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June 03, 2013

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American National University Signs Agreements with Vietnamese Universities

American National University Signs Agreements with Vietnamese Universities

For American National University President Frank Longaker, it was a full circle more than 40 years in the making. After returning from 18 months in the jungles of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, the decorated Special Forces officer and Kentucky native embarked on a new career as an instructor at the Lexington Campus of the storied institution that became American National University this past March.

On Friday, April 26, Mr. Longaker – now president of ANU and its affiliated National College, comprising 31 campuses in six states – sat down with counterparts from two universities from Vietnam and signed cooperative agreements that could see Vietnamese students coming to the Salem and Tysons Corner, Virginia campuses of ANU in large numbers in coming months.

“We look forward to working with Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City—International University and Dong A University in a variety of academic and cultural endeavors,” said President Longaker. “The agreements we have recently made with these two institutions will, we believe, lead to a long and fruitful relationship that will benefit students of both of our countries.”

The Vietnamese institutions were drawn to American National University by the combination of its English as a Second Language (ESL) programs as well as the career-focused programs in business, information technology, and health care the university offers. In addition to ESL and TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) education for Vietnamese students, the institutions have discussed a variety of additional activities, including short-term training for Vietnamese small-scale business enterprises, 2+2 programs leading to a bachelor’s degree from ANU for Vietnamese students completing their first two years at their home institution; similar 1+1 master’s degree programs for Vietnamese ESL instructors from both ANU and IU, who will receive practical training at ANU (including the opportunity to teach American students in English); and student, faculty, and administrative staff exchanges.

“Implementing these agreements will help ANU have a greater position in the higher education world, and help UDA and IU acknowledge the qualities of their graduates,” said Dr. Nguyen V. Muoi, ESL program director for ANU’s Tysons Corner Campus. “These agreements will be a win-win-win, for ANU, for UDA and IU, and for all students.”

Senior administrators from the two Vietnamese universities visited the ANU flagship campus in Salem, as well as the satellite campus in Tysons Corner, Virginia. During the visits, they held discussions with American National University faculty, staff, and students, including a current ESL student from Vietnam.
The agreements were signed after an educational forum sponsored by the Embassy of Vietnam in Washington, DC. While several American universities were in attendance at the forum, American National University was the only institution to sign cooperative agreements.

“The forum has contributed to developing higher education relations between the US and Vietnam and improving the quality and effectiveness of English language education to meet the growing demand in both countries,” commented Dr. Muoi. “The forum will improve the current and future educational capacities in both of our countries.”

As for history, President Longaker was reflective. “While there are some—on both sides of the Vietnam conflict—who still harbor bad feelings, my view is that you can’t live in the past,” he said. “The best way to honor the sacrifices of those who fought on both sides is to do our best to work in a new spirit of friendship and cooperation that will benefit both the people of Vietnam and the people of America.”

In the top photo, ANU president Frank Longaker (second from right) and Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City—International University president Ho Thanh Phong signed cooperative agreements, while Vietnamese ambassador to the United States Nguyen Quoc Cuong (far left) and Dr. Sylvia W. Crowder, director, International and Foreign Language Education, US Dept. of Education, look on.

In the bottom photo, ANU director of admissions & international programs Ron Smith, Roanoke Valley ESL director Eric Rothgery, Dong A University director of international relations Long Minh An, Dong A University vice president Tran Thi Hong, and ANU president Frank Longaker on the ANU campus in Salem in April 2013.

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Students Can Finish Associate's Degree Program in less than 15 Months

Students Can Finish Associate's Degree Program in less than 15 Months

American National University and National College are committed to helping students get in – get out – and get a job. This is evidenced by the College’s continuous evolution in 127 years to stay on top of the latest career and education trends. As part of its commitment to students, the College recently made the decision to change the academic calendar to include five ten-week terms so that students can complete their programs faster. With this new schedule, students can finish an associate’s degree program in 1 year and 10 weeks.

