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Keenan Holmes: Management Information Systems

Richmond, VA
Major: Management Information Systems
Minor: Pre-Law

Recognized in high school as one of the 100 top basketball sophomores in the USA, Keenan Holmes started out his college career with a sports scholarship at one of the Western Athletic Conference Schools, briefly majoring in psychology. Intrigued by his work with computers, Keenan switched to Management Information Systems and began considering a related career in law. Then, suffering a partly torn ligament (and missing his daughter in Virginia) Keenan came back east, looking for a school with a strong academic program and a competitive basketball team. He found both at IUP, entering the Honors College and playing for an IUP team that won two championships in one year.

I had been in rehab for my knee and then, sensing I was ready, the coach put me in during a game in Louisville. I got a three pointer. I was back. I fell in love with the sport…but, more than that, it changed my perspective on life. No matter how bad things are, they can always get better…I feel more mature now, feel that I have something to share. I'm glad for what I've been through. It's left me a stronger person.

Along with the competition on the boards, the hard-working Keenan eagerly took up the challenge of the Honor College Core Curriculum, with its emphasis on looking beyond the obvious, of digging deep and asking always what it means, and what, therefore, should we do?

It's as challenging as I thought it would be. I'm always learning more, I'm with people from different backgrounds – and the whole experience has opened my eyes and helped me grow as a person. There are so many good things I am getting out of this. Being in Core has helped me develop some of my goals, to think differently, to improve as a person, to see other perspectives. What we learn there goes beyond the classroom. The Core questions have made me think about why life – what do I know? What can I count on?

One of the things Keenan Holmes counts on is the solid background and balanced curriculum offered by IUP's program in Management and Information Systems. Combining fresh approaches to business technology – user/manager involvement in global business, international (and local) networking – along with traditional business/computer skills – ranging from analysis and design to programming and application development (and more!) – IUP's MIS major is a truly comprehensive program. Students may specialize, if they like, in everything from microprocessors to mainframes, from database development to full client server applications.

Thanks to this program, I'm working on setting up a summer internship right now, for a company's regional HQ – up in Northern California, a place I've ever been to – doing tech support at $18 an hour!

As Keenan gets ready to leave IUP and begin law school, he envisions a life full of bright, new and unexpected possibilities. As he wrote in his Core paper "On Transcending Environment," a work inspired by the writings of Frederick Douglass, Keenan asks: "How do you get out there …if you don't even know it exists?"

My dream is to one day have my own business, with the hope of bettering society, mainly for inner city youths. Of course I still dream about playing professional basketball one day, but if that doesn't happen, law school is a big part of my plans. I hope to write a couple of books. I've started on the first one already…and I write poetry…I write about what people go through. I made a CD called 'My Life.' I'm trying to start a business writing personalized poems for people and, honestly, if I could do anything in the world, it would be to write. Writing…is so powerful. You have to ask how it is that a man like Frederick Douglass can get out of slavery and write a book, write his autobiography.

Keenan works hard, night after night, on his own autobiography these days, a book he has titled A Rose in Cement.

I want to get across to readers than you can get out of a situation that seems awful, maybe so awful that escape might not seem possible. A rose can grow in cement but there is dirt somewhere underneath. You grow! I write every night on this book. I can't wait to finish. And I want to do so much more. I want to learn French, Italian – by the end of my life I want to be fluent in a few languages, to have written a few books, to create a few more CD's. I am not looking for money in return; I'm not guided by money. I want people to know what I've been through. Whatever happens, I want to help people. When I was in Richmond, I volunteered at the Urban League, tutoring Math and English, working with inner city kids. Just as Frederick Douglass said – and it's my favorite quote – 'Without struggle, there is no progress.'

Keenan’s Accomplishments

Academic Distinction/Awards

  • Dean's List

Community Service

  • American Cancer Society
  • Urban League of Greater Richmond, VA.
  • Math and English tutor


  • Basketball
  • FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes)
  • MIS Club