Three Generations Receive Degrees during Commencement Ceremony


On Thursday, May 21, the $$Danville, Kentucky Campus celebrated the accomplishments of the Class of 2015 during its graduation ceremony at First Christian Church of Danville. The campus was honored to have Jess Correll, CEO and owner of First Southern National Bank, serve as the commencement speaker. 

During his address, Mr. Correll applauded American National University’s mission to prepare its students for “a full life and a successful career.” He urged the graduates to make the most of their new careers by upholding the six pillars of a good work ethic:  integrity, faithfulness, punctuality, quality of workmanship, pleasant attitude, and enthusiasm.— 

He also advised the graduates to give their relationships top priority in their lives. “As I leave you tonight, I challenge you to value your relationships with your family, your boss, your coworkers, and those who serve you,” he stated. “Be a giver, not a taker. Consider others before yourselves.”

[img]Following Mr. Correll’s address, academic awards were presented to the following graduates:  Nikki Chapa–Achievement Award; Joshua A. Parsons—Leadership Award ; Melanie Caulder and Cindy Lou Wallin —E.M. Coulter Award;  and Darlene Benedict—Joseph E. Hurn Award. 

Althea Lear, a 2012 graduate of the medical assisting program, was presented with the Alumni Hall of Achievement Award. You can read more about Althea’s career success here:


In addition to celebrating her award, the night was extra special for Darlene Benedict, as three generations of her family accepted their diplomas during the ceremony. Darlene and her daughter, Melinda Whittaker, received their degrees in business administration—accounting, while her grandson, Jeffrey Stephens, earned his degree in the office technology professional program.

“I was here in 1988 and 89, but I had to leave,” Darlene explained. “When my company closed down, I said ‘Here’s my chance. I’m going back and getting that degree that I had started a long time ago’, and I encouraged [them] to come with me.” You can read more about the family’s educational journey here:

A- Three generations of the Benedict Family–Darlene Benedict (center), her daughter Melinda Whittaker (right), and grandson Jeffrey Stephens (left)–accepted their diplomas at the $$Danville, Kentucky Campus graduation ceremony. Darlene was also the recipient of the Joseph E. Hurn Award for academic excellence in her accounting program.

B- The $$Danville, Kentucky Campus Class of 2015

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