For James Wilcox, Moraine Valley was the place that fostered his educational goals and helped him realize a breakthrough in his inner strength.

“I came in to Moraine Valley with a lack of self-confidence. My instructors helped me through that,” said Wilcox, who graduated in 1972 from the college before going on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Governors State University. “I was able to gain the self-confidence I missed in high school and have carried that with me through good times and bad. It has been a fundamental building block in coming to where I am today.”

Where Wilcox is today is El Paso, Texas, serving as the chief executive officer of El Paso Specialty Hospital. Under his watch, the hospital, which specializes in orthopedic and urological surgeries, has received numerous accolades. Among the awards is a five-star rating by Healthgrades putting the facility in the top 10 percent of all hospitals nationwide for total joint replacement surgery outcomes.

One of the reasons for success is his ability to communicate. “I believe most people really want to do what is expected of them. I’m convinced that when things don’t go as planned, usually there is a weak leader somewhere in the process who doesn’t understand how to communicate effectively in the situation,” he said. Wilcox also credits his mother and his faith with being sources of inspiration. “My mother, who recently died at age 92, was an inspiration to me on all levels. She was an honest, God-fearing, tell-it-like-it-is woman who was always there with words of encouragement. And, of course, if she didn’t like what I was doing, I heard that loud and clear, too. I’m a quietly religious Christian person, and my faith is a great source of inspiration in both my private and professional life,” he said.

Wilcox treasures his days as a Moraine Valley student and crosses paths with students from other community colleges as well as exclusive private universities. “I see no real difference,” he said. “I find that the motivation of the individual to succeed is more important than where one was educated.”  He also has a philosophy to share. “The armchair quarterbacks will be happy to point to your faults,” he said. “Remember that nothing of real value is created without criticism, and the armchair quarterbacks really aren’t in the game anyway.”