Family members rallied behind Anthony McGriff to make sure he made it to campus
Troy Moon, Pensacola State College
Recent Pensacola State College graduate Anthony McGriff II is going places.
You can tell by his eye-popping graphic art designs that he has the talent to take him far in the world of advertising and marketing. Now, McGriff might need a car ride to actually get him to where he needs to go. But that’s OK. Because his family is there for him.
McGriff earned his Marjan Mazza Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Business and Management, Graphic Design concentration on Sunday. Some might have doubted he would be able to finish. After all, he was in a horrible vehicle accident during his second semester at PSC, an accident that shattered his hipbone and pelvis.
McGriff wasn’t able to walk and was wheelchair-bound for six months. Compounding his problems – he and his family live in Crestview, about a 45-minute to an hour drive to the Pensacola campus. He couldn’t drive. He was an hour away from where he needed to go. That’s when his family stepped in.
“I didn’t want to give up on my education,’’ said McGriff, a 2014 graduate of Crestview High School. “My family helped me out so much. My sisters (Miriam and Rachael) would drive me to class and take me home. Sometimes my parents would drive me. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
McGriff had to re-learn to walk.
“His sisters would drive him to Pensacola, put him in the wheelchair and roll him to class,’’ said his father, Anthony McGriff Sr. “We (with mother Serall McGriff) did the same thing. He didn’t miss a beat. He kept his GPA up and kept going, even through physical therapy. We’re very proud of him.”
On Thursday, the family attended the PSC 2021 Marjan Mazza Bachelor of Applied Science in Business and Management – Graphic Design Senior Exhibition in the Switzer Gallery in the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts.
Students had to create marketing and advertising materials for fictional companies. McGriff’s company is “IBEX,” a clothing company. And his designs seemed worthy of any high-end fashion magazine or advertising campaign.
“It ranges from street wear to fancier outfits,’’ McGriff said of his “IBEX” designs. “I think my style can be classified as smooth.” (Just like him. He’s so smooth that the black-and-green checker pants he wore to the exhibition matched the pants featured in one of his “IBEX” designs.)
“We’re do proud of him,’’ said sister Miriam. “He never gave up. We drove him because we want to support him.”
But that’s a long drive back-and-forth to Crestview – the sisters would spend time at the mall or other nearby businesses while their brother was in class. Did either of them ever wonder during those long car rides whether their brother was worth it? (We were joking, of course, when we posed the question.)
“We know he’s worth it,’’ Miriam said.
“Definitely,’’ Rebecca said. “He’s dedicated and persistent and we’re all so proud of him. He’s definitely worth it.”
Now that he’s graduated, McGriff is applying for various advertising and marketing positions.
“I just want to see where the road leads,’’ he said. “I want to be able to help my family. That’s one thing I know, but they’ve given so much to me. I want to be able to give back to them.”