Perspectives: What Does Gettysburg College Mean to You?

Compiled by Mikelyn Britt, Opinions Editor

Associate Professor English McKinley Melton 

Associate Professor of English McKinley Melton (Photo provided)

Associate Professor of English McKinley Melton (Photo provided)

“Gettysburg is deeply rooted in the past, yet ideally situated to respond to the demands of the present while empowering students to tackle the challenges and pursue the possibilities of the future. Gettysburg remains firmly invested in liberal arts traditions that guide students through creative and critical interrogations of our world, which require thinking about seemingly discrete issues in integrated and interconnected ways. Making sense of our world requires an understanding of the contexts out of which particular moments arise, the histories that converge to produce certain challenges and opportunities, and the broader implications of the decisions that determine how we “meet the moment.” Every day, I talk to students and faculty who recognize the importance of thinking deeply as well as broadly, with an awareness that what we do here matters beyond any given class or individualized experience. So, that’s what Gettysburg is to me: a community of people whose commitments reflect the idea that what we do here matters.”

Ziv Carmi ’23

Ziv Carmi '23 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

Ziv Carmi ’23 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

“Gettysburg is the site of the largest land battle in North America, an iconic speech that altered the course of Western Civilization, a WWI tank training camp that helped launch the career of one of the greatest generals in American history, and that general-turned-president’s home for over a decade. It is impossible not to feel the importance of this small town wherever I go. Indeed, most of my heroes, including Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel and Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan, have all visited this hallowed ground, creating a direct link between these figures and myself as I travel the Battlefield.

That, at its core, is what Gettysburg is to me. It is a site with an incredibly rich history stretching well beyond the battle that will always inspire me and millions of other visitors to continue fighting for what people like General Eisenhower and President Lincoln did: freedom and equality for all.”

President Bob Iuliano

President Bob Iuliano poses outside of the first-year dorms on Move-In Day (Photo Aly Wein/The Gettysburgian)

President Bob Iuliano poses outside of the first-year dorms on Move-In Day (Photo Aly Leia Wein/The Gettysburgian)

“Gettysburg is about community, inspired by the commitment to graduate students ready to make a profound difference in their lives and in the societies in which they graduate. We do it because the history of this institution compels it, and we do it because we attract students who want to get their hands a little dirty, who want to help make a difference in the world they’re going to inhabit, and we do it because we have a remarkably committed community that is determined to help students achieve those aspirations. And this is why we’ve talked increasingly about a consequential education.”

Fiona Docherty ’26

Fiona Docherty '26 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

Fiona Docherty ’26 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

“To me, Gettysburg is a place of opportunity. At the college I have found many academic opportunities to grow in knowledge and experience. My professors are dedicated to helping me achieve my goals and to become the best version of myself. I can learn from experts in every subject who have a passion for what they are teaching. In the town, I have found a vibrant community of people who are kind and welcoming. The community in Gettysburg is the best form of small-town hospitality there is. From getting coffee at Waldo’s, thrifting at Wildroot, to seeing a movie at the Majestic theater, there is always something to do in Gettysburg. While I am still getting used to being in a new state with new people, Gettysburg makes the transition easy. I am excited to grow in this community over the next four years.”

Physics Laboratory Instructor and Director of Hatter Planetarium Ian Clarke 

Laboratory Instructor and Director of the Hatter Planetarium Ian Clarke (Photo provided)

Physics Laboratory Instructor and Director of the Hatter Planetarium Ian Clarke (Photo provided)

“I did not attend Gettysburg College, but the college, and the liberal arts way have been at the heart of my life. I was a faculty kid in the 70s, and the benefits offered at the time sent me to college in the 80s. When I came out of grad school in the early 90s, I found a job here as an adjunct teaching first-year writing. I did not plan to stay, but I met and married another college employee, we raised our family in the community. Over the past 30 work years my work has evolved, and now I am teaching astronomy labs and directing the college planetarium, though I have taught an English course as recently as 2020. It has been a treat to bridge the humanities and natural sciences in this way, particularly in the planetarium, a space where both can live.”

