All in the Family

The Lawrence family holds six degrees from B&E

September 29, 2014
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We frequently refer to B&E alumni, students, administration, faculty and staff as the “B&E Family.” You’ll read it in articles, hear it in speeches and feel it when you return to campus for events.

But the Lawrence family takes the term to a whole new level.

The five members of the Lawrence family – Steve, Janet, Alicia, Ashley and Nicholas – collectively hold six degrees from the College of Business and Economics. Janet and Steve met through their classes at B&E in the late ‘70s. In fact, their first date was to WVU Homecoming. They earned their B.S.B.A. degrees in 1980, Steve in finance and Janet in accounting.

They have enjoyed careers in Morgantown. Steve has been with WesBanco Bank, Inc. for 20 years and is the Chief Internal Auditor, a position held since 2002. Janet worked with local accounting firm Badger and Sal for the last 30 years as a Certified Public Accountant.

Fast forward to the early 2000s. B&E became a common theme again in the Lawrence family as their oldest daughter, Alicia, began her collegiate journey at WVU. She modeled after her mother and pursued accounting, earning her degree in 2006.

“I always looked up to my mom,” Alicia said, “ and I knew that she could help me take in all the information and help me understand.” She explained that her mother’s guidance has been influential even beyond graduation in preparation for the CPA exam.

“Through the years, we’ve both been able to provide some guidance based off real life experiences, a few practices outside of what classroom instruction may offer,” Steve said.

Alicia now works as an associate controller for JP Morgan Chase in Columbus. Alicia just took – and passed – the final section in August, 2013.

Alicia landed an internship, and then later her first job at Ernst & Young thanks to Meet the Firms, an annual event where numerous employers come to campus.  During her five years at EY, she often returned to Meet the Firms, this time on the employer side.

“Sometimes students don’t know where to start. It was such a help to have events like Meet the Firms and career fairs to help further your career,” she said. “That’s why I liked to go back. It helped me, so I wanted to help other people.”

Younger sister Ashley followed in Alicia’s footsteps – sort of.

“I knew I wanted to study business, but I did not like accounting at all,” she said. “But numbers intrigued me, so I chose the finance route.”

Ashley loved the tight-knit feel of the students in the finance major.

“I enjoyed the fact that we had our own little finance family. We studied together. We were all on the same schedule. It was a small, very personal group. I gained many friendships because of that,” she recalled.

Ashley earned her finance degree in 2009 and went on to also earn her MBA in 2010. She now works as a government contractor for AOC Solutions in Chantilly, Va. She, too, spoke highly of B&E career development opportunities.

“I was that girl that was at every single career fair possible,” she said. “I got my job because of one of those fairs. As an MBA, I saw a company that one of my undergrad classmates got a job with right after graduation. I went up to the booth and said I knew him. She took my resume and followed up with my classmate who put in a good word. I got the job.”

Nick, the youngest, just graduated with his finance degree in May 2014. He said it was a strange feeling not to go back to school this fall, and is currently interviewing for jobs while doing office work for a locally owned small business in Morgantown.

Needless to say, Steve and Janet are proud of their children. They are also incredibly proud of their Mountaineer heritage. The family religiously attends sporting events. They love watching the Pride of West Virginia, the Mountaineer marching band, and singing Country Roads at the end of every game.

“As Morgantown natives, we’ve been exposed to WVU since day one,” Steve said. “We have a real appreciation for the school, and it’s special to be able to say that the entire family was able to take advantage of the opportunities at WVU. Certainly, what we have achieved professionally is due in large part to the business school.”

“I think it’s really special,” Janet added. “I doubt too many families can say this.”

Steve agreed.

“If we had it to do over again, we would do it the same way.”