Graduating Greyhounds 2014: Thurman VanRiper

Thurman VanRiper will apply what he learned on the soccer field as the Greyhounds’ captain and goalie to his future as an accountant

By Rita Buettner  |  Photo by Peter Howard

Spotlight on: Thurman VanRiper

Hometown: Groton, Mass.

Degree: BBA Accounting; Information Systems minor

A professor he tells others to take: Dr. Peter Lorenzi, professor of management/international business

Campus Involvement: Captain and goalie for Loyola men’s soccer; President of Student Athlete Advisory Committee; Member of Beta Alpha Psi, Beta Gamma Sigma, and Green and Grey Society

Internships: Assurance intern at Ernst and Young (in the Manhattan office)

A class he recommends: Theater

About Thurman

As the captain of the Greyhounds men’s soccer team this year, Thurman suffered a career-ending injury in the fifth game of the season, a home game against Princeton. As he was sliding on the field, an opponent’s knee slammed into his face, shattering his eye socket and damaging nerves. He missed a month and a half of school last fall as he underwent two surgeries and recovery time.

Thurman credits his professors, administrators, and fellow students with coming together to support him and help him graduate on time.

How would you describe your Loyola experience?

It’s a bit different being a student-athlete at any school, but it’s been unbelievable. I have learned as much outside of the classroom playing soccer as I have inside the classroom.

What did you plan to study at Loyola?

When I came to college, I wanted to major in engineering. Then I saw the course load in engineering and hopped into business. I ended up going for a concentration in accounting. It was great. It was a demanding program, especially in the Sellinger School, but I got a job out of it.

What are your plans after graduation?

After taking the CPA exam this summer, I’ll begin working at Ernst & Young in the fall.

How did you land your job?

In the fall of your junior year, accounting firms begin their interview process. Firms come to campus and you submit your résumé and see if you can get an interview.

I wanted to work in the New York office, so I got referred there and interviewed in Manhattan. A couple weeks later, I got an internship offer… and then a couple weeks into my internship, I got the job offer.

Tell me about your injury and your recovery.

When I was injured, Dr. Roger Kashlak (professor of international business and strategy) came to my hospital bed, and Fr. Tim Brown (Jesuit priest and associate professor of law and social responsibility) came by, and obviously teammates and the athletic administration came by. All of my professors were willing to work with me. I was thankful because they knew I was a decent student and they let me catch up at my own pace.

And my parents, my whole family, were unbelievable. They came down and stayed with me the whole time.

Were your parents at the game when you were injured?

My parents were watching the game at home. The trainers and everyone called them. My mom took the first flight down the next morning.

How do you balance athletics and academics?

Time management is huge. You’re given a lot of support in athletics. The first year you have mandatory study hall hours, but after that first semester you can prove that you can handle the athletics and academics.

It’s pretty tough. You have so much time out of your day. You have people who are writing papers in the library with all those resources. Sometimes we’d be writing our papers on the bus. You just learn how to do that.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

A lot of people are taught to be able to do presentations. Playing soccer, you always have the pressures of performing on the field, so that definitely helped going into the pressure situation of an interview.

In soccer, you learn how to work as a member of a team, how to be able to take constructive criticism, how to hold yourself accountable for the mistakes you make, and how to be able to go into a coach’s office and talk about what you need to work on. This isn’t the easiest thing. But all of that helped me in my interview.

How do you think you’ll take that to your career?

The way I look at it, athletics really transfers over to the business world pretty easily. Accountability is one of the biggest ways: You have to be able to put your ego aside and do the best thing for the team. You’re not always going to be a starter and be in the position you want to be in. You have to be able to take the position that’s the best for the team.

If you don’t live up to giving a great performance, it goes up the ladder, pressure-wise. That’s how the intense competition is created.

And at the end of the day, everyone wants to win.

To read more stories about this year’s Graduating Greyhounds, visit our 2014 Commencement page.

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