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June 20, 2016

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Graduates Encouraged to Give Back and Keep Progressing

 Graduates Encouraged to Give Back and Keep Progressing

On Friday, June 17, friends and family members gathered to watch their loved ones process into the auditorium of George Washington High School in celebration of their graduation from American National University’s Danville, Virginia Campus. Thirty graduates in the Class of 2016 accepted their degrees at the commencement ceremony, with several of them being additionally recognized with awards for exceptional leadership and academic achievements. 

Brigadier General Doyle Broome, Jr. (U.S. Army, Ret.), president of Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., served as the commencement speaker. In his address to the graduates, Mr. Broome urged them to use their success to give back to others in their community.

“Someone encouraged, directed, coached you to ‘go back to school.’ There are young people today who are watching you. Someone has taken note of what you have done and what you have accomplished. Do not waste this opportunity,” he encouraged. “You need to be a mentor… you need to be the example for them to emulate."

“Graduation is not the end but the beginning of a brighter future.”

Mr. Broome further advised the graduates to take advantage of every opportunity to keep learning and growing. “Continue to progress in your education. Education is a journey, not an end-state,” he said. “Read daily about your profession. Read daily about your community, about your nation, and about your world.”

Honors graduate Ellen Cabiness, who received her Bachelor of Science degree in health care management, enjoyed the commencement ceremony and took the opportunity to reflect on the speaker’s remarks. “Graduation is not the end but the beginning of a brighter future,” she stated.

Nicole Messina, also an honors graduate of the health care management bachelor’s degree program, as well as one of the award recipients for high academic achievement in a bachelor’s degree program, was equally encouraged by the ceremony. “Graduation was great! Even though it was a small graduating class, the recognition for our accomplishments was much appreciated,” she stated. “It was really nice to share the experience with my family and friends who have supported me throughout this journey.”

Other award recipients of the evening included: Angela Burnham, Randi Lee, Christi Mayo, Laura Holley, Tommy Mease, Mac Napper, and Staci Barker.

Photo A- (left to right) Ashlee Nelson, Michie Edens, and Randi Lee all graduated from the surgical technology associate’s degree program at the ANU Danville Campus.

Photo B- Graduate Nicole Messina (right) accepts an award for high academic achievement from instructor and business department chairperson Byron Rawlinson.

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Campus Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Flag Day

Campus Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Flag Day

The ANU Princeton Campus recently hosted a celebration in honor of the 100th anniversary of Flag Day, which was established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.  The event featured the Junior ROTC of Pikeview High School who conducted a presentation of colors and shared information about the history of the American flag.

“We have a lot of privileges that other countries don't have.”

WVVA-TV provided coverage of the event and interviewed Cadet Tabitha Hall. During the interview, Tabitha shared that the flag’s thirteen stripes and fifty stars instill a sense of pride in her. "You know, we have a lot of privileges that other countries don't have," said Ms. Hall.  "We have people out there fighting every day for us." 

Photo A-Cadets from the Pikeview High School Junior ROTC are shown conducting a presentation of Colors during the ANU Princeton Campus’s Flag Day celebration.

Photo B-Cadet Tabitha Hall shared information about the history of the flag and was later interviewed by WVVA-TV

Graduates Are Reminded that Mental Strength Can Help Overcome Adversity

 Graduates Are Reminded that Mental Strength Can Help Overcome Adversity

The 2016 ANU Roanoke Valley Campus commencement ceremony took place on Friday, June 3 at Salem High School in Salem, Virginia.  Beth Bryant, campus director, welcomed all sixty-one graduates and their families. Thirty-seven graduates received associate’s or bachelor’s degrees, and eleven received MBA’s from President Frank Longaker.

Among the awards given, Terri E. Bannon received the E.M. Coulter Award. This award is presented for high academic achievement. Brian J. Pomerville received the Achievement Award, which is presented to graduates who achieved success through exemplary effort by overcoming obstacles.

Michael Hamlar, owner of Hamlar-Curtis Funeral Home and a former Virginia Senate candidate, gave the commencement address. Michael has previously been an instructor at the Roanoke Valley Campus and reminisced on his time with the students. “I was on an assignment to reach as many students as possible,” he shared. He was well-known on campus as being tough in the classroom, which he addressed in his speech saying, “There was a method to my madness…I wanted you to be proud of the degree you are earning, knowing that you stretched for it rather than having it handed to you.”

“Education is the one thing that cannot be taken from you.”

