Charlie Gordon: From Chasing a Dream to Living One

Photo Courtesy of Charlie Gordon

SOAR counselor Charlie Gordon had no intention of attending the University of North Alabama or any school in this area. Now he is a SOAR counselor, SGA Secretary and Vice President of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity and is involved in organizations all over campus.

Gordon is a student who shows courage even when the odds are against him. This is one thing that makes him stand out as a driven leader and guide point for other UNA students needing someone to look up to. He will be entering his junior year and studying Communication Arts and History.

As a fairly small community, it is always great to be able to count on UNA students to represent the student body with a positive effect that extends to the Shoals community. Gordon lives a life of faith and devotion to serving his community.

“My love for UNA is truly a love for a community that cares for one another and truly matters to one another,” Gordon said.

One thing that is very important to him is making a lasting impact on those he meets. 

As a SOAR counselor, Gordon interacts with a lot of UNA staff and directors as well as current and incoming students. He recounted his memory of SOAR as a freshman and had nothing but good things to share about his experience with his own SOAR counselor Erin Hill. 

Hill helped him to realize that he was there at UNA for a reason and that most importantly, he mattered.

Gordon had not initially planned on attending the University of North Alabama. His hopes were set on being much farther away from home rather than being only 30 minutes from his home in Russellville. His dream almost came true when he was selected as a finalist for the National Coca-Cola Scholars Program.

“Growing up, UNA in my eyes was just the school with the cool lions that my entire family had a connection to,” Gordon said. “My dad attended UNA in the 1980s.  My parents got engaged behind Rivers Hall.

“My sister met her fiancé while they both attended UNA. I grew up going to UNA football and basketball games and me being a band kid all my life, I was fascinated with the Pride of Dixie.” 

Although his sights were set on something different, he still tried to be very involved on campus with different organizations with not too much luck. He pursued Freshman Forum, a fraternity and other organizations relentlessly trying to find his place on campus.

With a little encouragement from his peers and a lot of faith, Gordon applied to be a SOAR counselor in November of his freshman year with nerves running high. He knew it would be an important and impactful position, but that is where he ultimately felt right at home.

“When I got the email congratulating me, at first, I was in shock because I never expected to make it,” He said. “But then I felt such a sense of overwhelming joy because I was going to be able to carry on Erin’s legacy and impact the next incoming students the same way she impacted me.”

One of his favorite moments as a counselor was when a student who had just finished her SOAR session thanked him for being welcoming and letting her know that she had a home at UNA.

He said that SOAR has taught him many valuable lessons such as teamwork, trusting your peers, and genuinely loving people as they are. He wholeheartedly encourages anyone interested in applying to go for it because of how SOAR allows people to learn and grow throughout the program.

One of Gordon’s goals for this school year is to wake up every single day grateful to be where he is. He wants to allow life to play out without stressing so much over his next step. 

He said that sometimes getting caught up in our own problems can make us forget to be thankful for the little things in life. These wise words and this positive attitude are part of what make him such a joy for his peers to work with. 

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Tammy Jacques said that Charlie Gordon truly bleeds purple and gold and loves this institution with all his heart.

“He loves working with the students,” Jacques said. “He wants the students to make sure they feel the same impact that he’s had, the connections, making friends. He wants them to feel like part of our UNA family.”

Gordon is constantly working, constantly striving to do better while also giving back to the community. He is a regular volunteer for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership organization and is a member of many organizations including the Office of Community Service and Outreach, LionCOM for which he is the president-elect, and the LaGrange Society for which he is an ambassador.

“One of the greatest lessons my time as a SOAR Counselor has taught me is that every person in life no matter who they are or where they’re from has value and worth and we as a society should work to build each other up not tear one another down,” said Gordon.

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