Julie Levin Alexander ’80, P’19, didn’t know quite how her life would change when her youngest son, Gregory Oldsey ’19 (international business & management), enrolled at Dickinson. Two of her three older boys had gone to Penn State, just like her husband, Bill, but Gregory wanted to study and play football at a liberal-arts college. He’d been accepted at several Centennial Conference schools when he decided to follow in his mom’s footsteps to Carlisle.
“I was happy, because I knew he’d get a good education, but I wasn’t really connected to the college,” says Julie, who’d lost touch over the years, “so I had no idea just how involved I would become.”
Today, Gregory is a thriving student-athlete, and Julie has discovered a new passion for their shared alma mater as an enthusiastic alumna, parent and volunteer.
Julie’s Dickinson story began with a challenging first year, but she gradually adjusted to on-campus life. She declared an American-studies major, met her first husband, Stuart Alexander ’80, got involved with Delta Nu and sharpened her professional skills as a student career advisor in the career-services office.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but the liberal-arts education I received at Dickinson, combined with my interdisciplinary major, prepared me perfectly for publishing,” says Julie, who launched that career at Macmillan, and went on to work at Harcourt Brace Javonovich and Prentice Hall, now Pearson Education, where she’s vice president of health science and teacher education. “There have been many times in these last 35 years that I’ve written a thank you to my father for sending me to Dickinson.”
Now, she and Bill are on the other side of that equation, and they’re thrilled with what they’re discovering, particularly with regard to the individualized attention students receive from faculty. “The faculty are talking about relevant issues in the classroom, and they’re mindful of how students learn in a digital and mobile society,” she says. “It’s the best of where academia is today, mixed with all of the best of a traditional liberal-arts education.”
Equally important: Gregory’s happy with his choice. And so is his mom—on both his behalf and her own.
“As a parent, you send your child to a school, and you hope for a great experience. But seeing Dickinson through his eyes, and getting involved as a parent, I’m also learning just how special my own experiences were,” says Julie, who, during the past two years, has attended a class reunion, gotten back in touch with her Delta Nu sisters, served on the Delta Nu Advisory Board and Parents Leadership Council, and hosted regional events. “A lot has changed over the years, but the essential heart and soul of Dickinson endures, and I’m so happy to be reconnected with my alma mater.”
Published March 3, 2017