Throughout the commencement address, Michael repeatedly reminded students of the importance of being mentally strong. He told his own story of mental strength, describing a knee injury that almost ended his football career. After his father and uncle passed away, he was faced with the decision of continuing his football career, or continuing the family business. He choose to take over the funeral home, despite some doubt from the community, and eventually became a successful independent business man, even being awarded Blue Ridge Business Journal’s ”Top Leaders Under Forty” award. “Life isn’t always easy,” said Michael, “But when you’re intelligent and mentally strong, you can push through the adversity.”

This statement holds true for many of the graduates, especially Santosh Niroula who received his MBA during the ceremony. Santosh is a student from Nepal whose family lost their home, which was hand-built by his father, and all of their savings in the 2015 earthquake. The instructors at ANU knew of the tough situation he was in and started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for him to finish his education. After all that he has lost, he was able to graduate and hopes to use his education to work in the private sector and help his family after all that they have lost. With the help of his professors and the support of his family, he was able to fulfill not only his dream, but his father’s as well. As Michael said in his address, “Education is the one thing that cannot be taken from you.”

Another graduate, Angelica Crews, was the recipient of the Leadership Award for showing excellent leadership and motivational abilities. Angelica reflected on her time at ANU, remembering her time as a tutor and how she enjoyed the small classes as well as the friendly instructors. “The instructors are truly in it for the students,” she said. Angelica was one of the proud to rise on stage when those who have bravely served in the United States Armed Forces were recognized. She served for eight years in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. Angelica pursued a degree in the medical field because of her passion for helping others, which she has been doing in her job at Blue Ridge Pain Management. In the future, she plans on continuing her education to become a nurse practitioner.

For more information on Santosh Niroula click here, or for further information on Angelica Crews, please click here.

Photo A-Michael Hamlar, owner of Hamlar-Curtis Funeral Home and a former ANU instructor, delivered the 2016 commencement address for the Roanoke Valley Campus.

Photo B-Graduate Angelica Crews (left) is pictured with M.J. Williams (right), director of health science education, prior to the commencement ceremony.

Graduate Prepared to Put Skills to Work After Being Hired From Externship

Graduate Prepared to Put Skills to Work After Being Hired From Externship

ANU Lynchburg Campus graduate DeVonda Chilton recently passed her registered medical assistant (RMA) certification exam, a credential she happily adds to the certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) certification she also earned during her time at ANU. All of her hard work is paying off, as she will soon begin her medical career after being hired as a medical assistant at Central Virginia Family Physicians (CVFP).

Before attending ANU, DeVonda took time to consider what career path she wanted to take and looked at her family to help make the decision. Her aunts and other family members have careers in the health care field, and she saw the rewarding experience they received from their jobs.

She had previously attended a larger university, but she didn’t want the extra classes that didn’t apply to her career to hold her back from getting her degree. After hearing about American National University through TV commercials, DeVonda discovered that the teachers were supportive, friendly, and did their best to make sure students succeeded. “At other schools, the teacher couldn’t care less if you came to class or did the work,” said DeVonda. “Teachers here give you moral support.”

“With hard work, dedication, and the support team that you have here, they'll make it through the same way I did.”

While attending ANU, DeVonda was very involved on campus through the tutoring program and by being a campus ambassador. Both of these experiences were rewarding because she was able to help students the way that she had been helped. As an ambassador, DeVonda was able to show support and give advice to the new students considering ANU. This was an important involvement for her because she understands how difficult school can be and knows from her own experience at ANU how big of a difference it can make when there are people supporting you.

ANU strives to prepare students for their future careers and DeVonda feels more than prepared for the opportunities that are available to her in Lynchburg. During her time at ANU, she was able to participate in externships in both her pharmacy technician and medical assisting programs, including one at CVFP where she has been hired.

“I wasn’t sure I knew where I wanted to be until I started my internship,” Devonda explained. “When I started my internship, I knew this was exactly where I wanted to be…You see so much by working in the immediate care, and I’ve learned so much from working there.”

She especially enjoyed the lab classes at ANU where she could practice invasive procedures such as drawing blood. “It wasn’t more of me watching, they let me do a lot of hands-on work which helped me a lot because I’m a hands-on type of person,” explained DeVonda. All of the opportunities at ANU for practical applications both inside and out of the classroom will help her as she begins her new position as a medical assistant at CVFP in July.

