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CLS Grad Uses Degree to Start Photography Business

Cecil Houser for A Heart for Art articleFor Liberal Studies graduate Cecil Houser, several years of the corporate life was enough. After moving with his wife to Oklahoma from Pennsylvania in 2000, his job paid well but brought very little personal satisfaction. The corporate machine had taken its toll on Houser’s creative nature and he was ready for a change.

“The day I walked away from my job in a corporate position in 2008 was the most liberating day of my life. Although it scared me to death, I knew it was what I needed to do at the time. I have always had an entrepreneur’s spirit and felt trapped by the drudgery of a daily routine. That day I made my pursuit about being creative and using my talents to provide a means to meet a need.”

When Houser and his wife moved to Oklahoma he was only one semester away from completing his bachelor’s degree in film and television production from Penn State University but luckily a friend told him about CLS and the flexible online degree programs.

“I seriously considered finishing my degree at Penn State University, but the cost of tuition was just too much. I had always leaned toward the creative arts, and the Liberal Studies program looked like it could offer me the well-rounded education I needed to pursue my dreams of photography as an art and a business.”

As with most challenging endeavors Houser had to juggle a multitude of responsibilities, including a new baby, while keeping up with his academic assignments. The idea of creating a solid foundation to provide for his family was a major motivation and helped him stay on track and push through the hectic demands on his time.

 “The Liberal Studies program looked like it could offer me the well-rounded education I needed to pursue my dreams of photography as an art and a business.”

“With my wife being a fulltime Graduate Student in Meteorology and having a new baby, life became pretty hectic. The biggest challenges were making sure to schedule enough time to work on school assignments, fulfill work responsibilities and find enough time with my family. It was definitely tough but I wouldn’t have asked for an easier schedule! The tough pace kept me on task and provided me with a greater sense of discipline that has translated over to other aspects of my life, including my business and art.”

While earning a higher education is a means to an end for some, for Houser there was more at stake. Earning his degree from CLS meant the beginning of greater things than just utilizing his creative talents.

“Earning my degree is a step toward providing assistance to others throughout my life. This education has broadened my ability to be a more productive and proactive citizen and is a priceless gift for the future of my family.”

Over the past five years, Cecil Houser has worked to build a photography business specializing in custom art for corporations, business professionals, and entrepreneurs. In addition to his photography, Houser has had the opportunity to participate in a number of regional and national commercials as well as two feature films.



The College of Liberal Studies is a fully accredited academic unit of the University of Oklahoma, offering 100% online, hybrid and onsite bachelor's and master's degrees for working adults and non-traditional students.

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