Angel Tong ’26

Angel Tong '26 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

Angel Tong ’26 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

“When I decided to venture outside of my comfort zone, Gettysburg was the first location I chose. Flying almost 30 hours from Vietnam to get to a whole new place was a wild experience for a 17-year-old girl who has never been to a foreign country. But Gettysburg has given me a warm embrace and a friendly smile in return. Gettysburg welcomed me as an international student so smoothly that I already considered this place as my second home. Mr. Brad, Mrs. Carla, the VSA, and the “Gettys Xia Xia Meo Meo”, all have contributed to emphasizing that Gettysburg is a choice that I will never regret making. I am so looking forward to spending my next four years in this amazing college.”

Director of the Eisenhower Institute Tracie Potts

Director of the Eisenhower Institute Tracie Potts (Photo provided)

Director of the Eisenhower Institute Tracie Potts (Photo provided)

“Gettysburg College is the stage for my “second act” – helping students Do Great Work. At the Eisenhower Institute, we create experiential learning projects. I love traveling with students, seeing their eyes light up when they see what they read about and when they talk with people about opportunities and challenges in their communities. I am energized guiding students to develop policy solutions, and putting them in front of leaders who can implement their fresh ideas. I spent 30 years telling stories. Gettysburg College is allowing me to create my own. This is meaningful work, and I love doing it!”

Gabriel Houser ’24

Gabriel Houser '24 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

Gabriel Houser ’24 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

“Initially, I was not sure what to make of Gettysburg. It was 2020, and it felt like the world was going to end. The first three semesters were brutal. Isolation, no friends, a sea of masks, and an unrelenting academic workload. As a young man alone with ASD, I never felt worse in my life. But one day, the masks came off, and the community came alive. I started going to clubs. I met many like-minded neurodivergent kids, I started doing improv in front of strangers who became fast friends, and then I helped put on the first sketch comedy show in the history of Gettysburg College. At last, I finally found a place of belonging. To me, Gettysburg is all about community and finding your people. Even if you cannot find them now, believe me when I say that, they are out there just waiting to get to know you.

Chairperson and Associate Professor of Italian Studies Lidia Anchisi

Chairperson and Associate Professor of Italian Studies Lidia Anchisi (Photo provided)

Chairperson and Associate Professor of Italian Studies Lidia Anchisi (Photo provided)

Last week the Department of Italian Studies held its annual luncheon during which my colleagues and I gave a presentation about our program. While I rambled on about the dual track, the courses we teach, and the co-curricular activities we offer, I looked across the room at our students and the word that came to mind was family. And so I said that even though we are a small program, joining our department is kind of like joining a family.  

‘Family’ – a term I think about often as an adoptee – is such a simple concept that we somehow come to understand at an incredibly young age. And yet it cradles within its crevices and multifaceted layers a complex range of meanings and associations. For me the word has never been about blood relations but about the love, care, and support that ripple back and forth along the bonds we establish with certain individuals. 

I have been teaching at Gettysburg College for 20 years. With so many years under my belt, I haven’t just worked with or alongside engaging colleagues, amazing support staff, and the myriads of students who have populated my classrooms and my office. I have shared laughter, tears, excitement, pride, and humility with many of them. And this range of emotions, rooted in a deep sense of caring, don’t just manifest themselves between the hours of 8am and 5pm, but carry on well beyond the classroom, into the evening, the weekends, and sometimes even the summer months. 

And so yes, when I think about what Gettysburg means to me, I wasn’t misleading when I used the word family. Of course, Gettysburg College means many things: personal growth, professional development, valuable experience, collaborations, and sometimes an occasion for civil disobedience. Yet family is the word I keep veering towards. For family is what I experience when those with whom I work are more accurately the ones who are my unwavering support system. Family is also what I experience when, for example, students come to my house to make Gnocchi alla Sorrentina for a lunch I hosted for some of our majors and minors. As the group of students dug into the delicious food, they filled the room with laughter and chatter that brought so much sunshine despite the dreary weather. Or it’s when students linger after class is over to gossip about the drama featured in the latest reality shows. Family happens in the classroom as well, whether it’s because I am excited to celebrate the excellent work a student has delivered, or because my heart goes out to the struggling student who tries so hard but doesn’t always quite get it. I know what it’s like to struggle—I’ve been there myself, so I do what I can to help these particular individuals overcome their challenges. 

