American National University

Fellow Graduate Encourages New Graduates to Be Ready to Grab Opportunities

The 128th commencement exercises of the Roanoke Valley Campus took place at Lakeside Baptist Church in Salem on Friday, May 1. “You have studied, you have sweated, you have been successful, and you have succeeded,” said campus director Ron Bradbury to the graduating class.

Joseph B. “Butch” Church, member of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, gave the commencement address. Mr. Church is a graduate of American National University himself and spoke fondly of the time that he spent as a student. 

Mr. Church had much advice to pass onto the graduates, including “Be humble; never ever stop learning,” he encouraged. “Don’t be afraid to take a risk; be prepared for just about anything in your life. Remember to dream; after all, a dream is a wish your heart makes.”

“I encourage each of you to be ready,” he urged the Class of 2015. “You never know when opportunities will be coming. Grab opportunities and go with it.”

Mr. Church has had a fulfilling career since graduating from ANU, including working for Nationwide Insurance for 28 years, as well as serving as a Division 1 College Basketball Referee. He shared that it was through his work as a referee that he learned teamwork, how to handle stressful situations, how to be a leader, and how to manage adversity.

Following Mr. Church’s commencement address, awards were presented to the following graduates: Robbie Vandyke-- Achievement Award; Samantha Weddle-- Leadership Award; Jeremy Goyer, Amy Maxey, Samantha Smithers, and Selena Talford-- E.M. Coulter Award; Paul M. Fulcher, Eva Lynn, and Deborah Salter-- Joseph E. Hurn Award; Ryan Nakamoto-- M.A. Smythe Award; Harinder Chavla, Tyler Cromack, and Jodie Wilmer-- Dorothy Coulter Hancock Award; Shawna Battle-- Mary P. McGurn Award; and Eddie and Rebecca Maloney-- Alumni Hall of Achievement Award. [Read more about the Maloneys' story here].

Among the Class of 2015 was honors graduate Jordan Jeffries, who received dual associates’ degrees in business administration-management and tourism and hospitality management. Jordan is currently working for Nationwide Insurance and found Mr. Church’s address to be especially meaningful. Medical assisting graduate Kiesha Waldron was excited to celebrate her time at ANU, as well as the next chapter she is starting in her new career. Of her time at ANU she said, “I loved it!  It’s a great school!” Scott Rowsey, who received his Master of Business Administration degree, said of his experience at ANU, “I had the time of my life!”

A- Joseph B. “Butch” Church, member of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors and graduate of the ANU Roanoke Valley Campus, gave the commencement address.

B- Dr. Annette Chamberlin, department chair, Master of Business Administration, (center, front), celebrates on graduation day with the MBA graduates.  

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