For Fred Vernon the path to becoming a successful Lamar University student has been a winding one.
A junior accounting major, he hopes to eventually become a partner after completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Lamar University.
“It’s been great. I’m learning about business. I’m learning about myself. One of the senior partners is a Lamar University graduate. He’s been working with me a lot, teaching me about business and coaching me along the way,” Vernon said.
Not all of the jobs Vernon has held since graduating from Memorial High School have related as directly to his long-term goals. After high school, Vernon started going to welding school at night while working as a welder during the day.
He saved his money and enrolled full time at Tyler Junior College. The money didn’t stretch as far as he had hoped. After two semesters he was back home, getting certified in combination welding and going back to work as a welder while going to school at Lamar State College-Port Arthur and San Jacinto College to become a certified welding inspector. “Toward the end, I decided I can’t keep doing this. I don’t want to work outside in the heat. I didn’t know I wanted to do accounting yet, but I knew I had a knack for business,” Vernon said.
He completed a degree at Lamar State College-Port Arthur and transferred to Lamar University. He decided to major in accounting because of his strong performance in his first two accounting classes and the encouragement of Ann Watkins, chair of the Department of Accounting and Business Law.
Vernon cites the approachability and availability of faculty and staff as one of his favorite things about Lamar University. “I believe when people see someone who is driven and ambitious and has a well-defined goal, people are eager and willing to help someone like that,” Vernon said.
Vernon expects to be the first in his family to graduate from college. In addition to pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting, he plans to complete his MBA and Master of Science in Accounting degrees at Lamar University. He credits God and his mother as two of the reasons he has achieved what he has so far. “The work ethic and discipline she instilled in us as children at that age has undoubtedly made an impact.”