LOUISA, Ky. -- When Sullivan University came to town, Ranita Brown saw an opportunity to change her life.
Brown, 42, a native of Columbus, Ohio, moved here three years ago. After a career in sales, she wanted a change. And she found it at The Sullivan University Center for Learning-Louisa's medical coding program.
"I knew when I moved here, I wanted to find another trade, another career," said Brown, who is taking her classes entirely online. "It was just so convenient to come in and get started with classes. Even though I'm studying online, having Sullivan right here in town made it very easy for me. I hear other students say the same things."
The Sullivan University Center For Learning - Louisa, which began operations in this Eastern Kentucky community in March of 2016, marked its first-year anniversary Saturday with an community celebration at the school.
"The Center for Learning-Louisa has been a huge success since its opening a year ago," said Catrina Vargo, Associate Director for Community Outreach and Admissions at the Louisa Center for Learning. "I attribute its success partly because a college education is now obtainable right here at home, something students in our area are not used to. Even though we have two community colleges nearby, it's still a 45 minute drive each way, which makes a big difference."
The location of the school in the tight-knit community has played a significant role in its success.
"It's really been a grass roots movement in Louisa," said Center for Learning-Louisa Site Director E. Ann Moore, who also serves as the Director of Student Services and Community Relations for Sullivan's Lexington campus. "The staff there have been fantastic about making connections and getting the word out to drive people through our doors. We still have some work to do, but it's amazing the number of people who come to the County Clerk's office next door that end up walking through our doors afterwards asking for more information."
Students have also embraced Sullivan's quarter system, which allows them to move quicker through their education programs.
"The Louisa Center for Learning provides a non-traditional option which is attractive to our older students," Vargo said. "We are down to earth, and meet the students where they are."
Sullivan is also offering discounted tuition rates to residents of Lawrence, Pike, Floyd, Magoffin, Greenup, Boyd, Carter, Elliot, Johnson, Martin and Morgan counties in Kentucky and Wayne County in West Virginia.
Based in Louisville, Sullivan University has been providing career-focused education for more than 50 years.
Vargo anticipates that Sullivan will be celebrating many more anniversaries in Louisa.
"We are excited about the educational opportunities the Louisa Center offers, as well as other benefits to the community," she said. "We look forward to working with businesses and organizations locally and within the Region, and have already begun to develop great partnerships with our constituents. We love to hear from the community and are always open to new ideas."