To encourage students to take advantage of this new schedule, the College has also decided to waive tuition charges on credit hours above 12 for the Summer term that begins on July 8th. For example, if a student at American National University or National College takes 16 credit hours, they will only be charged for 12. This is just another way of making it possible for students to finish their education and enter their new careers as quickly as possible.

Nichole Bridges, a student in the business administration-accounting bachelor’s degree program at the Harrisonburg Campus, is an example of someone benefitting from this tuition waiver opportunity. “This will permit me to graduate one term earlier than I had planned, and I will not have to seek additional loans to complete my education – this is a Godsend for me!”

Nichole Bridges is pictured signing up for classes for the Summer term with director of student services Rebecca Wood.

South Bend Mayor Rallies Graduates

South Bend Mayor Rallies Graduates

On Wednesday, May 22, the South Bend Campus welcomed Mayor Peter Buttigieg to its commencement ceremony, held at Sunnyside Presbyterian Church near the campus.

The youngest mayor of a U.S. city of more than 100,000 inhabitants, Mayor Buttigieg has nonetheless had a distinguished career, having worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC in Chicago, and in congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential campaigns with a specialty in policy research and debate preparation. His message to the assembled graduates, family, and friends resonated well with the college’s mission to prepare students for lives as contributing citizens. Mayor Buttigieg commended the graduates for achieving the educational attainment that will help “bring South Bend back” to a brighter future.

Among those receiving special recognition were Amber Daley, who received the Achievement Award for extraordinary achievement and E.M. Coulter Award for high academic achievement in a medical program; Paula Frison, who received the Leadership Award; Lisa Jean Eckleberry, who received the Mary P. McGurn Award for high academic achievement in administrative technology programs; Andrew Lauridsen, who received the M. A. Smythe Award for high academic achievement in information technology; and 2012 graduate Ralonda Hawkins, who was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Achievement. (For more about Ralonda, see her article in the July 24, 2011 issue of the National News.)

Amber, who received her associate’s degree as a pharmacy technician, gave birth to not one, but two children during her two-year program – yet pushed on to complete her program and excel in her studies. She credits her instructors for helping her achieve her goals. “I had a lot of fun with the teachers, a lot of one-on-one,” she said. “It really helps, and everybody kind of pushes you along!” Working in her field at a local pharmacy, Amber loves every aspect of her new career, but especially the opportunity to continue learning. “I love the customers,” she explained, but added, “I always get to learn about the new drugs and keep up with the research.”

Pictured - the Class of 2013 from the South Bend Campus.

Campus Celebrates Class of 2013 with Kentucky State Representative Addia Wuchner

Campus Celebrates Class of 2013 with Kentucky State Representative Addia Wuchner

Academic achievement and the inception of new careers were celebrated during commencement services held by the Florence Campus on Wednesday, May 22nd at Receptions Conference Center. Kentucky State Representative Addia Wuchner, who serves House District 66, was the featured speaker during the Florence Campus ceremony. Representative Wuchner told the graduates that their families’ hearts were swollen with pride because of their accomplishments. “I commend you because you are the future, not just for yourselves and your family, but you’re the future for the Commonwealth of Kentucky…and for our nation,” she said. She also applauded them on giving 110% effort toward reaching their goal of earning a degree. “That got you to this point in your journey, and that’s what will take you even further.”

During the Florence Campus’s graduation ceremony, awards were bestowed upon students who excelled in their studies. Adam Brown, a veteran and a student in the information systems engineering program, received the M.A. Smythe Award for academic excellence in a computer technology program. When presenting the award, ISE program director Valerie Bowman recalled that Adam only missed one day of class during his program which was for the birth of his child. Adam is continuing his education in the American National University Online program to earn his bachelor’s degree. He utilized credits from his military service to accelerate his progress in both his associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs.

