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November 5, 2020

Business graduate shaped by his college experience

In his first hour, on his first day of class, George Hornbeck’s future changed forever. “I learned about the power of compound interest,” he says, laughing.

“On my first day in class, I learned how the power of investing could change my life. Now, I use that lesson to help others change theirs.” George Hornbeck

Hornbeck had come from Hutchinson, Kansas, to get a business administration degree from JCCC. He was running late to Personal Finance 101. There was only one seat – in the front row. Professor Jim Lash pointed at Hornbeck and asked, “What would you do with $50,000?” Hornbeck described a car he’d dreamed of for years.

Lash then told him about a better way to use the money. Hornbeck recalls, “He showed me how $50,000 invested with compound interest made a lot more sense. I turned that lesson into my career.”

Before Hornbeck graduated, he’d have several other experiences at JCCC that would make a big impact on his life as well.

Smart use of a phone

One day in marketing class, Professor Lynn Richards told the students about Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE, now Enactus), a club that encourages students to raise money for nonprofits and help local small business owners. Hornbeck recalls writing plans for business owners, but says the club’s most meaningful project was collecting used cellphones that they turned in to Sprint for cash.

“We made a huge, old-style cellphone collection box out of a refrigerator box, then put it in the Student Center,” recalls Hornbeck. “We collected so many phones we had to carry them out in trash bags several times a week. For every phone we collected, Sprint gave us a specified dollar amount, which we donated to a women’s shelter in Kansas City.”

Hornbeck says the campaign received second place in the national SIFE competition. “This was an incredibly rewarding experience, and all because of JCCC,” says Hornbeck.

Hornbeck says he also learned business and customer service fundamentals at JCCC that he uses daily in his work as a wealth advisor for a financial services company. But one non-business course in particular opened his eyes to a brand-new passion.

“If it weren’t for taking a humanities class as part of my degree, I would never have gone to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art,” says Hornbeck. He went as part of an assignment and fell in love with art. “Since then, I’ve gone to art museums around the world, but the Nelson is probably my favorite place on earth.”

“I came out of JCCC so well-rounded,” Hornbeck continues. “I received a real-world education from some of the best mentors I’ve ever had. I was very prepared for my future.”

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