National Newsletter - biweekly updates from National's 30 communities in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Indiana.
National News

May 26, 2014

News from

National's Heritage

Schedule a Visit


Share this Newsletter

Social Connections

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Facebook View our YouTube cannel


Distinguished Former CEO Praises and Imparts Wisdom to Graduates

Distinguished Former CEO Praises and Imparts Wisdom to Graduates

The Harrisonburg Campus held graduation for 94 graduates on Friday, May 9th at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren.  Dr. David Zimmerman, campus director, welcomed everyone by thanking the faculty, staff, and all of the graduate’s families for sending the students to American National University. 

Robin Sullenberger, former CEO of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership provided the commencement address.  Mr. Sullenberger retired in 2011 and in 2013, was named as one of the 50 most influential Virginians in the Commonwealth by Virginia Business Magazine.  He was previously employed by Bath County Schools as a teacher and an athletic coach.  He has served on numerous boards for organizations such as the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council and the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board. 

He imparted a lot of wisdom to the graduates.  “Your time could not possibly have been better spent as technology and education are never not linked,” said Mr. Sullenberger.  He recognized that many of the graduates that night had completed a health care program and said that this is the third largest industry of the Commonwealth of Virginia and that in the Shenandoah Valley “we refer to ourselves as the health care or education corridor,” explained Mr. Sullenberger.  “Those career opportunities are abundant, and I wish you the best in that career field.”

He also mentioned that many of the graduates chose IT fields of study, and added that all of the programs at American National University are “relevant to what is going on in the world today,” said Mr. Sullenberger.  “Don’t hesitate to think that you can’t go out there and get a good job,” he said regarding the current economic situation.  “Here in the valley, technology has persevered through everything in recent years,” he added.  Mr. Sullenberger concluded by stating, “You are the brightest generation ever and the most technology savvy ever…you know how to be successful.  When you talk with someone, look people in the eye and be proud of who you are; of what you have accomplished.  You will be successful….best of luck to all of you!” 

Six of the graduates received awards.  Admissions representative, Kari Miller received the Leadership Award as she was also the first MBA graduate of the campus; Heather Crawford received the Mary P. McGuire Award for paralegal graduates; Sarah Hall received the E.M. Coulter Award; Mary Stephens received the Joseph P. Hurn Award; and Samuel Collins received the Dorothy Coulter Hancock Award. 

Suheil Barraghi, a graduate who has been in the United States for 14 years but is from Kurdistan, is a medical assisting and phlebotomy students who currently has several job offers.  He said, “I want to work in ER because I like something fast-paced.” He recently completed an externship at the University of Virginia Medical Center. 

Halie Bosheers is currently working as a medical assistant in the dermatology department at the University of Virginia Medical Center.  She described her education at ANU as, “Fast.  I am looking forward to keeping my career going.”  When asked what advice she would give to someone starting their education at ANU, she said, “Don't wait!  Your education is the most important thing for you and your families or potential families.  It might not feel like the perfect time, but it is.  Every day is the perfect time to start or continue your education.”

A-Dr. David Zimmerman, campus director, with commencement speaker and former CEO of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Robin Sullenberger.

B-Three medical assisting graduates gather before the ceremony:  Courtney Ribet, Suheil Barraghi, and Alicia Shores.


Our Communities - Article Quick Links

Campus Support Services

Fort Wayne, IN
Indianapolis, IN
South Bend, IN

Danville, KY
Florence, KY
Lexington, KY
Louisville, KY
Pikeville, KY
Richmond, KY

Akron Area, OH
Cleveland, OH
Cincinnati, OH
Columbus, OH
Dayton Area, OH
Stark County, OH
Youngstown, OH

Bartlett, TN
Bristol, TN
Knoxville, TN
Madison, TN
Memphis, TN
Nashville, TN

Charlottesville, VA
Danville, VA
Harrisonburg, VA
Lynchburg, VA
Manassas, VA
Martinsville, VA
Roanoke Valley, VA

West Virginia
Parkersburg, WV
Princeton, WV

Graduates Lauded for Completing Educational Journey

Graduates Lauded for Completing Educational Journey

Several hundred graduates, family, and friends gathered at the Mark V reception hall in Pikeville, Kentucky, to honor the Class of 2014 of the Pikeville Campus on Friday, May 9th.

Pike County Chief Circuit Judge Eddy Coleman was the commencement speaker.  Judge Coleman congratulated the graduates for demonstrating the kind of initiative and leadership the community needed in order to continue to make positive progress for all of its citizens.

