Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. graduated with a Master of Business Administration degree from Liberty University at Lynchburg, Va., May 11.

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

The journey to the MBA came with its challenges, Woods said. During the last year of his 36-hour program, he kicked off his campaign for sheriff. 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,” according to the release.

Woods earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from the UAPB in 2004, according to the release.

“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.”

Woods plans to use the skills he learned and apply them 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.”

The commencement speaker was Vice President Mike Pence. More than 20,000 graduated in Liberty University’s largest class in history, according to the release.

“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.”