Every prospective student who has ever visited the Lake Erie campus on an official admissions visit knows Billie DiLella — she is the person who coordinates all campus visits and events, creates the itineraries, sends out confirmations and communicates with all parts of the campus when a student is arriving. As the assistant director of admissions, Billie is also responsible for a big portion of the marketing and communication flow of the Office of Admissions.
Originally from Randolph, N.Y, Billie did not plan on a career in admissions, but her educational background and experience certainly prepared her for it. She attended Mercyhurst University where she graduated from with a B.A. in business administration, and later on continued her education at Lake Erie College where she acquired her Master of Business Administration degree.
She started her career right out of college at the admissions office at Mercyhurst. "To be honest, higher education was not even on my radar,” she said. "I am not so sure I chose it but more it may have chosen me. As a business major, I always thought I would be working in a corporate environment, but I guess life always works out for the right reasons.”
Life certainly had a plan laid out for her—after spending four years during her undergraduate career at Mercyhurst as a tour guide for the football office, Billie became acquainted with how the admissions office and the process of student recruitment worked. Her graduation approaching, she was still unsure of what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. That was when the dean of the business school at Mercyhurst, a man by the name of Michael T. Victor, encouraged her to apply for the job as admissions counselor. The rest, as they say, is history, and the dean who encouraged her to begin her career in higher education is now the president of none other but Lake Erie College.
After a year and a half at the admissions office at Mercyhurst, Billie received a phone call about a position opening at a small private liberal arts college in Painesville, Ohio. "Being from New York, I was not familiar with Lake Erie, and at the time not looking for a new job,” she said, "but the position seemed interesting and I decided to take a look. Having chosen a small, private, liberal arts institution myself, the campus truly reminded me of my four years as an undergraduate student. The staff I met were incredibly friendly, it was a good career move and great things were happening at LEC, so I decided to go for it!”
Since then Billie has shifted gears a little bit. Now instead of hitting the road every fall with her fellow admissions counselors to seek out prospective students who would be a good fit for LEC, she is now the person who welcomes them and their families when they visit campus, whether for an individual or group visit, or during a campus event. After five years on the LEC campus, however, her first impression is still true and her favorite thing about LEC is still the people.
"From the amazing students, the dedicated faculty, and the friendly staff, LEC truly has a strong group of people who make the campus work,” she said. "I can honestly say that our admissions student workers and tour guides put a smile on my face every day. They are truly the best representatives of the College. No matter what is going on in their everyday lives, they always remember that they are representing the College and are true examples of what it means to be a Lake Erie College student.”
While every prospective student and their family meets or communicates with Billie at least once during their college search process, however, there are certain things that they may not know about her. One of the coolest ones by far is her family. "I grew up with a family of nine children—seven boys and two girls—with ages ranging from 36 down to 12,” she said. "Now, that may seem crazy, but the best part is that our names all start with the letter ‘B’: Brennan, Bryan, Billie, Bayley, Brooks, Blake, Brady, Bryce and Branson. Try to say that five times fast!” In fact, next time when you visit Lake Erie College and meet Billie, you should ask her to say it five times fast, because she actually does it and it is truly impressive.
After so many years in admissions, what advice would she give to a prospective student who would like to join the LEC community? "To get involved! I think we have some of the most involved students on a college campus. They are dedicated, driven and out to succeed. I encourage you to go after what you want, and never be afraid to fail, as failing is what makes the accomplishments so great. So, good luck, and we hope that you decide to JOIN THE TRADITION!”