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Peggy Wilson poses with Simpson res­i­dents before President’s Ball.
Courtesy | Peggy Wilson

For most new house directors, winning over 180 guys isn’t easy, but for Peggy Wilson, all it took was her Ford F‑250. 

When Wilson first became house director of Simpson dor­mitory in 2014, she wasn’t sure how she would handle so many boys in one place. 

“At that time, it was before the ren­o­va­tions, so there were 180 guys here,” said Wilson. “I went, ‘180 guys?’ Okay well, this is what God meant for me to be.” 

For­tu­nately, Wilson’s F‑250 made a strong first impression, par­tic­u­larly on the head res­ident advisor. 

“I had a big F‑250, and I parked in the house director spot. My head RA said when he pulled up, ‘I don’t know who the idiot was in the house director’s spot,” Wilson said. “And then he goes, ‘When I found out it’s your truck, I was like, ‘she’s gonna work out.’” 

Before coming to Hillsdale, Wilson worked as a social worker in Jonesville for over 16 years until the facility that she worked at shut down in early 2014. 

“I lost my job of 16 and a half years and several people from there had come to work at the college in house­keeping,” said Wilson. “I started watching the webpage for the college and the Kappa Kappa Gamma house director came up.” 

The deans decided to hire Wilson as house director, but not for a sorority. For­tu­nately, Wilson said she appre­ciates getting to work with boys instead of girls as house director. 

“I’m much better with guys than I would be with girls because I’m pretty straight­forward,” Wilson said. “I don’t mix words. If you’re being stupid, I’ll tell you you’re being stupid. I probably can’t say that to girls as easily.”

Wilson’ expe­rience as a mother of three sons pre­pared her for the respon­si­bil­ities of house director. 

“I think any­thing that the guys here would think of doing, my boys did,” Wilson said. 

As house director, Wilson has had many fun expe­ri­ences, espe­cially from the video com­pe­ti­tions held during home­coming week. She remembers filming one video after Simpson had won mul­tiple con­sec­utive home­coming weeks. 

“I can’t remember what the theme was, but we did one we called ‘The Heist of the Century’,” Wilson said. We used Central Hall, and we run up the stairs all dressed in black. There’s this huge fake diamond on top of the home­coming trophy. We get at the top of the stairs, and the guy that was running the video goes, ‘Ms. Wilson, I have an idea. Instead of taking the diamond, hit the diamond off of the trophy and go ‘This belongs to us’ and pick it up.’ So I flung off the diamond and said ‘This belongs to us,’ and I took the trophy.”

Wilson has a distict phi­losophy for over­seeing the dorm. 

“This is my motto: RAs run the dorm, and I just make sure it happens,” Wilson said. “They’re adult men and they need to learn those lead­ership skills, but some­times I have to go, ‘Let’s rethink that.’ I am the voice of reason.” 

Sophomore Joseph Ran­dolph, one of Simpson’s head RAs for the 2022 – 2023 aca­demic year, said he appre­ciates how Wilson gives the RAs oppor­tu­nities to lead. 

“I really appre­ciate that Ms. Wilson del­e­gates a lot, and she really empowers us,” Ran­dolph said. “She gives us the power to exper­iment with what it means to be men and to have respon­si­bility and what it means to establish rules and uphold them.” 

Wilson has fos­tered the rela­tionship between dorm lead­ership and new stu­dents. She said that what she most appre­ciates about working as a house director in a small school like Hillsdale is the per­sonal connections.

“It’s that per­son­alness, everybody knows everybody,” Wilson said. “In a bigger school, it’s not that nobody cares, but it’s not the same as here; people are con­cerned what’s going on. If somebody is not coming out of their room, we can figure out what’s going on and give them the help they need.”

Senior Grant Boyes, a current head RA at Simpson, also high­lighted the per­sonal nature of the dorm, some­thing he said Wilson exemplifies.

 “She’s good at the ‘Hey, maybe this guy needs a talking to,’” said Boyes. “She under­stands what it takes to raise college freshmen and has a vision of what that needs to look like for men to be fathers and hus­bands.” 

Wilson said what she loves most about her job is meeting freshmen and watching as they mature into men. She said she’s always impressed with their dili­gence in studying, vol­unteer work, and on-campus employment. 

“I enjoy being able to meet these won­derful, smart young men and see how hard they work. Not only do most of the guys here have a rig­orous classes, but they also are vol­un­teering, and most of them have some kind of job on campus,” Wilson said. “They’re very well-rounded.”

“I get to watch them grow from that freshman year and see the dif­ference in how they’ve grown over those years,” Wilson said. “And I still see the freshman in them.”