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May 19, 2014

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Graduates Are Urged to “Dream Big, Risk Failure, and Don't Be Afraid to Succeed.”

Graduates Are Urged to “Dream Big, Risk Failure, and Don't Be Afraid to Succeed.”

The 2014 Commencement of the Roanoke Valley Campus took place on Friday, May 2nd at Lakeside Baptist Church in Salem, Virginia.  Ron Bradbury, campus director, welcomed everyone and said, “In about an hour, you will receive a diploma that represents so much production and holds so much promise.”  One hundred and thirty-five graduates received associate’s or bachelor’s degrees and 11 received MBA’s from President Longaker and Lenora Downing, vice president of Virginia and West Virginia.

Among many awards presented, Hilarie Akers, Kelly Waskewicz, Jill Caldwell, and Robert Sohl received the E.M. Coulter Award presented in honor of E.M. Coulter who served as President of National College from 1901-1946 and as President Emeritus from 1946-1956.  The award is presented for high academic achievement. 

Delegate Greg Habeeb, a member of the House of Delegates, provided the commencement address.  “Forty-one percent of Americans receive a college degree and 12 percent receive a master’s degree,” said Delegate Habeeb.  “You have achieved something great that very few have achieved.  You have shown by graduating that you are capable…you have the knowledge and skills to succeed.”  

He urged the graduates to do three things:  “Dream big, risk failure, and don’t be afraid to succeed.  The road ahead is not easy,” said Delegate Habeeb.  "Be confident that you are prepared to deal with whatever comes your way.  When you succeed, enjoy it, capitalize on it, and help others to achieve their goals.”

Six students graduated with associate’s degrees in emergency medical techology-paramedic and are already employed in the field.  They are: Dan Noel, Andrew Isaacs, Corey Hite, Caitlin Huffman, Kayla Pauley, and Kelly Waskewicz.  Caitlin said that she chose the program “to make a difference.”  “I always wanted to be a firefighter and paramedic,” said Kelly.  “I wanted to make a difference in the community, to do something good and productive.  I always wanted to be in the medical field and it was the easiest and best way to do it.  I was born to do this.”

Dan is employed by the Roanoke County Fire and Rescue department; Kelly and Corey are with Roanoke City Fire and EMS; Caitlin and Andrew are employed by First Call Ambulance Service; and Kayla is with Salem Fire-EMS.

A-Delegate Greg Habeeb delivered the commencement address for the Roanoke Valley Campus.

B-Pictured (l) to (r) are President Frank Longaker, Hilarie Akers, medical billing and coding and pharmacy technician graduate, and Lenora Downing, vice president of Virginia and West Virginia regions.  Hilarie received the E.M Counter Award and graduated with high honors. 



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Commencement Speaker Inspires Graduates to Continue to Persevere

Commencement Speaker Inspires Graduates to Continue to Persevere

A packed house of proud friends and family members gathered to support more than 50 graduates in the Class of 2014 at the Danville, Virginia Campus graduation ceremony on Friday, May 9th at the Institute for Advanced Learning.

Among those graduating were several special award winners: Tessie Burns, Achievement Award; Janet Davis, Leadership Award; Stephanie Gower, Bonnie Hamlett, and Candice Shelton, E. M. Coulter Award; Barry Hammock, Joseph E. Hurn Award; Barry Wood, M. A. Smythe Award; and Scott Houle, Mary P. McGurn Award.  The Alumni Hall of Achievement Award was presented to Patricia Scearce, a 1999 graduate of the medical assisting degree program who is currently working as a medical assistant at the Moses Cone Clinic in Greensboro.

Dr. Keith Robinson, president of Complexions Dermatology, served as the commencement speaker.  He reminded the graduates that the hard work that led them to where they are is not over.  “You can’t shoot hoops on the weekend and be Lebron James,” he said. “It takes hard work day in and day out.”  He encouraged them that they can achieve their goals if they put their mind to it and keep up the hard work.

A-Pictured (l) to (r) are graduates Lakethia Payne, Georgina Payne, Tia Macklin, and Tanesha Johnson.

B-More than 50 graduates are pronounced graduates of the Danville, Virginia Campus. 

