Dad Transfers to UST, Strives to Make the Grade
Sitting in on his son’s class during University of St. Thomas’ Parent’s Weekend in fall 2012, Aaron Kildow was surprised when he was enthralled by the lecture.
“The class happened to be philosophy of the human person, and they were discussing Thomas Aquinas,” Kildow said. “I had just read a similar discussion in ‘The Shorter Summa,’ an abbreviated version of ‘Summa Theologica,’ and was totally hooked on the class. I’m taking it this semester.”
Kildow, a junior general studies transfer student, has worked on Wall Street, lectured at Columbia University and attended several colleges intermittently. Kildow moved to the Memorial area of Houston, in 2007. Even after 20 years of being a well-respected energy trader, Kildow had trouble getting a job.
“This summer, I interviewed for the perfect job for me,” Kildow said. “The process went on for six months, and I sat through 14 interviews before it was decided that my lack of a degree was a deal killer. Fortunately, they finally did hire me on as a part-time contract employee.”
Kildow said he could quantify the value of a degree; it’s about a six-figure per-year difference. He was not looking to get his degree from just any institution though. He had been through that search many times. He said his Catholic faith is a lifestyle, and he doesn’t want to be a part of a culture that separates daily from religious life.
“We are called to be set apart, in the world but not of it,” he said. “By attending St. Thomas, I can feed my need for a deeper understanding of my Christian faith, but I can also learn the things that will make me better at work. Faith and reason are not opposites, they go hand in hand.”
Kildow didn’t always have this outlook on faith as a young man. Kildow was raised Protestant and often battled with his religious allegiance. It wasn’t until he was an adult did he begin the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults sessions at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in 2010. So, what was his inspiration to come to the Church when he was a headstrong, young adult?
“After a cocktail party on the New York Mercantile Exchange floor, I was flirting with a beautiful girl, and she asked me if I was Catholic,” he said. “I shot back, ‘No, but I would be,’ and I was a little surprised those words came out of my mouth. The more I learned about the Church, the more I liked it. The more I learned, the more I recognized the truth. It took me until September 2012 to finally come into the Church. The beautiful girl mentioned above is also now my beautiful bride.”
Kildow is enthusiastic about his career after graduation and encourages adults not to shy away from pursing higher education.
“I would recommend college as a way to catch up on things you might have missed along the way,” Kildow said. “I would recommend St. Thomas specifically for people who want to grow in their Christian faith; this is the Year of Faith, after all. While I have had a few back-in-my-day type moments, attending classes as an adult just seems easier. I am much more disciplined than I was 20 years ago, and I don’t have to pretend like I know everything, as many young men are prone to do.”
Those interested in attending UST are invited to learn more at the Transfer Student Open House at 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 in Ahern Room, Crooker Center, 3909 Graustark. Find out about UST campus life, academics and financial aid. Light refreshments also will be served. RSVP to the Office of Admissions at 713-525-3500, or online at stthom.edu/admissions/RSVP.