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Taylor Hayes
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Taylor Hayes

Graduation year: 2019

Hometown: Bourbonnais, Ill.

Majors: Classics, art history

Activities: Office of Student Life, Phi Beta Kappa

Post-grad plans: Grad school for my master’s in art history!

Why Augustana?

I knew Augustana was the perfect choice for me as soon as I visited. I came for the scholarship competition in January and after hearing faculty members speak in Centennial Hall, I realized this school would be the perfect environment for me to grow. They all sounded like they cared so deeply about their students, and after being here for four years, I can confidently say they do.

Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?

I came to this school with a set plan for my next four years and my future as a whole, but that changed completely within just a few months. Augie opened my eyes to so many potential careers. Without a liberal arts education I would not have been exposed to so many things I am passionate about.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

It is so hard to name just one or even just a few people who helped me get to where I am. I have to deeply thank the entire Classics department and art history department for fostering an environment where I could be myself and learn at the same time. I also have to especially thank Dr. Kirsten Day and Dr. Margaret Morse for pushing me to be my best when the going got rough. Ken Brill from the Office of Student Life has also made a huge impact on my leadership abilities by getting me out of my comfort zone! And I can't forget all the amazing friends I've made here from Welcome Week on!

Peak experience?

A peak experience would probably be creating an entirely new position within the Office of Student Life to help on-campus student organizations! Knowing that I and my co-director will leave a lasting legacy on Augie’s campus that will better the community is such an amazing feeling.

What surprised you?

I learned so much about myself in these short few years, but I think what’s most surprising is that I can recover from big failures and succeed overall. Augie has given me the tools to overcome any rejection or challenge and come out on top.

How did you use Augie Choice?

I used Augie Choice to travel out of the country for the first time in my life and study in Greece! This program was with both the art history and Classics program so it was perfect for me. Studying abroad was easily the best part of my college career, and I made so many memories there that I'll hold dear forever. I also learned so much there, too! 

What will you miss the most?

I'm going to miss too many people, places and things; can I just say I'm going to miss Augustana as a whole?!

Advice for the Class of 2023?

Be open to new ideas and paths. I am nowhere near where I thought I was going to be when I first came here in the BEST way possible. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone or push the envelope.

"Watching Taylor lead, with such knowledge and enthusiasm, a group of Augie students through the ancient site of Eleusis in Greece will always be one of the highlights of my teaching experiences! Taylor is a creative, honest and self-reflective learner and scholar, who never shies away from challenging material or opportunities. These qualities are going to serve him well in graduate school. I will miss his big laugh and warm personality, but am eager to see all the great things he does next!"

– Dr. Margaret Morse, associate professor, art history