Melanie and Nick Janssen followed in the footsteps of their mother, Mary Kay Janssen, right, to attend Victoria College.
Mary Kay Janssen learned about Victoria College at an early age.
Janssen’s father, David Migl, attended Victoria College in 1950 before he went to fight in the Korean War. Despite Migl’s brief experience at VC, the school still managed to leave quite an impression on his family.
“When I was a kid, I would pull out his yearbook and look at the pictures,” Mary Kay said. “He would always talk about Victoria College. That’s what started my interest in VC. I always heard good things about it, so that’s why I wanted to attend VC.”
Mary Kay attended Victoria College from 1979 to 1981. Her children followed in her footsteps. Her son, Nick Janssen, attended VC from 2008 and 2010, and her daughter, Melanie Janssen, attended VC from 2010 to 2012.
Mary Kay graduated third in her class at Stroman High School. Moments before she walked the stage to get her associate degree at Victoria College, Mary Kay learned she was the class valedictorian.
“I remember walking down a hallway the day of graduation when they pulled me aside,” said Mary Kay, whose sisters Connie and Melissa also attended VC. “I didn’t know what was going on. They said, ‘You’re the valedictorian.’ I didn’t know that was going to happen.”
Mary Kay transferred to Texas A&M University, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1983. She worked at Victoria Bank & Trust for 12 years before taking a job with O’Connor & Hewitt Enterprises, where she has served as a certified public accountant for 23 years.
“Victoria College prepared me well for Texas A&M,” Mary Kay said. “It wasn’t easy, but it was a great place to be. After all these years, it’s great that VC still maintains those high standards.”
Nick, 30, left Victoria College after earning a 3.89 GPA. He transferred to The University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with a mechanical engineering degree.
“It was always understood that I would come to Victoria College because Mom was valedictorian here,” said Nick, who is a commercial HVAC sales representative for Texas Air Systems in Houston. “I wanted to study engineering. But even though I had an A average at St. Joseph High School, I was about 30th in my class, so I knew I wouldn’t get into The University of Texas right out of high school.”
Nick said Victoria College’s Tutoring Center helped him maintain his high GPA and earn acceptance to UT.
“The Tutoring Center was the best thing for me,” said Nick, who was awarded a scholarship to UT from the Victoria College Foundation. “It really helped me with Calculus and other hard classes. I was probably in the Tutoring Center more than I was in the classrooms. Without VC, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into my program of choice at UT.”
Melanie, 27, went on to acquire a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Texas State University after leaving VC.
"I knew I was going to go to college, but I didn't know what I was going to do,” Melanie said. “I was still deciding which university to attend and what degree path I would take."
Mary Kay, who married her husband, Doug, in 1986, was confident Victoria College would help her children succeed at the university level.
“When our children went off to universities, they were well prepared,” Mary Kay said. “That’s because the professors at VC care about you and really want you to succeed. Economically, it is just a wise choice because you get a lot for your money.”
“Victoria College was a smooth transition from high school,” Melanie said. “I’m glad I went to VC before going to Texas State. The interaction among faculty and students is so intimate at VC, much more than at large universities.”
The Janssens said they continue to see Victoria College’s numerous offerings make an impact on the Crossroads region.
“I think many people living in the surrounding communities wouldn’t be able to go to school if it wasn’t for Victoria College,” Mary Kay said. “Plus, all ages are welcome at VC. You don’t feel intimidated if you go back to school later in life.”