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WIVK FM 107.7 & King University Name Shellie Ruppert the 2016 Degree of Success Scholarship Winner

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 4, 2016 – Knoxville’s WIVK FM 107.7 and King University announced Ann Michele “Shellie” Ruppert as the winner of the seventh annual Degree of Success Scholarship Contest promotion.

“I am overwhelmed. I am so excited to be able to do this and to be able to go back and correct something I felt I’d made a mistake doing a long time ago. This is such a huge blessing. I had been looking for a job, and because I had never finished college, I could not find a job that pays well. I knew I needed to go back, but I did not think it was possible. [Through this contest] I realized I could go back to the place from which I started and get my degree,” Ruppert exclaimed.

Thanks to winning the Degree of Success Scholarship Contest, Ruppert plans to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Communication degree through King University’s Hardin Valley campus in Knoxville, Tenn. In addition to a full-tuition scholarship to King, she will also receive her textbooks free of charge.

“I could attempt to go to any college or university and work hard to earn a degree,” said Ruppert. “But at that point, it would only be a degree. As exciting as that would be in and of itself, it simply could not hold the same importance for me as having earned my degree from the school of my first love. The vision in my mind’s eye of walking across that stage in Bristol to finally receive my Bachelor of Science in Communication from my beloved King University evokes so much emotion that I find myself choking back tears at merely the thought of it.”

Ruppert attended King from 1983 to 1985, leaving at the end of her sophomore year, a decision which she says is one of the biggest regrets of her life. Hopeful she would one day go back to King, she says, “Days have inevitably turned into months and then into years. As time marched on, the hope of completing my education drifted further and further from reality. Now, the circumstances of my life have changed dramatically, and I am in greater need of a college degree than I ever have been. Returning to complete my education at King [is] the ultimate homecoming.”

“We are honored to offer this opportunity to make a remarkable difference in someone's life,” stated Kristi Reynolds, assistant vice president of GPS Enrollment Management for Knoxville at King University. “Whether you are searching to make yourself more marketable, further a career change, or serve as an inspiration to your family, it is never too late to pursue the dream of a college education.

“Students often have barriers, real and perceived, to completing an undergraduate degree. Our winner of the 2016 Degree of Success Scholarship, Shellie Ruppert, is an example of how you can set a goal and work hard each day to attain your dreams one step at a time,” said Reynolds.

The contest was open to anyone who sought the chance to realize their dreams of obtaining an undergraduate degree at no cost through King’s Graduate, Professional, and Online Studies Programs (GPS) at Knoxville/Hardin Valley, Blount, Harriman, Morristown, Sevierville, or Strawberry Plains. King’s GPS programs feature class schedules and learning environments designed for working adults.

WIVK FM 107.7 listeners were invited to apply for a scholarship from Oct. 1 through Oct. 28. After the pool of applicants had been narrowed to five finalists, the grand prize winner was chosen and revealed at an open house event at King University’s Knoxville campus on Nov. 3. 

For more information about the Graduate & Professional Studies and Online Programs at King University, visit or call the Office of Admissions at 800.362.0014. 


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.