The distinctive elements of a Dickinson education—a campuswide global awareness, commitment to sustainability, emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning and a useful, 21st century skill set that goes beyond graduation—are features that make the college unique among other liberal-arts institutions.
In the Words of President William G. Durden '71
President William G. Durden '71 defines and defends the notion of a "useful" liberal-arts education. "A Useful Liberal Arts," Inside Higher Ed, November 2012
From Dickinson's ambitious programs to its reputation in American undergraduate education, hear President Durden talk about the dynamic status of the College today in this video. On the Move in the 21st Century, fall 2011
President William G. Durden '71 thinks out loud about the role of technology in the liberal arts. From These Grounds, Dickinson Magazine, Spring 2012
President Durden greeted the more than 400 prospective students and family members at the Oct. 11 Fall Open House with a speech focused on the Dickinson Advantage—those attributes and assets that distinguish a Dickinsonian in a rapidly changing, 21st-century global society. Open House Video, October 2010
"The complex, global issues of the 21st century, moreover, demand the skills and perspectives that one develops through the liberal arts." 2010 Baccalaureate Speech
"At a time when institutions of higher learning are facing financial crises, are questioning—and even doubting themselves—Dickinson seeks to respond by deepening its commitment to a useful education in the liberal arts and sciences." From These Grounds, Dickinson Magazine, Summer 2010
"One of the most passionate and eloquent advocates of a distinctive American education was Dr. Benjamin Rush, who founded Dickinson College . Rush's fundamental precepts, debated regularly with Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Dickinson, and others, offer us important directives as we explore ways to define the relevance and value of liberal education in our own rapidly changing, revolutionary era." Liberal Education, 2007
"It is time to let the secret out beyond the privileged: A liberal-arts education equals leadership." “Liberal Arts for All; Not Just the Rich,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 2001
Visit the President's Page for more
During the last five years Dickinson students have been awarded the following major fellowships and awards:
- Carnegie Junior Fellowship
- George J. Mitchell Scholarship
- Gilman International Scholarships (3)
- Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships (3)
- Humanity in Action
- Kathryn Wasserman Davis Projects for Peace Grants (4)
- Morris K. Udall Scholarships (2)
- Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships (4)
Leading Producer of Fulbright Awards
Dickinson is among the top-10 liberal-arts institutions producing Fulbright recipients. To date, 92 alumni and 56 faculty or staff have received at least one Fulbright Award. A record eight members of the class of 2008 earned the prestigious award. Directly following his graduation from Dickinson, President William G. Durden '71 was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Basle, Switzerland.
Stories of Dickinson's Fulbright Success
"Two Dickinsonians Win Fulbrights" May 2012, Web feature
"A Russophile's Deam" - profile of Fulbright scholar Evan Sparling '08 February 2012, Web feature
"Fulbright Fellowships Awarded" May 2011, Web feature
"Fulbright Scholarhips Awarded" May 2010, Web feature
"Erica Lally ’08 discovers Russia’s complexity during her Fulbright year" October 2009, Dickinson Magazine
"Alexander Brock '09 Awarded Fulbright to Research in Egypt" May 2009, Web feature
"History in the Numbers" December 2008, Dickinson Magazine
Graduate, Law and Medical School Placement
Dickinson provides the ideal preparation for anyone considering advanced education. Recent Dickinson graduates have pursued professional and graduate study at some of the finest research universities in the world. View the full list
- More than 90 percent of Dickinsonians are either employed or accepted into a graduate program one year after graduation.
- Graduate school acceptance rates are strong: 83 percent for law school and 85 percent (of those recommended) for medical school.
Dickinsonians in Business
According to the most recent alumni survey, a number of Dickinson graduates are CEOs, company presidents or top-level corporate managers. Some examples include:
- retired chairman and CEO of Wyeth, first editor of USA Today and chairman and CEO of Gannett Co. Inc., head of Barclays Wealth Management, assistant general manager of the New York Jets, co-head of William Morris Independent and senior vice president of the motion pictures department, founding president of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia
- A recent issue of Dickinson Magazine highlighted 14 impressive entrepreneurial young alumni under 40. They are just a few of the entrepreneurs that Dickinson has produced. Read the issue online
Dickinsonians in Service
Community engagement, volunteering and engaging with the world are key components of the Dickinson experience. Our alumni use the habits of mind formed while at Dickinson to find a variety of ways to be of service.
- 205 Dickinson grads have served in Peace Corps since 1961.
- Since 1991, 31 Dickinson alumni have gone on to participate in Teach for America.
- Students devote more than 30,000 hours of community service to the Carlisle area each year.
- Dickinson was named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, with distinction.
- According to a 2009 survey, nearly 90 percent of Dickinson College alumni participated in volunteer work, and in 2008—a year marked by global recession—95 percent of the respondents said they made a financial contribution to a nonprofit organization.
Stories of Alumni in Service
Heather Lingenfelter Ditillo ’92 works to eradicate poverty by empowering communities. (Dickinson Magazine, spring 2012)
Anya Malkov '08 comes into her own through service and volunteerism at Dickinson. (Dickinson Magazine, winter 2012)
David Dean ’13 combines his passion for basketball and social justice to benefit Native American youngsters on a Montana reservation. (Dickinson Magazine, fall 2011)
Spring 2012 service trips like these helped place Dickinson on Obama's 2012 service honor roll.
