Decision Making and Role Changing: A Discussion with Dr. Jeffrey and Mrs. Heather Dill

Amber Huddell

March 18, 2019

This morning the Philadelphia Commons Institute fellows were excited to see both a familiar face and a new face in our Face to Face meeting as guest speakers. Many of us have had, or currently have, Dr. Dill as a professor in the Templeton Honors College course called Modernity and the Civil Society. We were thrilled to hear from not only him, but his wife Heather, who also has a connection to the Templeton Honors College in that she is the granddaughter of Sir John Templeton and the president of The Templeton Foundation. They were able to speak to us about their lives, their education, their family, and their work in a way that Dr. Howard put best when she pointed out that the pair exemplify the saying “humility is the new smart”.

Both Dr. Dill and Mrs. Dill have impressive resumes and inspirational work that they are doing, and were able to communicate their path to these things with great humility. Specifically, Mrs. Dill explained to us how she loved teaching, but knew as soon as she had their first child, was willing to step back from the workforce to be a fulltime mother to her children, who she was able to homeschool for the next 6 years and 3 more children. Furthermore, she was then able to do the opposite, and step into a full time role with the Templeton Foundation while continuing to be a present mother to her children. She was also quick to point out that Dr. Dill was immensely helpful on this front as well, both while he was working toward his PhD at the University of Virginia, and while he was (and is) on the faculty at Eastern University. He, in turn, was able to enlighten us on how he was inspired to go back to graduate school and think about the nature of education, specifically religious education, and sociology. Their discussion of this decision helped all of the fellows, but specifically the seniors who are thinking about life after leaving Eastern, to understand that the paths we set now may change and expand in beautiful and interesting ways, and being surrounded by supportive and loving communities really matters.

Besides learning about life we were able to learn more about the history of the Templeton Foundation, the Templeton Prize, being a good steward of money, homeschooling, and much more from Dr. and Mrs. Dill. They were inspiring guests and wise mentors, and it was truly a pleasure to be able to hear from them in this setting.