For nearly 33 years, Professor Dyer P. Bilgrave, Ph.D., has taught a variety of classes at Stevenson. After a long, successful career, he will retire at the end of the 2019 spring semester.
Originally hired as an adjunct professor, Bilgrave began his time at Stevenson in 1987. Though he started his career at what was then Villa Julie College teaching public speaking, he moved into teaching theatre courses including acting, voice, improvisation and directing classes.
Bilgrave was not tied to one subject and explored many different courses within the humanities and social sciences. He is most noted for his work with the creation of the psychology department and has taught 22 different courses within that department. Over the last decade, he has focused on teaching the clinical counseling courses.
“I’m very grateful for the university to allow me to move among these different courses and departments,” Bilgrave said. “I’m very lucky to have been able to move between them.”
Bilgrave said that his greatest accomplishment at Stevenson has been his contribution to the creation of the psychology department. When he first arrived at Stevenson, there were some psychology courses but no department.
“I have had the good fortune of being able to found and guide the psychology department into a fully mature, highly functioning department with my colleagues,” Bilgrave said.
Recounting his time at Stevenson, Bilgrave said he will always remember the high teas he enjoyed with colleagues from several different departments on late Friday afternoons.
Bilgrave’s favorite memories about Stevenson are about the opportunities the school has provided for him as well as the communities to which he has become connected. “Stevenson has allowed me to explore my professional interests,” he said. “It supported my focus and development in teaching the sequence of courses, and I am very grateful for that.”
Stevenson has also provided the professor with a collaborative support system of professional colleagues, according to Bilgrave. “It is such a gift to be able to work as a member of such a wonderful professional community. Stevenson has allowed me to work with wonderful and marvelous students, and it has been such a privilege.”
Bilgrave has a private practice in therapy that he plans to continue to grow after he retires from teaching. He hopes to travel at other times during the year aside from summers, and he is currently planning a trip to Europe in the fall.
Bilgrave also looks forward to reading more fiction in his free time. He also enjoys watching live theatre and analyzing classical music. He has worked six days a week at his private practice for 18 years, and he is looking forward to taking the weekends off.
In terms of teaching, Bilgrave hopes he has helped his students become more knowledgeable and skilled as they help others.
“I am grateful for so many years in which I was able to work surrounded by the beauty of the Greenspring campus,” he said. “I will also miss the sense of such a warm community.”
Bilgrave is leaving Stevenson with the hope that the lessons he taught students and the success of the psychology department will survive and thrive as he continues his life apart from his successful career as a professor.