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 Tuesday, March 8, 2005 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


In the Spotlight with Jim Williams, Dean of Libraries

They lead major academic divisions and shape the direction and quality of programs for faculty, staff and students. In this series, "In the Spotlight," we ask CU-Boulder deans to give us a glimpse into their personalities by answering questions aimed at providing a unique perspective on "the person behind the desk." Part six of this series features Jim Williams, Dean of Libraries.

1. Outside of work, what do you spend the most time thinking about and why?

Outside of work, I spend the most time thinking about my family, as there is nothing more important to me than the gift of a loving marriage and family. My wife and best friend, Nancy Allen, is the dean of Libraries at the University of Denver. Nance and I have a 14-year old daughter, Audrey, and I have a daughter, Madeline, from a previous marriage. Madeline is a CU alum (College of Education) and school teacher in Houston. Much of my time is spent in support of Audrey's various activities, e.g. softball, piano, jazz-band, regular band and all of the attendant responsibilities that come with having a teen-age daughter. Audrey is quite talented in piano and she also plays two saxophones. So we do everything we can to sustain and grow her talent and interest in music, including concert attendance, season-tickets to the DCPA and any number of music-related outings when we travel. Audrey and her sister are also very close (for example, Madeline taught her to read), so we make sure that this sisterly bond remains strong through visits, vacation travels together, etc. Madeline joined the Teach-for-America Program after graduation from CU and she makes us proud as a dedicated, committed secondary school teacher in Houston's Black community.

My undergraduate education at Morehouse College included frequent and consistent messages about our social obligation to give back to community. Thus, as a member of Rotary International, I do whatever I can to lead a life of "service-above-self." I am a trustee of the Denver Art Museum, a board member at the Boulder Community Hospital, and a board member at United Way. So, outside of work I also give time to cultural and civic organizations that make my community (and the world) a better place for current and future generations.

2. If you could have a conversation with anyone - living or dead - who would you choose, and why?

I would want to have a conversation with Mahatma Gandhi, because I feel that his philosophy on peace and non-violence, and the practical techniques that he adopted, continue to have so much meaning today; thus, I would seek his perspectives, wisdom and counsel on making our world a better place.

In the Spotlight with Jim Williams, dean of libraries.

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