Coming full circle: From lost to found at UMD

At UMD, Tony Eaton found his true calling. Now he’s giving back to the current generation of Bulldogs.

Before coming to Duluth, Tony had struggled with school and lacked direction. But all that changed two years into college, when he was drawn north to finish his degree in the natural beauty of northern Minnesota and Lake Superior. “Transferring to UMD was easily the best decision I've ever made,” said Eaton. “It's such a great community in Duluth and that really helped me hone in on getting my life together.”

That community inspired him to pursue his true passion, and develop connections that lead to his dream

Tony Eaton walking
“Duluth is a great place to harvest creative energy,” said Tony, whose hobby for content creation grew through work at the Media Hub, an inspiring community of landscape and nature photographers and videographers, and the educational and work opportunities he found at UMD.

job as a content creator in the NBA. Now, as an alum, Tony gives back to the Bulldogs of today by bringing some of his experience back into the classroom.

“It's a huge honor being invited back to talk to students who also might be trying to get into sports marketing,” said Eaton. The experience reminds him of his own time at UMD, when he was trying to find his own passion. “I was a terrible student my entire life and had a really rough time getting through college. So it's crazy talking to a class in higher education about what I do. That part is mind-blowing to me, that I'm able to have opportunities like that.”

He hopes that through telling his own story, he might help students find their own inspiration. “Meeting these people and having all these amazing experiences in Duluth really set me on a path and changed my life,” said Eaton. It was actually the beautiful nature and Lake Superior that initially prompted him to pick up a camera and “what started this whole photo and video thing for me, and it's what helped me find the direction I wanted to go.”

His biggest advice to students? “Find what you're passionate about, and let that drive you every day.”

Tony Eaton graduated from UMD in 2019 after majoring in psychology and minoring in marketingStephen Castleberry's Sports Marketing Class is what set him on his professional path. Since graduating, Eaton has had the opportunity to return to that same class as a guest speaker, where he shares his journey with current UMD students.