OLLU Alumni, Dr. Thomas Griffy says his university experience was indispensable long after graduation.SAN ANTONIO- One of the many students admitted to OLLU in 2012 was Dr. Thomas Griffy, a student eager to learn more about leadership. Dr. Girffy currently works at the Capital Industrial Security Awareness Council (ISAC), a non-profit organization of cleared defense contractors and the Defense Security Service. He serves as the Chief, Industry Operations Requirements for the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, Defense Vetting Directorate and Vetting Risk Operations Center. In other words, Dr. Griffy leads a team of program managers that perform mission requirements in support of industry and the United States Department of Defense. Among the jobs and titles on Dr. Griffy’s resume, he started out serving in the United States Air Force, where he was the Officer In Charge of Nuclear Security Operations, Course Chief for Security Forces Basic Officer and Apprentice Course and more. In light of all the impressive and brave work Dr. Griffy had done for his country, he wanted to take on the next challenge. He decided that Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) to earn a Ph.D. in leadership studies was the place to do it. “In active duty as an officer, I started out as a brand new second lieutenant. [There was] still have a lot to learn when it comes to leadership. It is a never-ending process,” Dr. Griffy said. “That is what really led me to study leadership studies at OLLU, that desire to get into the details and quantitative data behind leadership.” Even though Dr. Griffy was already highly educated and had a long career in the Air Force, he credits OLLU for helping expand his knowledge of what he knows today. “I grew up in a very sheltered background in Tennessee… and my perspective was limited on life, people, tolerance and acceptance,” Dr. Griffy said. “That time at OLLU really allowed me to grow, understand and get a better love for humanity.” OLLU helped Dr. Griffy realize that he could step back and gain more perspective rather than continue to live in his bubble. “OLLU really helped me open that book and realize that there is so much out there that is amazing and wonderful and needs to be experienced,” Dr. Griffy said. Even though he enjoyed his time at OLLU, Dr. Griffy was dealing with post-traumatic stress after serving in Iraq and felt he wouldn’t have made it without the right support system. OLLU’s main campus is located in San Antonio, a city that is home to one of the largest concentrations of military bases in the United States, so Dr. Griffy encountered people who understood his struggles and helped him succeed. “Being in a military city really helped me,” Dr. Griffy said. “I don’t think I would’ve finished successfully or even graduated and earned a doctorate had I not had the support who understood the struggles I was going through as I went into the program.” As proud as he is of earning his doctorate, Dr. Griffy still reflects on his OLLU days with his peers. “I miss those Saturdays of laughter, struggles, tears, being close and the dinners we’d [Dr. Griffy and his cohort] to go occasionally go to after class,” Dr. Griffy said. “After eight hours, I should be getting home to my family, but it was always great to sit down, relax and talk about the next week. I miss the people.” As an OLLU Alumni, Dr. Griffy wants the next generation to know that laying a solid foundation for their futures is essential, but not to take a moment for granted and embrace college as it happens. “Take a deep breath, don’t try to grow up so fast and be in the moment,” Dr. Griffy said. Dr. Griffy encourages students to make the most of their time at the university and cherish their memories the way he does.
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