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20 Years Later, Patrick Lemle earns his Degree

Patrick Lemle
Patrick Lemle

At 38 years old, Patrick Lemle has already achieved significant business success –working his way up from entry-level jobs to management positions at some of the world’s largest hotel chains. He will graduate cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business on May 9 at Texas Trust CU Theatre at Grand Prairie.

But he always yearned to fulfill his dream of getting a college degree and pursuing a career in law. He started college in Los Angeles right out of high school. But when his mother passed away at the beginning of his junior year, he made the difficult choice to withdraw and begin working, so he could take care of his twin sister, who had just learned she was pregnant.

With his family’s recent move to Phoenix, he was hired as a front-desk clerk at the Ritz-Carlton and worked his way up, eventually landing regional and senior sales management positions at various Marriot properties in Dallas and Phoenix. Currently, he works full-time as a sales partner in the sports division for Hilton Worldwide, but his journey in the hospitality industry hasn’t been easy.

When the pandemic hit, he was stuck in Paris. By the time he returned to the U.S., he learned that he had been furloughed for three months, which later turned into six months (although he fortunately survived a massive layoff).

A high-energy, go-getter all his life, Patrick was bored and depressed. Comforted that he still had a job, he realized “that I need something to fall back on, something that can’t be taken away from me.”


In May 2020, he enrolled in Dallas College and attained his associate degree in 2021.

Spurred by his success, he immediately started at UNT Dallas, taking a full course load while juggling a 40-plus-hour position that required travel.

With a “no-excuses attitude,” Patrick has made huge sacrifices – from books and laptops on planes and minimal social life, to Saturday and Sunday mornings studying at a local Deep Ellum coffee shop.

He chose UNT Dallas because it was local, affordable, small and flexible – an institution willing to work with non-traditional students facing challenges. Because of his lifelong desire to become a corporate attorney, he was also thrilled with the pre-law program and excited to learn that UNT Dallas has a College of Law in downtown Dallas. He also praises his professors; several he believes will be friends and mentors for life.

As an older student, younger students looked to his leadership, leaning on the skills he gained through nearly two decades managing time and achieving goals. His hard work was recognized by the Sigma Beta Delta National Honor Society for business, management and administration majors.


Last Tuesday (May 9) Patrick graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business at Texas Trust CU Theatre at Grand Prairie.

So what’s next for him following commencement? A well-deserved, two-week breather and vacation celebrating with friends and family!

Armed with his degree, Patrick feels as if “life is just getting started!” Once back at work, he’ll begin tackling his next dreams – law school or an executive-level position.

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