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Lehigh Carbon Community College

By Erika Neldner

Mark Anderson is not a traditional student – he’s married with three children, works full time leading a precinct for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office and earlier this month he celebrated earning his degree in Organizational Management and Leadership at Reinhardt University’s 132nd Commencement Ceremony.

Anderson was nominated for and earned the Non-Traditional Student of the Year Award at An Evening of Honors in April.

Mark Anderson with President Kina Mallard.

The unassuming and humble police officer is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and currently serves as the lieutenant of the Oak Grove Precinct in western Cherokee County.

When Dr. Kina Mallard announced that Anderson had won the award, she read his essay that is required of any student who is nominated for the award.

“Going back to school at the age of 46 with a family and a demanding full-time job has been a challenge. But I felt it was unfinished business that I needed to complete for the benefit of my family and career,” Anderson said in his essay. “My personal philosophy is to lead my life in service to God, my family and my community with honor and integrity. My Reinhardt education has helped me gain new perspectives in life that will only benefit my personal mission.” 

Diane Cagle, assistant professor of business, coordinator of the online Bachelor of Business Administration program and one of Anderson’s professors, said Anderson was the epitome of a top-quality student and those characteristics, along with his leadership, earned him the award.

“Mark was a stellar student with accomplishments both in and out of the classroom. It’s not often that you see a student who maintains a 4.0 GPA while also working full time and carrying a full class load,” said Cagle. “Several of his instructors recommended him for this award, all noting his accomplishments as a top-quality student.”

Anderson attended five different colleges and universities in 25 years and found Reinhardt to be the place that helped him foster success.

“It was when I began to inquire about getting into the OML program at Reinhardt that I realized it was a pretty special place,” Anderson said. “The administrators took the time to sit down with me and map out my educational path to a degree. I have never felt so welcomed and supported as a student as I was at Reinhardt University.