Alumni speaker shares story of perseverance, overcoming obstacles

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As part of The Multicultural Alumni Speaker Series, Vance Fulton gave a presentation in the Alumni Lounge on Thursday, Feb 1.

While attending SVSU, Fulton, a 2012 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, was involved with two fraternities, served as a residence hall advisor and was a member of the Roberts Fellowship Program. He currently works as an internal auditor at Adient, the world’s largest automotive seat manufacturer.

Fulton spoke about the formative experiences of his youth, the importance of hard work and the many people who have had positive influences in his life.

Born and raised on Detroit’s East Side, Fulton said he learned early on the difference between want and need. Fulton has held a job ever since he was 11 years old.

“Nobody really owes you anything in life,” Fulton said. “If you want something, you’re going to have to go out and get it, no matter what.”

Fulton talked about a piece of advice from his father that really stuck with him.

“One of the biggest things,” Fulton said, “that I’ve learned from my dad was, he told me, ‘Vance, as a black man, you’re born with two strikes against you already. Don’t give anybody any other reason to try to put that third strike against you.’”

Fulton’s time as an RA allowed him to eventually become acquainted with members of other faculty and staff around the campus, such as Associate Dean for Student Life and Leadership Bryan Crainer and former Dean of Students Merry Jo Brandimore.

For Fulton, the importance of how getting involved in organizations and groups can lead to so many different opportunities could not be overstated. The relationships that Fulton fostered with faculty and staff during his time at the college were invaluable.

“It’s crazy how God puts these people in your life to really make a change in it,” Fulton said. “I would not have gotten where I am today if it was not for all the individuals who helped me and pushed me to become a better version of myself.”

Fulton cites the encouragement of his mentor, accounting professor Mark McCartney, among others, as a major reason he applied to the Roberts Fellowship Program.

“That program was definitely one of the most important programs as far changing my life, and it also afforded me the opportunity to travel internationally for the first time,” Fulton said.

Daniel Evard, a management sophomore, appreciated the opportunity to hear a former student come back and speak about his experiences and success.

“SVSU is so ingrained in its community and alumni are such a big part of the community here at Saginaw,” Evard said. “It’s just really something special that you don’t really get at every university or college.”

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