Chikako Marshall, a native of Japan, was the recipient of the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award. She earned her administrative office professional associate’s degree in 2006 and now has a successful career with Mitsubishi UFJ Leasing and Finance. Chikako’s husband, Jerry Marshall, said that he was so inspired by his wife’s success in her career that he decided to enroll at American National University too. He is utilizing the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program to help fund his business administration-management degree. You can read more about Chikako’s education and career in the September 4, 2012 issue of the National News.

Kentucky state representative Addia Wuchner is pictured in the top photo as she delivers the commencement speech during the Florence Campus graduation ceremony. In the middle photo, graduate Adam Brown, who was the recipient of the M.A. Smythe Award, is pictured with his wife Amber and son Aiden following the Florence Campus graduation ceremony. In the bottom photo, graduates (l to r) Brittany Sullivan, Rose Henderson, and Jason Stewart are pictured at the graduation ceremony.

Campus Confers Degrees with CEO of Ephraim McDowell Health

Campus Confers Degrees with CEO of Ephraim McDowell Health

The Danville, Kentucky campus held its graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 23rd at the Norton Center for the Arts. Vicki Darnell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ephraim McDowell Health, delivered the commencement address to the Danville, Kentucky Campus graduates and their guests. She advised the graduates to take heed of the common sense advice that they received from their mothers, such as to present themselves well and to listen and learn from others. “Life is about the giving and not the getting. When you learn to give of yourself…you receive the greatest gift of all,” she told the graduates. “You have learned well and you have accomplished much. You have such a bright, bright future ahead of you,” she said in closing.

Awards for academic excellence and leadership were also presented during the Danville Campus’s graduation ceremony. Forney Bierly, a graduate of the pharmacy technician program, was a recipient of the E.M. Coulter Award, which is presented for high academic achievement in a medical program. Forney, who worked in manufacturing for 40 years, came to American National University through the Trade Adjustment Act (TAA) after the company that he worked for went overseas. “I did it,” Forney said of earning his diploma. “To me, I feel it’s a big accomplishment.”

Brandi Valeu, whose husband Nathan Valeu graduated from American National University in 2012, was another recipient of the E.M. Coulter Award. Brandi is working as a registered medical assistant at Central Kentucky Interventional Pain Center where she said she uses the skills that she learned from the medical assisting program at National every day.

Another couple, Ida and Dan Faulkner, both received their diplomas during the service. They enrolled together when Dan retired from the military after 23 years of service. Dan utilized funding through the Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation program to go to school and he transferred his Chapter 33 benefits to Ida to help fund her degree. “We retired and we thought ‘Why not?’” Ida recalled of their decision to return to school. “It was fun. We love American National University,” she said.

Vicki Darnell, president and CEO of Ephraim McDowell Health, is pictured in the top photo speaking to the graduates and their guests during the Danville Campus commencement ceremony. Veteran Dan Faulkner is in the middle photo with his wife Ida, who graduated together during the 2013 commencement ceremony. In the bottom photo, graduate Betsy Sutton is pictured as she accepts her diploma from Danville Campus director Lee Bowling. Betsy also works for the campus as a receptionist.

Campus Forms Partnership with Bluegrass Military Affairs Coalition

Campus Forms Partnership with Bluegrass Military Affairs Coalition

On May 18th, staff, faculty, and students from the Lexington Campus participated in the Bluegrass Military Affairs Coalition (BMAC) Armed Forces Day Awards Dinner. The campus has a great partnership with BMAC, which provides services and support to military members, veterans, and their families. The campus and BMAC work closely together with the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, Employer Support of Guard and Reserve (ESGR), and local military recruiters to assist veterans in any way possible.

The American National University/BMAC partnership began seven years ago and has grown from Lexington Campus representatives attending their luncheon award ceremonies to participating in their many events and fundraisers throughout the year. The campus often recruits students, staff, and faculty to volunteer for BMAC events with jobs ranging from serving meals, working their sign-in stations, event photography, and many other volunteer duties. BMAC also participates in the campus’s career fairs, annual Health and Wellness Expo, and other events. American National University values the work of organizations like BMAC that support veterans and members of the military and their families.

