Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
This is the first story in our 8 part series entitled “Better Know a Dean!” Each segment will highlight a different dean and elucidate exactly what their job and relationship to the student body is.
by Eric Behrens
Name: James Larimore
Position: Dean of Students
What exactly does that mean?
The simplest answer is that I’m basically responsible for most aspects of the student life experience outside of the academic experience in classrooms, labs, and studios, with the exception of Dining Services and Athletics, which report to another senior officer. A number of areas such as the Registrar, CAPS, the Health Service, Career Services, Multicultural Affairs, pre-major academic advising, housing and student activities all report to me, either directly or through another colleague. I tend to see my job as focused on trying to help figure out how to make the institution work better—with support systems, ways to help students get more involved, and helping students figure out how the College is put together and who they should work with on various projects or issues.
When should a student come to see you?
Pretty much anytime. Pat Coyne, my assistant, has been very good to find times for me to meet students when they have an idea, question or concern. Also I’m around campus a lot, so sometimes you can find me at Sharples or the Kohlberg Coffee Bar or the sidelines of an athletic event. I try to be as accessible and approachable as I can be. Often I help a student identify the person to contact for a particular issue and help them find the information they might need,
I’m in the process of looking at my overall schedule this year, to see whether I should make some adjustments because we have the new class year deans in place. [But because Swarthmore is such a small, intimate campus] students feel free to come in anytime, to just stop by.
Who should they contact to meet you?
Pat Coyne (pcoyne1, x8365)—I’ve given up almost complete control of my calendar to her, and she can often provide students with the information and advice they need.
If you were a mode of transportation, which would you be?
I would love to be a motorcycle. I used to ride one. I stopped a little before my kids were born. My dilemma now is whether I want to let them ride one when they get older.
What’s your favorite food?
I love food, so this is a very painful question for me. The two things I find myself craving are sushi and pizza. I have two four-year-olds, though, so as long as it’s not Mac & Cheese or chicken nuggets, I’m good.
What’s an interesting, little-known fact about you?
My life tends to be sort of an open book, so I don’t know. Actually—here’s a fact. My wife and I, in December, will have been together 23 years. We met on August 1, 1984, and were married on December 22, 1984. So it was a whirlwind courtship.