Douglas Schatz

Douglas Schatz earned his bachelor's degree in accounting at age 41 and his MBA at age 43, both from EKU.

The story of Douglas Schatz proves that life’s barriers are made to be overcome.

“I was a nontraditional student,” Schatz recounted. “Probably as far to the older spectrum as you can get.”

Now 50 years old, Schatz earned his Bachelor of Arts in accounting from Eastern Kentucky University in 2012 and finished his education with an MBA in 2014.

Earning his degrees was not without its difficulties. Before enrolling at EKU, Schatz worked as a department manager for Home Depot, but he left due to a back injury that made it difficult to continue. One of the doctors he spoke to about the injury suggested that he continue his education. At the time he was a high school dropout.

“I was young and dumb (in high school),” said Schatz. “I was also involved in drugs, some of the heavier ones. It was all my doing.”

In Mar. 2022, Schatz will celebrate 25 years of sobriety from methamphetamines.

Starting college, Schatz was not without his own trepidations. Even at his age, he experienced similar anxieties as traditional students.

“I was worried about how intense the classes might be and whether or not I’d be able to handle them. I didn’t want to do half a semester and drop out and have student loan debt,” said Schatz. “I took it on like it was my job to go to school. I wasn’t working at the time.”

Schatz worked as a student desk worker during his second semester until the end of his senior year. He spent most of his shifts in Sullivan Hall.

Schatz also had other unique challenges when he began his work as a graduate student.

“When I was doing my master’s degree, I was attending as a separated father,” said Schatz.

As finances grew tighter, Schatz lived in EKU’s Brockton Apartments with his son while going through his divorce.He said the apartments were, “Not so great for non-traditional students. Now they have the Scholar House. It looks a lot nicer.”

After overcoming challenges, Schatz looks back fondly on his time at EKU.

“It was a really good experience,” he said. “I enjoyed the whole lifestyle, the learning experience. I enjoyed going to the library for the most part, the studying.”

Although it wasn’t enjoyable for him all the time, he cherishes the opportunities he took to, “relax and learn, rather than turn and burn.”

“EKU helped me develop my priorities and find my moral compass and where I want to be,” said Schatz.

To future Colonels, Schatz had a few words of advice. Schatz said, “No matter what the challenge is, you are getting an education for a reason. Do the best you can and follow your dreams. Develop an A-plan, a B-plan and a C-plan so you can keep moving forward and not get stuck.”

Schatz currently works at Valvoline as an accountant overseeing the company’s retail services. He lives in Richmond with his new fiancée and 18-year-old son. They hope to purchase a house in the area.

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