1. What is the last book that you read?
It was “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman. He’s a psychologist but he writes a lot about economics and some of the pitfalls of econ, but it’s all based in psych. You will find out at the end of that book – you can dump your brain out and reinstall it – because it basically shows you that you can know almost nothing in life with assurance. Check it out … you won’t be able to put it down.
2. What made you seek out LMU as a potential workplace?
Well, the way these things work is they … recruiters find you before you find opportunities. They’re usually after you before the opportunity has even emerged.
3. So, they recruited you, but you pursued it. What made you interested in LMU?
What I love about LMU are, first, it’s missions. It’s Jesuit and Marymount missions are very appealing to me. I’ve worked in Jesuit higher education for, I think, 28 years. So I find the mission compelling. LMU has made great strides in its faculty, its faculty strength, student strength, student diversity and I just love the way LMU and its various bodies have collaborated to do new things. I see great collaborations between academic affairs and student affairs. Great collaborations within the faculty to sculpt a resonant and lively core curriculum from which I think all students will benefit going forward. That’s great to see and that’s not common in the academe.
4. Your presidency is effective June 1, but when are you inaugurated into the position?
That will be announced in some time coming.
5. What is something that you want the LMU student body to know?
I am here for the students; I am all about the students. I love students. I particularly love the way our mission meets students where they are and seeks to make them nimble, caring, intellectual actors in ways that help those here, those to come and the earth itself.
6. What would you say is your vision for the University?
It’s hard to encapsulate that in one phrase. The vision is always very general, but it is to use our Jesuit and Marymount traditions as a foundation for further success in our learning, in our discovery and in our ways of helping others.
7. What are you most looking forward to about this new chapter?
8. Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work that you think might be interesting to the student body?
I like music a lot. And if everybody could text me what they’re listening to on a regular basis I could learn a lot from that. I also like exercise, I like coffee, I like wine, I like people. I like to eat.
9. What kinds of music do you like the best?
I’m all over the map. … I tend to like pop and rock and avant-garde stuff. I like some EDM.
10. Do you make any music yourself?
I do. I have one track on iTunes you all can get. If anyone can’t afford it I’ll buy it for them. It’s just an EDM track I did a few years ago and it kind of took off. I had a lot on iTunes at one time; I took it off to remix it. So I’ll be putting it on in the coming weeks if I get a chance. But it’s all over the map. It’s only okay. It’s not that good so don’t get excited. It’s a repeating riff. When you mix, sometimes you have to get lucky, and this one mixed, I think, pretty well. It’s got a really good slamming snare drum and it’s a little retro sounding. But it is what it is.
11. What about movies or television?
I watch a lot of CNN and ESPN. Got to stay current.
12. Do you have a mentor or a role model who inspires you?
I have many and they’re largely my teachers and faculty members from the past. ... One was a guy named Richard Brunt in high school. I had a boss, Will Loeffler, who was an astounding person, stood up for us so well and allowed us to be successful and creative. It was in a laboratory. And then I worked for [former LMU president] Fr. Lawton for four years – or more than that as a faculty member – but I was a dean of science under his direction so I learned a lot from him.
13. Can you explain what you learned from Fr. Lawton?
I learned how to be patient in terms of progress universities can make. I also learned how to manage toward the creativity of others. Manage in an open-minded way. But I would charge you tonight as you go to sleep – repeat the word “mentor” in your head over and over and see what happens. Something happens to it.