As a new graduate, DeVonda remembers the atmosphere and support she received at ANU. She encourages others to look into programs at ANU to help start their career path. “I won’t say it’s easy,” said DeVonda, “but with hard work, dedication, and the support team that you have here, they’ll make it through the same way I did.”

Photo A-DeVonda Chilton proudly displayed her registered medical assistant certification while pausing for a photo at the ANU Lynchburg Campus.

Photo B-DeVonda was hired by Central Virginia Family Physicians after completing her externship with the group.

Graduates Celebrate Educational Achievements

Graduates Celebrate Educational Achievements

Graduates from the ANU Florence Campus proudly accepted their diplomas during their commencement ceremony at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal on Saturday, June 11. 

Dr. Theosious Fuqua, a former executive at UPS, who now serves as the business department chair for the ANU Louisville Campus, delivered the commencement address.  “You have reached a milestone that many people have not reached.  You persevered despite the trials and tribulations you have gone through while attending school.  But this is only the beginning,” he explained. “The investment you have made to reach your education is only the first step.  The next step is to apply what you have learned and get that return on your investment.”

After offering some rules for success, Dr. Fuqua gave one final piece of advice to the graduates:  “The most important thing: Never, ever give up,” he stated.

Following the inspiring commencement address, several graduates were presented with awards. Jason Gabbard, a graduate of the former information systems engineering program at the Florence Campus and of the ANU Online information technology bachelor’s program, was this year’s recipient of the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award.

Jason, who currently serves as a network administrator for the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), recalled that he was impressed by the award recipients when he participated in his commencement ceremony and felt honored to have been selected for the award. “There’s no way I’d be where I am today without [my education]--there’s no question,” he said.

“There’s no way I’d be where I am today without [my degree]--there’s no question.”

Other award recipients included: Vickie Anne Kellinghaus, Achievement Award; Linda Gaye Peebles, Joseph E. Hurn Award; and Kenneth R. Huff, M.A. Smythe Award.

Graduate Felicia Taylor, who has been hired as a medical assistant at UC Health-Advanced Heart Failure Clinic, was the recipient of the E. M. Coulter Award for high academic achievement. Prior to the ceremony, Felicia anxiously awaited the big moment when she’d walk across the stage to accept her diploma. “I am so excited.  I’m trying to fight back the tears, and I’m honored that my family and friends could be here,” she said. “Honestly, I’m honored that I get to do it with National, because I know the people on the stage are as much my family as the people in the audience.”

Watch for more about Felicia’s educational journey and career success in an upcoming issue of the National News.

Photo A-The Florence Campus Class of 2016.

Photo B-Graduate Jason Gabbard is pictured accepting the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award from ANU Florence Campus director Charlotte Brinneman.  

Mission Statement Inspired Graduate to Choose National

Mission Statement Inspired Graduate to Choose National

Destini Bumper has a new degree and a new a new career to celebrate, after completing her medical assisting program at the National College Madison Campus and being hired as a medical assistant by Vanderbilt Center for Surgical Weight Loss. “I always wanted to be in the medical field,” Destini stated. “This is something that I dreamed of my whole life.”

Before coming to National, Destini pursued a nursing degree from a local state university, but when her father passed away in 2012, her education was temporarily put on hold.  After dealing with the loss, she began looking for other options for medical training and found National College through a Google search. She was drawn to National by its mission statement, and its support of military veterans.

“My daddy was a veteran and they honor veterans, “she explained.  “I also wanted smaller classes that could focus on me and not a big group.”

As a student at National, Destini’s excitement built as she prepared to embark on her new career.  She loved the challenge of studying for and passing the certification exam to become a registered medical assistant (RMA), and her externship at a Vanderbilt internal medicine practice was one of her favorite parts of the program. 

“My degree has given me one of the greatest jobs, with one of the greatest hospitals worldwide, and I'm just thankful.”

“The externship was fun,” she shared, adding that she assisted the doctors with procedures and tests, and worked side-by-side with the other medical assistants in the office.

The externship also proved to be a key to finding employment when the office staff referred her to the Vanderbilt practice where she works today.  “They were great references for me for my job,” she recalled. 

In the Vanderbilt Center for Surgical Weight Loss, Destini enjoys working with her bariatric surgery patients as she prepares them to see the doctor.  “[My degree has] given me one of the greatest jobs, with one of the greatest hospitals worldwide,” she said, “and I’m just thankful.”

Photo-Destini Bumper is pictured at the National College Madison Campus 2016 Commencement Ceremony that was held in early June.