BMAC volunteers and Lexington Campus staff Sondra Harrod, George Camp, and Cheryl Howell are pictured at the Armed Forces Day Awards Dinner.

Women Veterans Event Held at the Louisville Campus

Women Veterans Event Held at the Louisville Campus

On Friday, May 17th, the service and sacrifice of women veterans were recognized and rewarded when the Kentucky Women Veterans Program (KWVP) of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA) hosted a day of pampering for women veterans at the Louisville Campus.

During the “Pamper a Woman Veteran” event, massages, manicures, and hair and make-up services were provided by student volunteers from local cosmetology and massage schools. Acupuncture, health and wellness information, and giveaways were also offered by volunteers from local businesses.

“Remember, she served, too,” is a motto often used by Robin Jones, coordinator of the KWVP, to remind others of the important role that women veterans play in the U.S. military. According to Ms. Jones, there are 27,000 women veterans in Kentucky. She holds events across the state to give women veterans the opportunity to network with one another and to gain information about programs and services that are available to them. Her next event, a “Women Veterans Meet and Greet” will be held at the American National University Lexington Campus on June 15th.

Hollis Kent, a student in the systems & user support program at the Louisville Campus, was one of the veterans who enjoyed the services that were offered. Hollis said that the event made her feel appreciated as a veteran, “and as a woman,” she added.

Veteran Cleopatra Buckner (right) is pictured as she receives a manicure during the "Pamper a Woman Veteran" event that was held at the Louisville Campus.

Campus Assists Students of the Mercer County Technical Education Center

Campus Assists Students of the Mercer County Technical Education Center

The Princeton Campus recently partnered with the Mercer County Technical Education Center (MCTEC) to perform mock interviews for students from their welding and automotive programs. Brenda Stinson, the campus’s administrative assistant, and career center director Elaine Owens worked with Toni O’Saile, the English academic coach for MCTEC, and served as a panel of three to interview the students. Students were evaluated on knowledge, body language, attitude, and enthusiasm as well as many more attributes desired by employers. National College values opportunities like this to support the community and develop the area’s workforce.

Students from the Mercer County Technical Education Center welding program are pictured with Princeton Campus administrative assistant Brenda Stinson (right) before their mock interviews.

IT Student/Employee Helps to Resolve Computer Problems at Local Restaurant

IT Student/Employee Helps to Resolve Computer Problems at Local Restaurant

Zaxby’s, a local restaurant, was fortunate to have Samuel Wyar (pictured), a student in the information systems engineering degree (ISE) program at the Roanoke Valley Campus, working there as a manager when they recently experienced computer and network problems.

Samuel was on duty when the restaurant’s drive thru system stopped working properly. He jumped right in alongside franchise owner Tom Noelke to resolve the program using some of the technical skills he had learned in his classes. The crew that was on duty had to fulfill customer orders without computers while they worked on the technical problems in between customers.

It was determined that the restaurant was experiencing a complete hardware failure on its computer equipment. Samuel’s quick thinking and resourcefulness helped him track down the needed replacement hardware, which he then installed himself.

Samuel has since continued to complete IT projects at the restaurant while still fulfilling his other duties as manager. He has installed new network security cameras, and helped in troubleshooting and repairing the WiFi network.

Students Get First-Hand Account of What It Is Like in the Operating Room

Students Get First-Hand Account of What It Is Like in the Operating Room

On April 23rd, students in the surgical technology program at the Danville, Virginia Campus met at the Roanoke Ambulatory Surgery Center for a closer look into their new careers. The tour offered a real account of what it is like in a surgical environment. Through the three-year partnership with Roanoke Ambulatory Surgery Center, students are able to observe surgeries and see how surgical technologists make a difference in the operating room. The staff and surgeons are full of knowledge and work well with National College students.

