Accountant, Houston Astros
AA, General Studies, Missouri State-West Plains
BS, Bus. Administration, University of Missouri
Hometown: West Plains, Missouri
Currently Resides: Houston, Texas
Living the dream.
Michael Harrington always loved baseball and dreamed of one day working for a major league team. After graduating from Missouri State University-West Plains, earning his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia and his Certificate in Public Accounting from the University of Houston, he fulfilled his dream and become an accountant for the Houston Astros.
“With the support of my wife, Kristin, and family and friends, I have been fortunate enough to achieve this goal,” Harrington said.
Harrington chose to attend Missouri State-West Plains for several reasons.
“I participated in the A+ program in high school, so I was able to attend Missouri State-West Plains for free,” he said. “This program is a great opportunity and, if possible, I encourage everyone to take advantage of it. I was able to live at home and work while attending Missouri State-West Plains, which allowed me to save up money to apply toward the final two years of my degree. I also had several friends, including my girlfriend and eventual wife, who decided to go to Missouri State-West Plains, so I was able to further develop those relationships as a freshman and sophomore.”
Kristin transferred to the University of Missouri with him and earned a master’s degree in occupational therapy.
Harrington had a well-rounded college experience at Missouri State-West Plains, excelling in his studies and getting involved in numerous leadership opportunities on campus.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Missouri State-West Plains and am so thankful I chose to obtain my associate’s degree there,” Harrington said. “When I think back to my time there, the one thing that really stands out is how much the faculty and staff genuinely care about the students. Lots of schools make this claim, but I think few can actually live up to it like Missouri State-West Plains can. I was a Student Ambassador, and I loved having the opportunity to share my experiences with prospective students. Rachel Peterson and Melissa Jett were awesome leaders of the program, and I am thankful I got to work with them. I was in the Darr Honors Program, and those classes really helped in my ability to think critically. Dennis Lancaster (who is now the Dean of Academic Affairs) is an excellent professor and his classes taught me to think outside the box and view ideas in different ways. As I’ve grown up, I see the value in those lessons every day. I was also able to go on a trip to China with the group, and that is one experience I will never forget!”
Missouri State-West Plains also helped to prepare him for his current career.
“My goal ever since I was a little kid has been to work for a Major League Baseball team,” Harrington said. “Missouri State-West Plains helped me accomplish this goal by providing an extremely high-quality education at an affordable price and adequately preparing me for my transition to the University of Missouri. Another, more tangible, way the West Plains campus helped me achieve this goal was when I needed to quickly enroll in a class to fulfill a requirement for an internship. After I graduated from the University of Missouri, I was offered an internship with the Houston Astros, but one of the requirements of the internship was to receive college credit. Since I had already graduated, I was not exactly sure what I needed to do. I called up Rachel Peterson in the admissions office and she was able to quickly and easily get me enrolled in a business internship class at Missouri State-West Plains.”
Beyond his professional life, the skills he learned in college also prepared him for his role as treasurer in his church in Pasadena, Texas. “I’m happy to volunteer my time and skills to help oversee the financial well-being of our church,” he said.
“The one word I would used to describe my experience at Missouri State-West Plains is ‘productive.’ I don’t feel like one second of my time was wasted. I was either in class working toward a degree or off-campus working to save money to go toward it. All the classes were relevant and prepared me for the next step in my education,” Harrington said.
“The main piece of advice I would offer prospective students is to pursue your dreams with all your heart,” he added. “Go full-force toward your goal and at the end of the day, if you come up short you will have nothing to look back and regret because you will know you truly gave it your all.”