Year at Victoria College prepared farmer, rancher for the ‘real world’

Sklar Shane Sklar attended Victoria College for one year before transferring to Sam Houston State University.

One of the first things Shane Sklar learned growing up on his family’s Jackson County farm and ranch was to always expect the unexpected.

“You never know what is going to happen one day to the next,” Sklar said. “You are always going to have the unexpected happen when you’re dealing with animals and crops.”

Sklar’s college plans also took an unforeseen turn after he graduated from Edna High School. He was originally going to attend Sam Houston State University, but a lean crop year prevented him from attending the Huntsville school. Instead, Sklar took one year of classes at Victoria College and has never regretted it.

“When you grow up in an agricultural family, every year is not a good year,” Sklar said. “At about the time I was graduating from high school, things weren’t the best for us, so I was encouraged to look at community college options. Victoria College provided me an affordable, quality education. I didn’t spend all of my money for college at the start. I was glad my parents pointed me in that direction.”

The proximity to Victoria College allowed Sklar to continue assisting on his family’s farm and ranch. He also developed a business-like mindset during his one year at VC.

“Victoria College was my segue to the working world,” Sklar said. “My job was attending Victoria College. I would wake up, go to my morning classes and then come back home to help on the farm and ranch.”

Sklar served as student body president during his year at VC.

“I encourage all students at Victoria College to be part of the organizations that are available on campus,” Sklar said. “I believe that provides you the full college experience. I made new friends, many of whom I still have today.”

Sklar transferred to Sam Houston State, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in agricultural business. Sklar worked for U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards before serving as the executive director of the Independent Cattleman’s Association of Texas for four years. He later returned to Edna to rejoin his family’s farming and ranching business.

“I enjoy being outdoors and on the land,” said Sklar, who has also worked as a land man in the oil and gas industry. “That’s why I have chosen this occupation.”

Ten years ago, Sklar received an offer to join the Victoria College Foundation’s board of directors. He accepted the offer and has enjoyed giving back to the school where he built the foundation for his own college career.

“I really like being part of different groups to help decide what funding we can come up with to help students,” Sklar said. “There is a sense of pride to be a part of the foundation that does such good and to see the smiles on the students’ faces who are awarded these scholarships.”

Sklar also takes joy in seeing Victoria College’s impact on the region’s workforce.

“You can’t measure how much Victoria College means to industry, healthcare and other career fields not only in Victoria County, but in surrounding counties as well,” Sklar said. “Victoria College’s role in providing qualified employees for our workforce is invaluable.”

Sklar now believes his one-year detour from his original college plans was a blessing in disguise.

“Victoria College was a training ground for me as far as following through with tasks, whether that be in a field or working cattle,” Sklar said. “VC taught me what the real world was going to be like.”

by Coy Slavik, Communications Specialist, Victoria College