Matthew Shannon did not finish his studies his first time around at Penn State York.
On Friday, he graduated from the school with two degrees.
Shannon, 43, of York City, graduated with a bachelor of science in business, a bachelor of science in information sciences and technology, along with a minor in communication arts and sciences, according to the school.
"I took a lot of classes," he said with a laugh. "I enjoy studying. I had a lot of life experiences. I'm a member of two honor societies, so I guess I can say I'm smart."
Shannon also was selected as the class marshal for the information sciences and technology program as the highest-ranking student academically in the major. As a result, he was chosen to carry the discipline banner at the school's commencement.
Including Shannon, a total of 78 students graduated from Penn State York with master's, bachelor's and associate degrees. The graduation was held at Pullo Family Performing Arts Center on campus.
The school chose U.S. Rep. Todd Platts, R-York County, as its commencement speaker.
Challenges: Shannon's graduation comes just months after losing his father, Donald Shannon, in April to cancer. Shannon also continues to help care for his mother, Patricia Shannon of Red Lion, who has dealt with health issues.
Shannon said that while
he is happy for his graduation, he also is sad that his classes are done.
"(I was) under stress so long, the school became the stability of my life," he said. "I've always been very organized, but all that fell apart. I just had to use pure brute force. You just do what you have to do."
Shannon said he is thankful that his Penn State York professors pushed him to succeed.
Second time around: A graduate of Red Lion Area Senior High School, Shannon first came to Penn State York in 1987, but left before completing his studies.
Instead he started a computer consulting business in 1996. He also continues working in his father's outdoor advertising business, which he now runs. Shannon also was a waiter/bartender.
However, returning to Penn State York stayed on his mind, he said.
"I was riding past the school one day and said to myself, 'I should go back to school,'" Shannon said. "I planned to go part time, but when I got laid off, I decided to go full-time."
He returned to Penn State York as a student four years ago.
"When I was a student at Penn State York many years ago I really liked it and knew it was a good place to be, so there was no question about where I would go to school," he said.
During his time at Penn State York, Shannon became one of the first interns in the Graham Entrepreneurial Leadership Program in which students learn the practices of local companies while working on projects.
Shannon said he is an intern at Dentsply and will continue working on projects with the company.
"I really enjoyed the autonomy to work on my own and also to create something that was actually useful for the business," he said.
"I'm just going to see how things go from here. Every time I've made plans in my life, it never worked out. But I like how things are going now."