Dickinsonians are achieving great levels of success. From experience in the arts, education, from business to government, alumni are the top in their fields. Their stories, like the ones highlighted below, illustrate the useful and highly personal education that Dickinson provides.
President William G. Durden '71
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Ke Zhou '09
“I was from the first day encouraged to explore, to ask questions, and couldn’t believe that I could pop into a professor’s office any time and talk and chat or ask questions. And in fact was encouraged to do that."
“Perhaps the most valuable thing that Dickinson taught me, overall, is to explore, Dickinson taught me how to think. The most valuable part of my experience is that my education was very intimate and personal. In fact, I made friends with all my professors and keep in touch with almost all of them to this day."
“I laugh when I think back on my first week, I thought here I am, I’m in college, so I’m going to be doing a lot of papers, and was prepared to do that, but the first thing that happened was, I was working on a farm two days a week. Now, imagine here I am from an urban setting of Hong Kong, and now I’m working on a farm. It was completely unexpected and so delightful and very valuable to me."
“My relationships at Dickinson have had a great impact on where I am now, my new course in life, and where my destiny will take me. It was my senior roommate who said to me, ‘Harry, you would make a good lawyer.” It seemed like just a whim, but the idea stuck, and I’m very grateful, because it all happened so quickly."
“I am an integral thinker, with a very systematic approach, very analytical, and these are my strengths. I was both an economics and a computer science major, two very unrelated fields. Which is rare to have such unrelated majors. I didn’t think I could manage a double major, but my professor said, yes, I believe you can, and he sat down with me and mapped out a plan and figured out the course work and made it all possible."
“You see, there are areas where these two disciplines overlap, and I approach solutions to problems from a programming point of view, and it really works for me. And so I had some overlapping classes, and oh, my -- my senior year, I don’t know how I got through it. It took some courage, but everyone was so supportive, even when there seemed to be no possibility I could handle both. I was prepared to just have a minor, but the double major worked best for me and I accomplished it with the help of everyone at Dickinson."
“I have learned that I can become quite good at something, once that happens, then I am passionate about it, and Dickinson taught me that and so became the fuel for my passion in my work."
“I will be going into the banking industry in New York soon, which you know is characterized by vast volumes of regulations -- networks of regulations. Dickinson taught me to be comfortable with and handle large volumes of information. That was the most useful skill I learned at Dickinson, and will be invaluable to me, moving forward."
“To incoming freshmen, I would say, enjoy your time at Dickinson to the fullest. You will someday realize that every bit of it will enrich your life greatly; one day you will see how very useful every part of your Dickinson experience is, for the rest of your life.”
Ben Tiede '05
Global Public Health Consultant
“At Dickinson, I really got a well rounded education. I wasn’t just focused on my major, but exposed to a lot of environments, which is especially important these days. You know, it’s rare, now, for a person to work for one company in your career -- you won’t work for one company for the rest of your life, you have to be ready for any direction. That’s what Dickinson did for me. You have to be prepared to apply anywhere. That was so valuable."
“Dickinson gave me great technical knowledge, yes, but it’s really the foundation that Dickinson gave me that made the difference. These days, you have to be ready to take the opportunity when its there, be ready for it, wherever it is. Dickinson prepared me and gave me an international background, prepared me for a more connected world."
“And I learned that I wasn’t entitled to anything, but had to work for it. Dickinson taught me that you have to earn it."
“And that’s what I’d say to incoming freshmen. Dickinson taught me there’s nothing like hard work, and you’re not entitled to something just because your have a good name on your diploma, or the name of a wonderful graduate school. I’ve seen that attitude in graduate school. But coming from Dickinson, I thought differently."
“Dickinson taught me you’re not entitled to anything, you really have to work for it and be ready. And that door will open.”
Dr. Lisa Pawelski '79
"I really do believe that the smallish, very personal, academically rigorous, get a kick out of asking questions kind of place that Dickinson is made me a better doctor."
"How Dickinson prepared me for this was, being surrounded by brilliant professors and really smart kids who kept me on my toes and thinking for four years; honed my critical thinking, encouraged my inquisitive mind, got me excited about making unexpected connections and trained me to be a really good detective, and slightly small, and a real community."
"The first people who greeted me and surrounded me and were in sync with me were forward looking and bright and curious and capable, and that’s a great way to train for four years, with people like that."
"I can’t say enough about the professors, I really can’t. The opportunity to explore just about anything, artistic, academic, social and otherwise was amazing."
"The spirit of Dickinson prepared me to look to the bigger picture with patients. To look at not just the disease but also their social circumstances. It taught me to go carefully with someone - is there something in their social situation that means there’s something else I need to do (to help them)."