Commencement 2016: Graduates Celebrate Educational Achievements and New Careers


“Graduates, you may move your tassels!” It was the moment that graduates of the ANU Class of 2016 had been waiting for as they celebrated their hard work, dedication, and educational achievements during commencement ceremonies held by the American National University Campuses this June. As graduates, their families, and friends filled beautiful venues, distinguished speakers, including Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton and former prison of war Jessica Lynch, inspired the ANU graduates and their guests with words of wisdom and encouragement.

“The media, the government, and civic organizations should all hold you up as an example of what others should aspire to be,” said Ohio State Representative Jim Butler as he delivered the Dayton Area Campus commencement address. “You represent the best about our national spirit. Everyone should strive to work hard and sacrifice to make a life for themselves.”—

While commencement was a huge achievement for all, many of the graduates were most excited about the new careers they’ve obtained thanks to their education. Prior to the ANU $$Indianapolis Campus ceremony, graduate Leah McHugh explained that she grew tired of her job working in finance for a local car dealership and decided to come to ANU to use the valuable educational benefits that she had earned as a veteran of the U.S. Navy.


“I heard about the school one weekend when I was at drill,” she recalled.  “I decided I was tired of the industry I was in, and doing what I was doing, and I wanted to help people."

After completing her program at ANU, Leah passed the exam to become certified as a registered medical assistant (RMA). She credits health science education director Patty Ridge with helping her ace the test.  “She was very firm with studying and discussing, and very helpful with…being there basically day and night with whatever I needed,” Leah said.

In the last term of her program, Leah was placed as an extern in the office of cardiologist Dr. Bertram Graves, and was later hired by the practice’s lab to work as a phlebotomist.  “I was in the office for eight weeks and at week five I was offered a position,” she explained.

[img]For Kamilah Burnley, a graduate of the health information management program at the National College $$Madison Campus, an externship at Optum health also gave her a step up into her new career as an abstractor. “I am so excited to begin to work with them full time,” she said as she prepared to participate in her commencement ceremony. “My favorite thing about the field is it’s a laid back job, it’s not very intense, but you also learn a lot every day.  You have to stay on your toes.  It’s always something new every day.”

Education was a valuable commodity for both graduates, and something they plan to continue in the future.  “I think this degree is really going to help me along in my career. I don’t plan to stop here. I plan to get my bachelor’s,” stated Kamilah.

“I return in August for my bachelor’s program,” Leah shared as she explained that she’s coming back to ANU to continue her education in the medical and health sciences management program. “In 2018, I’ll graduate again.”  

Photo Top-ANU Indianapolis Campus graduate Leah McHugh, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, used her Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to train for a new career in the medical field.

Photo Bottom-Kamilah Burnley, a graduate of the health information management program at the National College Madison Campus, was hired from her externship at Optum where she is now working as an abstractor.

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