Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Program Pride Week Profile: When 'Someday' Finally Arrives, Tim Merrell '12

TURNING SOMEDAY INTO TODAY: Tim Merrell earned his
degree from Peirce in 2012. 
Some days, a student’s first step towards a Peirce degree involves a meeting with an admissions counselor, a visit to our website, or a conversation with an alumni volunteer at a College Fair. For Tim Merrell '12, earning his degree at Peirce involved a first step more literal than most -- he walked into a conference room at his then-employer, Beneficial Bank.

Tim was called into the private conference room by one of his colleagues, a long-time employee of the bank. His co-worker asked to meet because he was concerned that the fact that Tim had not graduated from college was going to halt his career progress.

“You could be president of the bank someday,” the co-worker told him, and went on to assert that Tim’s lack of a degree “hasn't stopped you yet, but it is going to someday.”

Someday.  On many occasions, Tim had thought about someday finishing the college degree he started after high school, but never completed. But there was something about the forthrightness of his colleague's message that made him realize that his “someday” for going back to school had better come sooner rather than later.

 That’s when Tim sprang into action. His employer, Beneficial Bank, had an existing corporate partnership with Peirce. This enabled Tim not only to get a 25 percent discount on tuition, but also gave him a head start on his road to degree completion by allowing him to use his prior college credits and work experience towards his degree.

Once enrolled at Peirce, Tim appreciated the flexibility of the on-campus and online class formats, which enabled him to make his own schedule. This became even more important during his course of study when he and his wife welcomed their son, who is now three and a half years old.

Tim worked hard at his studies, and earned the Business division's scholarship in the process. In 2012, his determination paid off as he graduated summa cum laude from Peirce with a degree in Business Administration. For Tim Merrell, "someday” had finally arrived.

Today, Tim has parlayed his degree into an exciting new professional opportunity. In February, he joined Penn Liberty Bank as a senior vice president.  Penn Liberty is a community bank, which primarily services the Philadelphia suburbs. He will be managing the team in Montgomery County, as well as merchant services.

He readily acknowledges that his Peirce experience was “a stepping stone to new opportunities." Earning his degree as an adult student clearly demonstrated to his new employer his work ethic and character --  “it was not just about a piece of paper.”

Because he recognizes the benefits of his Peirce education, Tim has felt a responsibility to be financially supportive of and active with the College. He encourages his fellow alumni to similarly acknowledge the role Peirce plays in their lives.  In particular, he reminds alumni donors to investigate if their company has a matching gifts program. “It is underutilized and multiplies the impact of what you can do.”

Recently, Tim had the opportunity to pay it forward and help someone else get on their path towards a college degree: “I sat somebody down and told them the same story that had been told to me in that conference room.” The result of that discussion: There is a new student who has started at Peirce.

Tim Merrell is a shining example of the benefits of finishing what you start by taking that first step to "someday," and earning a college degree.