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Marine Veteran Earns Three Degrees in Five Years and Receives Promotion



Sep 22, 2015

U.S. Marine veteran James Pitts worked for Integrity Windows and Doors for six years, eventually working his way up to assistant supervisor. He realized that he excelled in this position, as he was able to transition three departments from having employees who had very low morale to wanting to work additional hours on the weekends. 

James decided this was the right direction for his career, and he wanted to further his education to be able to achieve a higher level of management. A friend recommended that he research the Roanoke Valley Campus of American National University. He liked the tuition rate compared to other schools and also the veterans’ assistance that the institution provides, such as the Blue Ribbon Grant and the Armed Services Recognition Grant. “I took full advantage of everything,” said James. As a student, he continued to work during the day and take classes at night for five years, ultimately earning an associate’s degree in information technology, as well as associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration-management.  

“I want to go to the top, as far as I possibly [can go]."

While attending ANU, James appreciated “the versatility of the amount of classes you could take each term, the types of classes you could take, and that the instructors would work with you… knowing that [I] was working and taking classes.”

His favorite course was the Ethics class taught by instructor Neal Engers, where he feels he gained useful information for management scenarios and appreciated the diverse perspectives the class discussion often highlighted. “They really [explored] some touchy subjects,” said James. “Everyone was either laughing or shedding tears. There was lot of class discussion with different opinions on the same subjects.”

After completing his education, James began working at Yokohama Tire Corporation in Salem, Virginia. He was recently promoted to production/personnel supervisor, where he oversees fourteen employees. “The job is fantastic and I love what I am doing,” said James. “I hope that I can make a positive difference in my employees’ work.”

In addition to the education he received, ANU holds a special place in James’s life for another very important reason. It is where he proposed to his girlfriend at the end of his first graduation ceremony in 2013 using the large screen on the stage.

Now with degrees in hand and his feet firmly planted on a management path, James’s future is nothing but bright. “I want to go to the top, as far as I possibly [can go],” he said.

A- ANU graduate and U.S. Marine veteran James Pitts chose American National University to take advantage of the veterans’ assistance that the institution offers.

B- James was recently promoted to production/personnel supervisor at Yokohama Tire Corporation in Salem, Virginia.

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