Terrance Vaughns ('07): Classroom lessons, life lessons led to early success
"I don't raise no dummies!" That statement is a fond recollection for Terrance Vaughns ('07), who remembers his grandmother, Frances Vaughns, saying that to him because of her high expectation level of his abilities and intelligence.
"I spent a lot of time with my grandma because I was raised in a single-parent home. She instilled a lot of my DNA with her core values such as work ethic and treating people with respect. Because I did respect her so much, I took note of what she said."
The former Clarion University student athlete, who graduated with a double major in management and industrial relations from the College of Business Administration, was considered a scholar-athlete because of his excellent grades, as well as his role in the basketball team as shooting guard and point guard. His sports skills led him to being named Male Athlete of the Year in 2006 when he was a senior.
"But my grades were always important to me," said Vaughns. "It's important to not go through your high school and college career and just play a sport, but to use your brains as well, because there's got to be life after basketball. Academics were always important to me. I knew it was my future, and it laid the foundation for the rest of my life."
Though Vaughns credits his family for encouraging his achievements, he also speaks highly of his time spent earning his degree at Clarion University for helping him make the successful transition to adulthood.
"Clarion had a lot to do with helping me develop as a man," Vaughns said. "You come into college young, eager, mischievous. Clarion helped me face life in the real world. I learned a lot of those life lessons through the classroom and the people I interacted with, and that helped me be successful at an early age in my career."
Currently a manager of territory sales with W.W. Grainger, a Fortune-500 industrial supply company, Vaughns, who lives in Elgin, a suburb of Chicago, believes his quickly ascending management path is connected to life lessons he learned at Clarion University.
"I remember being a freshman and taking a business course with Dr. (Kevin) Roth, and I wasn't doing my absolute best," said the Uniontown native. "He put some time aside from his busy schedule and sat down with me to talk through how I could get better with the coursework and pointed out some additional things I could get out of the class. He recognized potential in me and was concerned I might be dropping the ball. It's that personal touch that remained with me."
He also recalled taking a collective bargaining class, one of many that he still uses today.
"It was about negotiating, like a union/management type of class, and we had the opportunity to dive into real life scenarios," said Vaughns. "We basically negotiated a contract, and it had a huge preparation element and involved a huge aspect of give and take, which I've taken into my current role. Experiences like that that have been very impactful."
He also made lifelong friends at Clarion University who are still an integral part of his life today.
"My best friends are all the ones I have from college," Vaughns said. "They were on the basketball team, and we literally spent all of our college careers together. That's another way Clarion shaped me – it helped me create the relationships I still have today. The culture and the people are what make any institution worth its salt, and at Clarion, everyone wants you to be successful. That really shined through."