Graduates Exemplify National Spirit

Graduates Exemplify National Spirit

On Friday, June 3, the graduates of the ANU Dayton Area Campus celebrated the culmination of their hard work and dedication to their studies as they accepted their diplomas at Christ United Methodist Church.

State Representative Jim Butler, who served as the commencement speaker, commended the graduates for their accomplishments, especially those who earned their degrees while working a full-time job and caring for their family. “The media, the government, and civic organizations should all hold you up as an example of what others should aspire to be,” he stated. “You represent the best about our national spirit. Everyone should strive to work hard and sacrifice to make a life for themselves.”

Representative Butler also applauded the graduates for choosing to attend a career college.  “You have also chosen wisely on the school you have attended.  Like hard working Americans competing for jobs, career colleges have to compete to attract students—not by an awesome new student rec center or a high powered football program, or amazing dorm rooms, but by making sure that all your hard work pays off,” he explained. “As you saw when you applied and chose to come, these schools have to track their graduates’ placement success of getting hired for a good job after you graduate.  Because they are competing against other career colleges you, as a student consumer, get to choose where you will be most successful.  Because of the transparency that career colleges give on ultimate success you are empowered to choose the best one for you.  This free enterprise works very well and it’s something that state funded colleges should have to do.”

“The media, the government, and civic organizations should all hold you up as an example of what others should aspire to be.”

Following Representative Butler’s address, a number of graduates were presented with awards:  Terry “Wade” Robinson II, Achievement Award; James T. McFarlane, Leadership Award; Mary H. Layton, E. M. Coulter Award; Dawn K. Cottrell, Mary P. McGurn Award; Renee McKinney, Joseph E. Hurn Award; and Rashid Malcolm-Tilmon, M.A. Smythe Award.

Wade, who earned his degree and certification as a surgical technologist, credited his instructors for helping him succeed in his program.  “The attention that they give you…is just awesome,” he said. “They want to make sure you succeed just as much as you want to succeed,” he explained.  Wade has been so inspired by his studies at ANU that he plans to continue his education in the area of psychology and hopes to one day earn his doctorate degree.

Congratulations to the ANU Dayton Area Campus Class of 2016!

Photo A-Graduates from the ANU Dayton Area Campus are pictured during the commencement ceremony.

Photo B-Dayton Area Campus graduate Wade Robinson, the recipient of the Leadership Award, paused for a photo following the commencement ceremony.

Graduates Take Next Step Into Their Future

Graduates Take Next Step Into Their Future

Graduates of the ANU Cincinnati Campus celebrated their educational achievements and the beginning of new careers as they accepted their diplomas on Saturday, June 11 at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.

Ronald Morris, administrative director of corporate security at TriHealth in Cincinnati, gave an inspiring commencement address entitled “Are You Future Smart?” in which he commended the graduates on their commitment to earning their degrees. 

“This achievement tells me that your family chose to live by choice and not by chance.  Your family made a decision to change your lives.  I know, because I see you here today,” he stated.  “Every one of you had the same twenty four hours, seven days a week, and chose what to do with those days and weeks—you chose to change your life.”

“I wouldn't have had these opportunities if I didn't have a degree.”

Mr. Morris also offered tips on building a successful career, including bringing value to your organization; and investing in yourself and seeking out training. “The best way to predict the future is to create it,” he shared.

During the ceremony, several graduates who went above and beyond were presented with awards for outstanding educational achievement:  Tina Smith-McGhee, Achievement Award; Tamika Collins, Leadership Award; Rebecca Smith, E. M. Coulter Award; and Antonio Harris, Joseph E. Hurn Award.

Autumn Hoyt, a graduate of the medical assisting program who currently works for Mason Dermatology, was presented with the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award. “It let me move on to better things,” she said of her education at ANU.  “I wouldn’t have had these opportunities if I didn’t have a degree.”

Graduate Octavia Spillman, who received her medical pin and associate’s degree in medical assisting during the ceremony, shared that she made it through her program despite the challenges that she faced during a difficult pregnancy. “I still finished all of my classes without missing one day,” she said. “I’m very excited and happy and proud of myself.”

 Photo A-Graduates from the ANU Cincinnati Campus await their turn to take the stage and accept their diploma.

Photo B-Medical assisting graduate Octavia Spillman is pictured receiving her medical pin from surgical technology program director Deborah Shumate during the commencement ceremony.

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.