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The Dietrich Honors Institute
The Dietrich Honors Institute

The Kenneth & Marianna Brown Dietrich Honors Institute of Thiel College endeavors to help students become full human beings whose breadth of knowledge, strength of character and thoughtfulness of action make them natural leaders in the world. The DHI curriculum is designed to inform through the acquisition of knowledge, to form through the building of character and to transform through engagement in service to the larger world.

The Dietrich Honors Institute includes

  • $1,000 merit award renewable for four years
  • Weekend trips and excursions with your classmates to Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C.
  • Eligibility for up to a $2,000 scholarship to study or intern abroad
  • Honors housing in a living and learning community
  • Early registration to get your preferred schedule

DHI students take a distinctive core curriculum in place of Thiel’s general education requirements. Students learn how to ask questions, find evidence, and think creatively in preparation for their DHI Thesis: a student-designed and faculty-mentored research, creative, or applied project.

Admission to the Dietrich Honors Institute

Applicants to Thiel College with a high school GPA of 3.7 or above or above or a strong record of leadership, service, or academic commitment are invited to complete a brief application at www.thiel.edu/DHIregistration. Transfer students with a college GPA of 3.5 or above are also encouraged 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 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 DHI and how it may fit in your future plans. 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 Honors Institute

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.