This may come across as a fairly unconventional response, but it’s an honest one, it’s what has kept me here for so many years, and I have to say, I kind of like it.”

Editor’s note: This perspective was shortened for the print edition due to size constraints. (- K. Oglesby)





Oghenerukevwe E. Tejevbo ’26

Oghenerukevwe E. Tejevbo (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

Oghenerukevwe E. Tejevbo (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

“On the night of Thursday, the 18th of August, 2022, I stepped off the van that had brought me and some other international students to campus from the Washington Dulles International Airport. Wanting to lie down, I had no idea I would see a bunch of other people, including some international students, who all screamed “welcome!” at the same time. The joy I felt immediately after was indescribable. That was the final indicator that I was a part of something bigger than college: a community.

Going forward from that night, it has been quite a journey: a wonderful one, in fact. For me, Gettysburg College is a beautiful community that I am grateful to be a part of.”

Daniela Lopez Larios ’24

Daniela Lopez Larios '24 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

Daniela Lopez Larios ’24 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

“Gettysburg is a symbol of growth and transformation. Whether that be historical, through the Civil War and its legacies, or personal, through my process of self-discovery and countless iconic injuries, Gettysburg has witnessed it all. But at the same time, Gettysburg is a challenge. Many of the people I know, myself included, often feel defeated. It is never easy to navigate Gettysburg, especially when institutions like Gettysburg were not made for marginalized groups. However, the reality is that these people were made for these spaces; what keeps many of us going in light of hardships are the small victories and the support of one another to motivate us to make it to the finish line. Rough patches are, unfortunately, necessary to better ourselves, not just as a student but as a person overall. So, thank you, Gettysburg, for this character development. I would be unable to experience many “full circle” moments without you.”

Lauren Cooke ’23

Lauren Cooke '23 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

Lauren Cooke ’23 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

As a liberal arts institution, Gettysburg has allowed me to pursue all of my passions despite how different they may be. I am a biology major and neuroscience minor and am involved in two research labs on campus. While a large part of my experience has been in the science departments, Gettysburg has allowed me to be involved with so much more. I have participated in multiple programs through the Eisenhower Institute, I have engaged in leadership opportunities through Alpha Delta Pi and Order of Omega, and I have been able to pursue my passion for ceramics through classes and Clay Crew. I know that an experience like this is something I would not be able to find just anywhere, and that is what makes Gettysburg so special.

Quentin Heise ’23 

Quentin Heise '23 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

Quentin Heise ’23 (Photo Eric Lippe/The Gettysburgian)

I believe that Gettysburg College is a place where one can discover more about who they are, not only as a student but also as an individual. I entered wanting to double major in mathematics and psychology and was determined to go to graduate school immediately after Gettysburg. Now, as a Senior, I have dropped the psychology major for a data science minor. Moreover, I am looking into careers as an actuary, where one does not need graduate school to succeed.

I have been in many friend groups throughout my time here. As an Asian American at a predominantly white college, I am aware of the potential racism and bias I might experience. However, most people I have met here are open and accepting of different ethnicities. I am grateful to have found a core group of friends through one of the Christian clubs on campus—DiscipleMakers Christian Fellowship.

This article originally appeared on pages 14–17 of the October 2022 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

Author: Mikelyn Britt

Mikelyn Britt ’23 is the Opinions Editor of The Gettysburgian. She formerly worked as a staff writer for the features and opinion sections. She is an English with a writing concentration major and a peace and justice studies minor. Outside of the Gettysburgian, Mikelyn is a member of SASA (Students Against Sexual Assault) and worked as an intern for the Union County Food Hub on communications and marketing for fighting food insecurity in Pennsylvania. In her free time, Mikelyn enjoys traveling, writing, and working as a preschool assistant teacher.

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