19-year-old graduates with big plans

The youngest graduate from Portland State this year is a 19-year-old finance major. Sam Liebelt is graduating this month with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance.

Liebelt was home schooled since the age of five by his mother Evette, until he turned 15, when he transferred to Clackamas Community College. He originally just went to Clackamas to get a few classes he needed for his home schooling, but decided to go full time.

While Liebelt attended Clackamas he interned in the co-admit department, which allows students to be admitted in both Clackamas and PSU. “I always had a four-year plan, I just didn’t know where,” he said.

Two years later Liebelt earned his associate degree in business administration. After earning his associate degree, he decided to attend PSU. Liebelt earned his GED in 1998 and transferred over to PSU in 1999.

Liebelt’s advisor in the co-admit department came to PSU’s IASC center, and when Liebelt came to PSU he worked with her again as an intern.

In a one-day decision Liebelt won the position of Student Body Treasurer. In his second year, he was convinced by Bar Johnson and Shane Jordan to run for the ASPSU position one day before the elections were held.

“I won 18-15 in a school of 19,000,” Liebelt remembered.

This past year, Liebelt served as a student ambassador for PSU and just stepped down this past month. “I wish I would have done this earlier,” he said of his ambassador role.

Liebelt chose PSU for a number of reasons. Being close to his home in Milwaukee and his two brothers, Ben, 17 and Joe, 13, was a big one, as well as PSU having an “excellent” School of Business, and the “best” accounting, Liebelt said. He said the counselors and advisers were also very nice.

“The teachers were awesome at Clackamas and here, in all the areas,” Liebelt continued.

Liebelt is also working for Delta Economics Consulting, where he calculates the cost of damages in lawsuit cases.

“Dr. Fuller (of the School of Business) got me the job with Delta,” Liebelt explained.

Aside from the masses of schoolwork, Liebelt also loves to pay basketball any chance he gets.

“I like to do any sport I can do, and also bike riding,” he said.

Just as June is a big month for Liebelt, so is August. Liebelt and his childhood sweetheart, Rachel Miller, are going to be married in August.

“We met at a church in Gresham,” Liebelt recalls. “I was 13 and she was 15,” he said, thinking back to their first meeting seven years ago. “I always knew that we would. It was never if, just when.”

A lot of people think 19 is too young, Liebelt explained, but “I’m ready for it.””I’ll at least be in my 20s,” Liebelt joked about his upcoming birthday.

Liebelt said his plans for the future are to save some money and to pay off his credit cards and bills. Then after he has saved some money, he might return to school and earn his master’s degree in business and/or finance.

“I would also like to start a family, just not yet,” Liebelt said.

“My getting through all this is because of God,” Liebelt explained. He then added, “also my mom.”