Think college is beyond your reach? You’ll think differently after hearing Tim Briscoe’s inspiring story.
If you’re one of the many who bought their home working with Bank of America’s affable mortgage officer Tim Briscoe, you’re probably thinking Tim is a nice guy, good at his job, cares about people and about a job well done. And you’d be right.
But Tim Briscoe’s unassuming manner belies what an incredible person he truly is. Those who know Tim’s story understand.
Unlikely Path to College
Tim grew up in Northeast Portland, one of four children, raised by a single mother. Like many in their situation, they struggled to make ends meet. Just keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table was a success in itself. College in their future? Not likely.
But college started to become a possibility for Tim when Wilson High School’s basketball team won the state championship. Tim was a member of the team as part of a Portland Public Schools program that bussed student athletes to Wilson. He was in his senior year when Wilson won at state.
Soon after, college recruiters came calling. Tim found the entire experience mystifying. “Attending college was not in my plans,” Tim explained. “It just wasn’t part of the culture surrounding me.”
Not one to let opportunity pass him by, Tim enrolled at Umpqua Community College. “I loved my time playing basketball,” he said. “Like many 18-year-olds, I didn’t worry so much about my classes and grades.”
“I had no idea how college actually fit into my life, and no one from home could really help me.”
As it often does, fate intervened. Tim suffered a sports injury – he broke his hand, and that brought an end to his potential basketball career. Without the game keeping him on campus, he dropped out, moved back to Portland, and got a job.
Life Goes On
Soon after, Tim married, and before long, he was the provider for a growing family with three children. The struggles of everyday life kept Tim busy as he worked to build a career that would support his family. Eventually, he found a niche in banking, working in business development and as a mortgage officer.
“I’m smart and I can hustle,” Tim explained.
“I was a top producer, but over time, I noticed that people around me were getting promoted. After several conversations with mentors in my workplace and with my boss, I realized that the one thing holding me back was the fact that I didn’t have a college degree.”
In the meantime, Tim’s mother had enrolled in college with the dream of becoming a teacher. “She was just taking a class here or there, but still, it inspired me to think about college,” Tim said.
Once again, fate intervened – this time in the form of the Great Recession. “When the bottom dropped out of the banking world, I knew I had to get serious,” Tim said.
Back to College
He started taking classes at Portland Community College’s Cascade campus in North Portland.
“It was hard, and it was intimidating. But I thought about my mom, I thought about my wife, I thought about my children. And I thought about my future.”
Tim was plugging along at PCC, taking general education and business classes, when a Marylhurst advisor visited the campus to talk about Marylhurst’s B.S. in Business Management program. Marylhurst brings this degree completion program to two campuses, PCC Cascade and Clackamas Community College’s main campus, to make it easier for students to continue on and earn their bachelor’s degree without having to leave the community college campus where they have achieved a level of familiarity, comfort and confidence.
“I was so nervous to take that next step,” Tim said. “I wasn’t sure I could make it, and I was pretty sure I couldn’t afford it. There were just so many unknowns.”
But he took a leap of faith, visiting the Marylhurst campus to meet with Laura Sequeira, Marylhurst’s business program admissions advisor. “The minute I got to this beautiful place, I felt peace,” said Tim. Still, he felt nervous about his ability to succeed in the program and whether he could afford completing his bachelor’s degree.
“I’ll never forget how Laura looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Tim, you are going to graduate from Marylhurst. You are.’ In that moment, she gave me support and confidence to believe that I would finally succeed,” Tim said.
Scholarships Provide Means – and Build Confidence
Tim received several scholarships along the way. “That scholarship money made all the difference for me,” he said, the gratitude in his voice apparent. “I was working full-time and going to school full-time. My wife was also going to school full-time, so I was supporting all of us,” he said. But being a scholarship recipient wasn’t just about the financial means, Tim said.
“More importantly, each scholarship was a vote of confidence in my abilities.”
That confidence was more than enough to push Tim across the finish line – he earned his bachelor’s degree in 2016. “I decided to keep the momentum going and get my M.B.A.,” Tim said, smiling. He sped through Marylhurst’s M.B.A. program, walking across the commencement stage just one year later to accept his master’s diploma.
“My mom inspired me – she completed her master’s degree at the age of 62 – and now I am proud to know I’m an inspiration to my children,” Tim said.
Little does he realize; Tim Briscoe is an inspiration to us all.