Awards were presented to a number of graduates, including Clinton Stump, Achievement Award; Samantha Stacy, Leadership Award; Melissa Newsome, E.M. Coulter Award; Ashley Burgess, Mary P. McGurn Award; and Gary Yates, Joseph E. Hurn Award.

Glenn Spradlin II, distribution manager for Coca-Cola Refreshment, was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Achievement.  A 1998 graduate with an associate’s degree in business administration—management (minor in accounting), Glen has risen through a series of progressively more responsible positions in management, sales, and logistics; he currently manages deliveries for approximately 1800 Coca-Cola customers in a 15-county area of eastern Kentucky.

A-Campus director Tammy Riley is pictured with phlebotomy graduate Clinton Stump.  “He lost his job in the coal mining industry and came back to school which took a huge leap of faith on his end,” said campus director Tammy Riley.  “I am very proud of him.  This meant a lot to his entire family.  He also received the Achievement Award.”

B-Judge Eddy Coleman addresses the Class of 2014 and their guests.

ESL Students Immerse Themselves in the History and Culture of Charleston, South Carolina

ESL Students Immerse Themselves in the History and Culture of Charleston, South Carolina

The ESL program at the Roanoke Valley Campus conducted an intensive learning and cultural immersion trip to Charleston, South Carolina recently.  The trip was part of the program’s ongoing extra-curricular student activities and tested the students’ abilities to function during a multi-faceted trip speaking only in English, and helped the students to experience a southern U.S. city with a deep and rich cultural history.  The destination was chosen to compliment an earlier excursion to New York City and was an opportunity for students to experience a side of American culture they might not normally seek out.  The ESL teachers used aspects of the trip to shape classroom curriculum prior to the excursion, and designed specific learning experiences during the trip.

Trip highlights included having dinner on the beach with a moonlight stroll along the sand afterwards, along with visits to the Charleston Museum, Fort Sumter, Manigault House, Middleton Place (a plantation), the Charleston Aquarium, and the USS Yorktown.  The students learned about Charleston’s role in the Civil War and history of slavery, the international multi-cultural nature of the city, and the realities of wealth and privilege and contrasting poverty for many in the south.  At Middleton Place, the students also experienced a living plantation through interactions with practicing farmers, carpenters, potters, blacksmiths, and other artisans who still hold demonstrations.  The students were able to dip their own candles and created their own pinch pots. 

“The English skills of the students were tested, but they appreciated the trip and enjoyed their experiences,” said Dr. Eric Rothgery, director of the English Language Institute.  “It was a great trip,” said Ye In Kwon of South Korea.  “I walked downtown and to the market.  I [saw] many traditional American buildings and I learned about real American life.”  Ahmed Abuzaid of Palestine said, “We learned a lot of things about [the] Museum [of Charleston], and about the history of the city.”

A-ESL Students and staff recently traveled to Charleston, South Carolina.

B-One of the locations on the itinerary of the ESL trip to Charleston, South Carolina was Fort Sumter, where the American Civil War began. 

Local Hospital Hires National College Surgical Technologists- Exclusively

Local Hospital Hires National College Surgical Technologists- Exclusively

The Georgetown Community Hospital (GCH) has a five-person surgical tech team – and all five members are American National University graduates. One of the five team members is now a part-time surgical technology instructor at the Lexington Campus.  To say the facility trusts and depends on American National University to provide qualified surgical technologists is an understatement.

Kelly Reese, Chief Nurse – Operating Room (CNOR) stated, “I’ve been extremely impressed with National’s students.  They are the perfect mix of work ethic, knowledge and skills from day-one. Simply stated – we trust your graduates in what is a very demanding profession that carries an intense level of responsibility.  We are proud to have our entire surgical tech team comprised of American National University graduates.”

When asked about National’s five-plus year affiliation with GCH, surgical technology program director Regina Shumard explained, “Kelly Reese and everyone from GCH are wonderful to work with.  They provide outstanding training for our externs…and have built their entire team from our graduates.  We have an extern who will be with them in July.  I am confident she will receive the highest level of training for her chosen career.”

In recognition of their support of American National University graduates, Georgetown Community Hospital was presented with the Distinguished Community Employer award.

PHOTO-(l) to (r): Jennifer Schnelle, surgical technologist and American National University Instructor; Kelly Reese – Certified Nurse Operating Room (CNOR); Kimberly Thomasson, campus director; Regina Shumard, surgical technology director; and Cheryl Howell, career center director.

