Willson Proud to be CSCC Alum

Willson Proud to be CSCC Alum

Holly Vincent
Thursday, May 14, 2020 12:00 AM
Alumni, Students, Community

When Cleveland State alum Hugh Willson graduated from college, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do for a career. Although his degree is in finance, it was his love of marketing that led him to his current position as the managing partner of VIP Promotional Products in Athens, a company that imprints manufacturing floor mats and other promotional items.

A graduate of McMinn County High School, Willson went to Tennessee Wesleyan University (TWU) right after high school. After a year at the college, he had a change of heart. He decided to enroll in Cleveland State, a college he was already familiar with having taken dual enrollment courses there in high school.

“I thought I would just get my associate degree first,” stated Willson. That way, I would at least have a two-year credential in case I decided not to pursue a bachelor’s degree.”

During his time at CSCC, Willson had a number of memorable instructors, one of which was a former dual enrollment instructor, Paul Puckett, or “P-Squared” as his students called him.

Willson said, “He turned out to be one of my favorite instructors at Cleveland State. I had him for several classes. He was very accommodating, thorough and helpful with all maths, not just the ones I took with him.”

Willson credits his knowledge of accounting to Jim Meir, another of his favorite CSCC instructors. “Everything I learned about accounting, I learned from CSCC. Mr. Meir’s classes were both enjoyable and informative. He made it easy to follow along—which isn’t always the case with an online class.”

According to Willson, CSCC got him back on the right track academically. “CSCC really helped prepare me for TWU and the workforce. It made me want to do well and learn, and I was able to retain what I learned.”

Willson comes by his admiration of CSCC honestly as his father, Paul Willson of Niota, has taught for the college and has been on the Board of Trustees for a number of years. And now Willson himself is currently a member of the Alumni Council for the college, something he chose to do after he had such a positive experience as a student.

“I wanted the opportunity to give back to the college and to help the college reconnect with alumni, stated Willson. “This was a great opportunity for me to help the school and make a difference.”

When it came time for him to pursue his bachelor’s degree, Willson made the decision to go back to TWU, something he refers to as a “seamless transition.” All of his classes transferred to the college, and his experience at CSCC helped him prepare for this next step in his educational journey.

Willson stated, “It is a great way to get a degree without being $100,000 in debt through student loans. That is definitely one of the benefits of Cleveland State. This day in time, I think people are crazy not to pursue post-secondary education because at CSCC, it’s free! I had friends who didn’t want to go to college because they said it wasn’t for them, but they still ended up getting degrees from CSCC because they found things they liked there like law enforcement training and welding.”

Willson continued, “I encourage many people that are on the fence about college to at least try it. Education is one of those things they can’t take away from you. Once you have a degree, you’ve got it, and a degree makes you a lot more marketable!”

For more information on Cleveland State Community College, visit clevelandstatecc.edu or contact the Athens Center at (423) 745-8486. Summer semester begins on May 26, and fall semester begins on August 24.

Photo Cutline: CSCC Alum Hugh Willson


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