Jeff, Julie and Collin Pillow

Family Finds Their Passion at COTC


The day his son graduated from COTC was one of the proudest moments of Jeff Pillow’s life. It may sound cliché, but this wasn’t just another milestone to adulthood. Collin became the third member of the Pillow family to attend COTC. Mom Julie was the first; Jeff the second.

Jeff and Julie were high school sweethearts who married soon after graduating from Mount Vernon High School. They moved to Newark across from the campus so Julie could attend nursing school while Jeff worked. When she graduated in 1989, the roles reversed. Jeff began taking courses in computer programming.

“It worked for us, especially being young and getting married,” said Julie who has had a 30-plus year career as a nurse at Riverside Hospital. Jeff has spent more than 20 years working in information technology at Park National Bank. “I have hired a lot of people at Park National Bank, and COTC is one of my go-to locations for recruitment,” explained Jeff. “I’ve managed for 15-plus years. COTC graduates come in my department well prepared. They do a very good job. The drawback is that they don’t stay long in my department, but they advance within Park.”

The Pillows left it up to their children to choose their own college. While their daughter went to a four-year institution, Collin decided COTC was the right fit for him. “I wanted a college that was not too expensive and not too big,” said Collin. “I need one-on-one time, which every professor offered. My friends couldn’t get that at a bigger school. That’s the number one thing I liked about this campus.”

COTC brings out different memories for each Pillow. It’s where Jeff coded his first COBOL program. It’s where Julie camped out all night to register for classes. It’s where Collin started his first business. The one thing they have in common, though, is that COTC is where each of them found their passion.