By Shelby Longland, C’13

When Andrew Bowers, C’13, found out he was going to be a father for the first time, he asked himself, “How can I set a good example for my child, and how can I create a better future for her?” His answer: return to school. Although Bowers was already working a good job at Capital One, he felt that earning a bachelors degree would ensure a secure future for his family and would create a precedent for his daughters.

When it came time to choose a program, Bowers looked to his friends for advice. Two of his co-workers had attended the School of Professional and Continuing Studies at the University of Richmond and offered “nothing but rave reviews” about the school. Bowers took their word for it and decided to enroll in the Information Systems program.

Although he originally decided to enroll in the program for his daughters’ sake, Bowers has since developed strong personal connections with Richmond. When the University requested student input for the naming of the new student activities center, Bowers was quick to propose “The Web.”  His suggestion earned the most votes. Bowers attended the grand opening of The Web, not just for himself but also for his School; he was “proud to represent SPCS in its 50th anniversary year.”

Bowers also joined the SPCS Student Government Association. This helped Bowers engage with his classmates and the University in a meaningful way. Participating on campus was useful for professional connections, as well. Even before graduating from SPCS, Bowers was “promoted after ten years in the same job” thanks in part to connections he established at SPCS. Bowers recognizes that meeting new people and establishing relationships is an important aspect of the Richmond experience.

Being an involved student and a father of two young children hasn’t been easy. Bowers reflects that it is extremely difficult to balance his work, school and family time. But he continues to remind himself that it will all be worth it in the end. He knows that having a college degree will show his daughters “the value of education” and create a good life for the family.

Bowers originally decided to return to school to pursue a degree on behalf of his family. He could have simply attended his classes then returned home. Instead, he decided to create personal connections and experiences with the University that he hadn’t originally intended. This resulted in a richer, more meaningful education—a true Richmond experience. Even though balancing his time is difficult, Bowers still proclaims, “Your college experience is whatever you make it, so make it a good one!”

After graduating this May, Bowers is looking forward to relaxing with his family and spending more time with his daughters.