Holliday has spent hundreds of hours volunteering in battlefield preservation efforts in Virginia, Tennessee, the Carolinas and most recently, at the National Military Park at Gettysburg, where he currently lives. One of his dreams is to work in a history-related field one day, possibly in battlefield preservation.
Holliday, who expects to graduate in December, has traveled an interesting path leading to Wilson College. After high school, he served in the U.S. Navy, where he spent five years as a rescue swimmer and military police officer. Later, he spent time in the New York Army National Guard while attending classes at a community college. His education was interrupted by a deployment to Iraq, but he eventually completed an associate degree and began working on a bachelor’s degree.
As part of his education at Wilson, Holliday worked at the C. Elizabeth Boyd ’33 Archives, where he processed the Patricia Vail ’63 collection of papers. Vail was a civil rights activist who was involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee of the 1960s. Holliday created an online exhibit to help to tell her story of fighting to desegregate Mississippi and highlight her involvement in the “Freedom Summer” of 1964. When completed, the project will be available on the Wilson College website.
Holliday, who has been an actor, stunt man, featured extra and casting director’s assistant on a number of major motion pictures, also recently completed Wilson’s foreign language requirement through a summer study-abroad program in Ireland. Holliday had wanted to return to the country since working on the set of Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” in England, when he had the chance to visit the Emerald Isle . Wilson offered him a way back there. He lived with an Irish family and studied the Gaelic language through an immersion experience.
In Ireland, Holliday also was able to indulge his passion for history by exploring some of the country’s castles and landscapes and learning how the Irish are preserving their own history.
Holliday credits Wilson with providing options for completing credits in a variety of ways and the faculty for helping him along with way.
The faculty has provided the encouragement and assistance that has helped me pursue my interests in numerous ways,” Holliday said. “They are there when you need them and many of them have the real-world experiences that truly helped me to understand the subject matter even more.”