Carlos Campo, ’81 BA Theatre Arts, ’86 MA English, ’93 PhD English, was named president of Ashland University in Ohio in 2015. He previously worked as vice president of academics at Regent University before becoming president at that educational institution for more than three years.
The advice I’d give myself as a new graduate … The clear light of 23 years' worth of experience leads me to say don't follow my twisted path to success.
Don't take a part-time job as a valet parker while you try to earn a PhD. Don't work as an academic adviser to athletics at the same time. Don't try to complete a dissertation while trying to raise three children under 10 years of age and stay married. Don't try to grade student essays while attending your sons' little league games. Don't work as an adjunct for years before you finally secure a tenure-track position.
Then I remember how much I learned as an athletic advisor, about what students were really experiencing as they navigated their way through college. I remember learning to stay focused on a task even with the wonderful distraction of a room full of screaming 7-year olds. I remember learning how rewarding and difficult it was to be an adjunct. I realized the grind and glory of completing a dissertation. I learned the discipline of prioritizing a too-busy life. And today, as a university president, all of these valuable lessons inform my work every day.
So, I reconsider and say find your own twisted path and follow where it leads, learning along the way. After you find your way, it may not seem so crooked after all.
The Alumni Advice series is part of our special 2016 commencement week celebrations, which include the annual Alumni Association Awards Program May 12, and the spring graduation ceremonies on May 13 and 14. Join us in congratulating our newest alumni on social media with #UNLVGrad.