It’s perhaps what Louis Bleechmore will remember most about his two-year experience at Harcum College, which ended this month when he graduated with an associate degree — and a number of people invested in his success.
Bryn Mawr was a long way from home for Bleechmore, a native of Sydney, Australia, who arrived in the States as a 16-year-old pursuing his basketball dreams. He attended Scotland Campus, a boarding school on the north side of Chambersburg, for three years before enrolling at Harcum amidst a pandemic and a lot of uncertainty about his future.
The college helped him build a bridge between who he was and who he wants to become.
“Harcum grounded me,” said Bleechmore. “I got there thinking 1,000 miles an hour about what I needed to do to get to the next level, but Harcum taught me to take each day at a time and that things will happen when they’re meant to happen. I met a lot of helpful people there.”
Bleechmore received the President’s Award, the highest honor conferred on a student, at commencement. In his citation, President Jon Jay DeTemple characterized Bleechmore, who earned a 3.79 GPA, as someone who strives to excel in everything he does.
On the hardwood this winter, the 6-foot-6 small forward led Harcum, the only National Junior College Athletic Association Division I men’s basketball program in Pennsylvania, to a 32-3 record and the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan. (The 32 wins tied the program record set in 2013-14, when the Bears advanced to the semifinals of the NJCAA Tournament.)
Bleechmore’s academic and athletic prowess has garnered him a full scholarship to nearby Saint Joseph’s University, where he will major in Entrepreneurship and play a key role on the basketball team. He believes Harcum and men’s basketball coach Drew Kelly, who started the program in 2005, prepared him well for the challenges he’ll meet and the demanding schedule he’ll have as an NCAA Division I student-athlete.
“My experience at Harcum was very rewarding,” Bleechmore said. “I enjoyed sharing classes and study halls with my teammates and learning from teachers who were always available and willing to help out both inside and outside the classroom.”
In addition to his professors, whom Bleechmore described as friendly and approachable, he appreciated the strong sense of community spirit that existed on campus, even when the pandemic forced classes to be held remotely.
“The first year of COVID was difficult,” he said, “but Harcum helped me adapt and fulfill my potential.”
Learn more about Harcum College.