‘You Did It’ - How Three Words Validated an Adult Degree Student's Journey

Sidney Curry headshot in a suit crouching down with a wooden plank background
Campus Life

‘You Did It’ - How Three Words Validated an Adult Degree Student's Journey

February 12, 2024 | by Cara Davis

Sidney Curry: Lessons in Resilience, the Power of Education and Privilege of Giving Back

In the heart of Lower Alabama, a young Sidney Curry found himself with a borrowed lawn mower and a mission to earn some cash. His dad, a hardworking truck driver and preacher, knew the value of teaching his seven children responsibility and financial skills. He loaned him the mower and told him to use it to earn money but to pay him a portion as a lease for the equipment and to figure out how much he needed to charge to cover the cost of the lease, his gas and time. At first, Curry didn’t understand, but in time he learned that his father was teaching him a valuable lesson in business economics – one that benefits him to this day.

Curry learned the importance of hard work and perseverance from a young age. After serving in the military, he co-founded B&C Holdings of Tennessee, LLC, a financial wellness firm that has helped countless individuals tackle their financial goals. He is deeply committed to giving back to his community, a value that he attributes to his upbringing. Through his experiences, Curry has shown that no matter what challenges life presents, with determination and a strong work ethic, anything is possible.

In this piece, Curry talks about graduating from Belmont with a self-designed liberal studies major in 2015. Part of the adult degree program, the experience culminated a journey years in the making, across six schools, serving in a war and starting a business.

Can you share a bit about your background and your company?

My company, B&C Holdings, is named after my wife's [Saundra] maiden name, Buckingham, and my name, Curry. We started our company 23 years ago, and our company delivers financial wellness programs and services to companies, colleges/universities, training organizations, government entities and nonprofit organizations. We have on site virtual training and an award-winning DFW portal.

Editor’s note: Destination Financial Wellness (DFW) is a self-paced learning management system (LMS).

We also conduct one-on-one personal financial coaching to reinforce the education that we bring forward. We teach, educate, expose, empower, elevate, and uplift individuals to become personally, financially ready for their goals.

We have established relationships with our clients because we're not trying to sell them something. We're just educators. We made that decision with our company a long time ago.

What motivated you to start your company?

My wife was in banking for 20 plus years, and she saw high income, middle income, low income doesn't translate into financial security or financial stability without the benefits of financial education. You have so many people in America that make so much money, but 81% of everybody lives paycheck to paycheck. That literally means out of every eight people that you know, regardless of their educational level, regardless of where they live, how many trips they take and post on Instagram, 8 of every 10 people are living paycheck to paycheck, and we need to do something about that problem. You don't have to be a rocket scientist about money to become financially stable and then transition into building wealth. We solve that problem.


"As a non-traditional student when you choose Belmont, you're choosing a partner that's aligned with your core values, your family values, your belief system. It's a transformational experience when it all comes together."

Sidney Curry

You tried completing your degree several times, but had challenges with building a business, family and serving in the military. How did you end up at Belmont?

I literally was learning how to run a business, but that wasn't enough to pay for my college. I saw this commercial that said, “Join us, and we'll pay for your education.” So, I signed up for the military.

First, they sent me over to a foreign land, which was frightening, and then to a war. But that experience taught me so much about myself, my spirituality, my core values and how to appreciate faith, believing and trusting. It was my opportunity to practice what I said I believed through faith.

After returning to the United States, it taught me to believe in myself and that I could face any situation. If I could face war, I could take on any challenge. So, in 1992, I was in a position where nothing was going to hold me back from going back to school. I continued in the military as a reservist, changed my job to JAG (Judge Advocate General's Corps or a judge advocate) because I always wanted to go to school to be a lawyer, and went to MTSU. That was my second school as a veteran. But the business was growing, and it required too much of my time, so I left school for a third time.

Then, we started B&C Holdings because we wanted to help people with their finances, believing that money shouldn't be so complex or mysterious. Our business grew, and it made me reflect on how I grew up and how I wanted to change the narrative around finances and relationships.

Years later, with my kids growing up and after seeing my son finish college, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized I hadn't finished my school. I wanted to go back, so I looked at various schools in the Middle Tennessee area and ended up choosing Belmont. It was a spiritual experience, a faith-based, warm, beautiful place that resonated with me unlike any other school. Belmont's gorgeous campus, the columns, the quad and the overall mood and feeling were just what I needed.

How did your experience at Belmont University contribute to your career?

First of all, Belmont invested in me. It's rewarding to have a partner. Because, you know, as a non-traditional student when you choose Belmont, you're choosing a partner that's aligned with your core values, your family values, your belief system. It's a transformational experience when it all comes together.

My emphasis was focused on intellectual purity and business growth. I just had the most amazing opportunity to take these classes that accomplish that objective. Because I never went to business school, everything I learned was learned by doing. It was in practice. Many call it a baptism by fire when running into business. 

Every class that I took helped me, as an adult, become a better business person, a better salesperson, and a better strategic planner. I took those classes to become a better person, focused on values for myself and to strengthen my religious framework. I don't know that I could have received that level of depth and care, community experience, education and flexibility that they gave me as an adult student. 

How did Belmont meet your needs as a non-traditional student?

The professors showed tremendous flexibility and care, which was everything. They could have failed me. They could have been rigid, but they knew we were not traditional students. They knew we were raising a family, and I needed a school that understood my family dynamics, our business dynamics, our value dynamics and our belief system. Belmont was everything—they met every single requirement that I had for myself, for my family and for my betterment. So, I structured my classes to meet all of those values, and it was amazing.

Can you talk about a memorable moment from your graduation?

On graduation day, I knew my wife was going to be there for me, but she surprised me by flying our kids in. That was so crazy. She had also gathered all these people to come there, and I just couldn't believe it. It was so amazing. As I walked across the stage, Dr. [Bob] Fisher [former University President] handed me my degree and whispered in my ear, 'You did it.' It felt like he was speaking directly to me. It was a moment of release because I felt that connection. It was such a connective moment, so moving. I don't think I could have gotten that anywhere else.

"It's not about how you start but how you finish, because finishing is winning."

Sidney Curry

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experiences?

I believe that when we get lost in the service of others, we truly find out who we are as individuals. Belmont is incredibly selfless and caring, and I think more people need to be aware of the work we do in our company. We aim to expand our reach because so many people need what we're providing, and I see Belmont in the same light. I often talk about Belmont when I'm traveling across the U.S. My wife and I joke about how people may not have heard of Vanderbilt, but they should know about Belmont. I consider myself one of Belmont's biggest ambassadors because I strive for excellence in everything we do.

I believe that all the struggles we've faced shape us into the individuals we are today. Belmont is part of my story, reinforcing the idea that our steps are ordered, and everything happens for a reason. It's not about how you start but how you finish, because finishing is winning.

Sidney and his wife Saundra
Sidney Curry presenting
Sidney Curry headshot
us airborne flag

Learn more about earning your degree as a non-traditional student in Belmont's Adult Degree Program.