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My Favorite Professor - Dan Holland

April  2015

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By Hayley Zilles, Accounting, ‘16

dan holland and hayley zilles

Dr. Dan Holland is not just an ordinary, by-the-book college professor. My first interactions with Dr. Holland in my freshman orientation class proved this to be true. Dr. Holland was substituting for my professor and all of us were antsy as we waited for him to arrive. Our jaws dropped when he walked through the door a few minutes late looking completely out of place with a blue mohawk, five-inch platform shoes, a nose ring, cargo shorts, and a bow tie. After we could look beyond his shocking appearance, he gave an incredible lesson about not judging others based upon first impressions. He then inspired our class to not doubt our abilities or limit our opportunities, especially during the rest of our experience at Utah State.

I not only had the opportunity to take a class from Dr. Holland the following spring semester, but I also travelled to Vietnam, China, and South Korea with him as part of the school’s summer study abroad program. Both inside and outside the classroom, Dr. Holland pushes and challenges his students. He has the ability to ignite enthusiasm and passion for learning that none of his students will ever forget. He never wanted us to approach our coursework the easiest and most simple way, but he wanted us to think outside the box, explore our options, open our eyes to different possibilities, and surprise him with our creativity.

While traveling from Shanghai to Beijing, I was lucky enough to sit next to Dr. Holland. I will never forget the advice he gave me on that flight. As I was telling him how I was overwhelmed with the different directions my life could go both academically and personally, he advised me to continue to dare mighty things and to learn from and embrace any failures I had along the way. This is just one example of the encouragement Dr. Holland gives his students.

One of my favorite quotes is, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I will never forget how much Dr. Holland genuinely cares about his students. After taking a class from him, I am not only a better student but also a better person. Dr. Dan Holland can easily be named my favorite professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.