Pictured at a field trip to the Roanoke Ambulatory Surgery Center are surgical technology students Brittany Samuels, Mariah Wells, Candice Wasden, and Ansirah Rasheed.

State Representative Courtney Rogers Participates in Graduation Ceremony for Two Campuses

State Representative Courtney Rogers Participates in Graduation Ceremony for Two Campuses

On Friday, May 24th, the Nashville and Madison Campuses joined together at Madison Church of Christ to celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2013. Nashville campus director Gary Adcox and Madison campus director Mark Liverman presided over the inspiring event which featured guest speaker Tennessee State Representative Courtney Rogers, who represents the state’s 45th district.

“I want each and every one of you to know that you are a wonder of design and that you were born equal among all mankind,” said Representative Rogers in her inspirational message to the new graduates. “[You] were born free to discover your talents and develop them to their highest potential and to apply them to their greatest advantage.”

She continued with encouragement by explaining that even simple tasks can have a profound impact, whether it be streamlining an office procedure or showing compassion to a patient. “Do not underestimate your worth, and always remind others of theirs,” she advised.

She ended her speech with a call for graduates to serve their country and get involved in their communities and political issues. “I love this country and the opportunities that are open to us. Thank you for having the desire and the will and the courage to take advantage of them.”

During the ceremony, both campuses presented awards to outstanding students from the medical, business and computer technology programs. The Alumni Hall of Achievement Award was also presented to graduates who have excelled in their career. Serdonnafer Collier, who works as a database and server administrator for Ricoh USA, received the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award from the Nashville Campus. You can read more about Serdonnafer in the July 30, 2012 issue of the National News.

Barbara Goodson, who works as a staffing coordinator for First Call Staffing in Portland, Tennessee, was presented the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award by the Madison Campus. When presenting the award to Barbara, Mark noted that, in addition to being an outstanding graduate, Barbara now employs other National College graduates, as well. You can read more about Barbara in the March 11, 2013 issue of the National News.

Nashville Campus Director Gary Adcox (left) and Madison Campus Director Mark Liverman are pictured in the top photo with Tennessee State Representative Courtney Rogers following the commencement ceremony. In the 2nd photo from top, Madison graduates (l to r) Quelethia Ransom, Monica Hamilton, and Angela Tuck are pictured as they anxiously await the start of the ceremony. 3rd photo from top - Madison Class of 2013. Bottom photo - Nashville Class of 2013.

State Representative Harry Brooks Urges Graduates to Follow Their Dreams at Commencement Ceremony

State Representative Harry Brooks Urges Graduates to Follow Their Dreams at Commencement Ceremony

The family and friends of 53 proud and excited graduates from the Knoxville Campus gathered on Saturday, May 25th at Bearden High School for the campus’s annual graduation ceremony which featured a commencement address by Tennessee State Representative Harry Brooks, who represents the state’s 19th district.

After recognizing veterans who were present in honor of the Memorial Day Weekend, Representative Brooks began his address by commenting on a recent article that he had read in the National News about the campus’s 100% pass rate on the registered medical assistant certification exam. “We should honor all those who have completed this task,” he said as he congratulated them on their accomplishment. “You, as graduates, have a better placement rate than your counterparts in the public systems. That is significant as well,” he added.

Representative Brooks encouraged the graduates to always have a dream or vision that they are striving to accomplish. “What is your dream? What is your vision?” he asked. “I want you to remember, failure only occurs when you fail to act on your dream. It is not good luck and good timing that bring success. It is preparation, hard work, and practice.”

During the ceremony, awards were given to deserving graduates who have excelled in their academic achievement. Brenda Vargason received the campus’s Achievement Award after completing her program despite a hearing disability. Kelly Stemeye was the recipient of both the Leadership Award and the Joseph E. Hurn Award. Career center director Shay Riggs noted that Kelly was known for her meticulous work that was always turned in ahead of schedule and that Kelly has already found employment in her field thanks to her hard work and skills.

