Student, BirminghamCalvin

“I went to community college first. Then I left to join the Navy in 1981. I served 22 years in the Navy, and then I retired 13 years ago. I’ve had three jobs since I retired, and then I just resigned. I wanted to come and work for the church.


One day, I woke up and asked the Lord, ‘What should I do for the church?’ I rolled over and saw a business class on the laptop and then I received a phone call from a young lady from Virginia College who goes to our church, saying, ‘This would fit you for what you want to do for the church.’ I wanted to come here to better my education. To help out the church. To better myself and to help out the inner-city kids.

The military taught me how to keep focused. I was stationed out of Virginia and California and went to Desert Storm in ‘91. I had a lot of hats. It was easy coming into school. You just have to plan and have your priorities together.

I am currently in the Business Office Specialist program. I walk in February and I start my other program in January, the Business Administration Associate’s Degree Program.

“There is a bigger plan. I want to have a non-profit organization.”

I’m older, I’m 54 years of age. My niece and my brother are proud of me. They’re just overwhelmed with the way I decided to do this at my age and how I decided to come back. I also made the Dean’s List and, shocker, I am on my way to making the President’s List, too!

Being here has really showed me that, you know, I can overcome a lot of things. I’ve been out of high school for 36 years. So my old-self up here, I feel like a grandpa. They call me Mr. Dickey, ‘Yes, sir’, ‘No, sir’. This school has really opened up my eyes that I can do anything.

There is a bigger plan. I want to have a non-profit organization. A program that will help kids who may not go to college, but go to the military, with education. I also want to start an assisted living program for veterans.

The military, my granddaddy and my momma – they taught me not to give up. I want to finish what I started.”

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Tia, Huntsville“I really wanted to work in oncology because I lost my mom to cancer.”

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Karri, Columbus“My number one priority was to be a mom, so I got out of the military.”

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Keiontae, Macon“When they succeed, I feel like I succeed.”

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Are you a Virginia College student, graduate or faculty member?We’d love to hear your story!