Making a Difference

Graduating senior Billy Donley built his communication skills to be an advocate for students.

Story by Sarah Sabatke

Billy Donley, a senior from Saint Ann, Missouri, came to Mizzou seeking to test his ability.

“I saw Mizzou as … a challenge to make a name for myself,” he says, “to kind of push myself and challenge myself to be involved, to make a difference.”

Photo by Monique Woo

Donley will be graduating from MU in May with a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication and a minor in business. His major involves studying the ways people communicate in a variety of settings, including institutions of higher education.

“It was something that was going to really strengthen my desire to have better interpersonal skills and be able to communicate with people,” he says.

Donley says communication and student affairs have played an integral role in his college experience. Among his wealth of campus involvement, his time with MU Residential Life stands out. Donley was involved with his hall as a freshman and served as the president of the MU Residence Halls Association (RHA) as a sophomore. He went on to serve as regional director for the Midwest region of RHA.

He has also worked with students and community members as the family relations director with MizzouThon, a student organization that raises money for MU’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

“I was primarily communicating with our families, making sure they had everything they needed, and advocating for the kids in all the decisions that we make as an organization,” he says.

After graduation, Donley will move to Syracuse University to study higher education. He will also be working with off-campus and commuter students at the university. Donley hopes to get involved with some of the areas that he is particularly passionate about, including student leadership and accessibility services.

Ultimately, Donley would like to serve in higher administrator roles at higher education institutions. For now, though, he says that “as long as I’m able to work with students directly and be able to mentor them and make a difference on a college campus, [that is what] is important to me.”