FORT STEWART, Ga. - Deciding to further ones education beyond the undergraduate level while working full-time can be an arduous task. Try having the responsibilities of being garrison command sergeant major and the educational journey can be tough yet very gratifying.

“Today is a very special day for me, for my Family and the Webster University Family… an accumulation of many years that I’ve tried to pursue my masters degree,” Fort Stewart’s Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin said.

Command Sergeant Major Ervin, who joined the Army in February 1984, earned his Master of Arts in Management and Leadership from Webster University during the Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield’s 31st commencement exercise June 24 at the main post chapel.

The commencement exercise was sponsored by Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield’s Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith Army Education Center.

According to Gail Burgohy, program manager for the colleges and counseling staff, the ceremony culminated years of dedication and perseverance for all of the graduates.

“Because of the hard work they have taken even during the deployment cycle… it’s just the best thing that could happen to a person and to see the accomplishment based on their hard work, Burgohy said. “It’s not a regular college graduation where the students are in college for four years, some of these folks have taken 10 to 15 years just to complete a bachelors degree.”

Combining classroom instruction and real world experience proved essential for the South Carolina native throughout his educational and Army journey.

“I bring the perspective of the Army into the classroom and we [classmates] looked for ways to be a level five manager, and how the organization can transform from good to great,” Command Sgt. Maj. Ervin said. “I was taking one class at a time or one step at a time and I would become energized each time I went to class.”

According to Command Sgt. Maj. Ervin, Soldiers who utilize the education center get the opportunity to converse with someone outside of formation and expand their knowledge with like minded professionals. He firmly believes that that the education center supports the total Army Community.

“This education center is a great opportunity… it is unique and has great instructors, and schools,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Ervin. “…No Soldier, service member, Army Civilian is set up for failure here, they are set up for success.”

According to Command Sgt. Maj. Ervin, when a good Soldier decides to further their education, they in turn become great Soldiers both on and off the battlefield.

“As leaders in the United States Army, we need to continually get better and look to self-improve,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Ervin. “I’ve taken the concepts and techniques that I’ve learned and started applying them each and every day.”

Some of Command Sgt. Maj. Ervin’s military education includes the Warrior Leaders Course, the Battle Staff and First Sergeants Course to name a few. In addition, during his military career he has deployed to the Balkans in support of Operation Joint Guardian and to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Command Sergeant Major Ervin, like thousands of other Soldiers, Family Members, Army Civilians chose to further their education utilizing programs offered through Army Education Center.

When Command Sgt. Maj. Ervin is not working, he enjoys taking time to mentor Soldiers. He
strongly believes that leading by example starts and ends with him.