Lisle, Illinois ~ When we say Benedictine provides students with an education that prepares them for the world, we mean it. Take for example alumnus Torian A. Richardson, who has spent more than a decade advancing educational opportunities across not one, but three continents.
Shortly after earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Benedictine, he moved into educational sales and management working closely with Florida universities for the publication and assessment service, Pearson Education. A few years later, he took a position as Pearson’s business solutions director in Africa, where he was tasked with implementing a teacher training business and managed the transition of Pearson’s businesses from print to digital formats.
In 2011, he started his own consulting firm, TORIANITE Inc., to help educational institutions expand globally. Shortly thereafter, a familiar name came calling seeking to expand its educational partnerships in China.
“Benedictine hired my firm to help as well as assist with building and marketing the Benedictine University brand,” Richardson said. “Working with the University appealed to me because I loved my experience as an undergraduate student and I wanted to share it with others – particularly within the international community – because diversity and inclusion are such an important part of the future of higher education.”
Richardson is helping to build upon the efforts of Benedictine faculty and staff who have supported nearly 2,000 students in Benedictine’s Asia programs since 2003. Today, Benedictine’s partnerships in Asia include Shenyang Jianzhu University, Shenyang University of Technology and Dalian Medical University in China, and Binh Duong University and Vietnam National University in Vietnam.
And Benedictine continues to grow with more students recognizing the University for its academic standing and foundation in the sciences.
“Benedictine is viewed as a good university with a solid reputation,” Richardson said. “Benedictine’s greatest strength is its future potential. The routes the University selects over the next five to seven years will solidify its relevance and world-class status for the next 100 years. Higher education is in the middle of a paradigm shift and Benedictine is in a unique spot. Continuing to outgrow the competition while providing an authentic learning experience is key.”
Richardson remembers how challenging his undergraduate studies were and will never forget the personal attention he received from so many who contributed to his current success.
“Professor (retired) Charles Gahala, Ed.D., shaped my view toward education and finance because he never gave up on me when I was struggling,” Richardson said. “Professor Vincent Gaddis, Ph.D., opened up the world outside of the Chicago area, and Rev. Linda Owens (associate dean for Student Development) and Denise West (Community Development Director) were always there for guidance and support.
“Also, (then) President William J. Carroll’s exceptional vision for the future of the University when he arrived in the ‘90s was incredibly influential,” he added. “In a nutshell, the intimate higher education experience Benedictine offered was life-changing.”
Recalling the nurturing support he received at Benedictine, Richardson felt the need to give back. He helped to establish the Dr. Charles Gahala High Potentials Award for business students in their junior and senior years. In the future, he wants to continue to do more for the University by providing mentoring opportunities for students.
Recently, hoping to expand his knowledge of global economics, Richardson earned a Master of Public Administration in International Development from the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University.
“I pursued this degree because it took an analytical focus on economics and policies that shape the growth of developing countries,” Richardson said. “The educational perspective and experience was one of a kind in that we consistently compared and contrasted western economic models to those of the economies of the future … Brazil, Russia, South Africa, India, and of course, China.”
With his new degree in tow, he plans to position his company for growth in other globally competitive markets.
Outside of work, Richardson enjoys traveling to different countries to experience new cultures firsthand, from visiting historical sites throughout Myanmar to backpacking in the Himalayas.
“Experiencing day-to-day life in a country like China is something that visiting or having friends from other countries cannot replace,” Richardson said.
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in 59 undergraduate and 23 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the seventh consecutive year in 2017. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu.