Photographer: Ben Siegel
Jan 28, 2013
By Margaret Krueger
Patricia Davidson, OHIO’s assistant director of summer sessions, works with diverse students in the University’s eLearning program. A nontraditional student herself, Davidson graduated from the Honors Tutorial College (HTC) with a communications studies degree in 1987. To support high-achieving students from varied backgrounds, she donates regularly to the HTC Community Enhancement Fund.
“I came into the University as an adult student at the age of 30 and began from scratch,” said Davidson. “It was terrifying.”
She describes being a restless after her son started elementary school. For a year, she considered the idea of going to college at the suggestion of her husband. But as a first-generation student and an adult, the prospect of earning a bachelor’s degree was daunting. It was also a prospect Davidson believes she could have not completed without HTC.
“[HTC] helped me feel like I was more in control of my studies,” Davidson said, noting her opportunity to dig deeper into areas that were of personal interest. “I might not have had the persistence or the patience to complete a bachelor’s degree if it had not been for HTC.”
As an alumna, Davidson has stayed connected to the college. In addition to her financial support, she served on the HTC Board of Visitors in the early ’90s. Davidson said she gives back because she wants to make the opportunities she had available to many kinds of students, as HTC has more to offer than just a rigorous education.
“[HTC] is also very valuable for the students’ ability to get to know themselves and have confidence to follow their own interests and ideas,” Davidson said.
Davidson reflects that her tutorials challenged her to pursue research that was initially intimidating, including interviews with upper-level administrators for the purpose of studying organizational communication. However, her HTC senior thesis and master’s degree in college student personnel allowed her the opportunity to study an individual passion: the experiences of adult students attending traditional campuses such as Ohio University.
She fulfills two primary roles in her position with eLearning Ohio. She helps with recruitment programs for high school students as well as with domestic travel programs such as class trips or workshops. She attributes some of her success in this nontraditional niche to her time in college.
“My own experience was sort of atypical,” Davidson said, “so my idea of what a college education is is probably a bit more flexible than someone who comes to college at the age of 18 or 19 and goes straight through.”