For Victor Chatman, a billboard was a sign that it was time to get the education he needed for the career he wanted


BRCC News | Published January 29, 2020

Portrait of Victor Chatman

Journalist Dan Rather once said, “The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who [inspires] you to the next plateau.”

For Victor Chatman, the instructors at Blue Ridge Community College impacted his life by believing in him and encouraging him to pursue his dreams.

After graduating from Batesville High School in Arkansas and working for several years, Victor moved to Western North Carolina to be closer to his girlfriend. He dreamed of earning a bachelor’s degree and starting a career in sports management – all to provide a better life for his two children.

Victor enrolled in Blue Ridge Community College after seeing billboards that promoted an affordable education and hearing from friends that the teachers went above-and-beyond for their students.

While at Blue Ridge, Victor became a work study student in the Fitness Room, working 10 hours per week for Laura Baylor, math and science chair and physical education instructor at the College.

Laura became Victor’s advisor. Following their discussions about his academic and career aspirations, Victor switched to Blue Ridge’s College Transfer program with the goal of transferring to Western Carolina University to earn his bachelor’s degree in Sports Management in May 2021.

Laura also encouraged Victor to use the available campus services and to ask for help when needed, which led him to the Student Success Center. Victor took advantage of tutoring from the Student Success Center in Biology, English, Math, and Spanish throughout his time at Blue Ridge.

Student Success Center Coordinator Wanda Gant recognized Victor’s passion for learning early on. “Victor wanted to genuinely learn and understand the content – not just “get through” the class – as he cares greatly about his education and his future.”

Now enrolled at Western Carolina University, Victor still calls on his Student Success resources at Blue Ridge, recently asking Wanda Gant which computer course would be the best fit for him. According to Victor, Wanda represents so much more than a trusted answer to his questions. “I owe my degree to Wanda. She helped me the most as a student, and I thank her for her continual support and encouragement.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree, Victor is excited to start his career in the management or marketing of a sports team. He is also interested in forming a nonprofit to help revitalize his hometown in Arkansas.