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Thousands attended the largest Liberty University commencement at Williams Stadium on May 11, 2019 in Lynchburg, Virginia



Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office


JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF RECEIVES MBA FROM LIBERTY UNIVERSITY: Jefferson County, Arkansas – May 14, 2019 – In a ceremony for more than 20, 000 grads, Lafayette Woods Jr., Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office sheriff, graduated among Liberty University’s largest class in history on May 11. Thousands attended the two-hour ceremony in Lynchburg, VA. at Williams Stadium.

“For me, this MBA degree can be summed up by one word--- achievement,” Woods said. “I’ve managed to achieve yet another goal.  Life for me has been about setting goals and checking them off upon completion.”    

Founded in 1971, the Christian based school started with less than 200 students and now has more than 600 programs including law, medicine, biology, religion, music and engineering.

“As a devout Christian reared in a Baptist church pastored by my father, I found that Liberty’s philosophy of education intertwined with its Christian academic community matched my desire to study business at an institution whose vision involved developing Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge and skills essential to impact the world.”   


As the commencement speaker, Vice President Mike Pence encouraged graduates to “go forth for Liberty” in an effort to make their alma mater proud.


“Decide here and now that you are going to stand firm, that you will put into practice all the things you learned here on Liberty Mountain, that you will never give up, that you will persevere and that you will always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have,” Pence said.

The crowd sat attentively as Pence told graduates that with a “growing American economy” they were going out into the workforce at an optimal time. Additionally, he talked about the importance of exuding faith in their lives and exemplifying quality character traits for others to follow.

“Vice President Pence reminded us that America needs people of integrity more now than ever and that we should go out and spread it,” Woods said. “The other message I took from the speech was Vice President Pence’s reminder to graduates to have faith in God, because he brought us this far and will never leave us nor forsake us.”

The journey to the degree came with its challenges, according to Woods. During the last year of his 36-hour program, he kicked off his campaign for sheriff. Between running a successful campaign and his duties as major of operations and graduate school, he says he found himself in a juggling act.

“I found it nearly impossible to balance my home life with family, job, community service, and school while launching a full campaign,” he said. “I felt like quitting on numerous occasions. However, I knew there was a greater cause and that quitting was not an option, because so many were counting on me to push through.” 

One of those people counting on him to accomplish his goal was his father. Nearly 15 years ago, Lafayette Woods, Sr. made the decision to further his education by obtaining a Master of Science degree in Addiction Studies at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Woods earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from the UAPB in 2004.

“I have always known that my education would not be limited to an undergraduate degree,” he said. “Education is something that my father instilled in my three siblings and me at an early age.”

Now that Woods has his MBA, he plans to use the skills he learned and apply it to his role as sheriff.

“An MBA has the potential to make a tangible impact on my agency, introducing cross-cultural management, global alumni networks, and digital innovation to public safety,” he said. “As a veteran law enforcement officer now serving as the 32nd sheriff of Jefferson County, I believe the tools I acquired will help me in my role of public safety.”

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Jeff Co. Circuit Clerk Lafayette Woods, Sr., (left) photographed with son, Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr. (right) at Liberty University graduation ceremony on May 11, 2019 in Lynchburg, Virginia, where Woods, Jr. received his MBA degree.