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The Dietrich Honors Institute
The Dietrich Honors Institute

At Thiel College's Kenneth & Marianna Brown Dietrich Honors Institute we tackle big questions: How do we define justice? What is the source of creativity? What makes something beautiful? How do we apply knowledge ethically? As an Institute scholar, you complete a distinctive four-year core honors curriculum and become part of a community of passionate students, leaders, artists and scientists preparing to change the world. Experience a college honors program that transforms your Thiel experience.

Why join Thiel College's Honors program?

The Dietrich Honors Institute (DHI) connects Thiel students to a variety of opportunities and resources including:

  • $1,000 merit award renewable for four years
  • Honors housing in a living and learning community
  • Early registration to get your preferred schedule
  • Weekend trips and excursions to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New York, and Washington D.C.
  • Evening seminars focused on personal, academic, and professional development across your four-year honors experience

DHI students pursue an honors curriculum in place of Thiel’s undergraduate general education requirements. Students learn how to ask questions, find evidence and think creatively in preparation for their undergraduate honors thesis. With faculty mentorship, honors students design their thesis which can take a variety of forms —student research, a creative endeavor or applied project. Participating in the honors program at Thiel offers students the time and space to discover themselves as scholars and dive deep into their academic interests.

Admission to the Dietrich Honors Institute

The Dietrich Honors Institute at Thiel College seeks students with a 3.7 high school GPA and a record of pursuing academic and co-curricular challenges. Qualified applicants to Thiel College will receive an invitation from the Director of the Dietrich Honors Institute. Other students who would like to be considered may contact the Director to apply.

Mission Statement of the Dietrich Honors Institute

The Dietrich Honors Institute inspires and enriches Thiel College’s inclusive community of life-long learners with programs that foster inquiry, reflection, and growth. We challenge students to make discoveries and apply knowledge in new ways. In this way, the DHI prepares students to be responsible and purposeful leaders.

Message from the DHI Director

The DHI is a community of honors scholars curious about the world and how to make it a better place. The DHI curriculum and co-curricular programs are designed to help students find purpose in their education. As students move through college, we encourage them to reflect on their learning and experiences. Where have they grown? Where is more growth possible? How can they apply knowledge from one area of their life to another?

As DHI Director, I am honored to provide opportunities for this reflection and growth through engaging courses, co-curricular programming, off-campus excursions and specialized advising that helps students identify and reach ambitious goals.

I’m happy to talk with you about the honors programming and how it may fit in your future plans at Thiel. Please contact me at snowinski@thiel.edu or 724-589-2033 to arrange a campus visit or call.

- Sheila Nowinski, Ph.D.

History of the Dietrich Family

Philanthropist, businessman, scholar and proud northwest Pennsylvania native William S. Dietrich II, bequeathed a $25 million fund to Thiel College upon his passing in 2011. Dietrich’s gift is the largest made to the College in its 150–year history. His gift founded the Kenneth and Marianna Brown Dietrich Honors Institute in honor of William's parents.

Bill’s connection to Thiel College began in the 1920s when his parents, Kenneth '31 and Marianna (Brown) '32, met as students on Thiel's campus. Ken was a business major and Marianna studied English. They married shortly after graduation and began their life together in Pittsburgh. They had two children, William and Linda. The Dietrichs returned to the area in 1947 to run a small hotel in Conneaut Lake, Pa.

Soon after, Ken Dietrich started a small lumber business near Blairsville, Pa., which would grow to become Dietrich Industries Inc. and flourish under his son's direction. Ken stayed connected to Thiel, serving on the college's Board of Trustees from 1978 to 1984.

Bill Dietrich was honored by Thiel College in 1996 for his leadership of Dietrich Industries with the Haller Enterprise Institute's Entrepreneur of the Year award, which is given annually by the college to a business owner who has demonstrated entrepreneurial leadership.