Honesty and Disarming Openness
"From the beginning of his term as dean of the College, Jim Valentini has had a real understanding of the single thing that differentiates it from every other college in the country — namely, the Core Curriculum. He recognizes that alumni really are former students, and he understands their connection to the College. Throughout his tenure he has created a sense of momentum as well as one of stability, with his characteristic honesty and disarming openness about his Appalachian roots and first-gen college status. I have never seen a dean who had such an instant rapport with his students.
"Working with him over the years on various planning committees and task forces, but most especially on the Committee on the Core, I have seen how he stands up for the academic freedom of the faculty. His integrity and his belief in the values of a humanistic education for our students have made him a formidable supporter of the Core, its faculty directors, its administrative center and its many instructors. As chair of Music Humanities on and off for more than 30 years, I feel that Jim stands alone among the deans I have worked with in having taught me what the real stakes are in the College. He has made an incalculable difference in my understanding of the dignity, necessity and fragility of faculty decision-making. His support of a College faculty invested in the academic life of students has deepened my experience not only as chair of Music Humanities but also as a faculty member devoted to the institution and to our students. In his beautiful speech at the John Jay Awards Dinner in March 2012 he taught us about calcium oxide; we were lucky to have him in the limelight for the next 10 years."
The Anne Parsons Bender Professor of Music, and Chair, Music Humanities