Liberty News

Communication graduate celebrates a special Mother’s Day

May 15, 2017 : By Tobi Walsh/Liberty University News Service

Burchett (middle) with her mother, husband, and baby daughter. For 43-year-old Ruby Burchett, it has been a very busy year.

In the span of 11 months, Burchett, originally from the Philippines, became a United States citizen, had her first child in November, and earned her M.A. in Strategic Communication from Liberty University.

This weekend, not only did she hear President Donald Trump speak at Commencement, but Burchett also celebrated her first Mother’s Day with her daughter, Rinnah.

“Being a new U.S. citizen is a huge blessing, and seeing the president speak made it more meaningful,” Burchett said. “I never thought I would make it here. I came from a third world country and earned a degree from a large university. And to have the chance to hear from the President of the United States, we’re just very excited and joyful.”

Burchett first came to the U.S. in 2008 after meeting her husband, Ron, who grew up in nearby Appomattox, Va., and watched Liberty expand during his childhood. Even though they were living in Maryland at the time, he encouraged her to pursue her master’s degree through Liberty’s online program. Working a full-time job as a manager at a community college testing center, Burchett said the program was a perfect fit for her schedule — and a perfect fit for her life.

Burchett poses after becoming a U.S. citizen.

“God really guided me,” she said. “Taking courses that have a Christian focus made me grow closer in my relationship with God. My online classmates and I would call each other on the phone and pray with one another. That’s something you’re not going to get at other universities.”

Burchett found out she was pregnant in March 2016 while in the middle of her Communication Research Methods course. But the expectant mother said she had support from her online professor who kept her focused throughout her pregnancy.

“It was a long, busy eight weeks,” she said.  “I had the extreme excitement of having a baby, but I had fears of not being able to finish my course. I set a goal to complete my master's before giving birth and just focused on that goal. It was very challenging to cope with the fast-paced research work while experiencing many pregnancy blues and swings. I was always exhausted after submitting an assignment, but I went on, and prayed a lot, too.”

With Liberty’s Commencement falling on Mother’s Day weekend, Burchett said she couldn’t pick a sweeter time to celebrate her accomplishment. Her mother, Rebecca, was also by her side. Burchett said that as a single mom, her mother worked hard to send her two daughters to school.

“It was not an easy life for her, but she is a go-getter,” Burchett said. “My educational accomplishment is for my mother and Rinnah,” she said. “It is for my mom for all the hardships she endured raising me, and for my daughter, hoping it will be an inspiration for her.”

It’s also a chance for Burchett to encourage her family members still living in the Philippines.

“My niece is in high school and I’ve just been encouraging her to put God first and study hard,” Burchett said. “A good education is so important.”

Burchett hopes to teach college classes again, like she did in the Philippines, and impact her students.

“Without God, none of this would be possible,” Burchett said. “I am excited for the next journey of utilizing the degree I earned to witness and glorify Him more.”