Alumni Spotlight: Larry Baldwin
UT College of Business Administration alumnus Lorance (Larry) Baldwin is spending the weeks following graduation from the Professional MBA program (often known as ProMBA) somewhere very different from his classmates---Balad, Iraq. As a First Lieutenant and troop executive officer of the Tennessee Army National Guard, Baldwin has enjoyed life as a “citizen-soldier” since his enlistment in 1999 at the age of 29. He found the experience to be extremely fulfilling and crossed over from being an enlisted soldier to becoming a commissioned officer in 2005. His current deployment with Troop I, 3/278th ACR is in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and, at press time, Baldwin communicated with us from Kuwait via e-mail.
“I felt that something was missing from my life at the time, so I enlisted,” says Baldwin. “By accepting a greater level of responsibility in my troop and the community, I feel I can better serve my soldiers and my neighbors. I am eligible for promotion to captain, and I hope to achieve this goal within the next six to eight months.”
Baldwin was born in Florida, but raised in Virginia before moving to Knoxville, Tennessee. He has worked as a registered respiratory therapist since 1991, first for Baptist Hospital, then East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, and now as the primary diagnostic therapist for Pulmonary and Sleep Consultants, LLC. He chose to pursue the ProMBA program and earn his graduate degree for a multitude of reasons including the college/program’s top rankings, location, and high praise from many of the area’s top employers.
“The opportunities to learn and work alongside qualified adult students and faculty provided me an opportunity to grow personally and examine what other adult students were doing to better prepare themselves for job growth into the next decade,” says Baldwin. “Attending the ProMBA classes allowed me to work with peers who are masters of their industries. I don't think another program could offer such immersion into public relations, sales, manufacturing, and logistics all at the same time. The faculty was able to utilize every student's strengths to allow them to assist other class members to fully understand the subject.”
Baldwin’s undergraduate degree, also from UT Knoxville, was in sociology. Not having a business-related undergraduate degree was a challenge when pursuing a graduate degree in businses, but a manageable one. “By not having a business background, I did experience some growing pains,” says Baldwin, “but was able to overcome these shortcomings with the help of my instructors and classmates. UT's ProMBA program is the most comprehensive way to learn that I know of. Everyone involved takes an active role in helping each other gain the knowledge needed to succeed in the business world.”
After almost a year and a half of challenging coursework, Baldwin was deployed shortly before his class graduated. However, while he could not be there in person, his family made sure he was not forgotten by bringing a life-size, cut-out of Larry to the graduation ceremony. “Flat Larry,” as his classmates and professors called it, was presented with the traditional graduate hood in front of a teary-eyed audience.
Baldwin has been married for seven years to his wife, Amanda, and they have a six-year-old son, William. In his off-time (which appears to be limited!), he enjoys hunting and “dabbles” in collecting coins. When the weather is right, his family enjoys hiking in East Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains.
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