Graduate T.J. Vaughns epitomizes everything UNT Dallas stands for: accessibility, affordability, diversity

T.J. Vaughns UNT Dallas graduate

T.J. Vaughns graduated earlier this month, but he didn't walk across the stage and receive his diploma with his classmates on May 17. It's not that he didn't want to be there to share in the happiness. It's just his burgeoning entrepreneurial career, managing his own DJ business, already had him booked for the night.

"It was a lucrative opportunity," Vaughns said with a smile.

Vaughns is a familiar face on campus because he works at the Enrollment Center and, well, he's often UNT Dallas' choice of DJ at university events. But not everyone might know his story. He grew up in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas and, like many UNT Dallas students, comes from a modest background. The high cost of college meant attending was never a guarantee. 

However, UNT Dallas changed the equation. The most affordable, four-year university in Dallas-Fort Worth, the school also works hard to limit student loan debt upon graduation. Vaughns said he is graduating debt-free, allowing him to invest directly into his business. 

There are many others like T.J. Vaughns on the UNT Dallas campus: ambitious, resilient, determined and commtted. 

During graduation week, CBS 11 reporter Robbie Owens visited campus to tell the story of T.J. and UNT Dallas. Her piece is called: UNT Dallas Graduates Earning Degrees Minus the Debt! You can watch it here.