Jerry ’63 and Jannie ’65 Dusseau
Jerry’63 and Jannie ’65 Dusseau
Hometown: Corrales, New Mexico
Major at Earlham: Biology for both
Current titles: Retired president of Experience Success! (Jerry) and retired president of Direct Insights (Jannie)
Volunteer work: Jerry and Jannie have volunteered with the Close the Class initiative.
“Think Earlham! Think back on your own Earlham experiences – was it just a classroom/academic education? How did Earlham shape and or change your values, critical thinking skills, prepare you to explore and take considered risks, create lasting meaningful friendships and relationships? Would it have been the same elsewhere?”
Tell us a bit about how you discovered Earlham when you enrolled here.
Jerry: I was introduced to Earlham mid-summer by my high school football and track coach. He had just been hired by Earlham as an assistant football coach. We visited the campus together and met with Darrell Bean of Admissions and Eric Curtis, the Dean of Students. I was convinced on the spot.
Jannie: A high school friend who was Quaker told me about Earlham. Visiting Midwest liberal arts colleges in the summer, the first stop was EC; I immediately liked what I heard and saw. I returned in November for a weekend visit after being accepted on Early Decision and did not want to go home! Earlham had already become my new home.
Share some fond memories from your Earlham undergraduate experience.
Jerry: 1) Earlham was my first real opportunity to meet and get to know others from very different backgrounds, experiences, and geographic locales; very eye-opening if not a bit confusing at first. 2) Maybe not my fondest memories, but classes were certainly a different kind of challenge – memorable. 3) Athletic: playing football during Earlham’s longest 22 game winning streak which included Earlham’s only undefeated season. 4) Wednesday night dances in Earlham Hall and traying in the cemetery in winter.
Jannie: 1) Being challenged by Ed Bastian to explore and think about history in totally new ways and take notes faster than anyone thought possible. 2) Two botany field trips to the Smoky Mountains and Florida were definitely highlights. 3) Babysitting for one of my biology professors and cleaning house for another allowed me to get to know them and their families outside the classroom, and led to lifelong friendships. 4) A botany professor’s Africa photography inspired multiple trips to Africa. 5) Making lasting friendships that have endured and grown during the pandemic. And of course, meeting Jerry.
Did you benefit from alumni giving or alumni volunteering as a student? If so, how?
Each of his four years Jerry was the recipient of an Earlham scholarship from named alumni.
Do you give to Earlham? Why or why not? If you give, do you support anything in particular?
Absolutely! We are long-time donors to Earlham in a variety of ways. We enthusiastically support Earlham Day and encourage our classmates and alumni in New Mexico to do the same. The annual fund which supports financial aid is always a priority. In addition, we fund an annual scholarship for an international student, plus an endowed scholarship for natural science students in honor of a former Biology professor. We make regular contributions to the Athletic Department, and have supported several campus building programs. With a strong belief in the long-term impact and value of Earlham, we have included Earlham in our estate plans.
Why did you decide to become an Earlham volunteer, and what specifically did you volunteer to do?
Jerry: My Earlham experiencesoverall have been very positive. One in particular was the opportunity to experience Earlham from the faculty perspective when teaching the year immediately after receiving my Ph.D. Subsequently, I saw that there were ways to “test the waters” for volunteering, e.g., Class Chair. Over the years, other volunteer roles have included jointly representing Earlham at college fairs, student recruiting at United World College-USA, and participating in various fundraising initiatives.
Jannie: I wanted to give back because my Earlham experience so expanded and enriched my world and my life. It made all the difference! I started out as a Class Chair, later was on the Alumni Council for nine years, then served as an alumni trustee on the Board of Trustees from 1997-2006. Recently I have been helping identify and contact Earlham alumni entrepreneurs as part of Earlham’s application for the Princeton Review’s ranking of undergraduate entrepreneur programs.
Together we have also hosted events for alumni and for accepted students in New Mexico. And we’ve both been on our reunion year committees over the years.
Share some details from your volunteer experience(s).
Jerry: Recruiting students one-on-one has generated opportunities to develop long-term relationships with several students that extend beyond the students’ four-year experience. Similarly, these efforts have resulted in ongoing relationships with faculty and staff. College fairs, in addition to the fun of meeting potential students, have been a particularly effective means to be updated on current campus issues and curriculum changes.
Jannie: We’ve met terrific students, faculty, staff and alumni; some have become friends. Working on reunions has been rewarding, getting to know classmates whom we did not know well when on campus.
In what ways do you feel you have made a difference as a volunteer?
Jerry: For me, being a volunteer harbors an unwritten commitment to promote Earlham whenever possible.By volunteering we help keep Earlham alive among other alumni and in the larger community. Earlham is a vibrant nucleus of future leaders and of creative initiatives. What we do in helping recruit quality thoughtful students and raising money supports Earlham’s vital role in addressing global and local education, research, and social issues. Earlham alumni and current students have been and continue to be strong examples of visionary and relevant leadership.
Jannie: Knowing that our scholarship donations have made it possible for students to obtain their degrees with less debt is gratifying. We’ve been able to follow via email, campus visits, and the Earlham website what some students we recruited and some who received our scholarships have done. This has been a source of joy and delight.
What would you say to others to encourage more alumni to volunteer?
Think Earlham! Think back on your own Earlham experiences – was it just a classroom/academic education? How did Earlham shape and or change your values, critical thinking skills, prepare you to explore and take considered risks, create lasting meaningful friendships and relationships? Would it have been the same elsewhere? What talents, skills, and experiences do you have to share with students? You could participate in “Spilling the Tea”! Could students be interns at your company? Could you mentor an entrepreneurial student?
The academics are rigorous and challenging, yet the collaborative academic, emotional, and career support from the entire Earlham community is genuine. Without a doubt, Earlham offers excellent educational and internship opportunities that are currently relevant and prepare students for inevitable change in the future.
The Quaker values of respect, integrity, peace and justice, and community are so critical at this time. Earlham lives these values providing tangible models for students to examine, critically explore, and to experience. We see many students going into the world, carrying and incorporating these tenets in their varied careers and experiences. We believe fostering these values is a critical piece to creating a desired and healthy society, and an environment that is safe, creative, respectful and just. We will continue to do what we can to support and promote this.