Tonya Elmore-Director of Admissions-Princeton

Tonya Elmore-Director of Admissions-Princeton

• Tonya Elmore—Difference Maker at the Princeton Campus

• Director of Admissions

• ANU staff member for 17 years
• Recipient of several ANU awards, including Chairman’s Trophy for Outstanding Performance in Admissions, President’s Milestone Award for Admissions Excellence, and Outstanding College Member of the Year for the Princeton Campus

• Holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in psychology and criminal justice and a minor in sociology from Bluefield College; completed master’s-level coursework in special education from Old Dominion University

“It is an amazing opportunity to go to work every day and feel like you are changing lives.  I believe in education and its ability to improve the lives of our students, as well as their families. I simply help them take that first step to achieving their dreams.

“I admire our students’ dedication and perseverance.  They often are juggling their educational demands with full-time jobs and families.  Their ability to make the temporary sacrifices to achieve the ultimate goal of a great career is truly admirable.

“One of my greatest moments as an ANU staff member was when one of our graduate’s parents sent me flowers for their daughter’s graduation.  It just validated for me that we truly make a difference.  I am rewarded every year as I watch the students I enrolled walk across the stage at our graduation ceremony.  I am able to build personal relationships with the students I enroll, and I am so proud of them when I see their hard work culminate in great career opportunities after graduation.

“Here at the Princeton Campus, we really take the team approach to everything we do.  We respect each other and value the contributions we all make to help make our students’ journeys a success.”

Student Sarah Thornton (l), with Tonya Elmore (r), director of admissions, who has been employed by the Princeton Campus for 17 years. 

Exceptional Medical Student Receives Scholarship Award

Exceptional Medical Student Receives Scholarship Award

Bristol Campus student, Jim Bare didn’t know when he attended a student activities council (SAC) meeting on Tuesday, May 6th that he would be receiving an award.  After the meeting concluded, campus director Michael Stout took the podium.  When it was announced that Jim Bare had won the Tennessee Association of Independent Colleges & Schools (TAICS) Scholarship award, Jim’s eyes grew wide with surprise and the whole room erupted in applause.  Jim’s mother was also there to see him receive the award.

Jim is completing an associate’s degree in medical assisting.  He started classes in February, 2013 and will graduate this July.  He was nominated by Sheri Jessee who is the director of health care education.  Jim qualified for the scholarship because of his full-time status, GPA, academic progress, income level, and because he is a first generation post-secondary student.   Jim also submitted a very touching personal essay.

“I am the only one in the family that ever wanted to further their education and to gain as much knowledge as I can,” stated Jim in the essay.  “My parents never did finish middle school and wanted more for their children.  I wanted more than just a high school diploma.”  He said he chose National because, “It is a small campus and it has that family feel to it,” said Jim.  “I tried going to a community college but I didn’t feel comfortable there.  I was just a number and not a person.”

Jim’s future career goal is to be a phlebotomist in a medical lab.  “Since I am close to graduation, I want to do phlebotomy as well as medical assisting,” said Jim.   I volunteer my time in my doctor’s office in the lab.  I want to be certified so I can be more marketable.  No one told me to do that; I took it upon myself to seek that extra training so I can be efficient in that field.  I have done over 200 sticks.”  Jim also volunteers with the American Cancer Society in honor of his father who passed from cancer and he volunteers with Tennessee Donor Services.  There he gives presentations about organ donations and how to register.

“This school and medical program have helped me to grow as a young man and as a human being,” said Jim.  “You have to have the maturity to do this type of work and the dedication to learn as much as you can.  I believe the [instructors] I have had, [and through]the experience with the organizations that I work with, I have gained that knowledge and dedication to the medical field that I love so much,“ says Jim.

Campus director Michael Stout presents student Jim Bare with the TAICS Scholarship Award.

Campus Welcomes Radio Personality Jay Alexander as Commencement Speaker

Campus Welcomes Radio Personality Jay Alexander as Commencement Speaker

Eighty-eight delighted graduates earned their credentials and were able to make the walk of honor to receive their degrees during the Lexington Campus commencement ceremony which was held at Saint John Missionary Baptist Church.

The guest speaker for this year's ceremony was regional radio personality Jay Alexander.  Jay said that he began his career in radio "in my early teens.”  “My 8th grade class visited a working radio station on a field trip and it all began then,” said Mr. Alexander. 

After graduating from the Carolina School of Broadcasting in 1982, Jay began his steady climb to radio stardom.  A terrific offer brought Jay to Lexington in 1988, and he’s still working for the famous 1079 'The Beat' --an FM station which, thanks to his loyal fan base, has been named  'Most Listened To Radio Station' in Lexington since the year 2000.  His speech was inspirational to everyone - giving credence to the belief that you can accomplish anything in life if you put your heart into your efforts.

