Life-long Learner

Gay Fogarty

Gay Fogarty '66, Owner of the Fogarty Group

How has your Dickinson education helped you get to where you are today? 

"Dickinson started me on the road of being a life-long learner. And it kind of ignited my natural curiosity about how things work. Why do people think the way they do? What informs their decisions? What kind of context there is around their lives that made them who they are? And part of being a life-long learner is this curiosity, and this wanting to understand, and so what I do for my clients is help them understand themselves. Helping them reframe. Looking at something differently. I would call it having a learner’s mindset. Where they’re going to be able to look at something very differently than they looked at it before, and because they’re changing that mindset, they’re able to change their behavior.”

Can you tell me a little bit about what the Fogarty Group does?

"A lot of my work is this difference between intention and perception. Intention is what we think is happening out there, perception is how everyone else chooses to view it through their own individual filter. But again, I think a lot of that comes back to the experience I got at Dickinson—seeing why rats form habits in the psych lab and how you distinguish those habits is partly what I do in my work, figuring out how do we get rid of some of the bad habits you accumulated over the years."

How did you choose to come to Dickinson?

"What brought me to Dickinson is the other half of my story, because it was truly walking through campus. The people were friendly, the campus was beautiful, and for me it was just the right size. And it remained that way. It was’t too big, wasn’t too small, but it was just the feeling of friendliness on the campus.

"But now I want to tell you the other part of the story, because that’s important to me. So, I spent all, almost all the entire four years with 10 good friends. [After graduation] we would exchange Christmas cards, see each other at reunions, but we were all busy, raising children, things like that. In that exchange of Christmas cards I got from one of them, she said she had breast cancer. We had been talking about getting together and it never really happened. But she said, ‘I’d really like to get together,' and I said, fine, I’ll make it  happen. And, every year since then, we get together. Sometimes twice. And they have been through my life a phenomenal support system. Something happens at Dickinson, that you’re able to have that kind of relationship. I’m not sure what it is. But it happens."

What advice would you offer to today's students?

"I would say, make the most of every minute you have here, in two respects—Your environment to learn and your environment to establish life long relationships. You’re [at Dickinson]; you’re living daily with somebody who is different than you are. How do you learn how to do that? This is playing ground. This is opportunity. A learning opportunity to get along with lots of different people. It's also a question of how do I maximize the moment that I have? It was a microcosm all unto itself."

Published Jan. 13, 2014