“The opportunity to go to college is one of our greatest treasures. The college experience opens your eyes and mind to new ideas and self-discovery.”
Stanley B. Lemons
Want to understand Stan Lemons’ motivation to help students?
Read Stan’s story.
Stan Lemons grew up in an African American, working-class neighborhood in Dallas, Texas. Stan attended the local public elementary school in his neighborhood and was a member of the Oak Cliff Boys & Girls Club, where he routinely spent time after school and on the weekends.
Martha Easley, the librarian at the Boys & Girls Club, identified Stan as a candidate to enroll into the Greenhill School, a private PreK-12 independent school in Dallas. With a scholarship through the Boys & Girls Club, Stan ultimately matriculated in the sixth grade to Greenhill. His transition to Greenhill was not easy. Stan traveled for over one hour each way to get to and from school. There was also the social and cultural adjustment that came with going to a school in a predominately white, upper-income community, so different from the neighborhood in which Stan grew up. That said, Stan succeeded and graduated from Greenhill.
Stan then moved across the country to attend Amherst College, a small, highly selective private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts. Attending Amherst was, yet again, a big step for Stan. As neither of his parents attended college, Stan had to navigate a path through an elite New England college environment. By all accounts, Stan was successful at Amherst, both inside and outside the classroom. He co-founded the Black Business Association of Amherst College and was elected Treasurer of Amherst’s Student Government. One of Stan’s proudest and happiest moments came with graduating from Amherst, as he was the first in his family to earn a college degree.
After Amherst, Stan served as a Coro Foundation Public Affairs Fellow in St. Louis, Missouri. As a Coro Fellow, Stan worked in the not-for-profit, government, and business sectors. Stan later made, as he, in hindsight, describes as a life-defining decision—to join the Peace Corps.
Stan moved to West Africa with the Peace Corps. He served as a small business volunteer. Additionally, Stan led a renovation project at a local elementary school.
Stan’s experience at the elementary school left a lasting impression on him: he witnessed the desire and eagerness on the part of so many children — facing limited opportunity — to get an education. Undoubtedly, Stan gained a greater sense of appreciation for his educational opportunities. He concluded the elementary school experience with a feeling of wanting to do more.
Due to unstable diplomatic conditions, Stan, along with the other Peace Corps volunteers, was evacuated from the country. He returned to the United States and moved to Los Angeles, California in order to attend graduate school at the University of California in Los, Angeles, California (UCLA).
Upon graduating from UCLA, Stan landed a job with Citigroup in Chicago, Illinois and subsequently moved there. He continued to build on both his college education and Peace Corps experience by traveling and working on projects with Citigroup in countries around the world: Argentina, Austria, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Poland, Singapore, and many more. Reflecting on his global experiences, Stan writes in the Expanding College Opportunity book: “As a kid growing up in Dallas, Texas, I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to travel to all these countries.” With a sense of pride and humility, Stan acknowledges that his spiritual foundation and his educational opportunities opened the world to him.
Eager to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams, Stan left Citigroup to start what would later become the first of many business ventures. And while Stan’s professional and entrepreneurial life appeared to be on the fast track toward upward mobility, his personal life, as life would have it, took a different turn—a turn toward divorce and a multi-year child custody case. In the end, Stan gained custody of his son, Matthew.
Now a single father, Stan left Chicago, moved back to Dallas, and eventually relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. Despite the geographic moves and life changes, Stan remained focused on his son’s well-being and, for sure, his son’s education.
On the career front, Stan worked as a strategist in the marketing and higher education field, but found true joy in his role as a counselor helping students gain admission to college. Stan’s laid back personality made it easy for him to build relationships with members of the Atlanta Public Library system and the YMCA in order to facilitate counseling services and workshops for families on the college admissions and financial aid processes.
Today, Stan continues to advise families on the process of applying to college. He speaks to groups (large and small) about college admissions and financial aid. Stan also provides college admissions process training to teachers, counselors, and administrators.
While in Atlanta, Stan met Jenine, who, too, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer but in a different country from where Stan served. Stan and Jenine dated. One year later…Stan and Jenine married.
Stan Lemons’ story is an American story. Through hard work, perseverance, and a raw determination to overcome adversity, Stan capitalized on his educational opportunities. Furthermore, through his teaching and writing about education, Stan continues to help students realize their dreams.
Stan’s Expanding College Opportunity book is, at its core, a how-to guide on the college admissions and financial aid processes. The Expanding College Opportunity book is also a personal and motivational narrative on the power of education. College admissions officers, educators, parents, and students continue to praise and give testimony to the value of Stan’s Expanding College Opportunity book and student workbook, as well as the engaging and authentic way Stan connects with his audience when speaking.
Stan Lemons believes in education. Stan’s educational opportunities have significantly shaped his life. It’s no wonder why Stan seeks to make a difference in the life of others. It’s also no wonder why Stan is passionate about Expanding College Opportunity.
Stan’s Gofundme Campaign
Want to help families who cannot afford to purchase the Expanding College Opportunity resources? Donate to Stan’s Expanding College Opportunity Book and Student Workbook Gofundme campaign.
Photographs of Stan speaking
Short Bio of Stanley B. Lemons
- UCLA Anderson School, M.B.A., Los Angeles, CA
- Amherst College, B.A, Amherst, MA
- Georgetown University, Exchange Student, Washington D.C.
- Executive Education: Northwestern University (Kellogg) and Harvard Business School
- Greenhill School (College Preparatory), Dallas, TX
- Writer and Private College Counselor, TheSecretToWriting.com
- Upward Bound Counselor
- Coro Foundation Public Affairs Fellow
- Returned Peace Corps Volunteer
- Certified Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Global Marketing Strategist: The Coca-Cola Company, Citigroup, S.B. Lemons & Company