Equipped with a GI Bill and a goal of finally earning a college degree, Tom Albert ’15 entered the Adult Degree Completion program. He achieved his dream and now his oldest son, Matt Albert ‘20, is following his footsteps toward a Dominican degree.
Matt, a star on Dominican’s men’s soccer team in 2018 and then president of the Penguins Student Athlete Advisory Committee (PSAAC), majored in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. Like his dad, he was working toward his degree through the Barowsky School of Business.
“It’s almost a little serendipity,” Tom says.
Their journey to Dominican started when Tom began attending classes on campus and Matt, then a student at San Marin High School, would drop him off at Dominican on his way to club soccer practices. After practice, Matt would pick up his dad. If he was too early or had to wait, Matt would do his homework in Alemany Library.
“That was my first introduction to what it was like here and see campus life during the day,” says Matt, who was named Dominican's Male Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2018 and is now Director of Relationship Services at First Republic Bank. “My dad going to the Dominican allowed me to experience campus life a little earlier than I otherwise would have, which played a role in my decision.”
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Matt enrolled at Dominican two years after his father graduated. Tom had retired from the Coast Guard after 20 years and was starting work as a Response Supervisor with Marine Spill Response Corporation in Richmond, across the bridge from San Rafael and Dominican. He had a yearning to go to college and he wanted to be a role model for his family.
“The GI bill really made possible, so I made the plunge. I couldn’t have asked for a better school and a better location,” Tom says. “I wanted the traditional setting to study. I realized I was older and I was going to be thrown into the gene pool. But the Adult Degree Completion program was at night and it was really a mix of older adults and younger students that were living on campus. It was a great perspective … I view going to school almost like going to work. It’s something that had to be done. Once I got that mindset, it made it easier.”
Tom graduated in May 2015, though he chose not to participate in Commencement ceremonies.
“Maybe in retrospect I should have, but honestly I didn’t want to draw a lot of attention to myself,” he explains. “It was a personal goal and I’m not a flashy person. I just want to keep my head down and plow through it, but my experience at Dominican was great.”
That experience was passed down to Matt. Tom was impressed with small class sizes, faculty-to-student ratio, networking opportunities with alumni, and the tightknit academic and athletic communities at Dominican.
“We talked about some of the faculty here and the coaches here. That’s when I found out about all the resources at Dominican,” Matt says. “He told me business is pretty broad. It gives you a hand in every single camp, so to speak. I thought business would set me up for anything that I wanted to do after graduation. It’s been a great choice so far.”
Matt’s indoctrination at Dominican included taking a “Business Communications” class. It is taught by Dr. Christopher Leeds, professor of management and faculty athletic representative.
“It’s probably been the most applicable class to everyday life, not only to the business world, but getting things done, staying organized and learning how to utilize your materials and write emails in the proper way. I learned valuable skills in that class,” Matt says. “I can go on about all the things Dr. Leeds has done for me. He has been with me every step of the way.”
That would include a pair of internships, serving as president of PSACC following the support and endorsements of Melissa Stoakley, Carly Holboke and Anthony Sassano, and being on the winning team in the inaugural Penguin Tank competition last year, earning Matt and his “Team IMPACT” teammates a $1,000 prize.
A business major was beneficial for Matt. It was for his father, too. At Marine Spill Response Corporation, Tom now manages a staff of seven and oversees the distribution of equipment, boats, and barges.
“Business was the best fit for me. It all worked out. My degree helped me,” Tom says. “I think it’s made me a better person. I think I have a better concept of the business principles that go on in my workplace. It gives me a better idea of the big picture.”