Lasley Davis completes academic journey

VC commencement student speaker


Twenty years after graduating from high school, despite dropping out twice, Lasley Davis will drop knowledge as a student speaker at Victoria College’s spring commencement ceremony.

Davis is graduating magna cum laude with an Associate of Science in business management at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Victoria Fine Arts Center. He is a general manager at Armstrong Warehouse & Transfer in Victoria.

“VC was not on my radar at all,” he said. “My boss, Susan Cain, and her dad, Will Armstrong, approached me with the fabulous idea to go to school and pursue a degree in business management.

“Initially, I was apprehensive. I told them to give me a day or two to think it over. After talking about it with my family, I said, ‘Why not? Let’s go for it.’”

Because of his stellar academic achievements at VC, Davis, a Phi Theta Kappa member, was a finalist to speak at commencement. However, he needed another nudge from his boss to follow through.

“I was a bit timid, reserved about it,” he said. “I just wanted to walk the stage and get it done. I’ve been in school for too long. Susan said, ‘Les, if you don’t even attempt it, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”


After attending school in his hometown of Hallettsville through ninth grade, Davis moved to Victoria with his family. He dropped out of high school during his junior and senior years.

“Somewhere around Christmastime my senior year, a lightbulb went off, and I said, ‘Hey, Les, get back to school,’” he said. “I went back and talked to some advisors, then went to Profit Magnet High School. I made up all of my missing credits in two months. I graduated and walked the stage with my 2004 class at Memorial High School.”

Five years later, Davis landed a position at the Back Office, a sister company of Armstrong Warehouse and Transfer. He became a general manager three years ago. In November, he will celebrate his 15th year with the company. Davis enrolled at VC in Fall 2018.

“My grades are a reflection of my gratitude toward Susan and Will,” he said. “They believed in me enough to offer me the opportunity to further my education. It would be the ultimate sign of disrespect if I didn’t give it my absolute best when I went to these classes.

“From day one, I was about giving it my best and making the best grades possible, knowing where I had been in my high school days and how much I didn’t care about school then. I wanted to go down a different route this time, apply myself and see what I’m truly capable of doing.”

In addition to earning stellar grades, the information that Davis gained in VC’s Business Management Program is paying dividends in his career.

“I am applying a lot of that knowledge to the business,” he said. “It taught me how to view employees. They are your most valuable assets, which is universal. That goes for any business, not just ours.

“The way I deal with and evaluate our employees daily is so much different, establishing practices and procedures and looking at our internal controls within the business. My whole vision for this business is totally different now.”

Davis credits the support of his family and work family for his success as a college student working full-time over the last six-plus years.

“It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. I’m always an employee first, then a student. There were a lot of times when my classes and work overlapped. My bosses were over-accommodating because they asked me to do this. Susan said, ‘Whatever time you need, you go.’”

The faculty and staff at VC also helped Davis, who did a hybrid of online and in-person classes, stay the course leading up to graduation on Saturday morning.

“The VC experience was amazing and like nothing I had experienced before,” he said. “Everybody I came in contact with – whether professors, classmates, janitorial staff, landscapers, security guards or student workers in the Library, the Bookstore, the Student Center and the Tutoring Center – was a pleasure to be around. They were all so accommodating and willing to help.

“I wouldn’t have made it through the Finite Math class without the help of the Tutoring Center. I established relationships at VC that will last a lifetime. VC has opened a lot of doors for me that wouldn’t have been open otherwise.”

Davis especially appreciates his academic road less travelled now that he’s set to cross the finish line. His wife, daughter and parents will be on hand Saturday to share the end result of his hard work.

“I’ve kept in touch with a lot of my classmates,” he said. “I am graduating with some of them who, like me, had to take the long road to completion. That’s just the way it was. I never took more than two classes per semester. Now that we’ve finished, we’re going to celebrate.”