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UHV graduate continues his education to be closer to family

By Carolina Astrain
Dec. 14, 2013 at 6:14 a.m.
Updated Dec. 15, 2013 at 6:15 a.m.

Domenick Riccio, 43, left, and his wife, Chrystal Riccio, 39, right, pose with their children, Madison Riccio, 5, top, and Domenick Riccio Jr., 3, in a family photo. The father of two earned his bachelor's degree in business administration with a focus in management from the University of Houston-Victoria this fall.

In the year his son was born, 2010, Domenick Riccio decided it was time for a change.

Riccio, 43, of Austin, was working long hours at his information technology job when, one day, his wife told him that he had missed an important milestone in their son's life.

"I want to say he sat up by himself or something, and she said, 'You missed it,'" Riccio said. "And I said, 'I know, but I got to work.'"

From that moment on, Riccio knew he needed to do something to advance his professional life and be closer to his wife and two children.

Three years later, Riccio has completed his undergraduate coursework online toward a bachelor's degree in business administration with a focus in management from the University of Houston-Victoria.

He was one of more than 500 University of Houston-Victoria students who earned their degree this fall.

The university's fall commencement was in Katy on Saturday.

"I just didn't have that balance," Riccio said. "My son was a big influence that year."

When Riccio first considered returning to school in 2010, his wife expressed some concerns about her husband's ability to meet the demands of work and family while going to school.

"At first, I was a little freaked out," Chrystal Riccio, 39, said. "But I know that one of Domenick's dreams is to own his own business one day, so once I had time to absorb it, it seemed like the right thing to do."

Initially, when her husband had started talking about taking his first classes, the load seemed daunting, but it got better over time, his wife said.

"He's been very inspiring to me personally, and we're extremely proud of what he's accomplished," his wife said. "It's an exciting time for us as a family."

Riccio started working two months ago as a senior manager at Bigcommerce, an electronic commerce company based in Australia and Austin.

"If it weren't for my degree, I don't think I would have been able to get this job with Bigcommerce," Riccio said. "That really helped me out."

Although the family won't be able to make the ceremony in Katy, the Riccios have planned a celebration of their own in Austin after the company's Christmas party.

"The biggest thing that I've learned is that this was so doable," Riccio said. "Once I started taking the classes, and I realized how much fun it was to learn and meet people ... it was just a matter of effort."

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