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Nigerian Grad Finds Welcoming Arms at Radford University
RADFORD -- They may not know what a Radford Highlander is in Urualla, Nigeria, but 5,888 miles away, master’s graduate Anthonia Obianuju Anamege is looking to change all that.
Shortly after turning the tassel on her graduation mortar last month during Radford University’s Centennial commencement ceremony, the Nigerian-native Anamege took the moment in, expressing how much it meant to have her family travel the globe to share her special day.
“It’s overwhelming, so emotional. This will not only change my life, but the lives of my family,” she said. “Nothing in my background, or the background of my family, would ever suggest that I’d ever get to be here, nothing at all. It’s all about dreaming big.”
Married and a mother of four children, still living in Nigeria, Anamege said the most difficult aspect of her two years working toward her master's in corporate and professional communication was the ongoing separation from her kids.
“It was a really hard experience, really hard,” she said. “But with God on our side, he helped us be able to do a good job.”
Having the steady support from her family thousands of miles away served as strong motivating force.
They kept telling me not to worry about them, that they’re fine and I should study hard,” said Anamege.
With limited opportunities in her homeland, the idea of coming to America to advance her education became a burning desire for Anamege, wanting nothing more than to help pave a path of success for her family.
“America is number one, and really has so many things, including great education,” she said. “People down home appreciate that fact.”
Having a degree from an American university is truly worth its weight in gold for Anamege, saying such academic stature in Nigeria is like night and day in helping distinguish an individual and their family from the masses.
“You can change the way things happen,” she said. “I hope I can help better the lives of people in my country.”
Debating between half a dozen colleges and universities to pursue her masters, the personal, comforting reception Anamege received from Radford’s staff made her decision an easy one.
“I was coming from nowhere—nowhere!—and I especially didn’t know where I was going to,” she explained. “I needed somebody to be warm and close, and really show me the way. Radford was the one who did the best job amongst all the schools that I applied to.”
Never one to set her sights low, Anamege now looks to procure scholarships to help launch her doctoral drive at either Princeton or Harvard. If all goes well, Anamege hopes her daughter, now of college age, will soon be joining her in America.
“It’s a great feeling, just a really great feeling,” said her brother in law, Tony. “I can’t say enough about her. I mean, she did a great job.”
Congratulating all of Radford’s graduates, Tony recalled how difficult her journey has been to even get to America, not to mention the struggles and sacrifices she and her family made in pursuit of higher education.
“She did it, and we are very proud of her,” he said.
Shortly after graduation, the university’s office of alumni relations asked Anamege to be the Highlander contact for Nigeria and its surrounding countries, serving in the capacity of a volunteer Radford ambassador. Anamege is thrilled to spread her Radford pride worldwide.
“I will be very delighted to keep the alumni spirit alive in those areas and to push prospective students to Radford,” she said.
For Anamege, her academic success does not belong to her alone, but instead is viewed as a shared accomplishment for her entire family.
“I’m really overwhelmed, but grateful to Radford for giving us the opportunity to get a better education,” she said. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Radford.”
June 24, 2010