Commencement scheduled for Saturday, December 13
Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, December 13. The ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering and Computer Science will begin at 9 a.m. The ceremony for the College of Business and College of Health, Education and Professional Studies begins at 1 p.m. For more information on commencement, click here. To watch the 9 a.m. or the 1 p.m. commencement ceremony live, click here.
Kelly Beltinck jokes that he forgot to retire after serving 20 years in the U.S. Army and went on to serve eight additional years. When the Los Angeles native came to Chattanooga during his military career, he decided it was the spot where he wanted to retire.
The former transportation manager bought a house and a car. Then he had to decide what to do with the rest of his life.
“I like to work,” he said. “I’m not the type to watch daytime television.”
In the 1980s he took a few college classes, but it was in retirement that Beltinck began to make good progress. He spent two years at Chattanooga State before seamlessly transferring to the UTC College of Business.
He chose to study accounting. For most of his military career, Beltinck was responsible for analyzing data, so accounting seemed like a good fit. He added that accountants will always be needed.
This nontraditional student said it was scary to take classes with much younger contemporaries, but his concerns were quickly put to rest.
“There is a maturity level among young people in strategic management and upper level classes—they are focused. I had a great experience working with them in group projects,” he said.
UTC offered Beltinck strong academic mentors like Dr. John Trussel, Associate Professor of Accounting, and Dr. Joanie Sompayrac, UC Foundation Professor of Accounting, who encouraged Beltinck to become an officer in Beta Alpha Psi, an honor society for accounting, finance, and information systems majors.
Each member of the honor society is required to perform four hours of community service work. As Service Coordinator for the honor society, Beltinck arranged for UTC students to volunteer at events like Ironman Chattanooga, where they served drinks and power bars to participants. At the Humane Educational Society of Chattanooga the group painted, worked at the kennel, and even assisted at a dog show event.
Beltinck isn’t interested in working for a large accounting firm. He sees himself as a traditional accountant in a smaller setting. He says it isn’t so different from being on the “corporate” side of the U.S. Army, in service support of those who are in combat. In his military career he travelled to Guatemala, Germany, Korea, Japan, European countries, and many places across the United States as he effectively helped move goods to the battlefield.
It’s important to Beltinck to be a good steward with the assistance he received to attend school.
“When you consider tuition, a housing allowance—all that the Veteran’s Administration covers—it’s a substantial amount of money, anywhere from $62,000 to $70,000. For me to take that money for school and living expenses and not go back to work would be a waste of the taxpayer’s money.”