Adele McClure entered the VCU School of Business in 2007, against all odds. She, her mother and little brother were constantly on the move -- homeless, then evicted from one place after the other. “I received my first F because I was switching schools so much,” she says. “It was in geometry, which is pretty funny because I’m actually good at math. That started me off on the wrong foot.”
But with McClure’s characteristic determination and her mother’s positive motivation, she turned her life around. She walked to her old bus stop, not telling that school she was homeless. She worked three jobs after classes to help her mother pay the rent. And by her senior year in high school, she was working among the college student interns on the House Ways and Means Committee.
When looking at colleges, McClure chose schools with diversity. “I grew up in Arizona until age nine,” she recounts. “I wanted a place where people looked like me.”
“The minute I got to campus, I loved VCU,” she enthuses. “Everyone was super-friendly. I ran for dorm hall president. I got really involved. I’ve become a die-hard VCU fan because of all the opportunities it offered me. I met people from many different cultures and ethnicities, and that made a huge impact on me.” Taking advantage of every chance to get involved, McClure joined clubs, committees and teams by the dozen. She became student body president, established a Qatar cultural awareness tradition and served as student representative on the Provost Search Committee.
Soon, her life purpose became evident. “It was in Professor Hoffer’s Econ 101 class that I became interested in economics,” she remembers. “Together with my experience, his class gave me a better understanding of why I grew up in poverty and what could be done to address those issues.”
Following graduation in 2011, McClure worked as a supervisor for the Association of the U.S. Army, a project coordinator for the Fiscal Affairs Department at the International Monetary Fund, an election officer for Arlington County, and a senior analyst for Deloitte. This January, she was appointed as the Outreach and Policy Director for the Office of Lt. Governor Justin E. Fairfax.
Her one extravagance? A Russian Blue cat named Violet. “I couldn’t afford to have a cat or dog growing up and now I have the resources. But I made sure to adopt my cat. I feel for animals in shelters. They just need someone to love them. She’s been rescued. I’ve made an impact on my cat’s life.”
As for her making an impact on fellow students’ lives, McClure says she fervently hopes “they will get inspired to stay the course, get involved and keep working hard.”