"What we do in life, echoes in eternity."
In the movie Gladiator, the Roman general Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, motivated his troops for battle by reminding them of the eternal consequences of the moment (see the quote above). Vladimir Pratt G'23 is raising four-year-old twins: a daughter, Maelle; and a son, Maximus. Every time he looks at his children, he's reminded that his actions will echo long after he's gone.
Vladimir joined the Army partly because he didn't want to go to college. He enlisted as a communications soldier and served all over the world, including time in Korea during four tours overseas. Somewhere along the way, he found himself running toward what he was initially running from.
The Army encourages education which, over time, changed his outlook on college. While serving, Vladimir took advantage of an opportunity to complete his undergraduate degree at SUNY Potsdam and would later retire as a captain. He was in his 40s, a single dad raising twin toddlers, and wasn't quite sure "what I want to be when I grow up." Fate, and an assist from his mom and dad, led him to Siena.
"For the first time in my adult life, I was in a position to choose for myself, instead of decisions being chosen for me. I knew I wanted to keep learning, but I wasn't sure where to go or what to do. My dad is Catholic, and he suggested Siena. I looked at other schools in the area, but when I walked around Siena I just knew. I felt it instantly. I didn't need to speak with anyone. It was just the vibe."
Vladimir will graduate with his MBA next fall, and then hopes to merge his technical and strategic background along with his service and education into a career yet to be determined. At the moment, he's not so worried about the future; he just focuses on getting through each day.
"There's a saying in the Army, 'The only easy day was yesterday.' If you made it through yesterday, you can make it through today."
Vladimir wakes up by 5:00 each morning to give himself a few minutes of peace before the chaos of the day. He gets his kids up and ready for school. "I lay out an outfit for my daughter the night before, but it's pointless because she'll try on three or four dresses every morning." He gets as much work and studying done as he can during their school hours, then picks up the kids and enjoys family time at the playground or on bikes. Then he makes dinner, gets the kids down, and is often submitting homework just before midnight deadlines.
"The first Siena class I walked into, I felt like all of the students were waiting for me to start teaching. But I can't say enough about the Siena community. The faculty have been very understanding and accommodating of my schedule. I work with a great group of diverse students all from different backgrounds."
Most days are exhausting (only the yesterdays are easy), but Vladimir knows his actions will echo, possibly in eternity, but certainly with impact on his children. Vladimir wants to install the virtue of education in Maelle and Maximus early in life, as well as the Siena (and Army) values.
"The mission statement and the values of the Army align so well with the mission of Siena. The wording is different, but there's a similar meaning. My dad helped me realize that at Siena, I could still be the person I was in the Army. I'm just using civilian language now."
Vladimir Pratt G'23
Vladimir received an award at the College's 12th annual Veterans Recognition Dinner on November 10. Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Mike Papadopoulos presented Vladimir with the award.
"Vladimir enlisted in the Army as a private after 9/11, knowing he may have to serve his country in combat. He ultimately did. His outstanding duty performance earned him a scholarship to attend college and obtain a degree. This is an opportunity afforded to only a small number of enlisted soldiers. Vladimir is a person who truly lives by the motto 'with deeds not words.'"