“Do I look like a typical Dean to you?”
Tell me a little about yourself.
I consider myself a facilitator and a motivator. When you read about things in the school, I’m the last person whose name you’ll find, because I don’t want my name in there. I try to find ways to bring attention to our students, our faculty and staff. Also, I have two daughters and I live in Connecticut. I come here every day, I carpool with an Associate Dean of the school who lives local to me as well. One of us drives, the other one works.
Your passion is…
If you were to guess what my real inner being is all about, you’d probably guess music, because I’m a musician. How have I become a Dean? My one passion in life is to be able to look at a person and ask them “how can I help you?” When the day comes when I no longer feel I make that contribution to their lives that’s the day I probably shouldn’t do this job anymore.
When did music get into your life?
When I was six years old and I saw Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. My parents bought me a guitar and sent me to a guitar teacher. I always aspired to be a famous rock-and-roll guy. This lasted for about 20 years, till the mid-80s. I played publicly for many years with a pretty successful rock band. Eventually I turned my attention more to my academics. There’s still a part of me that is an artist, I write and play music.
How different is Jess Boronico as a Dean?
I don’t have a different persona wherever I go. I am true to my heart. I don’t think of myself as the Dean, that’s why I have long hair, that’s why I dress a little differently, that’s why I talk a little differently. I take the authority that has been given to me as an opportunity to help others rather than boss and direct others around.
Have you ever had conflicts with coworkers?
There’s a lot of things faculty does not agree with me on but we agree to disagree and we always find a way to reconcile. I like to challenge authority and bend the rules. I believe that we have to push the boundaries. As the world evolves, rules need to evolve as well to fit the environment we live in.
What does family mean to you?
It means that you are united in principle and direction. That you have an implicit trust for each other. I see it here as my second family. I have a very big responsibility here and I take it seriously. That’s why it can’t be about me. It’s like with my children; you can’t make this about yourself as a parent when you have children. It’s about your children.
How do you find time for all the things you do?
One colleague of mine once said I do the work of three men. I believe if you care, you tend to do more. I tend to work hard but I try to find reason behind what I do. It might also have to do with my training in applied mathematics. So many of my studies have been on how you maximize your efficiency with the least amount of resources, in this case time.
Your favorite music is…
…The hard rock bands from the 70’s like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. That’s the kind of music I go down the basement every night and play in my headphones. It’s like therapy, you escape momentarily into other worlds. I think it’s very good for your chemicals in your body. I’m a mathematician but I tend to see things very holistically. That’s how I approach my life.