The Honors College recently had a chance to
catch up with Thaiddeus “Ted” Dillie, a class of 2020 West Virginia University and Honors College
graduate. Ted graduated with a bachelor of science in biochemistry, a major
which is a collaboration between the Davis and Eberly Colleges.
Ted, a Weirton,
West Virginia native, was exposed to strong WVU pride throughout his childhood, so his decision to attend
college here was not a difficult choice. However, as a first-generation college
student, navigating the waters at such a big university was an adjustment for
Ted. Ted said his experiences with the Honors College and within his
major allowed him to have a rich and unique experience at WVU, one he hopes
to continue in his future.
How Ted Chose WVU
Being from Weirton, even before he started his time at WVU, Ted knew a lot of people from his high school that were attending college in Morgantown, so the campus and
the environment of the University were not strangers to him. When he toured WVU
before officially deciding to study here, the constant smiles and persistent
friendliness from the staff and community members reassured what he already
knew: this was going to be his “home away from home” for the next four years.
Knowing his desire to study a major with a balanced combination of math,
biology and chemistry, Ted decided to pursue a degree in biochemistry, a
decision he has never regretted. He recalled how each of the biochemistry
professors was amazing in their own way, bringing a unique perspective to the difficult subject material being presented.
Deciding to Join the Honors College
Aside from academic material,
however, Ted still had some insecurities and worries about his college experience as
he embarked on this portion of his life. As a first-generation college student,
he struggled to find a balance between navigating college as a whole and
maintaining academic success, while also pursuing a unique four years at WVU.
Thankfully, he spoke to many people from his high school to learn more from their experiences. One of those current students was an
Honors Hall resident assistant who pointed him in the direction of the Honors College, stating
that, “The Honors College is the easiest way to have a unique college
Going from a high school with a
graduating class of 44 people to a university with approximately 21,000
undergraduate students would be a harsh transition for anyone. Ted found that the Honors Hall residence hall was a great way to help make WVU feel more like home.
He knew living in Honors Hall would foster a sense of a smaller home and
community on a bigger campus, allowing him to meet people with the same
ambition as himself who also had a diverse plethora of interests and hobbies that
he could learn from. Ted fondly recalled memories of decorating the
Christmas tree in the Honors Hall courtyard with new friends he still has to this
day, really reinforcing his initial conception of WVU being a “home away from
home.” He also participated in Honors Hall Olympics, an event planned by fellow classmates as part of the
Honors Hall Council class, a class that gave him and other Honors Hall residents experience planning events for their fellow residents.
Representing Honors and WVU
Eventually, Ted enjoyed his experience with the Honors College enough to become one of the faces representing the college as an Honors Ambassador. Being an Honors Ambassador acted as a stepping stone in his path to achieving a unique college experience, Ted recalls. As an Honors Ambassador, Ted had the opportunity to work numerous events where he met people from across the University, establishing a network he would not have otherwise been able to. Eventually, these connections came full-circle as Ted was announced as the alternate Mountaineer for the 2019-2020 year. Ted believes these experiences and this network helped him get there.
Being the alternate Mountaineer was
a peak WVU experience for Ted. When asked about his most memorable
times occupying this role, he pointed to one of his first times as the
Mountaineer at one of the WVU baseball games. Due to a rain delay, this
particular game was a double header against none other than Texas. Horns down,
but the pressure was up for Ted.
Although Ted is a big baseball fan, being a fan in the stands is very different from leading the way, corralling and rallying all the fans in the baseball stadium. Ted remembers the pressure he felt as fans approached him, asking for pictures and congratulating him on this new position. More than that, however, Ted remembers the innumerable amount of friendly advice he received from regulars at the baseball games, telling him the best times to begin cheers and wishing him luck. This was reminiscent of all the friendly encounters he had when he first toured the university, again a full-circle experience.
What's Next for Ted?
Ted is currently pursuing his masters in business administration through the John Chambers College ofBusiness and Economics and is planning to complete the program in May 2021. Upon
completion of his MBA, Ted hopes to attend medical school at the WVU School of Medicine.
Eventually, Ted desires to use his healthcare experience and his
knowledge of business together to create effective initiatives and changes in
the medical field. He feels that his experience as an Honors College mentor to
incoming freshman really prepared him to explain novel material to people
without making them anxious, something that will contribute to his bedside
manner when he is a practicing physician.
As Ted continues his time here at WVU, he hopes to pay it forward, allowing all the friendliness, comfort, and unique experiences he received here to shape him into a person who can deliver those same qualities to others.