Andrew Ratchford ’11
Occupation: Asset Manager with Graycliff Capital Partners LLC
If it were not for the interdisciplinary studies degree [at NGU], I would not have been flexible enough to move from local missions to an affordable housing developer to a public official and now to a private real estate investment firm. Dr. Bruce gave me the audacity to believe that focusing on several things does not have to make me a jack of all trades and a master of none; but instead, I can pursue excellence in whatever situation I find myself in. The first example was when I went to him for advice regarding my major. I was not happy with the major I entered with and was seeking. Dr. Bruce helped me decide to switch majors into [interdisc, with components in history, English, and political science].
After NGU, I was allowed to practice a portion of my senior seminar thesis, which focused on asset-based community development. I gave up my goal to attend law school and moved to a disadvantaged community in Greenville, where I worked with local ministries, schools, and community members to bring new life to the area. I went through the low-income rental and homeownership process and was nominated as the community president. I ran a community garden — [with] over $100,000 in donations . . . and more than 2,500 volunteers from Maine to Miami — where we grew food and gave it back to the community.
Eventually, I began working for an affordable housing nonprofit, where I secured funding to build and manage new affordable housing in the community where I lived. I continued ministering to low-income families and began to build a network and work history. Currently, I am an asset manager for a $400+ million real estate portfolio. We own and manage multifamily and assisted living facilities. I gained experience in this field while working for the affordable housing nonprofit. My flexibility and analytical skill continue to afford me success in this new endeavor.