Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Getting to know the Class of 2014 co-valedictorians

The long-awaited day is nearly here for hundreds of students, who on Saturday will walk across the stage and accept their diplomas at Post University’s 124th Commencement

Every Post graduate will be recognized for their hard work and dedication, but I would like to take a moment to acknowledge Post’s 2014 co-valedictorians Sarah Stover and Jerald Briggs, Sergeant First Class, United States Army.  Sarah completed her degree on our Waterbury campus.  Sergeant Briggs completed his degree online while actively serving in the military.  Like so many of our students, they balanced their studies with many other responsibilities, and have been a constant source of inspiration for everyone here at Post. 

Main Campus Valedictorian, Sarah Stover

When Sarah Stover came to Post to study Accounting in September 2012, she found just what she had been looking for – a small, welcoming New England college where she could feel at home.

Sarah Stover smiling, posing for a photo.
Main Campus Valedictorian, Sarah Stover
Stover, 24, was told about Post by a professor while receiving her Associate Degree at Norwich Community College. The professor felt Post might be a good fit for Stover’s educational background and personality. Stover pursued the recommendation and said the friendly faculty and staff members made her feel welcomed and assured her she would fit in from the moment she stepped on campus.

“I decided to come to Post because I was particularly impressed with how involved the professors were with their students,” she said. “The professors are very student focused; they make time for you and they go out of their way to get to know you, and your goals. The depth of conversation I’ve been able to have with the faculty has been tremendously rewarding.”

Stover interned at a tax firm in West Hartford and was the President of the Accounting Society, a Christian Club member, and an Honors Program member during her time at Post. She was homeschooled in high school in her hometown of Bozrah, CT, so being on a college campus was a large transition for her.

“During my time at Post I gained interpersonal experience and a greater understanding of my culture, and how to interact and influence people,” she said.

As is true for a number of our students, Stover came to Post with her siblings.  Nathaniel and Hannah, who will both join Sarah in accepting their diplomas on Saturday, among the cheers of their family, friends, professors and advisors who’ve supported them along the way. 

“It was the best thing in the world,” she said. “I can’t imagine it without them. We really brought a team here with us and it let us open so many different doors.”

Stover said she leaves with her biggest thanks going to her professors for always being there and caring about her, especially her advisor Noelle Taddei, Associate Professor of Accounting in The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business.

As far as parting words for underclassman at Post, Stover urged students to step out of their comfort zone and get involved.

“Opportunities don’t just happen.  We have to make them happen,” she said. “We have to step out and look for the things that are going to move us forward. If you make connections, if you’re willing to put yourself out there and try anything, there’s a tremendous amount you can do at Post.”

Accelerated Degree Program Valedictorian - Jerald Briggs, Sergeant First Class, United States Army

A degree is difficult for any college student to earn. That feat becomes even more difficult when you strive to be a 4.0 student, while raising a family and serving in the U.S. Army.

Jerald Briggs, 32, Sergeant First Class, United States Army, achieved just that during his time at Post, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration while serving as a Respiratory Therapist at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.

Jerald Briggs in United States Army attire posing for a photo in a library.
Accelerated Degree Program Valedictorian Jerald
Briggs, Sergeant First Class, United States Army
Briggs said he initially learned about Post when reading a recruiting journal. He saw the partnership the university had with the military as well as their strong online ranking and accreditations, and viewed Post as a highly attractive program.

The major challenge Briggs said he faced when entering college was a schedule that did not allow for a typical college student experience, but that Post worked with him to allow him to succeed.

“I needed the extra flexibility that Post was able to provide,” he said. “This allowed me to balance the challenges of serving our country, while both going to school and raising a family.”

The knowledge that Briggs learned during his undergraduate program was relevant to his military career, and that made a big difference to him. 

“I’ve been highly impressed with the quality of instruction by the professors,” he said. “The overall material that’s been presented has had a direct correlation to the leadership demands that I face.”

Briggs encouraged other students contemplating online education to take the plunge, and see how rewarding an online education from Post can be.

“It’s never too late to go back to school,” he said. “If it’s something you’re considering, the sooner you start the process the sooner you’re going to realize the benefits that a school like Post has to offer. I tell everyone to continue to do their best, put forth maximum effort, don’t just go through the motions, take the time to absorb the material and realize how beneficial it is.”

On behalf of everyone at Post, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Sarah and Jerald, and to every Post University graduate. We look forward to celebrating your accomplishments on Saturday!