written by ellen slater | photos provided by cody vasquez
While most 20-year-olds attending college are just finishing up their sophomore year, local resident, Cody Vasquez, has already earned his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Angelo State University. That’s because he was able to start an early college program at age 14 through Midland College. According to Vasquez, the program is geared towards “first-generation” college students. “ I was born in Midland and have three older sisters,” he said. “My parents, Ruben Vasquez and Lori Acuna, as well as my Grandparents are all from here, but I am the first in my family to attend and graduate from college.”
Cody was recognized for “exemplifying the spirit” of DSP during his time at Angelo State University, where he held several executive positions.
Vasquez applied to the Early College Program when he was in the 8th grade at San Jacinto Junior High. For qualifying students, their entire college career – including tuition and books, is paid through by scholarship funds. Cody was one of 76 students from the Midland area who qualified for admittance. “I took high school and college level classes (called dual credit) at the same time,” he explains. “I earned my Associates degree at 17, and that was in General Business Studies. By about the 10th grade I knew I wanted to go into Business, so I took classes in that field, which I knew would transfer to Angelo State University.”
Vasquez graduated in December 2016 from the Early College program. He was the only one from his class of 76 students to do so. In January 2017, he moved to campus at Angelo State University to begin taking classes there, and in May of this year he earned his MBA from the University. And what was the biggest influence that kept him on course during his college years? For Vasquez that’s an easy answer. It was his involvement in DSP Business Fraternity. “ I knew that I wanted to get my MBA because I found its broad base appealing,” he said. “ Through my involvement with DSP, I was able to learn that you can really go into any number of fields with an MBA, and I wanted to have a broad-based job market to enter.”
The national business fraternity is the first co-ed organization of its kind. The group encourages personal and professional development of those pursuing careers in business through service, scholastic and social events. In March, Cody was named the National Collegian of the Year at DSP’s National Conference held in Dallas. He was recognized for “exemplifying the spirit” of DSP during his time at Angelo State University, where he held several executive positions in his chapter including president, senior vice-president, chapter webmaster and vice-president of pledge education.
“The Eta Theta Chapter at Angelo State was rather small when I joined it four years ago,’ he states. “Myself and the other officers revamped the entire chapter. Our goal was to re-establish the growth of the chapter as a whole.” During Cody’s tenure, those goals were accomplished, as the group received both the Most Improved Chapter National Award as well as the R. Nelson Mitchell Outstanding Chapter National Award.
Upon being named the Collegian of the Year, Vasquez received a $5,000 scholarship and also earned a spot on DSP’s Board of Directors. “As Collegian of the Year , there are several initiatives I’d like to focus on,” he said. “The main one being diversity within the fraternity at both the local and national levels. I would like to see such things as inclusion trainings at conferences and making recruitment material appealing to students of different backgrounds.”
“As Collegian of the Year , I would like to see such things as inclusion trainings at conferences and making recruitment material appealing to students of different backgrounds.”
Cody’s interest in inclusion of students from different backgrounds can also be seen outside of his involvement with DSP. He was employed as Activities Manager for Angelo State’s Multicultural Activities program and was also recruitment chair for the Association of Mexican-American students. He also served as a representative for the Multicultural advisory council. “ I worked with Angelo State’s Foreign Exchange students for four years. Each semester I was paired up with a student from a different country,” he said. “The goal was to help them assimilate to the American way of life.” Cody adds that many of his students were from Korea, and as an added benefit he learned a great deal about the Korean culture. “I assisted the students with whatever they needed- dorm life, their studies- anything. I formed a close bond with all of the students I mentored and I’m still in contact with all of them today.”
Vasquez begins his Board of Directors position with DSP in August. The Fraternity’s Chapter Headquarters is in Oxford, Ohio. “In the Fall, I’ll begin travelling to various college campuses and to Fraternity conferences all over the country, so I’m looking forward to that.”
“I formed a close bond with all of the students I mentored and I’m still in contact with all of them today.” -Cody Vasquez-
Cody says he would also like to move back to San Angelo at some point to begin his job search and work on his Ph.D., in high-level project management or leadership instruction. The future looks bright for Vasquez, but he says although work or his education may take him all over the country- he’ll always consider Midland his home. “ All of my family live in Midland – my strong family ties and the great Midland community always draw me back home.” †