Thousands of Smiling Faces at Virginia Beach Graduation

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Chrysler Hall was packed to the rafters on June 22 as hundreds of ECPI University students finished their academic journeys and received their diplomas. Thousands of proud family members added to the occasion with many cheers. Congressman Rob Andrews, a longtime champion of career-focused private sector schools, provided great advice as commencement speaker.

Student speaker William “Burt” Evans, Jr. provided plenty of inspiration, saying “Life is all about second chances, sometimes third; the most important thing to remember is to take full advantage of every opportunity that is given to you.”  Evans should know. After graduating high school in 1980, he attended college for a couple of years, but decided to join the Navy to serve his country. He spent four years as a radioman in the Gulf War, taking college courses when he could.

After his first tour, he returned to civilian life and worked as an office supply company sales representative before missing the service and rejoining the Navy. His second tour ended abruptly when his wife passed away, leaving him with their two young children. He returned home, got a job as a radio frequency technician and later met his second wife, Donna. Evans then decided to enroll at ECPI University to advance his career in information technology. He also wanted to take advantage of the school’s accelerated degree format and class schedule flexibility to be able to work, go to school and raise a family.

“I realized that to succeed in life and have marketable skills I would have to return to school and finish what I’d started years before,” said Evans, a Chesapeake resident. “I should have listened to my mom long ago, but it’s never too late to start again.”

Evans, 51, is graduated with a 3.66 GPA in Computer Information Science with a concentration in Network Security. While attending ECPI University he found a job as an ITO Service Delivery Representative with Hewlett Packard at the Norfolk Naval Base. He plans to remain at Hewlett Packard after graduation and utilize his degree to further his career.