Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Five Minutes With ... Brian Casey

DePauw President Brian Casey

Name/Institution: Brian Casey, DePauw University

Title: President (official bio)

Education: B.A., University of Notre Dame; J.D., Stanford Law School; PhD (History and American Studies), Harvard University

I am originally from ... The Jersey Shore, really. And it’s nothing like that TV show. Trust me.

Why do you have an awesome job? I get to help shape and direct a wonderful old university and connect to its students, faculty and alumni. There has not been a single day in this position where I haven’t been amazed. I have never felt more engaged in anything in my life.

When did you know you wanted to be a college president? I don’t think anyone really plans on being a college president. But when I was in graduate school (getting my PHD in History) I do remember being interested in what the President was up to. I believe that leadership matters and I remember early interest in the leadership styles of presidents.

Favorite thing about DePauw? The energy of the students and the faculty – and the ways in which members of this community support and nurture each other. And, surprisingly, the wit of the members of the community. There are an incredible number of very smart, very witty and entertaining members of this community.

Favorite thing about the NCAC? The academic quality of the member institutions.

How would you describe the philosophy of NCAA Div. III? The classic model of the student-athlete engaged in sport for the love of the game and the pure thrill of the challenge. Div III athletes are as intense as any athletes I have ever seen, but they also have their eyes on other things.

How did your collegiate experience help to prepare you to be an administrator at the Div. III level? Well, I was captain of the varsity swimming team at Notre Dame and competed at a pretty high level all four years. I know how challenging it is for our student athletes to balance the demands of the classroom and the playing fields. I also know how emotionally taxing it is when you lose. I hope I am sympathetic about all they are addressing every day.

People may be surprised to know that ... I still swim every day, very often dropping in on the workouts of the DePauw swimmers. I still keep trying to get better at my sport.

What’s currently playing on your I-Pod? Lots of jazz. And a surprising number of musical “guilty pleasures” – those pop songs that you don’t want to admit you download.

Which historical sporting event would you have liked to witness? The two great McEnroe-Borg Wimbledon finals of 1980 and 1981. There is something so immediate and exciting about two athletes engaged in such a battle of contrasting styles and temperaments.

What’s your favorite sports team/Who’s your favorite athlete? I’m a huge fan of the New York Yankees. My favorite athlete right now is Ryan Lochte, Olympic swimmer, who dominated Michael Phelps at the last swimming world championships. The battles between Phelps and Lochte in London will be epic.

First job? Lifeguarding on the Jersey Shore. It’s remarkable how powerful you can feel to be 16 on a lifeguard stand with a whistle. (It’s also about the dumbest thing to do to a 16 year old!!)

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