Graduate, Bachelor of Arts in Organizational and Corporate Communication
William McKeever received his Bachelor of Arts in Organizational and Corporate Communication this spring at the commencement ceremony held on campus.
William is 44 and a first-generation student; to him and his family, graduation was a major triumph. William is the first of his family to graduate from college; none of his siblings or any of their children have done so. In a note he sent requesting that his first-gen cords be mailed to him in advance of the ceremony, he notes that his mother dropped out of high school because she became pregnant with him and could not finish. It took him a long time to break the cycle and complete his degree as well, and he was determined to be on campus for commencement to experience the honor of receiving his degree.
William traveled across the state, all the way from Killeen, Texas, to receive his degree, and wore his first-generation cords and t-shirt proudly at the ceremony.
Why he enrolled in the program:
I was looking for a program that would complement my background in marketing and graphic design. I initially signed up for the Advertising degree, but changed after my sophomore year when I realized that my life and career were headed towards the nonprofit sector.
His experience with online learning:
This was my first attempt at online learning. It was pretty rough in the beginning. It took me almost a whole semester to get the hang of the speed of the classes and the interaction with the professors. This showed in my initial grades with some Cs and a D that year. However, once I was able to figure it out, I actually grew to love the shortened classes. There was no time wasted and I knew what to expect in each week. Yes, it was a lot more work since it was condensed, but that pressure helped make sure I was on track. The fact that I only took two classes at a time was a lifesaver. Please do not change that format. Breaking up the 12 credit hours by two classes in each half of the semester allows for just enough time to make sure you can complete the work without falling behind in one of the classes.
On what this degree means for his career:
[This degree has played a part in my current employment]. I am currently a director at a local Chamber of Commerce, and I am also in charge of a majority of the communications that go out. From press releases to social media, I am able to do it all because of the training I received at UTEP.
I plan to fully utilize this degree in the nonprofit sector. I am currently looking at going to graduate school for nonprofit management, and this degree will help me communicate effectively in that environment.
On whether he would enroll in this program again if he had to do things over:
I would, actually. Communications is an ever-evolving field, but this program gives you a very strong foundation on what it’s like in the corporate world. You will be able to walk into a job and look at the list of responsibilities and know, with full confidence, that you know how to do every task on that list.
What he would say to prospective online students:
It’s going to be tough. The work will come hard, and it won’t be easy. But stick with it. Take it one week at a time. Before you know it, all your classes will be done and you’re graduating. Also, there will be times where you will want to give up because you won’t feel that you’re making any progress. Don’t do it. Stick it out. The feeling of walking across that stage and hearing them call your name will make all the sleepless nights and long weeks worth it.