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CBC Alumni Stories

I remember driving from Conway to my job in Little Rock one day and I heard a commercial for the PACE program on the radio. I was vaguely familiar with PACE but this commercial mentioned a new degree program, Business Administration. I had been in outside sales and even owned my own business before going to work for the company I was representing at that time but felt like I was being held back by not having a degree.

Personal Competitive Edge

This was not a new feeling. I knew I had to do something to gain a personal competitive edge, since I was an older person competing with younger college graduates. It didn’t seem to matter what other people’s degrees were in. They seemed to have an advantage and they were considered “promotable” because of it.  One of the things I told myself for many years was that a degree was just a piece of paper and I could succeed without it if I worked hard enough. Although there is some truth in that statement, I didn’t know what I didn’t know at that time. Now I know what it takes to earn that “piece of paper” and what comes with it.

My Career Path

My name is Mark Stuart and I recently graduated from Central Baptist College with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Originally from Pine Bluff, AR, I have resided in Conway, AR since 1981. I attended CBC through the PACE program. Since the PACE program meets in the evening, I was able finish my degree without interfering with my job. I attended classes at Camp Robinson and the Conway campus. Both were convenient for me since I was working in Little Rock when I started. While attending CBC I had the opportunity to change employers, improving my income, work environment, and career path. Even though the employment options available to me are more varied after receiving my degree, I decided to stay in the same field.

An Easy Decision

Three of my children and one of my sons-in-law graduated from CBC, so choosing CBC was an easy decision for me. The cost to receive the high-quality instruction makes CBC an excellent value in my opinion. The only regret I have would be not starting sooner. I was 54 years old when I started and was able to complete by degree in four years without taking any summer or concurrent classes. I had a few credits that transferred from the community college I attended in the late 70’s. I could have finished sooner by taking more than one class per “block” and by taking classes in the summer sessions, but that wasn’t what worked best for me.

My CBC Experience

My experiences in the PACE program were very positive for me both personally and professionally. All the students I encountered were serious about continuing their education and this added to the classroom environment and learning experience. When you are surrounded by people who want to succeed and who are encouraging you to succeed with them, the outcome is amazing. The instructors in the PACE program are equally excited to be working with serious students and offer challenging instruction that helped prepare me for a brighter future. They were also very encouraging and accessible during each course. The instructors at CBC aren’t just interested in your academic performance but are deeply interested in your spiritual growth too. Many classes start with prayer and each 5-week class (Block) has a Chapel message from one of the Bible professors. Encouragement is the theme of the PACE program and its instructors.

Start Your Journey

If you are considering starting college for the first time or finishing a degree you started before, Central Baptist College’s PACE program is my recommendation for you. Based on my experience I would assure you that CBC is the best place to start your journey forward.

Written by Mark Stuart, Class of 2018

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