Stepping Forward

Francisco Melero Takes on Cancer, MBA, and Undergraduate Courses on the Path Toward His Goals

Francisco Melero is a go-getter – a man with ambition.

The retired military veteran has a “high-operational, up-tempo” work ethic, which propels him forward. When he has free time, he searches for ways to be productive. If he sets a goal, he takes steps to achieve it. 

When Melero began classes at the University of Saint Mary, his goals seemed clear-cut: Earn an MBA and meet the Certified Public Accountant exam requirements. 

Melero is well on his way, but his path has been anything but straightforward. Today, his primary goal has shifted to battling stage three prostate cancer.  

Step 1: Setting Goals

In 2015, Melero began working from home as a consultant in the mornings and evenings. To fill his daytime hours, he began attending daily mass and driving his daughter to and from school. Even with these commitments, Melero still had energy and the desire to do more.

At the recommendation of his wife and children, he went back to school in early 2018. He enjoys taxes, finance, and accounting, and the Saint Mary MBA program seemed to be the perfect fit for his ambitions.

While he enjoyed the coursework, Melero encountered multiple obstacles along the way. The COVID-19 pandemic kicked off during the final year of his MBA program, shifting his final classes and graduation to a virtual format. 

Then as he reached the end of the MBA program, Melero also realized he needed to complete some undergraduate courses in order to sit for the CPA exam. He began taking the required credits and was back in an undergraduate classroom for the first time since the mid-80s.

“I have a lot of experience that I can bring into the classroom,” Melero said. “As the professors bring up concepts and theories, I know how to apply them in real life.”

Today, Melero is one class shy of completing his coursework. 

Step 2: Resetting Priorities

In September, Melero was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Over the following months, he would receive increasing radiation treatments, which included periods with daily visits to the University of Kansas Medical Center. 

Melero’s managed to stay active in his work, school, religious, and community commitments. However, he’s recognized that his health is his top priority.

“I would like to give special thanks to professors Rick Silvey and Sheila Hammonds for their patience and understanding when undergoing treatment and making accommodations to continue in class uninterrupted,” Melero said. “I would also like to acknowledge Professors Phil Watlington and Jessica Vega-Anaya from the accounting department, who continue to encourage me throughout my studies. I still want to
do accounting, and I still want to be able to help people out, but it’s no longer the number one priority.”

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