It’s no secret that the Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences has a diverse student body. With 25 academic departments represented –– spread across the sciences, humanities and social sciences –– its graduates go on to excel in a wide careers.
It’s also no secret that an impressive number of Arts & Sciences alumni are choosing to start their own businesses after graduation, sometimes in fields quite different than those they studied in school. To get an idea of just how varied these business ventures can be, we talked to nine A&S entrepreneurs to learn about how they used the skills they learned at Baylor to achieve success in the marketplace.
Vincent Harris (BA ’09)
Harris Media, LLC
A political junkie since middle school, Vincent Harris had already worked on a lengthy list of political campaigns before he could legally drive. Today, he is the founder and chief executive officer of his eponymous (and very successful) digital advertising and marketing firm, Harris Media, LLC. It’s based in Austin and boasts a client list that includes U.S. Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell, former Texas Governor Rick Perry and even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
While at Baylor, Harris began as a political science major, but he was inspired to switch after some meaningful time spent in Scripture.
“I started at Baylor early, the summer right after high school,” he said. “I was working on Van Taylor’s congressional race in Waco, plus I was eager to start school. I spent a lot of time that summer reading scripture outside North Village, and I decided to change my major to religion. I was raised in a Christian household but I would say I really became a Christian at Baylor.”
Harris’ theology courses were some of his favorites at Baylor, including one with Dr. Barry Harvey whose final exam remains the most challenging Harris ever saw.
“There was only one question –– ‘Who is God?,’” Harris said. “(Dr. Harvey) told us he’d received one-sentence answers and some (that were) multiple pages long. Scariest final I ever took.”
Harris’ work on local, state and national campaigns throughout his time at Baylor sometimes dictated his course schedule, as when he elected to study abroad in Maastricht, Amsterdam, for its conveniently front-loaded semester.
“One of the reasons I did the Maastricht program was that all the coursework was done in two months or something like that, leaving time for me to come back to the States and work on Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign,” Harris said. “And I remember that in fall 2008, I tried to pack all my classes into a Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday schedule, leaving Thursday and Friday to commute down to Austin to work on Senator John Cornyn’s reelection campaign.”
Nothing if not ambitious, Harris finished his bachelor’s degree in just three years, and during that time managed to be an active member of the social fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon and, for two years, Baylor student government.
“And I may or may not have been a member of The Grand Noze Party, as well,” Harris said. “Being a Noze brother might have been the coolest thing I did while at Baylor.”
When he’s not masterminding digital strategies for some of the biggest names in politics, you just might find him in Waco — the city he considers his hometown.
“I’m up there a lot. I teach a political science class at Baylor,” Harris said. “I know I’ve lived in Austin for six years, and I grew up an hour outside D.C., but I met my wife and my best friend at Baylor. I became a Christian there. I became who I am in Waco.”