Dan Schrider laughs heartily when he thinks back on it now. The morning he was to take the SAT, the then-Atholton High School student overslept. A student who, as he put it, was as focused on fun as he was on schoolwork, he didn't bother to reschedule the college entrance exam.
It wasn't until the Fulton resident enrolled at
In fact, he says, it placed him on the road to becoming CEO of Olney-based
Now Schrider, who graduated from the
He has been named an HCC Distinguished Alumnus of the Year and will spend the school year extolling the benefits of two-year schools. Schrider says many people who transfer from community colleges to four-year schools often don't identify with the former institution once they graduate from the four-year school.
"In my case, HCC was a great beginning for me in terms of taking college courses and beginning a college career, because I really wasn't focused on that while I was in high school," says Schrider, 48, who now resides in
"When I describe my experience at Howard Community," Schrider says, "I say not only did I learn a good bit while I was taking the classes, but in some cases, I learned how to learn in a college atmosphere.
"I never thought about not going to college, but I never put a lot of emphasis on what was going to be next," says Schrider. "The spring of my senior year, when all of my classmates started talking about what their plans were for the fall, I realized, 'Wow, I'm behind the eight ball.' "
Missy Mattey, executive director of the HCC Educational Foundation, says Schrider spoke at the school's August convocation and has also talked with faculty and staff about his experiences, being candid about his initial academic struggles.
"He's just a normal kind of guy who has done pretty well for himself after leaving HCC and continuing his education," Mattey says.
Schrider graduated from College Park with a degree in business administration and went on to earn an MBA in finance from Mount St. Mary's University, taking classes at night while working full time during the day. He began at Sandy Spring as a commercial loan officer and worked his way up the ranks, becoming CEO in January 2009.
"Once I really began to apply myself [in college] and learn some of the basics of how to study and how to prepare things," says Schrider, "I discovered, 'Hey, I'm just as good as any other student.' I probably was a little bit of a late bloomer from an educational standpoint."
Schrider says he hopes to influence students who, like him, leave high school without a clear sense of direction or focus.
"It played a significant role for me to transition from a small-college atmosphere with folks that cared about my progress. It was a significant step for me," Schrider says. "I don't know if I would have been as successful a student had I gone directly into a larger school."