Whataburger Scholarship Alumnus Update

October 1, 2018

Public Information Officer


St. Philip’s College’s second recipient of the $15,000 The Whataburger Scholarship---endowed through the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation by Tom Dobson, owner of Whataburger---is a community college-degreed scholar and member of San Antonio’s startup and corporate government communities who seamlessly transferred to Texas A&M San Antonio, where the university’s communications team reports he is accomplishing distinctively.

Harry Staley, Jr., is an alumnus of the Texas Business Hall of Fame scholarships program that was part of his illustrious St. Philip’s College experience. He dined with billionaires during his Hall of Fame scholarship ceremonial experience in 2015. He cherished his opportunity to walk the graduation stage with St. Philip’s College in May of 2017. In between, he worked tirelessly and enjoyed an amazing St. Philip’s College lifestyle. In 2018, the Hall of Famer from St. Philip’s College is the subject of the Sept. 24 university e-report Harry Staley (Student).

Staley is living proof that that a catastrophic retinal detachment cannot always slow down a person determined to reach his entrepreneurial goals. 

In 2000, Staley lost a retina. A college scholarship. His place in that school. He found himself living on the razor's edge. Of homelessness. Of blindness. "I struggled to find the most basic of jobs. Even though the Americans with Disabilities Act was the law, I still could not find work. Due to my perceived limitations as an employee, time after time I heard managers say, ’I don't think you would be the right fit for our company' even though I had all of the qualifications," Staley once told a reporter.

Staley went a long way. Starting his own business. Becoming a rising team member in the Army contracting community in Military City U.S.A.. And becoming the college's second recipient of the $15,000 The Whataburger Scholarship, among other corporate government recognitions and accomplishments.

One week before his first college graduation day back in 2017, he shared a pro-graduation, pro-Hall of Fame scholarship story that stands the test of time for inspiring others. St. Philip’s College students graduating from the college in December, and students applying in coming months for the 2019 version of the scholarship competitively held by 2018 The Whataburger Scholar and entrepreneur Debra Kemp .

"It will be exciting to be in an auditorium full of students who are graduating and going on to another college. I personally experienced near-homelessness. It limits your options in life if you can’t take the internship at the awesome startup because you have financial responsibilities. That's the reason I'm using part of my scholarship award to pay back student loans and fund future schooling. One of the things I love about community colleges is they provide excellent value for students. When you get a bachelor of science, nobody seems to care where the lower division credits came from as long as they transfer---it is an amazing value proposition,” an excited Staley shared in a 2017 interview.

Bob Walling is one of the team members known as “Bobs” at the college's nationally respected MathWorld tutoring center where Staley-the-Hall of Famer and his spouse spent considerable time https://www.alamo.edu/spc/mathworld/. “We've loved teaching him and watching him grow since the fall of 2014, when he started his pre-calculus class at St. Philip’s College," explained Walling. "Harry has a visual impairment. He is also smart and hardworking, so we set up a large monitor and installed zoom text. Harry lived in MathWorld for the next few years. Harry doesn’t drive a car. His wife would bring him to us. Then she would sit and knit or crochet all day until we closed, no problem. While he always had a smile and a joke or two to share, he also challenged my staff to bring their “A” game, and was a pleasure to work with. Harry personifies the expression, “those denied sight should never be denied knowledge” or as I have told him, “he is visually impaired---not math impaired. I’m glad he is leaving to continue his education, but I am sorry to see him go. I expect we will see great things to come from our small contribution,” Walling shared in 2017.

Ask Staley and he is likely to say, Walling and the Bobs got it right. "One of the things that made St. Philip’s College a great value proposition for me and many others in math and computer science education is MathWorld. As a nontraditional student, I hadn’t had math at the college level for a decade or more. The ability to know there are skilled people at MathWorld as resources jump-started me through the calculus curriculum. In today's environment, the average IQ of workers needs to increase and calculus is fundamental to any STEM field. In most colleges, calculus is taken by students in the freshman and sophomore class, it’s developmental and not even considered advanced math, but if it weren't for Bob Walling and the other Bobs in MathWorld, I would have been lost in math class. It's the teaching and the pedagogy that make MathWorld unique. The Bobs are actually experts at getting into your world and figuring how you learn best, so you understand the concept. Like chess, most math concepts are simple to understand, but take a lifetime to master. Many Bobs helped me to understand the concept as an older adult who does not have much time. I needed someone to walk me through and understand a concept. The Bobs walk students through the fire, they do not give the answer---they just mentor---which is really cool," Staley explained.

In his capacity as an entrepreneur, Staley started a business in 2016 doing full stack web development; his main job is in the financial heart of Military City U.S.A.---as a Department of the Army civilian in a business intelligence branch http://www.micc.army.mil/communicator.asp. He described his entrepreneurial business as “nothing huge---just a couple of clients that allow me to grow to other skills.” He transferred to the Texas A&M San Antonio bachelor of science in computer science program, and his future plans are to go to graduate school for a master of science in computer science Georgia Tech. Giving back is a big priority for Staley. He leads and mentors as president of the local chapter for the National Federation of the Blind.

Read more about Staley at the TAMU-SA report Harry Staley (Student). Find Staley's name at the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation online posting 2015 Scholarship Recipients. For details on The Whataburger Scholarship program and the application process at St. Philip’s College, contact Gloria P. Hernandez, college scholarship coordinator, at 210-486-2498, ghernandez@alamo.edu.

ABOUT THE WHATABURGER SCHOLARSHIP AND HARRY STALEY, JR.: The Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation focuses awareness on the positive achievements made by outstanding business legends, and contributions to the foundation’s scholarship endowment program play a key role in the growth and health of future Texas communities. Staley is the college's second recipient of The Whataburger Scholarship. Each year, the scholarship is awarded to a student at the college who exhibits entrepreneurial drive and leadership spirit. Staley is one of five recipients of The Whataburger Scholarship from the college in an era when the Hall of Fame leadership has ceremonially inducted such icons as Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman Warren Buffett (2017), Berkshire Hathaway Inc. vice chairman Charles Munger (2017) and Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly (2017) into its Hall of Fame.