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Cardinal Monthly

August 2019 - Issue 1

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A Word from the Dean

Are you ready to do whatever it takes to become successful?

Why do you want to get your degree? When I get the chance to address attendees at our information sessions, I tell them that in October of 1994, I too was in a similar room listening to a recruiter talk about the small, faith-based, liberal arts college I was looking to attend. I explain that I never dreamed almost ten years to the very day I was in that information session I would be named the dean of an adult degree completion program in San Antonio, Texas. Those in attendance listen intently as I tell them the results of my degree completion. They can relate to what I am saying because some, if not all, have been there or are still there. They want to make that same difference in their lives and arrive at a better position in life like I did.

I remember distinctly why I went back to earn my bachelor's degree at 39 years of age. I was tired of earning an hourly wage. I was tired of working hours that I should be sleeping at home or at times, I could not enjoy a social life with my family. I was tired of doing physical labor and getting worn out every day. I wanted to make decisions and lead others. I knew I had the skills and ability. I knew I had the smarts to make sound decisions. I just did not have the education to get into the position that would let me do it.

I attended the information session in October, and I began classes in January 1995. I took an accelerated course called Winterim. It kicked my butt! It was three weeks in length, four nights a week for 3.5 hours a night. This is not the way to start back to college after a 20 year hiatus. I enjoyed it though, and I managed to get a pretty good grade. More important, I discovered learning is contagious. I wanted more of it. After I graduated in 1998 with my Bachelor's degree in Business, I went directly into my MBA. I knew, to be the leader, I needed to have more schooling and that an advanced degree was going to give me the opportunity. I also knew that if I stopped, it would be difficult to get started again.

I recently heard CMSgt Robert D. Gaylor (Air Force, Retired) speak. He talked about four things a person needs to do to be successful. First was aptitude, or having the skills and abilities needed to get the job done. Second was motivation or what will you do when you are on the job? Third was attitude or how well you will do the job. Finally, bringing all these together is opportunity. You have control over all but opportunity. When the door opens, you need to have honed the other three so you are prepared to take that leap.

I worked third shift, went to class in the mornings, slept in the afternoon, had dinner and spent the evening with my wife, and did my homework before starting the workday all over again.

Opportunities do not open up very often. I was more than ready when the opportunity for the dean's position opened. I have now been dean for 14 years, and I have not regretted a day. I know where many of you are at because I was there. Stick with it and look for those opportunities.

- Vincent Porter, Dean of School of Professional Studies