More than 30 years ago, Angela Caswell experienced a call from God to be a nurse.
About a decade later, she was called to be a mother.
When her two roles intersected, she chose first to raise a family.
In 1989, Angela Caswell and her husband, David, found out that she was pregnant with her first son, Zach.
In May, 22 years later, both mother and son walked together at Liberty’s graduation, where Angela Caswell earned her nursing degree.
Zach, 21, received his degree in business finance.
“It is very exciting,” Angela Caswell said.
The Caswells came to Lynchburg in 1988 from Florida where David had just finished a four-year tour of duty with the U.S. Navy.
He was looking for a Christian college and his sister, Tracy, recommended Liberty, where she was a student herself.
“We prayed about it and decided to come here,” Angela Caswell said. “It was a hard decision. We left both our families in Florida to move here. The plan was for both of us to start at Liberty.”
In 1989, David Caswell was ready to start his degree program with an idea of becoming a military chaplain.
At first, he started working for the campus police department in order to pay the bills.
Angela always had her eye on Liberty’s nursing program. “I had already filled out the application, paid the confirmation fee, and had been accepted,” she said. “About two weeks later, I found out I was expecting my first child.”
She decided to delay college and become a stay-at-home mom. She taught piano lessons to generate income while her three boys grew up.
Both Zach and Angela Caswell finished their degree requirements in December. Angela Caswell passed her state certification exam in February and now works as a nurse at Lynchburg General Hospital in Lynchburg.
Zach now holds a banking job in Phoenix, Ariz. Both started the new jobs on Feb. 27.
“It’s kind of neat,” she said.
During their time at Liberty, Zach and Angela Caswell had several classes together. And while she tried to give him his space, inevitably they were placed in seats near one another because they had the same last name.
“At first, he didn’t know whether he wanted to sit near his mom in class,” Angela Caswell said. “The first year it wasn’t really cool. The second year he started introducing me to his friends.”
By the time they graduated, she had become like a campus mom to some of her college classmates.
That role was heightened last fall when her second son, Josh, enrolled in the electrical engineering program at Liberty.
Her youngest son, Mark, 15, is attending Brookville High School in Lynchburg. Even he has a Liberty connection. When Mark was born prematurely, Angela
Caswell experienced some life-threatening medical issues of her own. She was struck by how kind a nurse was to her. The nurse had studied at Liberty.
She says she has been blessed by her new job where she works with patients who have debilitating and often life-threatening medical conditions.
“I was excited to be hired right away,” Angela Caswell said. “I look at my job as a ministry. When I was at Liberty, all the papers and all the clinicals focused on ‘How did you show the love of Christ today?’ That is something you can only get from a Christian university.”
Caswell said people in hospitals are often hurting both physically and spiritually and need tender care that reflects the love of Christ.
“Often, it is the worst time of their lives,” she said. “They are going through tough times and often are facing death. We are there for them.”
She was particularly struck by her interaction with a deathly ill patient on her last day of work before being interviewed for this story.
“Come close,” the man asked.
When she did, he gently grabbed her arm and started crying.
“Thank you for taking care of me,” he said.