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1812 Leadership Scholar

Thomas Coppola ’14

You can forgive Thomas if his senior year has a sense of déjà vu about it. Originally a member of the class of 2010, he chose to enlist in the U.S. Army in what would have been his senior year. Three years later, wiser and with a clearer sense of purpose, he returned to the Hill.

He remains amazed by the reception he received following his leave. “The College bent over backwards to provide me with housing, classes and financial aid even though the deadlines for all three had expired. I was worried that reintegrating into the campus would be extremely difficult, but I found that after a week it was as if I had never left. This ‘coming home’ experience [was] very therapeutic and humbling to me.”

A biology major from Atlanta, Georgia, he notes that the Taylor Science Center, along with one other geographical attraction, drew him to the College. “I toured the science departments of campuses all over the Northeast. Hamilton’s facility simply blew everything out of the water. ... That alone was more than enough to tip the scales. Plus there is no snow in Atlanta, and I wanted to build a snowman.”

Prior to his military service, Thomas was, as he puts it, “that guy,” involved in a plethora of campus activities and leadership roles. He served as a resident advisor, chair of the Honor Court and as a student journalist for the Admission Office. A McKinney Public Speaking Prize winner, he studied for a semester in New York City and shadowed medical residents at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in nearby Utica as part of a career-related experience. “All of these things were rewarding and interesting, but during this last semester I’ve tried to slow down and just enjoy the view of this campus.” His post-graduate plans include enrolling in a pharmacology program.

When asked what makes Hamilton unique, Thomas notes “There is a place for everyone here.” And regardless of individual interests or educational path, Thomas feels strongly there is ready encouragement and support that mitigates challenges and fosters success, including the generosity of the College’s many donors.

“I will always remember Hamilton’s great patience, flexibility and kindness in providing the aid necessary to finish my degree. I will try to pay it forward if I can.”

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