Students Learn What Employers Are Looking For

Students Learn What Employers Are Looking For

Louis Geeter from Office Team (a job placement agency) conducted a presentation regarding the job market for the Bartlett Campus on Tuesday, April 22nd.  Mr. Geeter talked about what employers are looking for when searching for employees to join their companies.  “It’s not just a sheet of paper, it’s your sales brochure,” said Mr. Geeter.  “[Your resume] is the whole point to sit face to face with a potential employer.”

He encouraged the students to have the drive needed to get and hold that next job.  “You have to have the hunger, you have to have that desire to get the job,” said Mr. Geeter.  “Engagement is what’s going to make you or break you.”  Being engaged means being to work on time and exceeding expectations.  Employers will be looking for the person who wants to learn more. 

Mr. Geeter added that if students have done any type of volunteer work, they should include it on their résumé.  Getter added that students need to research the companies that they are applying to.    
“The time to start your groundwork in finding employment is now,” Geeter said, and added that the market is picking up.  One way of obtaining employment is as a temporary employee.  Mr. Geeter said, “Keep in mind there is always a possibility to stretch it out or try to make it a full-time position.” 

Information systems engineering student James Newton commented that the visit from Mr. Geeter was inspiring and that he needed to do some more work with his résumé.  “I learned a lot from just listening to him,” said James.

PHOTO-Louis Geeter of Office Team (a job placement agency), conducted a presentation for the Bartlett Campus.

Class of 2014 Opens the Door to New Opportunities

Class of 2014 Opens the Door to New Opportunities

On Wednesday, May 14th the Indianapolis Campus Class of 2014 gathered in the stately auditorium of the Indiana War Memorial for their commencement ceremony.  Indianapolis Mayor Gregory Ballard joined the graduates in celebrating their educational accomplishments as he delivered the commencement address. 

Mayor Ballard advised the graduates to surround themselves with people who support them in order to maximize their success.  “You are in a special place now and you can go in many, many different directions,” he said.

He also shared that his love of reading and his travels while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps opened his eyes to new opportunities.  “Be open to the possibilities, whatever they may be. Too many times, I see people restrict their thinking and say ‘I can’t do that,’ ‘I’m not comfortable doing that.’  I’m telling you, if I can do it…you can do it,” he advised.

Following Mayor Ballard’s inspiring message, graduates with outstanding academic achievement were presented with awards.  The Alumni Hall of Achievement Award was also presented to Tina Bryant, a 2009 graduate of the surgical technology program, for her work at AmeriPath, a national provider of pathology services.

While each graduate was honored to take the stage and be recognized, perhaps none were more proud than business administration-management graduate Gerald Whitaker, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army, who received the Leadership Award.

Before he came to American National University, a counselor at another local university dissuaded Gerald from attending college.  “She told me that I wasn’t college material,” he explained following the ceremony.  “When she told me that, I said ‘I’m going to prove her wrong.’  Now here I am.”

Gerald has served as a peer tutor while at National, and he tells his classmates that they will get as much out of their education as they put into it.  “I tell them…take ownership of this school. This is MY American National University,” he stated emphatically.

A- Adenike Adesuyan, a graduate of the Indianapolis Campus phlebotomy program, is shown receiving her diploma from Indianapolis Mayor Gregory Ballard and campus director James Abraham.

B-Gerald Whitaker, the recipient of the Indianapolis Campus Leadership Award, advises his classmates to take ownership of their education at American National University.

Student Quickly Acclimates to College and Becomes a Leader

Student Quickly Acclimates to College and Becomes a Leader

When Renee McKinney, an office technology professional student, lost her job in November, Ken Chandler in admissions at the Dayton Area Campus reached out to help her.  She came in that morning and afterward cancelled appointments with all other schools so she could come back, take her placements, and enroll. She started classes the very next week. Since Renee started classes, she has formed study groups, become a tutor, and has helped several students pass Prep Math. “I love tutoring the students; if I can help them it’s all good by me.” 

Renee laughed when asked what first attracted her to American National University; she said she was set on going here when she signed her name with the purple pen on the application. It was a sign, she said, since purple is her favorite color. Renee never pictured herself going to college, “But here I am,” she said.

The reason she wants to help others go to school is because she is “actually comfortable enough to ask for help,” said Renee.   She feels like she’s getting a one-on-one session; her biggest class was 15 people.  “I love all my teachers…and I think all my teachers love me.” Renee has not only earned the respect of her peers with her positive attitude and infectious pride about her American National University experience, but also of the faculty/ staff.  She recently received an award for “Student of the Month” at the campus and her Prep Math instructor, Jo Columbro, was so impressed that she even gave Renee a reference for a local job opening.

