Alumni Spotlight: Tim Nohrden

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Tim Nohrden graduated from the University of Dallas in 2006 with a B.A. in history and started his landscaping business, Dragonfly Design and Build, the same year.

“One week [after graduation] we got married, and one week after that, I started my landscape business,” remarked Nohrden.

Before he was a UD student, Nohrden attended Trivium, a small Catholic high school in Massachusetts. Nohrden discovered the University of Dallas through Dr. William Schmidt, his highschool headmaster and the many students from his school, including his brother, who had gone to UD.

Nohrden commented on the influence his teachers had. He remarked, “[They] spoke highly of [UD].” When Nohrden visited campus, he said he “enjoyed the people and atmosphere.”

Nohrden expressed his reason for majoring in history. He said, “[History] was something I was very interested in.” He does not regret it either.

 “The professors are focused on teaching you how to understand the world and become a better person by understanding history,” Nohrden said. “It was not a decision based on occupation or what I imagined doing for work.”

Nohrden enjoyed his college years to the fullest. He spent time with his friends and immersed himself in the UD community. Nohrden fondly recalled debating with his friends.

 “We argued at parties.”

Nohrden went to Rome in the spring and described it as “life changing.” “Being in the area where our Church was founded,” Nohrden said, “helped make our faith feel like our own.”

Nohrden was inspired to start a landscaping business from working at landscape companies during the summer, an endeavor he enjoyed immensely. He spoke about his passion for his craft, and what he wanted to get out of it.

 “Building spaces where people spend happy time,” explained Nohrden. “To create a relaxing entertainment space for families to get together.”

“Throughout my senior year I was planning,” Nohrden said. “I came back during spring break to sign my first contract.” He said, “I signed what I considered then my first big job.”

Nohrden spoke of life after graduation candidly. “In some ways, it was quiet and relaxing,” he mused, but added, “I definitely missed all the friends and comradery.” 

He shared some of the struggles he immediately encountered. 

“What was really hard because I was starting my business, we were strapped for money. As you know, at UD a lot of people get married within the first few years after graduation. So, we missed out on going to a lot of weddings,” lamented Nohrden.

In spite of working in a field outside of his major, Nohrden still credits UD with preparing him for starting his business in other ways. 

Comparing his undergrad experience to that of his friends who went to much larger schools, Nohrden said, “I became friends with a wider group of people than I would’ve been friends with at a bigger school.”

“I got to know people really well who are really different from me and like and understand them [which] helped me to be a better boss and understand customers better,” Nohrden explained.

Nohrden further reflected on his education and how it helped him throughout his life. 

“UD helps one think logically and rationally in a philosophical sense and pay attention to how the details will play out.”

“UD did not teach me how to ‘install’ a plant,” Nohrden admitted, “it taught me how to be a better person.” 

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