's pretty cool," said Tome.
Tome walked away with an Associate of Arts, Science, and Graphic Design certificate.
To top it off, Tome is now part of history that she gladly welcomed.
"Change doesn't scare me, and so it's just a new challenge. And I'm like yes let's do this," said Tome.
More than 400 students walked across the stage Friday, and more than 500 will be part of the final graduating class.
School officials say the merger will make Darton more seamless, given that it's a transfer college.
"It is a bittersweet, we have history here but we are creating new. It's a new chapter and we're ready to turn the page," said Kerri Johnson, Darton College Dean of Health and Professions.
This was a page that could bring more opportunity to students like Tome.
School officials say they're working in groups from both campuses to fine-tune areas so they can become one by January 1.
They'll work to combine infrastructure, classes and faculty by Fall 2017.