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Walters State Alumnus Heads to Yale
June 9, 2020

Andrew Swann wasn’t sure he wanted to go to college when he enrolled at Walters State in 2016. Now, he’s headed to one the nation’s most prestigious universities with a college professor as one of his possible vocations.
Swann will enroll as a graduate student at Yale University’s Divinity School this fall with plans to study theology and political philosophy. Not only was he accepted as a student, he also received a generous financial aid/scholarship package. Swann will be attending Yale with expenses paid. 
“When I came to Walters State, I did not know what I wanted to do. At Walters State, I found a place to reflect and to meet students and teachers who had taken different paths through life,” Swann said.
Swann earned an associate’s degree from Walters State and, this spring, completed two bachelor’s degrees at the University of Tennessee: one in political philosophy and one in religious studies.  He has always been interested in New Testament studies and in philosophy. Political philosophy, he explained, is the study of the foundations of political thought – studying documents of the founding fathers and ancient thinkers, for example.
“I was intent on going to graduate school, but I was not intent on going to Yale. The graduate program called me about a few hours before the acceptance deadline with generous financial aid, which made it possible for me to attend,” Swann said.
Swann attended Walters State using the Tennessee Hope Lottery Scholarship and the Tennessee Promise scholarship, making his first two years of college tuition-free.
While at Walters State, Swann excelled as a writer and as a student.
“Andrew was an excellent English student. He had big, philosophical ideas and the writing prowess to express them with precision and grace,” said Chippy McLain, dean of humanities and associate professor of English at the college.
McLain is one of three professors whom Swann credits with challenging him to study harder. The other two are Laura Ritter, assistant dean of humanities and director of choral programs, and Roger Turner, instructor of philosophy.
“Walters State is great because the teachers offer so much time to students. I found out that I shared many of the same passions and took independent studies that allowed me to work closely with those professors,” Swann said.
Swann’s grades, of course, likely played a role in Yale’s desire for him to be on the Ivy League college’s campus. His work with nonprofit agencies also contributed.
“I work at the Alliance for Better Nonprofit Organizations. Yale does value experience with community service, church and faith-based organizations. Sometimes, it’s a financial sacrifice to serve with nonprofit  organizations, but the benefit is worth it,” Swann said.
Swann isn’t taking much of a summer break. He’s actually learning German and Latin to prepare for his studies this fall.

CUTLINE: Andrew Swann on the Walters State Campus