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Army Vet And Father of 2 Overcomes Odds to Earn UAB Accounting Degree

Demarcus Davis will enter UAB's master's of accounting program in January. (Photo by Jennifer Alsabrook-Turner)

By Adam Pope


Before senior accounting major Demarcus Davis began his college journey at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, life had other plans for him.

After two months into his college experience at another institution, he received news that would change the course of his life — a second baby was on the way. Faced with unexpected responsibilities, he made the courageous decision to join the United States Army in February 2017.

His military service was not without its challenges. A truck accident during a training exercise left him with injuries that put him in a coma. Medically retired from the military and with a newfound perspective on life, Davis returned home to Alabama.

It was during this time that Davis decided to return to school, choosing UAB due to its proximity and welcoming environment. With a desire to stay close to his family, he enrolled at UAB in January 2021.

Navigating the challenges of being a full-time student with now two children, Davis found solace in the world of numbers. Despite starting as an engineering major, he discovered a passion for accounting through the influence of a friend, as well as a high school summer program that focused on accounting and finance.

Beating The Urge To Quit

The journey was not without its struggles. At one point, Davis found himself at a crossroads, contemplating dropping out due to outside pressures and responsibilities. It was during this pivotal moment that he sought guidance from Stephanie Yates, Ph.D., Regions Institute for Financial Education Endowed Professor and chair of the UAB Department of Accounting and Finance in the Collat School of Business.

In a heartfelt conversation, Davis found renewed motivation and a shifted mindset, thanks to the support and encouragement from Yates.

Eyes On The Future

As Davis prepares to graduate this December, he has already set his sights on the next chapter — an ambitious pursuit of a master’s degree in accounting with the hope of becoming a certified public accountant. His aspirations extend beyond personal success; Davis envisions creating a legacy of determination and triumph for his children.

Reflecting on his time at UAB, Davis emphasizes the transformative power of the university’s environment.

“The sense of community and faculty members who genuinely care about students’ success distinguish UAB from my previous experiences,” Davis said.

The support system provided by the university played a pivotal role in his ability to navigate the challenges of being a student-parent.

With the finish line in sight, Davis says, it is more than an academic achievement; it is a testament to his resilience, a reminder of the opportunities he almost let slip away, and a promise kept to his late friend who believed in his potential.

As Davis dons the cap and gown this December, it will not just be a celebration of academic accomplishments but a personal triumph — one that echoes the sentiment that, against all odds, it is never too late to reclaim one’s dreams.