When Caleb Troy, ’18, was ten years old, he designed a financial advice newsletter that his family paid to receive each month—to the tune of $80. During the filming of a home renovation show taking place his neighborhood, he setup a lemonade stand in the midst of production and earned a spot on the national program.
“I've always been an entrepreneur—wanting to work for myself and explore my own interests and passions,” Troy shared. It comes as no surprise that the Robins School of Business’ management department’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Track was of interest to him.
University of Richmond wasn’t on Troy’s radar until a tennis spot at another college fell through and he reached out to Men’s Head Tennis Coach Ben Johnson. “Two weeks later I visited the campus and fell in love with it and the guys on the team,” he said. He committed to the University shortly after.
Troy was first introduced to the sport at six years old when he would hit a ball around at a local park. He played in his first tournament when he was nine, and by 13 he was training every day. After playing one year on his high school team, Troy pursued online schooling which gave him the flexibility to train for more hours each day—working out before morning classes and using the afternoon to practice.
“I knew I wanted to play tennis in college, and this was the best decision for me,” he said, “Tennis is unique because recruiters are looking at your results in national tournaments and not your school performance.” He spent the next three years traveling to tournaments across the U.S., and at his peak was ranked #83 nationally and #4 throughout Pa., N.J., and Del. in his age group.
“It was a unique experience joining Richmond’s tennis team because I had been so focused on my abilities as an individual player and was now playing and competing as part of a team. I have learned how to balance my competitiveness with the encouraging team environment,” he said. “Being a part of the team has been the best part of my experience at Richmond.”
Troy is unsure whether he will pursue tennis professionally, but has gained clarity about possible plans during the summer months. “In my hometown outside Pittsburgh I became part of a creative community in which I have been able to develop my photography and creative skills,” he said. “I figured out Instagram isn’t just for bad pictures of your food. I’ve been lucky to be connected with people who showcase their talents on this social media channel and have shared my own work on it, which has opened the door to meeting other photographers.”
His photography began getting noticed, and soon he was one of Instagram’s suggested new users to follow and within days had gained 65,000 new followers. The increase in followers came with new pressure consistently publish engaging content. “As I became busier at Richmond, Instagram was no longer a priority for me. I wasn’t posting as much and my creative process was impacted since I felt like I was doing things only for the sake of taking a picture to post.”
Troy decided to sign off of Instagram for a few months earlier this year because he wasn’t enjoying it anymore. Even though he lost followers, he now feels like he has the freedom to post when and what he wants without any pressure. As a visual arts minor, he is still very active in the creative community, currently exploring projects in music and photography.
“The arts have been a huge part of my experience at Richmond,” he shared. “I’m not sure what direction I will go after graduation, but I’m sure it will involve a creative line of work.”
His innovation and entrepreneurship courses and activity with Dr. Susan Cohen and Professor Eric Martin have opened his eyes to the possibilities of life post UR. Last May he participated in the Spiders in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Road Trip to NYC. “I was able to see the startup industry in the city and witness people who are creative in different ways doing what they love, whether in finance, journalism, or the food industry. They are pushing the envelope with their innovation, and are financially successful in their pursuits. That gave me a lot of confidence to pursue my passions,” he shared.
In the meantime, Troy is looking ahead to the coming academic year with his sights set on some big wins for him and his tennis teammates.