MEDIA, Pa. — About 30 years after she graduated from Penn State, Kristi Dick, class of 1993, is now in her fifth year on Brandywine’s Alumni Society Board.
Dick began her Penn State journey at Brandywine, then known as Penn State Delaware County, in 1989, majoring in economics with a double minor in business and labor and industrial relations. After completing her second year at Brandywine, she transitioned to University Park.
“Back when I was at Brandywine, there were only two-year programs,” Dick said. “But, I was able to conveniently start my college education here, and then I went up to University Park to complete my bachelor’s degree.”
Dick said that new friendships and the proximity to home were her favorite parts about her time at Brandywine.
“What I enjoyed most was making friends and, also, the fact that I was getting a Penn State education so close to home," she said. "I was able to commute and go to work while in school. That, to me, was so enticing about the campus. I also enjoyed learning and loved my professors.”
“What I enjoyed most was making friends and, also, the fact that I was getting a Penn State education so close to home. I was able to commute and go to work while in school.”
—Kristi Dick , class of 1993
In 2018, Dick received a letter in the mail to attend “Brunch with the Board,” an event to encourage Brandywine alumni to engage with the campus alumni society.
“The moment I received the invitation, I thought ‘Oh my gosh, this is my chance to be a part of the college campus where I started my education’ and wanted to give back,” Dick said. “I went to the event, put in an application and became a member.”
Since Dick earned her Penn State degree, she received a certificate in leadership and management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She also worked in the Register of Wills and Orphans’ Court Division for Delaware County, where she was the chief deputy. From this role, she said she developed a passion for helping others through real estate investment, and she realized she wanted to do more.
In 2021, Dick said she had a pivotal moment that led her to found her own company, KMDick Real Estate Investments LLC, to help others through real estate investment.
“I formed my company as a result of my own experiences in trying to sell a home,” she said. “I cared for my elderly neighbor for about eight years in his home and was his power of attorney. When he passed, I had difficulty letting go of his home until I saw the air conditioning wasn’t working and the electrical box was burning.”
She then realized that she had to sell the house, but she wanted to renovate it first to make it more appealing to buyers. After having bad experiences with house flippers, she found a company that was willing to buy the house in cash and complete all the necessary repairs. The people in that company later became her associates.
According to Dick, she found a way to do more for her community through her company and through her work with the alumni society. Dick said her favorite part about being on the Brandywine Alumni Society Board is being able to help highlight the campus in the local community.
“I really like working with alumni to help better promote the campus,” she said. “I introduced having a Brandywine Alumni Society tent at Dining Under the Stars in Media to promote the campus there. I also really enjoy going to sports tailgates to support our student athletes and being able to mentor students on campus. I just really love making a difference in the Penn State community.”
“I just really love making a difference in the Penn State community.”
—Kristi Dick , class of 1993
Her service to Brandywine doesn’t end there, though. In 2022, Dick joined the Rotary Club of Media, a nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian, intercultural, educational and philanthropic opportunities to people in the Media area.
The Rotary Club’s support for Brandywine started about 50 years ago. John Vairo, Brandywine’s first executive officer, was a member of the club and, as such, helped in developing a $5,000 emergency student loan program for students in need.
The Rotary Club of Media and Brandywine rekindled their partnership when Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells spoke at a club meeting last year.
“When Marilyn asked if we had any questions for her, I asked if there was anything the Rotary Club could do to help out on campus, and she invited me to sit in on a Chancellor’s Council meeting,” Kristi said. “There, I became aware of the Center for Social Impact’s clothing drive to provide students with professional attire, so I decided to spearhead a massive clothing drive within the club. Our help resulted in Brandywine expanding its career closet.”
Additionally, Dick has led the Rotary Club’s food and toiletry drives for Brandywine, which resulted in the donation of over a thousand items to the campus’ Center for Social Impact to benefit students in need.
When asked what advice she would give to current Penn State students, Dick said they should never give up.
“If you can dream it, you can achieve it, so never give up,” she said. “There is also this quote I love from Winston Churchill: ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it’s the courage to continue that counts.’ If you try hard enough and put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.”