The end of the 2016 academic year marked the commencement of nearly 1,500 Regent University graduates.
And of those graduates, more than 200 received red, white and blue honor cords from Regent’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs. These cords distinguished the students-turned-alumni from their peers as members of the military – either as veterans or active duty servicemen and women.
One such graduate was Regent’s College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) alumnus, Jonah Bryant ’16. He along with Matthew Fitch ’16 (CAS), U.S. Army, and Joshua Duran ’16 (CAS), U.S. Marine Corps, were given a special distinction as ROTC commissioned officers during the 2016 University Commencement ceremony.
“It was pretty overwhelming,” said Bryant.
The ceremony not only featured LTG (ret) William G. “Jerry” Boykin, founding member of U.S. Army’s Delta Force, a stand-out moment for Bryant. Another highlight was having his personal mentor of eight years read his oath of office; a man he’d known as his instructor for Junior ROTC in high school.
“Most of the guys who were in the program were there for an attitude adjustment,” said Bryant. “But in college, a lot of it is trying to solidify that you have good character and moral values,” said Bryant. “It’s a long process but it’s really rewarding in the end.”
Throughout his time at Regent, Bryant spent many of his weeks alternating between programs at Old Dominion University, Virginia Wesleyan University and Regent, completing physical fitness tests, and learning about military history and other aspects of “book knowledge” for military training.
“It got more intense every single year,” said Bryant. “It’s going to be a very long road ahead.”
And his work isn’t over yet. He began the next phase of his educational career at Regent’s School of Divinity (DIV) just a few weeks after the end of his undergraduate studies – a facet of his life he’s thankful to have clarity on.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do at first when I came to Regent,” said Bryant. But during a time of prayer in his life, he heard one word: “chaplain.”
“Everything clicked,” he said.
In the future, he hopes to break down cultural barriers and erase the typical Christian stigmas. And he feels that the DIV program will allow him to do that.
“Regent’s a very safe place for people,” said Bryant. “And it’s been a foundation of spiritual growth for me.”
Learn more about Regent University’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs.