Chad Casselman ’98 knows all too well what it’s like to struggle financially. As a youngster, he and his mother lived in the family trailer at Myrtle Beach’s Lakewood Campground and made ends meet on $11,000 a year. The beach and surfing were his escape.
During his senior year at Socastee High School, he helped out in the guidance counselors’ office and was excited to learn about all the different scholarships that were available for students interested in attending college. He applied for a number of them.
I would not have been able to attend Coastal Carolina University without the various internal and external scholarship support I received,” Casselman said. “I am sure I would have taken a much different route in life.”
His plan of studying marine science and becoming a shark expert was short-lived after he bought his first computer just days before starting classes at CCU. Instead, he excelled as a computer science major. During his sophomore and junior years, he taught himself how to program for the web, which was still in its infancy.
“I wrote a software package that I started selling,” Casselman said. “By the time I left Coastal, I was making $6,000 to $8,000 a month from my dorm room.”
After graduating as the outstanding senior in computer science, he earned a full-ride scholarship for graduate school at North Carolina State University. From there, he worked as a software consultant for several years before returning to CCU to teach.
As a way to show his appreciation for the scholarship support that enabled him to attend CCU, he has established the B. Chad Casselman Computer Science and Information Systems Endowed Scholarship. He also generously supports the Chanticleer Athletic Foundation.
“I am very blessed right now,” he said. “By creating this scholarship, I hope I can at least affect one person’s life the same way the scholarships I received positively affected mine.”
Today, Casselman co-owns JVZoo.com, an online marketplace and affiliate network for information products, such as e-books, videos and software. The technology company introduces its clients to people who will sell their products for them. In roughly four years, JVZoo has processed $200 million.
“I get up everyday at 5 a.m. because I love what I do,” said Casselman, who also teaches advanced web topics on a part-time basis at CCU. “The key is finding your passion. Try as many things as possible to find out what you truly love. The day I started college, I knew I wanted to do something with computers. I have been down many paths with computers, but I have now found my niche."