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Student Snapshot: Phil Butler '21

Phil Butler '21 in his hometown of Philadelphia.

The fall of senior year looks very different than expected for student-athletes like two-time All-Centennial Conference player Phil Butler ‘21, but he’s not letting that slow him down one bit. While continuing classes remotely, this Philadelphia native remains busy with Student Senate, Kappa Alpha Psi and BSU, and has just earned his real-estate license in his spare time. Below, he discusses why persistence, openness, an upbeat attitude and a big-picture view are essential to his success; offers advice to new Dickinson students; and describes the conversations and debates that have helped him grow.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Policy management, with an economics minor.

Clubs and organizations:

Student Senate (president), varsity football, Kappa Alpha Psi (treasurer) and BSU.


Two-time All-Centennial Conference football player and Order of the Scroll and Key honor society. (I’ve been told I’m also the first varsity football player at Dickinson to serve as Student Senate president.)

Favorite book:

It Takes What It Takes: How to Think Neutrally and Gain Control of Your Life by Andy Staples and Trevor Moawad.

Favorite movie:

The Dark Knight or Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

Favorite class/learning experience:

While I commend the professors and academic program at Dickinson, my biggest learning experiences came through dialogue with fellow students and with faculty. The conversations and debates I’ve had about financial literacy, masculinity, networking, leadership and other topics have opened up my perspective. This type of perspective-building is what helps shape identity and character. To me, that’s by far the greatest learning experience we can have.

Favorite place on campus:

The Durden Athletic Training Center.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Parmesan rice.

On choosing a major:

To be honest, I was very late in the process of declaring. I was not sure whether I wanted to major in international business & management, economics or law & policy. After talking with my academic advisor, I learned that policy management was a mix of classes from all three of these majors, which was perfect.

Little-known hobby/talent:

I love music and singing. Some people on campus know a song I sang at Apollo Night.

Proudest accomplishment so far:

I would say my most recent, which is getting my real-estate license. I try to live in the present, so whatever goal I set and then reach becomes my proudest, because I see tangible growth.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be … 

… Nipsey Hussle.

About my internship:

Last summer I interned in the investment management department at Stradley Ronon, a Philadelphia law firm. I have always had interest in the law, and wanted to learn more about investing. This merged my interest in financial literacy with law, and I now invest in different funds due to the education I received from this experience. I learned about ETF’s, mutual funds, types of acquisitions and the purpose of lawyers being so involved in this process.

Advice to new students:

My advice to incoming first-years would be to make Dickinson your own. Don’t hold yourself back. This environment is meant for you to thrive in, whichever way best fits you. Get out of your comfort zone, because there are many brilliant minds and opportunities in places outside of your norm that, frankly, could be life-changing.

Best thing about my Dickinson experience so far:

Creating so many valuable relationships through the organizations and support system I have been exposed to. I know that the majority of these relationships will continue after my time at Dickinson. I have also learned how willing alumni are to help current students, and this tight-knit bond with the school is definitely noteworthy.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

This is a tough one. I’d say learning the value of consistency has been most important. There have been times (and still are) where I did not know what I wanted to pursue and got stagnant. However, I learned that consistently putting myself in uncomfortable situations would help me learn about myself. Success is a consistent attitude, and success should not be measured by material or external expectations. When you are consistent in the way you approach yourself, your principles and your attitude each day, piece by piece, things will begin to make sense or come together. This requires patience and understanding that we’re constantly evolving, so it is best to accept and fall in love with your process.

Read more Student Snapshots.



Published September 9, 2020