Siblings Graduate Together, Follow in Their Father’s Footsteps
Growing up in a military family, siblings Abbie (CAS ’20) and Preston Braswell (SOD ’20) are no strangers to separation.
When Preston began his first semester as an undergrad student in Georgia, his younger sister Abbie, who was in high school at the time, moved with their parents to Germany for their father to serve as a chaplain at Ramstein Air Base.
Ironically, that time of separation was also when they became the closest.
“During summer breaks, I went to Germany where our parents were stationed,” says Preston. “I interned with the youth group she was a part of and we had great times serving on the worship team together, doing ministry projects, and going on a mission trip to Hungary.”
Several years later, when he chose to pursue his divinity degree at Regent University, Abbie quickly followed suit after a semester of college in New Mexico.
“I visited Regent during my brother’s first semester as a graduate student, toured the gorgeous campus, and realized I was called to Regent too,” says Abbie.
Now, brother and sister are part of the class of 2020, graduating together — Abbie with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Preston with a Master of Divinity. It was the culmination of a legacy of faith that began 20 years ago with their father, William Braswell (SOD ’00).
William had a dream to become a chaplain in the United States Air Force. While serving as a full-time pastor at a church in Suffolk, Virginia, he also became a full- time student at Regent. Within a year of completing his M.Div. degree, William received his chaplaincy and is currently stationed at Camp Humphreys, Korea, where he serves as the deputy command chaplain for United States Forces Korea.
It was his legacy that inspired both Abbie and Preston to follow in his footsteps.
“Dad would share stories about how great the professors were and how wonderful his education was,” shares Abbie. “I was inspired by his testimonies, and I wanted to experience the same thing — and I certainly have. Regent has deepened our family’s faith and walk with Christ … and opened doors to advance His kingdom through service to our community and our country.”
Her brother Preston agrees: “I chose Regent to pursue my Master of Divinity in part to follow in my dad’s legacy and because I trusted the theology and faculty members associated with the school,” he says. “My father encouraged me to pursue the ministry. Regent served as a place for acquiring a top-quality academic experience. It also brought spiritual transformation to my whole family — and numerous opportunities for leadership and vocation.”
Now as graduates, the siblings are choosing to go their separate ways again. This time they are pursuing the individual callings God has placed on their lives — the military for Abbie and the ministry for Preston.
Abbie plans to pursue her passion of opening a service dog organization for veterans. “My upbringing cultivated a passion for the military and working with dogs. I knew a business degree would help me bring these two interests together for the good of others,” she says.
With his divinity degree, Preston hopes to help those in need of freedom: “I am still not sure what ministry the Lord has called me to, but at this time, I see myself pursuing a law degree to fight for religious liberty and human rights.”
For the Braswell family graduates — father, son, daughter, and daughter-in-law — Regent has been an undeniable legacy of faith. It has prepared each of them to serve as Christian leaders in their respective fields.
“I am forever grateful for the superb education I received,” says Abbie. “And I look forward to fulfilling the charge to be Christian Leadership to Change the World.”