Alumni and students joined forces in 2010 for a groundbreaking service trip to New Orleans.
Ian Mitchell '10 named Rare Disease Champion for raising more than $95,000 to support those coping with cancer.
Philanthropic young alumni join forces in Philadelphia to fight cancer.
Chris Eisworth '08 joined City Year, an AmeriCorps organization focused in part on improving the public-education experience of inner-city students.
Susan McDowell Heppenstall '61 formed A Light for Zimbabwe, a nonprofit organization that sends food, medical supplies, books, clothing, bicycles to the struggling villages.
Thomas Hull '68 has received two Presidential Meritorious Service Awards.
Global Alumni Network
Networking Day 2010 reception in Rector Science Complex atrium.
More than 1,800 Dickinson alumni worldwide are active participants in Dickinson Works, a program that connects students with alumni for career advice, internships and job opportunities. The stories of alumni going above and beyond to help their fellow Dickinsonians are widespread, and the impact is visible.
Stories of Networking Success
"Career Center at Work" April 2010, Extra Features
"Students Connect with Alumni" February 2010, Web feature
"Eyes on the Prize" November 2009, In Focus
"Tales of the Hunt" July 2009, Dickinson Magazine
Alumni Engaged with Dickinson
Examples of the variety of paths a Dickinson liberal-arts education can create are visible right here on campus. A number of faculty, administrators and trustees are Dickinson graduates, including:
- William G. Durden '71 (German and philosophy), college president
- Annette Smith Parker '73 (fine arts), vice president and treasurer
- Julie Johnson '82 (biology), trustee, Distinguished Chair for Museum Leadership at the Science Museum of Minnesota
- Ken Shultes '89 (political science), associate vice president for campus operations
- Howard Lalli '90 (history), trustee, president of Ecological Strategy
- R. David Wechsler '93 (policy management), trustee, vice president for Energy Hub Inc.
Not only do our alumni share their professional successes with us, they share their reflections on how their Dickinson education prepared, guided and influenced them. Following are some testimonials gathered through the alumni surveys sent to the classes of 2000, 2005 and 2009.
Kirstin Berg ’05 (political science and sociology), director for The Advistory Board Co.
“My speaking and writing skills have been tremendously helpful in my line of work. I even had a senior exec at my company (most of whom are Ivy folks) comment when he asked where I went to school, ‘Oh, Dickinson, they produce great writers ... a solid education.’ I think that’s a great vote of confidence.”
Ellen E. Burton ’09, neuroscience and health studies, research assistant at The Henry Jackson Foundation
“Dickinson provided me with a valuable education in the sciences. While I benefited greatly from the small class sizes and extensive knowledge of professor, my Dickinson education allowed me to compete and succeed in the ever changing job market after graduation. Thanks to Dickinson I was able to get my foot in the door in the research field I was interested in.”
Justin Gold ’00, environmental studies, CEO of Justin’s Nut Butter
“Dickinson provided the tools I needed to clearly research, evaluate and form my own thoughts on almost any topic. With the confidence on how to use libraries, professors and mentors for guidance, I was able to start my own business with limited knowledge about my industry and still excel.”
Michael M. Meagher ’00, English, vice president at Deutsche Bank
“I believe a classical liberal-arts education is a differentiating advantage in the business world, specifically with respect to critical thinking, willingness to challenge convention, and written and verbal communication skills. And I have a tight-knit group of friends from my time at Dickinson that are truly like family to me.”
Sam Meller ’09, political science, Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission
“My ability to engage and immerse myself in foreign cultures and cities is undoubtedly based on my education as a global citizen, a distinctive Dickinsonian feature.”
Ashly Smolyn ’05 (biology and English), scientist with Medarex, Inc.
“Because of the liberal-arts nature of my degree, I was able to pursue both of my interests, which are quite disparate in terms of strict college class subject matter. However, having a decent background in both has helped me immensely in my jobs and in my graduate program.”
Brian Sylvester ’05 (English), teacher at The Landmark School
“At Dickinson, I was exposed to many different subjects, ideas, and perspectives, and this is has given me a very broad knowledge base. I also learned how to write thoughtfully and read analytically and help others learn to do the same. Today, I need to work with so many different people, each with a different perspective and feelings. I learned how to listen to and accept the opinions of others so I could work in a group at Dickinson.”
Norah Turnham ’05 (theatre arts), general manager for Small Pond Entertainment
“The liberal arts have served me in many ways throughout my life and career. Learning to use information from all areas of study and apply it in creative ways to practical life experience has often given me a leg up as a professional, artist, educator and citizen of the world.”
Lisa Hsu Treat ’00 (French and physics) research assistant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
“Small classes and personalized attention from my professors had a huge impact on my subsequent education and career. Because my professors knew me on a personal level, my letters of recommendation were one of the strongest components of my graduate application to the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, where I completed my Ph.D. in medical engineering and medical physics.”
Read more testimonials
Dig in to additional data from the last several years on the institutional research site
, or read more about Dickinson's mentions in popular media on our Dickinson in the News
page. The Alumni Success Stories
section of our site includes a variety of profiles and testimonials that illustrate the value of a Dickinson education.