Standing tall with a regal poise living up to his name, sophomore Prince Obegolu came from a place further than most to end up at the University of Dallas.
“I was born in Nigeria,” Obegolu explained. “I moved to America when I was nine years old, to Dallas, Texas.”
“Growing up in Nigeria was actually a good experience,” he said. “I had friends, close friends, and I just thought of myself as every other kid, just living the life, watching a lot of cartoons and stuff like that.”
Noting that nine years old is the halfway mark of youth, Obegolu described the switch to life in America.
“When I first learned I was going to school here I was like ‘oh, that’s interesting.’ I was kind of scared because like, I obviously didn’t know anything about America, or the American school system, but for the most part, I adjusted really well, because I was still young, learning a lot of little things here and there.
“For the most part, it’s been a good experience, growing up both in Nigeria and also in America,” Obegolu continued. “I think each country and each experience has something to offer, and it’s made me a lot more dynamic.”
Despite his relatively early move, Obegolu retains many of the traditions of his homeland.
“Tradition in my family is a big thing,” Obegolu said. “We still go to Nigerian Mass when we can, my mom still cooks Nigerian food, here and there we speak my native language, Igbo, and we try not to lose ourselves because we live in a different country.”
When reflecting upon the benefits of living in the United States, Obegolu said, “One thing I like about America is it’s such a diverse place that it’s really hard to lose your culture,” he said.
Besides culture, the Catholic faith also plays a large role in Obegolu’s life.
“Growing up, [in] my family we believe that faith works through everything. We’ve been through a lot. The only person that has been with us is God. I think faith is definitely a huge agent in forming who I am.”
“Especially here, going to UD, I feel like I’ve grown spiritually as a person, and one thing I love about UD is the fact that it teaches you how to think for yourself,” Obegolu said. “I can attest to that.”
Obegolu is pursuing a degree in economics, and planning on an intellectually stimulating career in banking and finance.
As ambitious as he is, Obegolu doesn’t let his goals get in the way of his compassion. “One of my passions is that I love to help people. Seeing what I can do for others just makes me want to do more,” Obegolu said. “In the end, I want to be a philanthropist. By God’s grace, I plan on doing something with hunger, starving children, in third world countries—just something that can bring meaning into other people’s lives.”
He believes that his unique ability to adapt helps him attain his goals.
“I notice that when I see something, or when something’s hard for me, I don’t give up. So my ability to identify a problem, think of solutions and adapt and solve the solution is definitely something about me that’s unique. I truly believe it will help me out in the future, by God’s grace.”
Obegolu has two major role models. “My mom. I know it sounds cliche but my mom does inspire me to be my best. She encourages me not to focus on the things that stress me out but to focus on the things of God, like doing what is right and just being honest with yourself.”
His second role model outside of his family is a professor at UD. “Sister Mary Angelica definitely inspires me. We would talk about life and stuff like that, and just hearing her speak about Jesus and how much she loves God inspires me as well to do better and get to know God.”
Obegolu has a clear and deep conviction about his faith and his future. “Everything we do is by God’s grace, the fact that we’re alive is by God’s grace,” Obegolu said. “So, you always gotta believe in God and pray.”