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Earning a college degree is a time-consuming endeavor on its own, but Olaoluwapo Omoleke, a soldier in the US Army Reserve, managed to graduate with highest honors while deployed in Kuwait.

Omoleke graduated last December with a bachelor’s degree in nursing through UT’s online RN-to-BSN program. He will walk in the College of Nursing’s commencement ceremony at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, May 10, in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Shortly after Omoleke decided to start the RN-to-BSN program, he received news of his pending deployment. He faced a tough decision: he could postpone his education while he served in Kuwait or he could go through with the program while deployed, knowing that resources and time would be scarce.

“I chose to proceed with the course, knowing full well how daunting the task will be,” Omoleke said.

At a base in Kuwait, Omoleke worked in the intensive care unit, taking care of wounded soldiers and US contractors. In the little spare time he had, Omoleke was studying.

“There was a small library that had limited resources, but the determination to succeed and time management saw me through,” he said. “It was a challenging year combining military duties and study.”

Omoleke returned to the United States in February and wanted to participate in spring commencement.

Bonnie Callen, associate professor of nursing, worked with Omoleke throughout his program.

“I have never met him in person, although I almost feel I know him having received phone calls while he was in Kuwait and battled red tape to get him credit while there,” she said. “He was an excellent student.”

C O N T A C T :

Christine Copelan (865-974-2225,