Where in the world are our Templeton Alumni? Ellen Francis ('22) interviewed five Templeton alumni, from all different cohorts, to see what our students are doing after their time at Templeton.
Paul Lilley, Cohort of 1999
Paul Lilley, a member of Templeton’s first cohort, is currently serving as a Certified Industrial Hygienist at the US Army Public Health Center. He says, “Currently, my day is focused on writing policy for the Army on COVID-19, hazardous drug use in pharmacies, and waste anesthetic gasses. Additionally, I regularly work on evaluating Soldiers and Army civilians for exposures to hazardous materials they use during their daily work activities.”
When not doing the important work of keeping American soldiers and civilians safe from hazardous chemicals, Paul does the important work of raising two sons and maintaining his home in Bel Air, Maryland. Paul tells us that he recently learned to lay tile for a major renovation project in his family bathroom. In true Templeton fashion, Paul also makes time in his schedule for reading: Make Way for Ducklings with his four-year-old, Adventures in Odyssey with his seven-year-old, and Eric Metaxas’ biography of Martin Luther for himself.
Austin Detwiler, Cohort of 2009
As students in Dr. Bradstreet’s Cosmology class, Austin Detwiler and his friends would steal oranges from the dining commons and label them with the names of celestial objects. “We would have a small universe of planet-oranges and star-oranges assembled in Walton 3 in the wee hours of the morning prepping for exams the next day.” Since graduating, Austin has turned his attention from arranging citrus constellations to arranging spreadsheets for clients of American Philanthropic, where he works as a managing consultant. Austin tells us, “I'm lucky to have a company full of nerds, so I not infrequently get to have interesting time-wasting conversations, like a recent hour-long argument about usury.”
In his free time, Austin enjoys reading articles in First Things and recently finished Dignity by Chris Arnade. He also enjoys taking his children for walks in the park and listening to podcasts. Austin and his family recently moved into a new home in West Conshohocken, “a wonderful small community where many people stay put — a refreshing difference from the modern obsession with moving far from home.”
Elise (Sweigart) Sims, Cohort of 2015
Elise Sims and her husband Thomas (cohort of 2014) recently welcomed a son, Paul Athanasius Sims, to their family. While Thomas is at work teaching Philosophy of Science and Medieval History at a classical charter school, Elise spends the day caring for baby Paul. The two enjoy the scenery around their home in Phoenix, Arizona, on daily morning walks. Elise tells us, “There is a lovely little footpath near where we live that is surrounded by saguaros and other beautiful desert plants, and I often see hummingbirds and wild rabbits as well.”
One of Elise’s favorite memories from her time in the Honors College is Dr. Cary’s annual reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s no surprise, then, that she is already working to nurture a love of language and story in her son. Elise tells us that “In my leisure time, I try to memorize poetry and recite it to my baby while making silly faces so that I can entertain him but also care for my own intellectual life at the same time.” She and Thomas also make time for reading non-children’s books such as The Way of the Pilgrim, the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa, and Japanese historical fiction.
Phillip Piper, Cohort of 2016
After the homecoming dance during his freshman year at Eastern, Phillip Piper remembers fondly that he and his friends “hung out afterwards and ended up talking the whole night. We talked about life, death, where we came from, what we wanted to do in life… We only split up when one of us had to leave for an event the next morning.” Now, after 4 years of deep conversations among friends, Phil has embarked on a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the Catholic Univerity of America, for which he spends his days reading, writing, and studying German.
When not reading for class, Phil has been reading for pleasure and watching Dr. Cary’s Great Courses series on Christian Theology. Additionally, he says, “The closest thing I have to a hobby might be the watching of Woody Allen movies; it’s not just entertainment: it’s too contemplative for that.” Moving to Hyattsville, MD has furnished Phil with the opportunity to learn a handful of new skills, such as renting a U-haul and fixing a garbage disposal. Finally, Phil just celebrated his wedding to fellow Templeton alumna, Marcie Spencer, in June 2021.
Paul Charles, cohort of 2007
When we asked Paul Charles about his most vivid memory as a Templeton student, he said, “I remember the last week pretty well. I was so exhausted after finishing everything, but being able to relax with everyone knowing we’d made it was a fantastic feeling.” Now, Paul is feeling that sense of accomplishment once again, as he recently completed his MPhil in Theology at the University of Oxford. Paul specialized in Christian Ethics and wrote his thesis on “Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his understanding of conformation to Christ.” He plans to start Anglican ministerial training in September 2021.
Paul, his wife Ashley, and their son PJ have lived in Oxford for the past 3 years, where Paul regularly goes for runs. He also spends his free time researching for Oxford faculty and playing games with his son. Paul also makes time for reading and has recently been working through the Dark Tower series by Stephen King.