Regional director of health care education Rhonda Epps presented the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award to medical assisting program graduate Andre Simpson. You can read more about Andre’s successful career in an upcoming issue of the National News.

Tennessee State Representative Harry Brooks is pictured in the top photo as he delivers the commencement address to the new graduates of the Knoxville Campus. In the bottom photo, graduate Christina Stanton is pictured showing her excitement just before the Knoxville Campus graduation ceremony. Behind her is Taylor Stamey.

Fort Wayne Campus Awards First Associate’s Degrees at Graduation Ceremony

Fort Wayne Campus Awards First Associate’s Degrees at Graduation Ceremony

The Fort Wayne Campus awarded its first associate’s degrees at its second commencement ceremony, held on Thursday, May 23 at the Allen County Public Library auditorium, in downtown Fort Wayne.

Elizabeth Nulf MacDonald, president of the Verbal Edge and a communication skills consultant, instructor, and presenter, spoke to the assembled graduates, family, and friends. With a background in teaching, marketing and communications, and all facets of news production and reporting, Ms. MacDonald stressed to the graduates the importance of professional communications skills in complementing their professional educational accomplishments. Her shared experiences and words of wisdom reinforced concepts all American National University graduates learn in their educational coursework and co-curricular career center activities.

Among those receiving their degrees and diplomas were award recipients Mayo Tablas, who received the Leadership Award; Holly Sides, recipient of the E. M. Coulter Award for high academic achievement in a medical program; Kevin Grant, presented the Mary P. McGurn Award for high academic achievement in an administrative technology program; and Heather Korporal, who received the Joseph E. Hurn Award for high academic achievement in a business curriculum. (For more about Heather, see the November 5, 2012 issue of the National News.) Also receiving his associate’s degree in medical assisting was New Tun, a Burmese immigrant who was one of the campus’s first students. (Read about New’s experience in the September 16, 2011 issue of the National News.)

The Fort Wayne Campus Class of 2013 is pictured as they listen attentively to speaker Elizabeth Nulf MacDonald.

International Student Advances Opportunities

International Student Advances Opportunities

Student Ronald Okwemba (pictured) has been interested in computers since he was young. “For me, I always find it easier to deal with computers than people,” he says. “They don’t change!”

Ronald came to the United States from Kenya two years ago to advance his opportunities in the IT field. “It’s a more developed society,” he explained. “I wanted to get into the IT field [because] I know that here it is much more advanced than back at home.”

When he moved to Lynchburg, Ronald saw signs for National College’s Lynchburg Campus close to where he was living, and he decided to stop in one day for more information. He already has a bachelor’s degree in IT from a university in Kenya, but he was interested in balancing out his African degree with an American education. He is now enrolled in the systems and user support diploma program with plans to continue on into the associate’s degree program, and he hopes to eventually pursue a master’s degree.

Ronald likes that the class sizes are smaller at National and that the curriculum is focused on what is important for the degree field. “You are able to get more hands-on, more personalized training in the field,” he says. “Some courses have integrated Microsoft certifications, which is a plus for someone going out into the IT field.”

Ronald is working at the campus through the federal work-study program in the computer lab, which allows him to be exposed to various IT situations. “The clerical part has given me some experience in office work. The lab work has given me the IT skills you also need. Both are needed. In totality, it has added to the whole experience,” he explained. He is happy with his decision to enroll in a National College program. “It has added a lot to my experience. I’m much more confident I’ll be able to do what I’m asked to do,” he said of his plans for a future in the IT field.

The National News is a biweekly publication designed to share the success and academic accomplishments of students and graduates from American National University and National College. For more information, contact the Communications Department.

In accordance with the regulations of the Tennessee Higher Education Council, all references to "American National University" refer to "National College" in the state of Tennessee.