Meet an Alum: Dick Rappleye

Richard RappleyeClass of 1962

B.A., Miami University (humanities)
M.B.A., Wharton Division, University of Pennsylvania
M.R.S., University of Detroit Mercy

Current home: Bloomfield Township, Michigan

Current profession: Consultant/coach. Previously worked in profit and nonprofit organizations, including 20 years with the C.S. Mott Foundation as VP Finance/Administration, and 10 years with the Kresge Foundation as VP Administration.

"I had to learn to listen at a deeper level to what other people think. This is an important 'people skill' for whatever one does."

Why did you decide to major in religion?

I started out as a business major; but I discovered that I liked religion courses, and since I was planning on taking them anyway, I switched from the business major to a religion major. I still minored in business (as well as psychology), and I went on later to get an M.B.A.

I felt this approach equipped me well to work in both profit and nonprofit companies. I was hired directly after graduation from Miami by Deloitte, who was looking specifically for majors in the liberal arts.

What were your best experiences in the major?

I was able to explore and discover my own beliefs while learning about different religions and cultures. I would meet with professors and other interested students to discuss religious concepts, such as existentialism, over dinner and at other campus locations.

My studies in religion taught me more about the real world and made me more comfortable and confident with who I was.

How did studying religion prepare you for your career?

It opened me up to new worlds and ways of thinking. As a result, I gained a better understanding of the larger world, including people and places I had yet to see. Studying religion stimulated my curiosity to learn and interact with that larger universe of people and cultures.

I became more confident and self-aware by working through my own beliefs and values and coming to my own conclusions. At the same time, I had to learn to listen at a deeper level to what other people think. This is an important "people skill" for whatever one does in life.

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