American National University

“Guardians of Security”

Nine graduate degrees—six master’s degrees and three doctorates—were awarded during the University of Fairfax’s commencement ceremony that was held at the ANU School of Professional Development Campus in Manassas, Virginia on Sunday, August 21. Seven graduates of the University of Fairfax, a partner institution of American National University, donned their graduation regalia as Scott Mensch, Ph.D., academic dean; and Keith Nordman, administrative dean, presided over the ceremony.

Christopher Feudo, D.Sc., president emeritus of the University of Fairfax, spoke to the assembled graduates, emphasizing their new role as “Guardians of Security.”  Dr. Feudo reminded them of the importance of their new responsibilities as the tip of the spear in cybersecurity.

“This is not a typical graduation. You are not typical students,” he said.  “The University has provided you all the tools necessary, the knowledge to be successful, to be a part of the vanguard to protect this great nation of ours against any and all threats.”

“The University has provided you all the tools necessary…to be a part of the vanguard to protect this great nation of ours against any and all threats.”

The university’s three doctoral graduates each spoke to the small group of fellow graduates, family, friends, and colleagues.

Rhonda Farrell, DIA, thanked a long list of University of Fairfax faculty and staff.  “They say it takes a village to raise a child,” she noted, “and I would posit that it also takes a village to enable a student to achieve the esteemed honor of receiving a doctorate from the University of Fairfax.”

Claude Jenkins II, DIA, challenged his fellow graduates to be agents of change in their organizations.  He also noted how the challenging journey through his graduate education was helped by the University’s faculty and staff.  “My journey started with the University of Fairfax back in 2006; I deployed in that particular month, and was able to continue to pursue my studies,” he described.  “There are so many people within the University of Fairfax that I’d like to thank.”

Ronald O’Neal, D.Sc., described the challenges he encountered during his educational journey, and turned it into a life lesson for all.  “Life is going to happen,” he stated.  “The way you handle those times, the way you make those decisions, the way you go forward after that, is going to determine whether you elevate, or you dissipate.”

The seven graduates of this year’s class traveled from up and down the eastern United States, coming from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina. 

For more information about the graduate-level cybersecurity programs available through the University of Fairfax, visit or phone 888-980-9151.

Photo A-University of Fairfax Doctoral graduates-Class of 2016

Photo B-University of Fairfax Master's graduates-Class of 2016


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