Kevin Byron is not terribly busy these days. Not like he used to be.
When he started his final year at the University, Byron decided it was time to cut back on extracurricular activities. He’s practically bored because all he has to worry about these days is studying, being a resident adviser (RA) in Liggett House and tutoring grade-school students at Kid’s Place in University City.
Byron’s current slate of responsibilities is nothing compared to the previous three years. He served as president of the Campus Programming Counsel, operation chair for Team 31 Productions, committee chair for Celebrations Weekend, a choreographer for the Diwali celebration, and membership and recruitment chair for Feed St. Louis.
On top of that, he was an RA and worked as a teaching assistant for courses in finance, microeconomics and advanced financial management. Byron also was on the Dean’s List throughout his entire college career.
Byron’s very presence at the University came thanks to the government of Trinidad and Tobago, his home country.
Byron graduated from Trinidad and Tobago’s British high-school system with the top scores in the country for his grouping on the A-level exam. He was just settling into university life in Trinidad when he learned that he had won an academic scholarship from the government that would pay for Byron to attend any university in the world.
“I had the whole world to choose from,” Byron says. “But I wanted a university with a good reputation and a high-caliber business program.
“I didn’t know much about Washington University, but I knew it fit that profile.”
A lot has happened during his time here, but at least two things have remained consistent within him: an interest in business and a generous spirit.
“I’m a completely different person now than I was four years ago,” Byron says. “I’m more confident, I know more what I want. I’m a better leader — and I had never considered myself to be a leader before. I’ve lived life so that now I have the opportunity to give something back.”
After he graduates today with a bachelor of science in business administration degree, Byron hopes to head to Chicago to begin a consulting career. From there, he says he may pursue an M.B.A., acquire more work experience in the United States, and then return to Trinidad and Tobago to start a business or perhaps get involved in politics.
Considering Byron’s ambitions and accomplishments, one might expect that he’s an energetic force to be reckoned with.
“Everything he does, he does well,” says Glenn MacDonald, Ph.D., the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and Strategy, the faculty associate for the Residential College where Byron is an RA and one of Byron’s favorite professors.
“Yet half of the time when I’m over at the dorm, I walk by his room and there’s Kevin literally asleep sitting up. I’ll see an arm flung on the floor and he’ll be slumped down, fast asleep.”
MacDonald says that as an RA, Byron shows true compassion and caring for the students in his dorm. That’s a quality Mary F. Elliott, Byron’s boss and the Residential College director for Liggett, noticed from the first day she met him.
“When he says he’ll do something, he does it,” Elliott says. “He’s laid-back, but always dependable, unflappable. I don’t know how he does it because half the time, I have to wake him up in the morning.”
Elliott was new on the job this past fall, which made Byron a veritable veteran. Elliott says despite his trepidation, he supported her and gave her a chance.
“After a few months he said to me that I’m doing an OK job,” Elliott says. “From him, that’s a big deal — he doesn’t throw out compliments often.
“Kevin’s amazing — he values his family, he’s highly ambitious, he wants to do well for himself and his country, he’s generous, and the guy fits in wherever he needs to. The more I know him, the more impressed I am by him.”
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