Roderick Calvin Cunningham Receives Honorary Doctorate Degree From West Coast Bible College & Seminary

Fort Worth, Texas – Wednesday, May 1, 2024 – Roderick C. Cunningham is the Chief Executive Officer of Chief Empowerment Network, LLC, and retired Chief Master Sergeant from the United States Air Force. He has been conferred an Honorary Doctorate from West Coast Bible College & Seminary (WCBCS). This distinguished accolade is set to be formally bestowed upon him at the ceremonial event scheduled for June 1, 2024, accommodating attendees in-person and online.

Dr. Phillip S. Porter, President of WCBCS, shared his enthusiasm: “We are deeply inspired by Roderick’s proven leadership, youth mentoring and steadfast commitment to community and military service. It’s our privilege to welcome him into the esteemed West Coast family.”

Roderick “Rod” Cunningham’s life story is a remarkable tapestry of resilience, leadership, and unwavering commitment to service. Born into the stark realities of Jacksonville’s housing projects to a 15-year-old mother, Rod’s early years were marked by profound challenges, including the loss of his biological father and the emotional and physical abuse he and his mother endured at the hands of his step-father. Yet, these circumstances did not stifle his spirit; instead, they fueled his determination to rise above.

He found his calling in the United States Air Force. He was able to travel around the world to places like Germany, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, England, Pakistan, Hawaii, and Alaska, during his illustrious 29-year career in the Air Force, culminating in the senior leadership rank of Chief Master Sergeant, representing the top 1% of the enlisted corps.

Upon retiring from the USAF in February 2016, Rod channeled his leadership prowess into a pivotal role as Vice President at the Pinellas County Urban League. His journey of empowerment further unfolded as he took the helm of Chief Empowerment Network LLC as CEO in April 2018, coinciding with the launch of his seminal book, “CLIMB: Face Your Past Own Your Future.” As a transformational speaker and mindset coach, Rod has become a luminary, guiding individuals, especially youth, on their paths to personal and emotional wellness. Rod has profoundly affected over 38,000 individuals through his compelling speeches and seminars on leadership and emotional wellness, catering to esteemed organizations such as the US Air Force, DEA, FBI, Miami-Dade College, Northwestern Mutual, and John Hopkins Hospital.

In June 2023, under Rod’s visionary leadership, Chief Empowerment Network expanded its offerings to include self-publishing, editing, and marketing services, and launched the innovative “Pages2Stages” program. This initiative mentor’s new authors to amplify their messages from written narratives to influential paid speaking engagements, flourishing in the marketplace.

Rod’s service extends into the realms of fraternity and veterans’ affairs. He serves as Florida’s Military Affairs Chairman for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc, and hosts a weekly Zoom podcast that provides veterans with spiritual, emotional, and practical support, particularly in navigating VA disability compensation. His commitment to military excellence was also demonstrated through his role on the U.S. Congressional Selection Board for the Five Military Service Academies, to include West Point, US Air Force Academy, US Naval Academy, etc.

In addition to his professional and community achievements, Rod has been a personal mentor to over 300 inner-city youths. His influence has touched lives across the Department of Juvenile Justice in Florida and Mississippi, elementary to high schools, the Pinellas County Job Corps, and numerous youth programs throughout Jacksonville and the Tampa Bay area. He has been a guiding light for these young individuals, offering them wisdom and opportunities to pivot away from adversity and toward success.

Rod will receive his MBA in Project Management from Keller Graduate School of Management in June 2025, Master’s Certificate in Project Management from Robert Morris University, and Bachelor of Arts in Information Systems from Bellevue University.

At the heart of Rod’s life is his family. With his wife Valerie Nicole, their three children, and seven grandchildren, he embodies the very essence of mentorship and compassion that he imparts to the world. Rod Cunningham’s biography is not merely a record of achievements; it’s a reflection of a man who has taken his past experiences as lessons to mentor, inspire, and elevate those around him, both in his home and in the broader community.

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Roderick Calvin Cunningham on the well-deserved honor of receiving an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Ministry from West Coast Bible College & Seminary.

About West Coast Bible College and Seminary

West Coast Bible College and Seminary was founded with the mission to provide affordable Christian education. The institution offers programs such as the Diploma of General Ministries, Associate of Ministry, Bachelor of Ministry, and the Certification in Family Success. In partnership with Success Training Institute, West Coast also offers students the opportunity to earn soft skills certifications, gain access to virtual internship programs, earn additional funds for college, and more. As a leading provider of soft skills training, West Coast equips its students with valuable skills such as leadership, time management, focus, conflict resolution, and more. To learn more visit,