BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College’s Faculty Friday series was launched in an effort to connect current and prospective students, staff, and alumni with our distinguished faculty members, who are actively involved in the betterment of our students and institution, both inside and outside of the classroom.

We would like to introduce our ninth spotlight- Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Philosophy Dr. Holly Hillgardner. To get to know Hillgardner better, read her Q&A below.

Q: What is your educational background?

A: My terminal degree is from Drew University. My master’s degree is from Brite Divinity/Texas Christian University, and my undergraduate degree is from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Q: Why should prospective students pursue a degree in religious studies?

A: Religious Studies is a wonderful choice for a major or a minor. Our minor is especially flexible, so check it out. Here at Bethany in RELS we have an emphasis on interreligious understanding and social justice.

Q: Everyone has a reason for doing what they love. Many times, this is referred to as your “why”- some people say their “why” was a calling from childhood, while others say their “why” is for fulfilling a greater life purpose. What is your “why” for being a part of Bethany College’s faculty?

A: I have always wanted to be a teacher, and Bethany is a place where I get to nurture the whole student: not just students’ brains but also their hearts and souls.

Q: If you had only one word to represent Bethany College and what the College means to you, what would that one word be?

A: Community.

Q: You can have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life. What is it?

A: Plane tickets, train tickets, ferry tickets: I have traveled to over fifty countries.

Q: If you were stuck on a deserted island, what are the 3 items you would take with you?

A: 1. books
2. surfboard
3. spouse

Q: What are your hobbies and passions?

A: Traveling, reading, writing, paddleboading, hiking, seeing live theater, foraging.

Q:  If you had a time machine, would you go into the future or back in history, and why?

A: I’m not sure that there have been a lot of great times to be a woman in history. I’ll stay right here, thanks!

Q:  What’s your favorite course to teach and why?

A: Religion and Literature has been a good one in past years. Yoga Studies is fun and invigorating. World Religions is a joy when we can get out and make interreligious friends.

Q: If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

A: I am working on my French. Languages do not come easily to me!

Q: If you could be another professor for a day, who would you be and why?

A: If I could magically speak all of the languages, then a language prof, for sure.

Q: One thing you might not know about me is….

A: I am a brain aneurysm survivor: My brain literally blew up and I lived to tell about it.