Kenneth A. Ritchie II, ’09, was an undergraduate with a full-time schedule in and out of the classroom. During the day, he worked full-time at the Henry County Hospital as a radiology technologist. Following his shift, he would drive three miles across New Castle to the Danielson Learning Center for evening classes in order to complete a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree.
As a direct graduate from high school, the New Castle native completed a two-year program at Reid Hospital & Health Care Services to become a certified radiologic technologist. He went to work at the Henry County Hospital and has worked there for 12 years.
“The close proximity allowed me to get to classes in the evening after work. I was able to take a majority of my prerequisite and elective courses locally instead of having to travel to Richmond,” Ritchie said.
While at the center, Ritchie met and worked with Kim Greer, who at the time was an assistant professor of biology at IU East. He said with Greer as the instructor for most of his biology courses, it allowed him to maintain his work schedule while completing many of his required courses through independent study.
“I learned a lot patience, as my four-year degree plan began to morph into a eight-year degree plan. I also learned how to balance family, work, and classes being a non-traditional student,” Ritchie said.
The hard work paid off.
He was the recipient of the 2010 Naomi Osborne Award, an honor given to the graduate with the highest grade point average, and led the graduating class during the alumni induction ceremony. (As a December 2009 graduate, he is part of the 2010 graduating class.) He was also named as a 2010 Chancellor’s Scholar Award recipient for the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The award is presented to the highest achieving senior, by academic school.
Ritchie also met and proposed to his wife, Elizabeth (Bales) Ritchie, at the Danielson Learning Center.
Today, Ritchie is in his third year of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program at Butler University. He will graduate with his master’s degree in May 2015. As a physician assistant, Ritchie will be able to provide medical services, care and treatment to patients.
“I worked as a radiology technologist specializing in CT and MRI for many different years and decided that I wanted to be more involved in the patient’s care and treatment,” Ritchie said.
Through the program, he has completed six-week rotations with doctors located in Henry County including in general surgery, orthopedics, emergency medicine, family medicine and internal medicine.
Once Ritchie completes his master’s degree, he plans to work in New Castle.