Renee loves American National University because, she says, we are focused on our students more than any other school; American National University is always doing something for their students, and “I just love that; it’s all about the students.”

Student Renee McKinney enrolled in the Office Technology Professional program after losing her job last fall. 

Tennessee Senator Inspires Graduates of the Class of 2014

 Tennessee Senator Inspires Graduates of the Class of 2014

The Nashville and Madison Campuses celebrated the Class of 2014 with Senator Bill Ketron on Saturday, May 10th during a commencement ceremony.  Approximately 100 graduates from the Madison and Nashville Campuses were in attendance to accept their diplomas in front of an audience of family and friends.

Senator Ketron, who represents District 13 in the Tennessee General Assembly, inspired the new graduates with the keynote address.  He talked about how businesses are in need of well-trained and career-focused individuals such as graduates from National College.  After the commencement address, awards were distributed to many deserving graduates.

Graduates Robert Wood and Sherry Blakemore received the Achievement Award for overcoming obstacles through extraordinary effort to reach their academic goals.  Nichole Massey and Kimberly Hickman received the Leadership Award, which is presented to a graduate who personifies the highest level of leadership among the graduates.  Cathy Mullins and Vontella Harb received the E.M. Coulter Award for high academic achievement in the medical field.  LaShanna Beasley received the Mary P. McGurn Award for high academic achievement in the office programs.  David Rigney received the M.A. Smythe Award for high academic achievement in the computer technology programs.  Orfa Recinos and Sonya Angus received the Joseph E. Hurn Award for high academic achievement in the business programs.

A-Tennessee Senator Bill Ketron is pictured addressing graduates at the 2014 commencement ceremony.

B-Madison graduate Allyson Overton is pictured accepting the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award from Madison Campus Director Rich Blankenship.

Campus Celebrates New Graduates and their Academic Achievements

Campus Celebrates New Graduates and their Academic Achievements

On Friday, May 16th, the Charlottesville Campus held a graduation ceremony to celebrate the academic achievements of the Class of 2014. The ceremony was held at the Albemarle County Office Building with special guest Cynthia Murray who gave the commencement address.

Ms. Murray is an international motivational speaker, author, and attorney. She encouraged graduates to maintain the focus needed to be successful in their careers; to be aware of opportunity to learn from others and exchange culturally; to be consistent and unwavering in attempts to be successful; and to visualize themselves where they are supposed to be with regard to career success.

Following the commencement address, awards were distributed to the students that stood out academically.

Medical assisting graduate Crystal Faye Wood received the Leadership Award, which is presented to a graduate who, above all else, has exhibited excellent leadership, organizational, and motivational abilities, and who personifies the highest level of leadership among the graduates. Medical assisting graduate Evelyn Johnson received the Achievement Award which is given out to a graduate who overcame obstacles to achieve academic success.

Medical billing and coding graduate Jason Smith received the E.M. Coulter Award for his academic achievement of high honors. Tammy Chantel Brown, graduate of the business administration-accounting degree program, received the Mary P. McGurn Award. Tammy Ashley, graduate of the business administration-accounting degree program, received the Joseph E. Hurn Award.

The Alumni Hall of Achievement Award, the most distinguished award that ANU can bestow upon alumni, was awarded to Eric Seay who graduated from the business administration-management degree program in 2010. Eric began his career as a part-time cashier with a large national chain retail store. He very quickly was promoted to lead associate in another department consistently exceeding sales quotas and was frequently recognized by customers for his high level of professionalism and customer service.  In fall of 2013 he was promoted to assistant store manager.

A-Charlottesville Campus Director Kelly Chamberlain is pictured on the left with speaker Cynthia Murray and special guest Delegate Rob Bell, who represents Virginia’s 58th District in the state’s general assembly.

B-Graduate Eric Seay is pictured on the right accepting the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award from Campus Director Kelly Chamberlain.

Graduate Continues Education in the American National University Online Program

Graduate Continues Education in the American National University Online Program

When Robin Fee was asked to sum up her educational experience at American National University, she quickly did so in one word.  “Opportunity,” she said.  “It was an opportunity that I didn’t think was open to me, because I wasn’t interested in going to Eastern, or UK, or a traditional college,” said Robin.

Robin earned her associate’s degree in medical assisting at the Richmond Campus and recently participated in the campus’s graduation ceremony, but her educational journey isn’t ending there.  She’s continuing on in the American National University Online program where she’s working toward her bachelor’s degree in health care management. 

