Vacaville, California, native Aidan Parisian ’08 thought he was ready for college when he attended the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) after high school. Parisian, however, soon found himself adrift and unsure about the future, so he left UCSC to work as a mechanic and a cook. After moving to Boston so his girlfriend (now wife) could attend graduate school, he began devouring business books and discovered a passion for technology.
Fast forward to 2005, and Parisian was ready to start again. He enrolled in the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business and began exploring its clubs and opportunities, including the Honors Program. Although most professors encouraged Parisian to apply, accounting instructor Michael Tomcal (known affectionately to his students as “Coach T”) asked if graduating with a possible “B” average was worth the Honors designation on his degree. Would the tougher classes and heavy workload bring down his GPA and limit his career prospects? A fire was sparked.
Parisian was accepted into the Honors Program and quickly flourished in the challenging, close-knit environment. He completed a double major in economics and accounting, and in 2008 he graduated summa cum laude from the Lundquist College of Business. As a parting gift, he brought a copy of his all-A transcripts to Coach T.
“I figured you’d do it,” said Tomcal with a chuckle.
“Honors gave me the opportunity to interact with other people who were like-minded, people who were seeking out a challenge, who had the mental capacity and the gut to take it on.”
Today, Parisian credits the Honors Program with providing the confidence he needed to thrive as a manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“Quite frankly, Honors saved me,” noted Parisian. “I think it allowed me to reassert myself and to rediscover that I was a high performer and I could execute at a high level, which has led to me being extremely successful in my career.”