Honors: Alumni Love Story

The experiences we share as Honors students often tie us closer to each other than many other campus experiences ever could. Our professors encourage us to ask fundamental questions about happiness and what it means to live a good life. Together, we examine our lives in a way that many college students normally would not. It is thus no surprise that this kind of close-knit and intellectually rich atmosphere often yields deeper, even romantic, relationships. We touched based with an Interdisc. Alumni couple, Tara Powers '10 CLAS and Charlie Gillespie '10 CLAS to see what experiences and insights they had to share with Honors students, both past and present. 

Lucy Finnegan

Tara and Charlie met in August of 2006 during their first class in the Interdisciplinary Scholars Program. While Tara immediately singled Charlie out as an outgoing and “ridiculously smart” student, Charlie recognized Tara’s sharp wit and “world-class note taking skills.” The couple explained that an incredible closeness emerges in this program, both inside the classroom and out. Sharing three of five classes together and living a floor apart their freshman year, Charlie and Tara became fast friends. The two remained platonic until their junior year, when they finally began dating. Tara describes the way in which honors allowed them to watch each other grow and change intellectually, “Having that shared history has brought us closer in so many ways…and given us more inside jokes than we can count.” Honors certainly encourages a more introspective and contemplative college experience and this had a profound impact on their relationship. Charlie explains, “Honors taught us how to value what we hold important and gave us easy references to explain how we think through problems together.”

The couple recently took a big step in their relationship and got married at the Villanova Church this past October. The couple has quite a unique newlywed relationship; Tara works full-time out of New York City as the manager of sales communications for Avon’s U.S. business, and Charlie teaches three days a week at the University of Virginia while pursing his Ph.D. in Religious Studies. This makes their relationship largely long distance. Tara explains that making time for each other over the last six years has been hugely important, whether it’s via Skype or figuring out who is visiting whom for the weekend. Tara says she loves Charlie’s ability to make everything seem like an adventure and that “traveling to visit each other so often has meant that every moment spent together is valuable.” The couple shares the following advice with current students: “Be with someone who challenges you to try new things and even who questions things you’ve always believed in…you’ll never run out of things to talk about.”

Written by Newsletter Co-Editor, Margaret Shull '16 CLAS. Margaret is receiving a degree in French and Francophone Studies and Honors, with a concentration in Ethics and Healthcare. 

Thrive. Transform. Succeed.

Honors Program Brochure

Click the image to access our latest brochure and learn more about the program.

Contact Us

Villanova University
Garey Hall 106
800 Lancaster Ave.
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.4650
Fax: 610.519.5405