Aaron Tracey ’14 has dedicated himself and his work to Hillsdale’s mission — first as a student, then as an admissions counselor, and now as director of hospitality operations for the Dow Hotel and Rockwell Lake Lodge.
Tracey accepted a job in the admissions office soon after graduation, and for the past four years, recruited students for the college. During that time, he expanded the number of students who attended Hillsdale’s Summer Study Abroad programs for high school students. In May, he began working for the Dow Hotel, where he strives to provide a welcoming and hospitable environment for those visiting the college.
Working at the Dow Hotel is another way for Tracey to be an ambassador of Hillsdale’s mission.
“By serving individuals, we give example of the college’s Christian tradition. We create a culture to have those conversations — to tell people about the college and teach its principles,” Tracey said. “I did that in admissions, and I do it here through conversation and through acts of service.”
Senior Director of Admissions Zach Miller ’11 said Tracey’s energy and personality were a “winning combination” for working in admissions.
“Everyone brings different strengths as counselors,” Miller said. “But his voice was uniquely his own in finding the right-fit students. His work ethic, above everything, was incredible.”
Senior Adam Lauth worked in the Dow Center Hotel during his freshman and sophomore years. He set up events like the CCA and Praxis, and he currently he works as a student ambassador for the admissions department.
“It’s good that Hillsdale has Aaron being the face on the public side — the first face that visiting speakers meet going through Dow,” Lauth said. “It’s good to know that he is there and that they will have a good experience.”
As a manager, Tracey works to ensure that visitors are accommodated well and events run smoothly. He meets with Bon Appetit and campus groups that use space in Searle, Phillips Auditorium, and the Old Snack Bar. He also helps coordinate trips to Rockwell lodge for the biology research and sports teams’ retreats.
“He is the kind of guy who is easily available, so he’s a good fit for the Dow Hotel,” Lauth said. “If he is interacting with groups of people or speakers, he will be a great fit for that.”
Tracey encourages all students and student groups to make the trip to Rockwell Lake Lodge, located an hour and a half north of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Tracey said he hopes to work in Dow long-term, and though he is currently busy working on day-to-day tasks, Tracey said he eventually will work with staff to improve operations.
When not up the hill, Tracey enjoys spending time with his wife, Zoe (Hopkins) Tracey ’16, assistant swim coach and assistant sports information director, and their dog Sampson. He also coaches men’s soccer for Hillsdale High School.
Tracey said that he misses working closely with other admissions counselors. But he still has opportunities to do what he enjoys — sharing Hillsdale’s mission with others.
“It’s not just a place to go to work everyday. Every person who works at Hillsdale knows the purpose of its mission,” Tracey said. “Hillsdale is a great place to work because of the great people and the opportunity to be an advocate of its mission. I want to be a doer in that.”