Hal S. McPherson, of Athens, AL, is a disabled Navy veteran with about 17 years experience in security in the Navy as well as over 11 years of civilian security. He currently works as a contract security supervisor for a government contractor in Huntsville, AL.
When a better paying job opportunity came his way for a director of security and emergency management at a local hospital, Hal was more than qualified for the position. “I was interviewed three times, and they said that I was the perfect fit because of all my experience. However, when they realized that I didn’t have a Bachelor’s degree they had to turn me down for the job.”
Instead of complaining about the experience, Hal decided to do something about it by enrolling in Ashford University’s Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Management program. He graduated magna cum laude in 2012 at age 49.
Despite having severe dyslexia, Hal thrived at Ashford and was on the Dean’s list. He hopes his success will inspire “anyone who thinks they can’t make it in college because of a disability or their age.”
When we last spoke to him, Hal shared his hopes to eventually land a position that will draw from his service in the Navy as an Anti-Terrorism Instructor. “I was in on the planning and operation stages where we trained, managed, and certified personnel in all facets of anti-terrorism and security procedures. As an instructor, I have always been able to break things down and I love to teach; it is one of my passions in life. I would like to work in homeland security and emergency management as an instructor or as an analyst.”
To potential Ashford students, Hal shares this advice: “If you have the self-discipline to do the work, it is very manageable, and the staff and instructors are very helpful. You owe it to yourself to at least try. I’m just sorry it took me so many years to listen to my wife who always said I should go back to school.”