The Campus: What does it feel like to be back on Allegheny’s campus, but no longer as a student?
Louis J. Fehér-Peiker: “It’s really nice, especially where I live. It’s still kind of on campus, so I have the college still as my backyard. It’s great. I can walk to work, I have access to Allegheny events—students and alumni. You know, I think when I was here, at first I thought, oh I have to live in Meadville. Oh man, winter in Meadville is going to suck, but over the course of four years living here, studying here, becoming more and more acclimated to the Allegheny and Meadville environment, I love it here. I love my apartment. I love the proximity to town and being able to walk, which is ideal. I can go grocery shopping and walk all of my groceries home if I have to, which is wonderful.”
Campus: How did you end up with this position?
Fehér-Peiker: “So, I was looking at getting involved with education. The dream job is to be a history teacher, or a stay-at-home dad. Whichever comes first. But, you know, I want to be involved in teaching, and I said that to Cornell LeSane, Vice President of Admissions. And, we got to talking. He was going to write me a letter of recommendation for some graduate school programs, but none of them went through. Then an opening happened in the admissions office, and I had worked for them for two years as a Gator Guide. [LeSane] said, ‘you know Louis, you should really look into this position, you’d be a really good candidate’, so I did, and I got a call back and came for an interview. It was a job where I could be working with kids, at a place that I love, advocating for a system, a program, a lifestyle in the liberal arts that—that I unequivocally advocate for and support. And you know, I jokingly say that my time as an Allegheny College cheerleader prepared me to do this professionally.”
Campus: How do you anticipate going into this school year, personally knowing students who are going to be here and having fraternity brothers on campus? How do you see your role changing from student to professional?
Fehér-Peiker: “That was definitely a question asked by the admissions office upon my hiring. It was definitely something they wanted to be aware of and they wanted me to be aware of. I think part of that comes down to scheduling. My scheduling at the college is very, very different from that of students. Between starting at eight-thirty in the morning and finishing at five—that’s my day—to also needing to be able to travel. My new territory covers Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, along with parts of New York State and Greater Erie.”
Campus: Are you excited to be able to travel?
Fehér-Peiker: “I am. Originally it was a dream for me to live in one of the thirteen colonies. And so now I’ve done that having gotten my undergraduate degree, but now I’m living here professionally for at least the foreseeable future. Not only do I like the place I live, but I also get to be interacting with students, and part of that can be restricting now, now that I have this job as a professional. Sure, I can be there in an advisory role for the fraternity and be like “Hey, if something does go wrong, you guys should definitely reach out to me.” But to then to also be working with Gator Guide students, now there’s this power shift of I’m no longer a Gator Guide and can be chummy, chummy compadres all of the time. Insofar as the students are concerned, yeah I can still be their friend, but I work for the college, and there’s a definite distinction between an administrator and a student. The same way there would be with faculty members and a student. I think me travelling will create that sense of separation. Now I’m a responsible adult, apparently … it seems. You know, which is really odd to think about when you’ve just graduated from college and think oh, man I’ve got a bachelor’s degree. I should be totally prepared for anything, and then anything comes around. You start working on it, and all of a sudden, it’s like how am I doing this? I actually have all of my stuff together. I’m kind of impressed! Had you told me, even last year, that I was going to be working for admissions after college, I would have told you, you know, you can go suck on a sardine because that’s just not going to happen. I’m going to be a teacher, or I’m going to end up in Denver as one of those eight-months-out-of-school-and-unemployed statistics, and it’s not true. And there’s plenty of opportunities to look for and apply to, and you’re going to be disappointed, but then you find the one. It happens to be working for admissions.”
Correction: In an earlier version of this article Louis Fehér-Peiker’s name was misspelled. Updated Sept. 5, 2017 at 11:16 p.m.