ECPI University Press Releases: Press Releases

Chesterfield Resident Finishes College in 2 Years

Dual-Enrollment/Accelerated Program Helps Criminal Justice Grad Start Her Career in Half the Time

Richmond, VA – First she wants to be a police officer, then it’s off to the FBI. At least that’s the plan for Courtney Strain. The young Chesterfield resident is certainly ambitious. She began her college career when she was still in high school through Chesterfield County Public Schools’ Dual Enrollment Program with ECPI University.

Between her early credits and attending ECPI University year-round, she was able to graduate in just two years with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Attending school for two straight years with no breaks was certainly demanding but it has paid off. “My parents are very proud of me for all of my hard work and diligence to get through this program,” says Courtney. “They are very much my support group. They can't believe how fast the time went by and honestly I can't believe it either.

“My experience with ECPI would not have been the same if it wasn't for the faculty and the amazing students I got to know. We all lean on each other and push each other through when we get burnt out. This program can be challenging but when you have professors giving you positive feedback and friends sharing the same experiences, it refuels my fire and drive to keep going.”

Graduation will be held on Friday, June 13 at the Siegel Center, located at 1200 W. Broad Street in Richmond, Virginia beginning at 1:00 pm. For more information, please contact ECPI University Director of Communications David Brandt at dbrandt@ecpi.edu or 757.404.2032.

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Thomas Cevora: A Portrait in Perseverance

2014 Graduate with MS Serves as an Example to All

Virginia Beach, VA – Thomas Cevora has always been a man of action. An Army veteran, he went to work on tug boats after leaving the service. From there, he moved to rail cars. Fourteen years ago, a clock started ticking and he knew at some point that a physically active life would no longer be his to enjoy. Thomas has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). That fateful day he long feared arrived three years ago. “When I resigned from the railroad, I just didn’t know what to do with myself,” says Thomas. “Everybody said I should go on disability but that just wasn’t for me. I have to be doing something.”

Using Vocational Rehabilitation through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Thomas decided to go back to school. Despite being hospitalized on a couple of occasions, he persevered. Now, he’s preparing to graduate this Saturday, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer and Information Science with a concentration in Web Development. “I discovered a great deal about myself these past three years,” says Thomas. “First, I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. Sure, I need a cane and, sometimes, a wheelchair, but I have developed mental strength. Second, I have an even stronger wife! She would never let me give up. We came close to losing everything. We barely held onto our house, but we always held on to each other.”

While Thomas is excited to move on, he admits he’s a bit nervous. In addition to graduating, he and his wife are planning to move to a cooler climate up north because heat aggravates his MS. “ECPI University has been like a second home to me. The faculty has been so great, especially Ms. Lanae Harris. She has been an inspiration. Whenever I needed a boost, she was always there with a ‘you can do it!’ And the best thing is: I did do it. I’ve applied for a graduate program with Microsoft. I’ve got my own web design business up and running which is a great source of pride. Each time I finish a website, I know that anyone in the world can type in that web address and see what I built.”

Graduation will be held on Saturday, May 31 at Chrysler Hall, located at 215 St. Pauls Boulevard in Norfolk, Virginia beginning at 5:00 pm. More than 400 graduates are expected to participate in the ceremony. For more information, please contact ECPI University Director of Communications David Brandt at dbrandt@ecpi.edu or 757.404.2032.

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Commencement Speaker Shares Lessons in Perseverance

Virginia Beach, VA – For many years, Elizabeth City resident Patrick Keziah has dreamed of becoming the first person in his family to graduate from college. Years ago, he earned an associate’s degree in the liberal arts but believed that real success would only come with a bachelor’s degree in a more technical field. So, to inspire himself and motivate his daughter, he suggested they compete to see who could be first in the family to earn a bachelor’s degree. It was close, but she beat him by 23 days. This Saturday, he joins her as the second person in the Keziah family to earn a bachelor’s degree, receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer and Information Science with a concentration in Healthcare Information Technology.

Getting to this point has not been easy. Patrick first endured a debilitating illness that ravaged his digestive system. After a 10-day stay in the hospital, he had to opt out of school for two terms. Then, just as he was getting back underway, his mother fell ill and he had to take time off to care for her and find her permanent residence in a nursing home.

Throughout it all, Patrick never took his eye off the prize. This Saturday, he will represent the study body at graduation, speaking about the power of perseverance. “It’s been quite a journey,” says Patrick. “I learned a lot about myself and I also learned that very few accomplishments occur without the help of others. I will always be grateful to the many people at ECPI University who stood by me and helped me catch up and get back on track.”

Graduation will be held on Saturday, May 31 at Chrysler Hall, located at 215 St. Pauls Boulevard in Norfolk, Virginia beginning at 5:00 pm. More than 400 graduates are expected to participate in the ceremony. For more information, please contact ECPI University Director of Communications David Brandt at dbrandt@ecpi.edu or 757.404.2032.

 

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