itn_outstanding-grad-chief-harrisKansas City, Mo. – April 20, 2010 – Grantham University, an online university dedicated to providing educational opportunities to working adults for over 60 years, announced that Command Chief Master Sergeant John M. Harris (Ret.) has been selected as the University's 2010 DETC Outstanding Graduate.  CMSgt Harris was chosen because of his service to others and his strong desire to complete his college degree.  On April 13th, 2010, Dr. Jeffrey Cropsey, vice president for strategic initiatives at Grantham University, presented CMSgt Harris with the Outstanding Graduate Award at the DETC's 84th Annual Conference in Del Mar, CA.

"It was an honor to present this award to such an outstanding candidate," said Dr. Cropsey.  "John's passion and drive to see young service members succeed in their educational pursuits is an inspiration to us all."

Since the inception of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) Outstanding Graduate Program twenty-six years ago, Grantham University has continuously awarded this honor to one of its graduates each year.  Criteria for this award include a GPA of 3.5 or higher, significant contributions to society and to their chosen profession and a written essay addressing their education and its application to their career and community.

CMSgt Harris served in the Air Force and Air National Guard for 26 years.  Furthering his education was always important, but life intervened.  After deploying in support of OPERATION Enduring Freedom and recovering from the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he was able to realize his goal.  CMSgt Harris graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Grantham University in May 2008 with a 3.81 GPA and is planning to graduate with his Master of Business Administration in 2010.

During his appointment as Command Chief Master Sergeant, one of his responsibilities was to encourage Airmen to fully utilize all of the benefits available to them, including educational benefits.  "When I tell Airmen and Soldiers to take full advantage of their educational benefits, now I can lead by example and show them that it can be done," said CMSgt Harris.  "If I could finish my degree with a hectic travel schedule, family responsibilities, hurricane seasons, and while preparing for retirement, anyone can do it."

As the highest ranking enlisted member in the Louisiana Air National Guard, CMSgt Harris represented the interests of the enlisted corps to The Adjutant General and served as an advisor to The Assistant Adjutant General for Air.

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