The Alumni Hall of Achievement Award, which is given to a graduate who has excelled in their careers and in service to their community, was awarded to Glenda Humphries, a 2009 graduate of the surgical technology program who is working at Clark Regional Medical Center and also as an instructor at the Lexington Campus.


Awards that were distributed at the ceremony were:
E. M. Coulter Award- Kristin N. Kerby, Mary Y. Scott, Mary Coronado, Candace D. Gentry
M. A. Smythe Award- Joshua W. Mattingly
Mary P. McGurn Award- Shauna Jean Isgrigg
Joseph E. Hurn Award- Timothy L. Kent, Hanna B. Puckett, Kimber Anne Price
Dorothy Coulter Hancock Award- Attila Bodi, Kayla Marie Quinley
Achievement Award- Terry L. Edwards
Alumni Hall of Achievement- Glenda Humphries

A- Lexington campus director Kim Thomasson is shown with commencement speaker Jay Alexander, radio personality for 1079 ‘The Beat’.

B- Graduates from (l) to (r)are:  Melissa Bateman, Tiffany Bellfield, Melena Blair, and Kristin Kerby.  All four received medical assisting associate’s degrees. 

Graduates Commended For Their Diversity and Determination

Graduates Commended For Their Diversity and Determination

Amid the beautiful stained glass and ornate wood of Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church, the Louisville Campus welcomed Sherry Conner, Mayor of the City of Shively, Kentucky, as its commencement speaker.

During her address, Mayor Conner discussed the diversity of the class, noting that twelve of the eighty-six graduates were over the age of fifty, and thirteen were born in other countries.  “I’m in awe and have the utmost respect for all of you, because this tells me that there are some very determined people in this room,” she said.

She also shared three important tips for achieving career success:  Work hard; be persistent; and come to work with a good attitude.  “Don’t stop learning.  Become a sponge and soak up all you can,” she urged the graduates.  “Think of each day as an opportunity.”

Graduates with outstanding academic achievement were given awards during the ceremony, including U.S. Navy veteran Tony Brooks, a graduate of the information systems engineering program, who graduated with high honors and was the recipient of the M.A. Smythe Award.

Tony came to National through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program and then transitioned to the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) when it was created.  He said that he liked the small class size and individual attention that he received at the school.  So much so, that he’s continuing his education at National in the cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program.  “The way things are trending right now, it’s going to be in very high demand,” he said of the cybersecurity field.

Elizabeth Head, a 2006 health information technology graduate who is working as a compliance coder at Baptist Health Hospital, was the recipient of the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award.  In addition to working at Baptist, Elizabeth works as a health information management instructor at the campus, where she shares the knowledge gained during her seven years of working in the field with her students.  “I always try to promote the college because I graduated from here, and it made me feel really good to be recognized,” she said.

While the majority of graduates who participated in the ceremony earned their degrees in-class at the Louisville Campus, Angel Miller participated in the ceremony after earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration-management through American National University Online. Angel earned two associate’s degrees from the college in 1996.  She worked in the mortgage and hospitality industries for 12 years before returning to the Louisville Campus to work as the director of student services, where she assists other students in creating successful educational journeys like her own.

Awards distributed at the ceremony were:
E. M. Coulter Award –  Jennifer Caddell
M. A. Smythe Award – Anthony Brooks
Mary P. McGurn Award – Teamber Cirwithian
Joseph E. Hurn Award – Tina Kalkbrenner
Achievement Award – Johnny Carlton
Alumni Hall of Achievement – Elizabeth Head

A-The Louisville Campus Class of 2014

B-Louisville Campus director Vincent Tinebra is shown presenting Angel Miller with her diploma.  Angel, student services director of the Louisville Campus, earned her bachelor's degree through the American National University Online program.


Office Technology Professional Student Networks at Career Fair

Office Technology Professional Student Networks at Career Fair

Samantha Young, a student in the business administration-management and office technology professional programs at the Richmond Campus, is shown networking with employers during the career fair that was recently held on campus.  Local employers such as Xerox, Fifth Third Bank and Team Office were available to meet with graduates about job opportunities with their companies.  The Kentucky Career Center and Kentucky River Foothills also shared information regarding the resources that they have available for job seekers.

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.