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From the mission field in Lebanon to college grad

Chris Rugh spent his early 20s working with a Christian missionary group in Lebanon, helping Syrian refugees with their basic needs.

“That was a very introspective time for me, and I learned that I could do more than I ever thought possible,” Rugh said. “I found my passion for serving others and learned I’m a skilled administrator and good with numbers.”

Rugh returned to this country in 2018 to pursue his degree, hoping to use his math skills for good.

He graduates from Tidewater Community College on May 11 with an Associate of Science in Business Administration and plans to continue at William & Mary for his bachelor’s in finance.

“I’ve been plowing through my degree ever since, learning from some great professors on several of TCC’s campuses,” he said. His favorite: Dale Horten who teaches physics on Chesapeake Campus.

While living in a tiny village overseas, Rugh decided to pursue finance so he could be even more effective. “When you see people struggle, you learn to be at peace with things and become very grateful for what you do have.”

Rugh credits Dean Nancy Prather-Johnson with helping to pave the way. “My dean was super helpful and made the journey so smooth,” he said.

While at TCC, Rugh worked full time for an HVAC company. He also joined Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year schools. In his free time, he connected with other business students in the Investment Club on Chesapeake Campus.

After college, Rugh hopes to return to mission work, using his business degree with a large nonprofit such as World Vision. He’s most interested in helping families break out of the cycle of poverty.

“My passion is serving and helping families overseas have a better quality of life. After that first mission trip I was hooked on serving in this way,” Rugh said.

“I have friends who came to TCC and loved it, and now I know why. It’s been affordable and close to home and overall a great choice for me.”