“I think that it’s going to be an awesome opportunity,” Robin said of the online program in which she was able to transfer her credits from her medical assisting program to help her earn her bachelor’s degree as quickly as possible.

She made the decision to continue in the health care management program to help her build a career in hospital administration.  “I worked at UK and found that I was more administrative than clinical,” she said.  “I think that getting the bachelor’s degree is going to prepare me more for that administrative position.”

Although she was initially worried that she might not receive the same strong support in her online program that she found at the Richmond Campus, the online staff and instructors have been just as responsive to any questions or concerns that she has.  “One phone call and it gets taken care of,” Robin explained.
She feels that career opportunities are plentiful thanks to her education, both in-class and online. “With the degrees that they offer, and with the degree that I earned, there are so many opportunities in the area,” said Robin.  “It’s just given me that ‘Can Do’ attitude.”

Robin Fee recently earned her medical assisting degree in-class at the Richmond Campus and is continuing her education to earn a bachelor’s degree in health care management through American National University Online.

Medical Assisting Students Provide More Than 75 Screenings during Annual Meeting

Medical Assisting Students Provide More Than 75 Screenings during Annual Meeting

On Friday, May 9th medical assisting students from the Danville, Kentucky Campus participated in the Inter-County Energy Cooperative’s annual meeting festivities. Each year, Inter-County Energy requests that American National University students provide free health screenings in conjunction with the event.

This year, students Danielle Ange, Lindsey Parker, Teresa Messinger, and Melanie Caulder had the privilege of performing more than 75 blood glucose and blood pressure checks.  The event was a great opportunity for the students to give back to their community and to gain experience as they prepare to enter into their medical careers.

“Providing health screenings during the Inter-County Energy Co-op’s annual meeting was very rewarding,” said Teresa. “It allowed me and my fellow students to apply our education to the community.  It also showed the community the quality of education that National provides.”

Medical assisting students Melanie Caulder (left photo) and Danielle Ange and Teresa Messinger (right photo) are shown providing health screenings during the Inter-County Energy Cooperative’s annual meeting.

Positive Growth Noted

Positive Growth Noted

The Cleveland Area Campus held the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2014 at the Willoughby Hills Community Center in Willoughby Hills, Ohio on the evening of Thursday, May 15th.

Willoughby Hills Mayor Robert Weger, who spoke at both the grand opening ceremony and first commencement ceremony for the young campus, founded in 2009, once more served as the commencement speaker.  Mayor Weger recounted how the city worked to help bring American National University to the community for the positive impact it would have on the city and its citizens.  He noted with satisfaction the growth of the campus from its original graduating class to this year’s much larger group.

Among those receiving degrees and diplomas, three graduates were recognized with special awards: Linda Simek, E.M. Coulter Award; Daniel Richards, Leadership Award; and Charlene Little, Achievement Award.

A-Mayor Robert Weger of Willoughby Hills speaks to the assembled graduates, faculty, friends, and family.

B-Charlene Little receives the Achievement Award.

Liz Callaham-Administrative Assistant-Lynchburg

Liz Callaham-Administrative Assistant-Lynchburg

• Liz Callaham—Difference Maker at the Lynchburg Campus

• Administrative Assistant

• ANU staff member since 2006

• Holds an associate degree in computer applications technology from ANU
• Recipient of ANU Dedicated Service and Commitment to Excellence awards

“I am so very proud of all of our students and their drive to accomplish their goals. I admire their dedication to succeed academically, even when their lives can be so busy with work, family, and school.

“The best thing about being a part of the ANU staff is witnessing our students changing their lives for the better by completing their education. And I get to be a part of that every day.”

 “Liz is pivotal to the Lynchburg Campus in so many ways. She is always making sure that everything is properly submitted and packaged for the students. She is this campus director’s second pair of eyes!” said Campus Director Bill Baker.  “Students appreciate her dedication and concern and make it a point in letting me know. Her work rings of quality and professionalism. Liz is a true asset to the campus.”

Liz Callaham, administrative assistant, has been an employee of the Lynchburg Campus since 2006.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

As we observe Memorial Day, American National University and National College remember America’s fallen heroes; all of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our great country. 

For more than 125 years, National has been privileged to count thousands of veterans in the ranks of the “National Family.”  Students, faculty, staff, and graduates have served in our armed forces in times of peace and war for more than a century.  The newest member of the ANU family entered the ranks of our military earlier this month, as President Frank Longaker commissioned his youngest son, Nicholas, as a second lieutenant in the United States Army upon his graduation from Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.

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.