Dr. Dyer Bilgrave has been teaching at Stevenson University (once Villa Julie) for over 30 years. He is loved by many students and is known as the “counseling sequence professor” who provides a hands-on approach to the learning of counseling skills.

Dr. Bilgrave and Makaylah Morton

Makaylah Morton interviewing Dr. Bilgrave

Surprisingly, Dr. Bilgrave did not take a straightforward route going from college to graduate school in becoming a college professor. During his undergraduate years, Dr. Bilgrave had three major interests: religion, counseling psychology, and acting/theater. He spent one year studying religion at Pendle Hill, which is a Quaker study center located in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. After completing his Master’s degree in ministry, he focused on pursuing his interest in psychology and obtained not one, but two Master’s degrees in psychology-related areas. Lastly, Dr. Bilgrave attained a Master’s degree in fine arts and acting. In brief, he was able to pursue all three of his interests through master’s degrees.

Dr. Bilgrave began working at Ville Julie College during his early 30s to teach theater and communications (not psychology!). During this time, he discovered that psychology was the most interesting to him and decided to go back to school for a Doctorate degree at UMBC. As time passed, he slowly transitioned to teaching psychology courses. In 2002, he became a full-time psychology professor. He has also served as the department chair from 2002 to 2005. For the past years, Dr. Bilgrave has been teaching the counseling sequence (PSY 230-Basic Counseling Skills, PSY 340- Advance Counseling Skills, PSY 341- Counseling Theories, and PSY 306-Counseling Lab), all of which are heavily skill-oriented. In addition, he has his own private practice where he sees about 12 clients per week.

As I interviewed Dr. Bilgrave, I found his broad education background very inspiring. Being an undergraduate student, I often find myself having so many interests that I want to pursue but am often worry that I may stray away from what is important. It is very reassuring to know that it is possible to study multiple areas of interest with hard work and a growth-oriented mindset.

Dr. Bilgrave recently announced that he would retire at the end of the Spring 2019 semester. For his colleagues and his students, they can admire all his remarkable work that has been done throughout the years and use it as motivation to keep the Psychology department the best. Anakay Alexander, a Junior Psychology major, has taken 4 courses with Dr. Bilgrave. She said he is very caring and made it a priority to learn every student’s names within the first few classes. In addition, she noted that he always took time to make sure students understood the material by providing a plethora of real-world examples. Lastly, she pointed out that if students did not understand something, he would go back and further explain to make sure everyone had a thorough understanding of the material.

Dr. Bilgrave will be very missed but his amazing contributions to the department will always be remembered!

By: Makaylah Morton