When accounting major Xavier Williams took his first accounting class in high school, he had no idea he would be pursuing a professional career in accounting a few years later. Being a student at Ohio Northern University has not only put him on the path toward a successful career, but has fostered his passions and led to lasting relationships that have complemented his academic studies.
Xavier is a recipient of the Janice Graeser Mitchell Memorial Scholarship. James R. Mitchell, BSEE ’49 established the scholarship in 2000 to memorialize the gentle Christian life, good work and personal values of his wife, Jan Mitchell, BSEd ’50. Jan died in 1999 and Jim in 2006.
Xavier says that the scholarship “lifts a huge weight” off his back and notes that many college students are constantly worrying about how they are going to fund college. He admires the generosity of ONU’s donors, and says it has inspired him to give back one day too. “It truly makes a difference!”
Why did Xavier choose ONU? Ohio Northern’s high job placement rate was appealing to him, and the fact that he could continue to play football while in college clinched the deal. He entered ONU with some college credit he’d earned through his high school accounting classes, which gave him a head start in the Dicke College of Business Administration.
He quickly found that there were ample opportunities at ONU to get involved in his passions aside from business. He is the President of Brother 2 Brother student organization, and Beta Alpha Psi Academic Fraternity, the Black Student Union, and the Gospel Ensemble. He also became an orientation leader and a Good News Bear College Coordinator, and a student ambassador.
Just like working professionals value work-life balance, Xavier appreciated being able to strike a fine balance between preparing for his future career and doing extracurricular activities he enjoyed. It was through these activities that he made some of his best college memories – playing and now coaching on the ONU football team, cheering from the student section during basketball games, witnessing positive change and support for diversity and inclusion through the ONU Unity series.
On the academic side, he has found the accounting program to be top-notch for a number of reasons. The networking opportunities Xavier has taken part in, such as connecting with Big Four accounting firms during the Meet the Firms event, have allowed him to refine his networking skills and learn about different accounting companies and what they have to offer.
“When you tell employers you graduated from ONU, that just puts you above the other candidates,” he says. “Additionally, the faculty are here for you. They give you their number if you have a question about a problem or just need to talk. All of the professors have worked in higher-profile companies and experienced it, and now they’re teaching us.”
Xavier’s experience in the College of Business has opened his mind up to several career possibilities. After graduation, he aims for the MSA program here at ONU and has two internships lined up, but he’s also pursuing his certified public accountant (CPA) license in the next year or two.
To prospective students considering the accounting program, Xavier offers this advice:
“It will be worth it in the end. Being an accounting major or any of the majors in the College of Business, you can’t go wrong. All majors are in high demand in the real world.”