Discover, through the stories and experiences of our alumni, where your Dickinson education can take you!
“I definitely am a good product of the liberal arts, and it's served me incredibly well. The liberal arts … engaged my curiosity, and I do think from a leadership perspective, people who are successful in business have a natural curiosity—they question things, they want to understand how things work, why things have been decided or why things have happened the way they've happened. Dickinson prepared me for that really well.”—Steve Smith ’92, fine arts and physics major and Red Devil basketball player. Smith is now president and CEO of major global brand L.L.Bean.
“Some say a liberal-arts education is not ‘useful.’ But surely creating new forms of wealth and employment, constantly developing a more just political system, curing disease, learning better stewardship of the earth, creating new forms of art and music, educating a new generation, learning more about the peoples of the world, discovering new scientific principles, advancing technology—surely these things are all useful.” —President Margee Ensign
“One thing that I owe to Dickinson is what I would call a ‘leader’ mentality—leader in a sense that we, as Dickinsonians, want to bring positive influence to the world, through actively thinking, learning and doing, rather than following blindly what is handed down to us. We are not afraid of change and the unknown but rather cherish it.” —Zhen Li ’11, neuroscience major, from his Yale University lab, citing the influence of his former professors, whom he calls “exemplary mentors.”
"Dickinson's liberal-arts education can teach you to focus—look at our language and international studies programs—but more important, it can teach you to change course, adapt and be comfortable doing so. I was a political science major. I might not be in politics, but it all worked out in the end." —Kirsten Nixa Sabia '92, vice president of integrated communications for the PGA Tour
"I intentionally took a modern dance class my sophomore year as an elective to avoid having to write a paper for at least one class. It turned out I was required to write not one, but two assignments for modern dance. As much as I jokingly complained about always having to write a paper, these assignments played a crucial role in helping me pursue a career in international development and communications. I attribute my strong communication and writing skills to Dickinson’s liberal-arts education." —Priscilla Addison ’09 (French, international studies), co-founder of ’57 Chocolate and development outreach and communications specialist for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
"Having a well-rounded liberal-arts education positioned me to succeed in a world where knowing how to think and approach a problem is much more important than deep expertise on any given topic." —Ben Tiede ’05 (biology, biochemistry & molecular biology), chief of staff for the vice chairman at Johnson & Johnson
“More than specific classes, I learned how to live and think from my liberal-arts education, and that made me open to any challenge.” —Kyle Anderson ’15 (art & art history), quality assurance specialist at Epic Systems, one of the world's leading software companies, which was founded by Judith Faulkner '65
In these short Q&As, students share everything from why they chose Dickinson to their favorite Dining Hall food.
“Where learning is confined to a few people, liberty can be neither equal nor universal.”
—Dr. Benjamin Rush, whose vision lives on through the revolutionary college he founded.
“Having a liberal-arts education meant that I had knowledge of a lot of topics, and could talk to, and connect with, a lot of people. Being able to sit down with Madonna and talk about David Hockney, or to be in her apartment in New York and have a Dora Maar Picasso on the wall—and know that it was a Dora Maar Picasso—gave me a huge step up.” —Vincent Paterson ’72 (theatre), renowned choreographer who has worked with stars such as Michael Jackson, Madonna and Paul McCartney.
“You need to be comfortable with there not being a rulebook and just think critically about what might make the most sense moving forward. A liberal-arts education helps you see all the dimensions of a problem and how you might want to fix things and develop a plan.” —Michael Lanz ’91 (policy studies), director of global client & agency solutions at Google