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10 Things You Never Knew About Dr. Gillin

November 12, 2015
Dr. Gillin shared ten facts you more than likely never knew about himself, so read on to find out more about one of Washington College’s longest-running and most celebrated professors!


1. As a child whenever I was asked about what I wanted to do when I grew up I replied,” I want to play baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers.” I was very serious and unduly confident.

2. In first grade I did not like my first name so I insisted that people, including teachers, call me Tex.

The teacher contacted my parents to see if I was having an identity problem. I was not; I just admired Hopalong Cassidy of western movie fame and needed a name that would fit my self image. Oh well.

3. In high school I went out for the football team.

football tackle

When the coach told everyone to go to a certain location designated for a particular position I went to the place signifying “Tackle.” I had no idea what the position was, but since there were few people at the sign I figured I had a better chance of making the team. After being pulverized by significantly larger and heavier players for about two weeks, the coach suggested that I try track; I might live longer. So I did.

4. During my first year at Washington College I quit three times over what I saw as unsolvable problems.

Norman James directed me to his office in Smith Hall, sat and listened, and talked me out of leaving. Good sense and maturity prevailed.

5. In the beginning of my freshman year of college I met Barbara Olsen in class and did not get along particularly well with her.

By the end of that year I knew that I would marry her, though we had not gone out together at that point. She was dating someone else. No matter. And we did marry.

6. In 1982 during one of two sabbatical leaves from Washington College Barbara and our two children Erin and Courtney had the opportunity to go to Oxford University in England or to go and live in Japan for the spring term.

Panorama of Oxford Skyline

We decided to go to Japan since it offered a substantially different way of life, which we thought would be good for our children. At JFK airport in NYC I learned that the position I had as an English teacher in Japan had fallen through. Since we had sub let our house in Chestertown the only alternative was to go to Oxford and make the best of it. Our time in Oxford was transforming. Sometimes what we plan get overtaken by other forces.

7. I had a minor role in “Space” a mini series filmed in Chestertown in the early 80’s.


8. In 1981 I served on the “Food Committee,” which meant that my family and I were to have our meals at the cafeteria.

At Halloween I was told that everyone was supposed to dress in costume. Barbara made costumes for all of us; we went as the Three Bears. As we arrived at the cafeteria no one else was in a costume, but we were, me the papa bear complete with foam nose. Great cheers arose, I was speechless, and would have been mortified but for the high spirits and good nature of the students.

9. On my first visit to the Lake District in England as a participant in a special seminar on Wordsworth I cut class to go hiking in the mountains behind Wordsworth’s House. This began a love affair with the area which lives on today in the Kiplin Hall Program.

10. At two points in my life I considered joining the Catholic priesthood.


I feel sure that the Church is far better off with me on the outside, in a pew and not in front.


Be on the lookout for more lists from Washington College in 2016! Today is Giving Tuesday*, a day to celebrate what we are thankful for at WC! We are thankful for our amazing students and our incredible faculty, but we are especially thankful for donors like you!

*Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. There is a day for giving thanks. There are two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday! Are you #WCGrateful?



Last modified on Dec. 1st, 2015 at 12:11pm by Meghan Livie.