Setting An Example

Carlos Prillwitz retired from the United States Army and came to OCC to earn a college degree.

Carlos Prillwitz’s decision to pursue a college degree was about more than giving himself career options. He had a point to prove to his three daughters. “I always told them you get out of it what you put into it. I wanted to show them you can do anything in this world as long as you put your mind to it.”

Prillwitz is a native of Los Angeles who spent 22 years in the United States Army. While a member of Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division, he met his wife in nearby Alexandria Bay. They married in 1999 and settled in her hometown of Syracuse after he retired. Prillwitz had never attended college so when he entered the post-military working world he was forced to settle for an entry level position. “My supervisors were in their 20s. After nine months I put in my notice and decided it was time to go to college.”

Prillwitz had heard from fellow Army veterans about the difficulties of going to school at an older age. “They told me horror stories but once I got into the classroom at OCC everything was fine. I actually had a younger student tell me I was an inspiration to her and other students.”

Prillwitz majored in Business Administration and did so well he was selected to join the College’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa during his final semester on campus. “I wasn’t a very good student in high school. Coming here and excelling and showing my kids what I could do meant a lot.”

When he wasn’t in class, Prillwitz could often be found in OCC’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs which is located on the second floor of Coulter Hall. “I would go there quite often and interact with other veterans. I felt it was important to spend time with them and I enjoyed doing so.”

Prillwitz will earn his degree in May and hopes his daughters will follow in his footsteps. “I’ve had nothing but positive experiences here. I love OCC. I’m pushing my daughters to come here. You get a great education with minimal costs. You learn from professors who also teach at Le Moyne, Syracuse and Cornell. You can’t beat it.”

Prillwitz plans to transfer to Le Moyne College where he will pursue a bachelor’s in Business Administration with a specialization in Analytics.