NATCHITOCHES – William Bryan Foley enrolled at NSU nearly 40 years ago but left the university to join the Navy. After a 37-year career in the Navy, he heeded a lifelong desire to work in the medical field and re-enrolled at NSU to complete the RN to BSN program. He is completing his degree this semester and plans to enroll in the MSN program in the fall.
“Nursing is my retirement career,” he said. “I volunteered as a Candy Striper during high school and even worked as a nurse’s aide one summer during high school. But nursing wasn’t really a field for men in the early 1980s. As I started to plan my retirement from the federal government, I felt that nursing was where I belonged.”
Foley started at NSU in the Fall of 1982 where he had a scholarship to participate in the President’s Leadership Program, along with NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio.
“I left NSU after the Fall 1983 semester for a semester,” he said. “I returned in the summer 1984 session but withdrew that semester and enlisted in the Navy. I subsequently received a Naval ROTC scholarship and complete my B.S. degree at LSU. I graduated from LSU in 1989 and was commissioned as an officer in the Navy. I left active duty in 1995 but returned to work for the Navy as a civilian in 1998 and moved to Virginia.”
Foley started graduate school at the University of Oklahoma in 1999 while also working full-time. He graduated with his master’s degree in public administration in 2004.
“In 2014, I decided to go back to school to get a degree in nursing. I graduated from Northern Virginia Community College with an associate degree in nursing in 2018 and became a licensed Registered Nurse (RN) in July 2018.”
Foley began the RN to BSN program at NSU in the Spring of 2019 while still living in Virginia, where he was a member of the Medical Reserve Corps and volunteered there earlier this year giving COVID-19 vaccinations. He has applied to the MSN program and hopes to continue his education with NSU.
“I retired from the federal government in January 2021 after 30 years of military and civilian service with the U.S. Navy,” he said. “I moved back to Louisiana on April 1, 2021, after living in Virginia since January 1998.”
Upon his retirement, Foley was recognized with several awards, including the Clifford G. Geiger Award for Naval Logistics, for exceptional leadership and influence within the naval logistics community, along with Navy and Department of energy awards.
“Over his career, Mr. Foley’s efforts have improved the operational readiness of the Navy’s nuclear propulsion plants as well as driven long-lasting policy and procedural advancements in the management of classified materials within the Air Force, the Defense Logistics Agency and the Navy. While his tangible achievements are many and varied, Mr. Foley’s greatest achievement has been the positive influence he has had as a mentor and leader across headquarters, Program field offices, and shipyards,” the citation reads.
Foley grew up in Boyce and moved back to the area recently. His hobbies include stained glass, woodworking, gardening and lifetime learning.
Foley plans to participate in spring commencement and will be joined by his mother Dorothy Cogburn. His degree will be conferred during the 10 a.m. ceremony Wednesday, May 5.
NSU will hold six commencement programs at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. May 5-7. Information is available at www.nsula.edu/graduation.