Wiley alumni Anthony Johnson '11 and LaDonna Gaut '05 told students at the Homecoming 2015 Alumni Convocation on October 29 that Wiley College is indeed the place where every student can succeed and that personalized attention from faculty and staff members helped them to achieve their goals.
Mr. Johnson is in his last year of medical school at the American University of Antigua and is now completing clinical rotations. He told students they have to put in the work at Wiley to accomplish their goals, and he shared that knowledgeable and caring professors made all the difference for him while he was a student. "It wasn't just the education," he said. "They all gave us love."
Johnson spoke highly of numerous professors, including Lead Professor of Chemistry, Dr. John Stuart, for the rigor of their instruction and how it has benefitted his life and his studies in medical school. And just as other recent science majors have done, Johnson also praised the late Dr. Valentyn Siniak, a biology professor who died in 2013, for the love of science his passionate teaching inspired.
Ms. Gaut is the Director of Student Development/Counseling and Career Planning at Wiley. She first enrolled at Wiley in 1996, but she dropped out. She re-enrolled at Wiley after receiving steady encouragement to return from Wiley staff member Vanessa Valentine. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Wiley, Ms. Gaut went on to earn a Master of Education degree in Applied Behavioral Studies from Oklahoma City University. "Wiley is a place of second chances," said Ms. Gaut. "Never give up on your dream."
Wiley hosts Alumni Convocation each year as part of its Homecoming celebration to connect students to alumni willing to serve as mentors or to simply share their stories to encourage undergraduates to persist to earn their degrees.
Pictured in photo above at Alumni Convocation are Anthony Johnson, LaDonna Gaut, Wiley College President Dr. Haywood L. Strickland, and Nolan H. Anderson Jr. '69, president of the Wiley College National Alumni Association.