From pump fakes to portfolios: Student Senate Treasurer invests in the future

Tyler McNeil

Managing Editor

Hudson Valley has been a part of Josiah Dillon’s household for over half of his life.

“This institution has probably given more to my immediate family than any other family I’ve ever known that has gone here,” he said.

Dillon’s mother faced financial hardships prior to getting employed by the state after graduating Hudson Valley in 2004. An early divorce left Dillon’s mother struggling to get by, left with a family business. “Everything I’m doing wouldn’t be possible if she didn’t turn her life around and turn her family’s life around,” said Dillon.

Along with raising Dillon and his sister while studying computer information systems at the college, his mother ran a daycare and struggled to keep her business afloat left after the divorce. “[She] would’ve never let on that there was any problem to her kids. She’s very strong mother,” he said.

He recalled situations where the electricity was cut off because his mother was unable to pay the electric bill. According to Dillon, one winter, being unable to pay the town’s garbage bill, his mother stashed garbage in the garage. “I was so young that I remember it just enough to be extremely grateful for what I have now,” said Dillon.  

Despite valuing his mother’s decision to enroll at Hudson Valley, education was not always one of Dillon’s priorities. “I was lazy with school but, I was never a lazy kid. I just focused on the wrong things,” he said.

Starting in middle school and peaking in high school, Dillon devoted much of his time to basketball, playing year-round for Ballston Spa and Team 518. “I was always the first one there and the last one out,” said Dillon.

He originally hoped to play division three college basketball, but after switching coaches and moving closer to college, Dillon started turning his focus towards academics. Over time he grew tired of “disappointing” his family with failing grades. “It was basically just like spitting in [my mother’s] face with all the hard work she did to give me a better life to waste it all away,” said Dillon.

After six years on the court, Dillon looked at his future, reaching as far as retirement. Last year, Dillon opened up a Roth Individual Retirement Arrangement. “The success certainly drives me more than the money but it’s almost like, if the success doesn’t pan out the way I want it to, I don’t have to worry about the money as long as I’m smart with it,” he said.

With the help of his grandfather, he started an investment account at the age of 12. He began putting holiday money into the investment account and later, grew the account with his own money from multiple jobs.

Last fall, Dillon came to Hudson Valley, determined to become involved in the Investment Club. By his second meeting, he ran against Kerry Gneiting for the club’s secretarial position and lost by two votes out of 14. “People kind of knew who I was right away. They knew my qualifications,” said Dillon.

In his second semester, as Dillon rose in the club, he started investing his time in the Student Senate. He worked alongside Brody O’Connor, a long-time friend since fourth grade. “We compliment each other pretty well working together,” he said.

As the Student Senate general elections approached, O’Connor and Dillon both campaigned under the LEAD Party ticket. “That was honestly one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done in my entire life,” he said. The election ended up having one of the highest voter turnouts for Student Senate elections with 648 total votes cast.

“All of a sudden, all of the things I’ve been working for all year were starting to be realized,” said Dillon. Along with winning the Senate treasurer’s position, Dillon became Investment Club president and the first student in college history to take a position on the Hudson Valley Alumni Foundation Board.

Earlier this month, Dillon, along with O’Connor, represented Hudson Valley at the SUNY Student Assembly fall conference for the first time since the 2013-14 academic year. “I really just want people to get involved and realize all these opportunities,” said Dillon.

This semester, he has taken on different roles on campus from heading the all-club’s meeting to

competing in cross-country. “I miss standing across from somebody and thinking, ‘I want this. You want this. Now, Let’s duke it out and see who gets it,’” he said.

With athletics, Dillon considers himself to be more qualified for the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence which he hopes to achieve in spring. “Coming in, I would’ve never guessed of it or known of it or imagined it but now, [the Chancellor’s Award] is high on my list of things I want to accomplish at Hudson Valley,” said Dillon.


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