ECPI University Virginia Beach Campus President Andy Gladstein received a unique phone call in mid-July.
On the other line was Candy Crandall, the manager of Norfolk Florist and wife to current ECPI University engineering student, Hezekiah Crandall. As a local member of Teleflora, Candy’s flower shop was participating in “Make Someone Smile Week” and had selected ECPI University as a recipient.
According to Candy, “‘Make Someone Smile Week’ is when florists come together to honor and celebrate local members of the community for everything they do, that they may not think they should be recognized for, but should.”
A recent retirement from 20 years of active-duty service had been tough on Candy’s husband Hezekiah, who had been an engineer in the Navy. “Engineering is his passion, and flowers are mine,” she said.
Hezekiah decided to go back to school and work on his bachelor’s degree in engineering at ECPI University. With ECPI’s large support system, he found a new passion for learning. “The community here, plus the help and the dedication, has just been overwhelming,” said Candy.
“It’s a privilege to work with a wide range of military students, veterans, and their family members,” says Bill Brown, ECPI University Executive Director of Military Education, and Army veteran himself. “We have dedicated staff to assist military-affiliated students no matter the issue. It’s normal for us to answer a GI Bill® question, connect new students with other student veterans, or assist with employment opportunities while they’re in college. We’re here to help remove any barriers that come up for our students.”
The Crandall family wanted to thank the Virginia Beach faculty and staff for the specialized instruction, extra support and confidence given to Hezekiah as he transitioned from the Navy to full-time student.
“It’s not every day when you get a call that says you guys did something great, and we want to give you something back,” said Campus President Andy Gladstein. “It’s a wonderful call to get, and I was thrilled to help Candy facilitate a presentation to our faculty and staff.”
On July 19, Candy and Hezekiah visited the Virginia Beach campus, bringing along over 100 bright yellow, oversized mugs filled with flowers and a balloon. Speaking to a full atrium, the Crandalls took turns sharing about Hezekiah’s military career, previous attempts at going to college, and ECPI’s role in where they are now.
Going to school has never been easy for Hezekiah. “I tried to go to college early on in my career but I realized it was not for me. This is the only school that gave me what I was looking for and I was glad I waited,” Hezekiah said. “My biggest drawback was math. I was scared of math, and I didn’t think I would ever make it.”
Candy knew her husband was apprehensive about how he’d do trying college-level math. It was a relief to see he was going to get the extra help he needed to succeed.
“The teachers recognize that each student may not be able to learn in the same way and they are able to customize and tailor that help to every student,” said Candy. “From the very beginning, from enrolling to getting classes together and a schedule, the staff and faculty as a whole have been phenomenal.”
Hezekiah jokes that he’s a smart person now. He loves what he’s learning as he works to earn his bachelor’s degree in Electronic Systems Engineering Technology, with a Concentration in Mechatronics. Because of ECPI University’s accelerated program, he plans to graduate in 2024. “I just finished calculus last term, and I’m doing physics this term,” he told the crowd.
ECPI University’s dedication has meant the world to Candy, Hezekiah and their three children. “It’s exciting for me as his wife, and military spouse, to hear him come home and talk about engineering and mechatronics, what he’s looking forward to in the next session and what’s coming up for him.”
“We love what we do,” said ECPI’s Gladstein, as staff picked up their bouquets to take back to their office desks. “We are so thankful for this incredible gesture.”