Tell us about your Dickinson experiences.
Our Dickinson experiences started somewhat differently. Jon is a double legacy (his parents, Suzanne and Jake Hays, graduated in Dickinson’s class of 1970) with roots in the Carlisle community, so he was introduced to the college at an early age. Nicole grew up in Arizona and fell in love with Dickinson during a snowy visit in January. What both of us value most about our time at Dickinson are the relationships we formed while on campus. Besides meeting each other, we formed lifelong relationships with some of the most important people in our lives. The Dickinson experience enabled us to cultivate these relationships on campus and abroad, sharing connections that have lasted well past graduation.
How has Dickinson’s liberal-arts education helped you?
Dickinson's liberal-arts education and our experiences studying abroad have prepared us for our professional lives. Nicole’s biology major took her into the field of scientific research that eventually led her to medicine; this year, she is completing her residency in psychiatry at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and her fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital will commence in July. Jon has been applying his international business & management major to his role at EY, consulting with multinational companies on cross-border risk mitigation.
What do you hope your gift will do for fellow Dickinsonians?
We support the Student Wellness Fund. This includes support for our counseling center, student programming, Dickinson's Title IX office and more. We both felt that focusing on a specific area, especially one as important as mental health, would be the most impactful. Working with Nancy Stansbery in Dickinson’s college advancement department, we were able to find this unique way of aligning something that is important to our family and can benefit the current students. On Day of Giving, we will be offering a challenge to help raise additional funds for wellness initiatives at Dickinson. We want to ensure that Dickinson students have the support they need for wellness and mental health.
What inspired your gift to Dickinson?
We both feel strongly about giving back to Dickinson to provide opportunities for the next generation. Jon’s mother, Dr. Suzanne Hays '70, P’06, is a practicing psychologist who started her career in student counseling, and mental health was a core focus in his family’s household. In addition, Nicole's next phase of child and adolescent psychiatry has made this an even more relevant cause to us.
Why do you feel that it is important to give back to Dickinson?
We want to be able to provide people with the same opportunities that we had on campus, immersing ourselves in the Dickinson experience by learning and forming close relationships. Both learning and relationship-building can be severely hampered if someone is experiencing mental-health problems.
What is your favorite memory from your time at Dickinson?
Besides meeting each other, we both loved our time studying abroad. Nicole spent time in Costa Rica and Málaga, Spain. Jon studied in Hong Kong.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Our greatest area of interest right now is raising our daughter, Hanna, and watching her experience the world. We’ve been fortunate enough to share moments with other alums and introducing them to the next generation of Dickinson relationships.
What piece of advice would you give to today’s students?
Our experience with Dickinson has gone far beyond the four years we spent on campus. Embrace the experience during your time as a student, and don't fret the minor details; it will all come together.
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Published March 31, 2022