Adrian Mercado—Senior CMAT Major  

Adrian Mercado—Senior CMAT Major Adrian Mercado’s CSU story will come to a happy end as he graduates this spring with a degree in Communications, Media, Arts, and Theater.  It is a fitting end to a journey that had some bumps along the way.  Adrian graduated from George Washington High School in 2011 with hopes of one day attending college.  Not unlike many students, Adrian did not show all of his talents in high school which made his path to a college degree a little more difficult, but he eventually found a home at Chicago State.  Adrian was admitted to CSU through the University College Program (UC), a conditional admission program that offers extra support for students.  UC is a program that looks at a student’s potential and not just what their high school transcript or ACT scores might say about them.  After being accepted into the program, Adrian was excited to begin his career at Chicago State and ultimately become the first person to graduate from college in his family. Finishing his first semester with a 3.0, he was motivated to keep studying, building, and achieving.

Although Adrian acclimated well to college life, he was forced to leave Chicago State for a year to help support his family. He began working the graveyard shift at a meat packing factory.  After a few months in this job, Adrian realized this wasn’t the life he wanted. “I would rather use my brains than my back,” he said reflectively. He started to visit the campus again and made new connections that inspired to keep him going.

After he was almost killed by Chicago gun violence, Adrian re-enrolled at CSU and moved on campus. Now, as a graduating senior, Adrian has made a transformation worthy of note. He is the president of T.E.M.B.O. (Teaching and Educating Men of Black Origin), president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Co-Chair of Marketing of the National Pan Hellenic Council, and an active member of the CMAT Club. 

Adrian hopes his story of resilience resonates with future and current Chicago State Students.  “When people hear my story, I want them to be inspired and to know that my story is not only my story. It’s his story and her story. I am not the only person who has had issues. I persevered. I made it. If I can do it, anybody can do it.”