Olympic medalists visit local DeVry University campus
The public was invited to join students and faculty members of DeVry University’s Irving campus in experiencing the Road to London tour. DeVry University campuses across the country are hosting six tour stops on the two month tour designed to bring the excitement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to local communities.
Through the tour, participants could try their skills at several stations based on Olympic and Paralympic events including bicycling and wheelchair basketball. Visitors could also meet and speak with U.S. Olympic medalists Jordan Malone (speed skating) and LaMont Smith (track and field).
“We are proud to be an educational provider to the United States Olympic Committee,” said John Stuart, President of DeVry Dallas Metro. “Many of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls want to be able to pursue their athletic career and their educational dreams at the same time. So we are committed to providing the highest quality of education by providing them a flexible schedule that will allow them to balance their training and their study time.
“It has been very rewarding to our students to be able to see these Olympians. We have up to 50 Olympians this year that are Devry University students. So we have been able to have that interaction on our campuses this year. We are excited about the upcoming games.”
By meeting people through the tour, LaMont Smith hopes to encourage others to pursue their dreams.
“At some point in time, I think everyone aspires to be an Olympian,” Smith said. “It means a lot that I have been able to achieve that goal. I will always be an Olympian. It is something that is for life.
“I tell people all the time that I really don’t know what it is like to be a teenager. I started as a junior in high school. When my friends were doing senior things, going to parties, hanging out and things like that, I was somewhere training with my coach getting ready for another meet. So I really don’t know what it is like to have those typical teenage years. But in hindsight, I would never trade it, because it made me who I am. It helped me to be disciplined and make tough choices. When I look back at the process, getting there and all the people who help support me are the most important things.
“I remember sitting in my coach’s office and telling him I wanted to be an Olympic athlete, but I didn’t know about all the hard work that went into it. I was pretty young and in college, so I would practice, go to class and go home. There were a lot of things my friends did that I couldn’t do. There was a lot of sacrifice, but when you achieve your goal, it is all worth it.
“I am proud of the choices I made. My mother is no longer here, and I remember handing her my Olympic medal as soon as I left the podium. Those are the things I remember the most, and I take with me. I appreciate the things she and my father taught me and the values they instilled in me mean a lot more now that I am older.
“I hope that when people meet me they realize that dreams do come true, and you can do whatever you want to do. You just have to put in the work and believe that you can do it. You have to work hard, it’s not easy. Know that reaching your dreams it will take sacrifice and tough choice. I believe in them. Anyone who aspires can do reach their goals.”
As an official education provider of Team USA, DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management provide higher education opportunities at undergraduate and graduate levels, including scholarships and a dedicated DeVry staff, for U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls through 2016. Jordan Malone hopes to continue his education through DeVry as he trains for his next Olympic challenge.
“Not many people know that there is a winter Olympian from Denton, TX. People are more invested when they know someone going to the Olympics, so I want to meet people and I want people to know me and help cheer me on in 2014,” Malone said. “I took off from my academic career to focus on the Olympics, because training for short track speed skating is a full time thing. There is not enough time for a job much less going after something academically. I want be the best at both my athletics and academics.
“I took the last two years off after the Olympics in Vancouver to go to Northern Michigan University where they have a small short track program. I’m a normal student. When I’m on campus, I don’t wear my medal around. The only thing that sets me apart from other students is that I saw a dream, I went after it and I accomplished it.
“Now I have to move back to Salt Lake City, and to the rescue comes DeVry University. My financial situation isn’t one where I can go to school and focus on skating at the same time. DeVry comes in and they help the athletes by allowing us a program that works with our schedules and that also financially works with us.
“I’m enrolling in DeVry in the fall with 54 credits into an electrical engineering degree and a 4.0 GPA. I’ll take a few courses over the next two years before the Sochi (Russia) games. I sure like that DeVry is opening up a relationship that will be mutually beneficial.
“When athletes leave the sport they are so passionate about, they often have a hard time finding something else they can be as passionate about. I am very passionate about electrical engineering and more specifically about sustainable alternative energy.”
To read the full article written by Jess Paniszczyn, visit the Irving Rambler.