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November 11, 2013

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Graduate and Veteran Phillip Kauffman Is Using His Military Experience and Education Every Day

Graduate and Veteran Phillip Kauffman Is Using His Military Experience and Education Every Day

Phillip Kauffman is an eight-year Marine Corps veteran who recently completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration-management at the Harrisonburg Campus.

Phillip entered the Reserves in December, 2004.  He had previously completed one semester at James Madison University in Harrisonburg in 2007, but his educational plans were interrupted when his combat engineer unit was deployed to Iraq. He was injured in 2008, and went through a recovery period for a year and a half.  As he began to transition back toward civilian life and a return to reserve status, Phillip heard about American National University through a friend who suggested that he use his GI Bill to continue his education.

“I chose business administration-management because it was the broadest major,” said Phillip.  He added that he knew that he could go in so many directions with it.  While at ANU, he gained experience in accounting, procedures, and software.  Phillip also said that he learned planning and strategic management while in the military but that at ANU, he honed these business skills and enjoyed management. 

Phillip said that he was able to transfer his credits from JMU, as well as receive academic credit for his relevant military experience.  He said that knowledgeable staff at ANU helped him with the transfer of credits, as well as the application of “life experience credit.”  “You take life experience, and apply it to learning objectives from a class,” explained Phillip.  “Provided you meet all those learning objectives, it takes the place of a class.”  Phillip added that he was on a “tight timetable” to finish his degree before he was set to be deployed again.  The staff came through for him and made sure that he completed everything before he left.  He knew that he did not want to have to serve and then return to take one more credit.

Phillip endured many long days for 4 years to obtain his degree.  He was working full-time more than 40 hours a week, and then attended classes in the evenings; often until 9:30 or 10:00PM.  He particularly enjoyed instructor Chris Balderson’s accounting class.  Phillip said, “I was not big on accounting, but I received a better grasp of accounting through him.”  He said that Chris currently works in the accounting field and applies a lot of real life experiences to the classroom. 

Phillip is currently the purchasing manager for Hawk Security Systems Inc., in Harrisonburg.  He is using a lot of the skills that he learned at ANU on the job such as time management and communications.  He said, “I have to do a lot of negotiating throughout the day with different vendors.  I learned a lot from my communications classes… about always kind of how to persuade more of what I want versus what they are able to offer…”  He said he enjoys every aspect and interacting with people every day. 

The most important quality that he took away from his education according to Phillip is time management skills.  He said that his military discipline also helped with this but that he gets to the gym every day at 5AM and then goes to bed at 11PM.  Phillip said, “There are a lot of things in between that have to happen before I call it a day.  I learned to set time aside for homework versus personal time.”

Phillip added that he received ANU grants along with his G.I. Bill.  For example, the Blue Ribbon Grant covered the cost of all of his books.  He said, “I really had no out of pocket expenses because grants took over where the G.I. Bill left off so I had an incentive to go to school.”

(A)-Veteran and Graduate of the Harrisonburg Campus, Phillip Kauffman.

(B)-Phillip Kauffman at the ANU Wall of Honor.

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Graduate Is Hired By Externship Site

Graduate Is Hired By Externship Site

Lynsey Beam, a graduate of the pharmacy technician program at the Fort Wayne Campus, did not have to look very long or far for a career opportunity in her field.  She was hired by her externship site, Grandview Pharmacy, before she graduated.  “Lynsey was a great intern.  She picked up skills quickly due to her education and she was easy to teach,” said Darla Quinn, the operations manager of Grandview Pharmacy when asked about her hiring.  “[She] fit in well with others and her education was a good match for our facility.”

“The externship helped me with the hands-on experience and helped with transitioning into a job here [at Grandview],” said Lynsey.  “I am used to the flow of the day and I observed how others worked.”  Lynsey added that she loves her new job because it is what she has always wanted to do.

Lynsey added that she prefers the distribution environment to retail and feels that Grandview Pharmacy is a good fit.  “My education prepared me for working here.”

Pharmacy Technician graduate Lynsey Beam and Darla Quinn of Grandview Pharmacy reviewing a medication order.

Record-breaking Admissions Class

Record-breaking Admissions Class

This term, the Cleveland Campus had its largest enrollment: 31 students, including 25 women and six men, according to the admissions staff.  Most are full-time students and many hold jobs in addition to their education.

Though credit for the successful term may be given to many people, it must start with the admissions staff.  The staff made a concerted, committed effort to add value to each prospective student.  “The students were not accustomed to receiving that one-on-one attention from their previous schools (high school or college),” said admissions representative David Foust.   “No one else had ever had a conversation with them about their ultimate goals. That made a big difference to them.”

As the summer ended, Foust and co-worker Loretta Rodgers committed to an unprecedented level of teamwork in all aspects of their work.  At every stage of the recruitment process, they stayed in constant communication with each other and other campus departments.  Loretta said, “The waiver of the …application fee was also a big factor for most of them.”

Enrolling in college is one thing, but staying is another.  Loretta and David repeatedly emphasized to each new student that a sustained, successful college experience was first and foremost their own responsibility.  Rodgers said, “Students found the secondary campus resources—counseling, academic tutoring, and assistance with computer database access, etc.—most effective once they established an attitude of personal responsibility.”

The students themselves not only agree on personal accountability, they even support each other.  “We always work together and encourage one another,” said Brooke Pierce, who’s on track to make the Dean’s List for the first time in her life.  “We give each other hugs and high fives whenever we accomplish something,” student Diamond Crosby agreed. “When one of us is down, the others lift her back up.” 

Paula Henry, another new student, credits National’s supportive staff and faculty members with helping her succeed in college after a 30-year absence.

(A)-Student Paula Henry and admissions representative David Foust of the Cleveland Campus. 

(B)Student Brooke Pierce with David Foust.


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.