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Vice President for Student Affairs Tom Jackson - In Person

by UofL Today last modified Feb 02, 2011 10:15 AM

President. Provost, vice president, dean, professor, manager, director.

Vice President for Student Affairs Tom Jackson - In Person

Tom Jackson

As much as these titles describe and apply to the work that happens at the University of Louisville, they don’t get to the essence of what makes UofL unique — its people.

Once or twice a month, UofL Today will profile people who help to make the university what it is.

Name: Dr. Tom Jackson Jr.

UofL title and department: Vice President for Student Affairs — Student Affairs

At UofL since: January 2007 — Wow, four years now!

Hometown: Seattle, Washington (Franklin High School)

First job and what I learned from it: My very first job was delivering papers for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. This was a morning newspaper route, so the papers would be dropped off at my home about 4 a.m. I would then stuff whatever circulars into the papers, then fold and rubber band them so they would fit into my delivery bag. Rain or shine I was out there.

I learned that my parents would not deliver the papers for me regardless of how late I was running that morning. As my father would say, “This is your responsibility and you decided to sleep in today, not me.”

The thing I like most about what I do: There are so many things I like about student development, working on a college campus or advancing higher education globally. Watching students assume leadership opportunities, and then learn from those experiences, is very rewarding to observe. It is rewarding to know we play a significant part in their development as leaders and humans. It is also meaningful to be contributors to higher education on the global scale, essentially knowing that our efforts preparing students will someday inspire a community or a nation. I personally enjoy serving as a university ambassador. Working with students in other countries, while using our intellect and people/planning skills, is extremely gratifying.

I am: very adventurous.

I never: make promises I know I cannot keep.

Guilty pleasure: Fresh bread. I am a total sucker for fresh bread. That and LOTS of butter. I mean I will completely embarrass myself when fresh bread is on the table or near me!

Favorite book: I don’t have a favorite book. I am currently reading “Decision Points” by our former president. I recently read, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. That was a fast read with some wonderful insights on group dynamics.

Favorite TV show: “The Bachelor” or “Bachelorette.” Okay, I can’t admit to that, are you joking?! I am enjoying the new TV show “Hawaii Five-O.” I liked the old one a lot when it was on TV and am finding this one to be enjoyable to watch, as well.

In the car I listen to: NPR. However, I did protest when they fired Juan Williams, the only high profile African-American at NPR. I also listen to my mp3 that has lots of oldies from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Favorite quote: “For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been’.” John Greenleaf Whittier.

These animals share my world: Dogs and horses. I have had a few dogs and horses in my life. I have neither at the moment and look forward to the time I can have another dog and horse.

My day begins: with morning hugs with my two younger children.

I wish I had more time to: spend the lottery I hope to win one day. Actually, I balance my time pretty well despite the many demands of the work. I would like to camp with the kids more, take more flying trips or watch more movies. I wish I had a little more time to fulfill some volunteer activities I am involved in (Indiana Guard) or tinkering with things around the house. Still, all in all, the 24 hours we get is plenty for me.

When I’m not cheering for the Cards, I’m cheering for: the Washington Huskies. I am a Seattlelite, remember?!

Most Friday nights you’ll find me: eating homemade popcorn with the family on our movie night. I get the small bowl with salt and butter and do not share it. Most things I freely share. Fresh bread, buttered popcorn and my dessert after dinner are not three of them.

If my life were a movie: it would have gone straight to DVD. I am a homebody and/or a person that could easily live quietly on a ranch, in the mountains, or along a beach. The movie would put the audience to sleep. Now, the stuff we deal with everyday in Student Affairs could be reality TV! Some of the stuff that happens we just couldn’t make up.

Is there anything else you’d like the university community to know about you: I love to fly. Yes, I am a private, instrument-rated pilot. Every chance I get I am either working on the plane (my first life was serving as a small-boat engineer on search and rescue boats in the Coast Guard, so fixing engines and such is still fun for me) or flying around Louisville or someplace. I will also add that I feel fortunate to be part of the Cardinal family. This is a great time to be in Louisville and to be a Cardinal.

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