It’s Been a Lovely Cruise

It’s Been a Lovely Cruise

There has been quite a bit of change in my life over the last three months that included not only breaking my heel but I’ve taken a new job as the Founding Dean of the College of Continuing Education and Professional Development at Old Dominion University.   For me the notion of being a founding dean is a bit intimidating and quite honestly exciting.

While I am very excited being in my new position and working with my ODU colleagues in building the new College of Continuing Education and Professional Development my next few posts will be me struggling with the idea of what the heck does it mean to be a “founding dean?”

One of things that I know is that I’ve become the person and professional I am because of the opportunities I’ve had to working with great people. My friends and colleagues at JMU are some of the best. I am simply not good at saying goodbye but here goes.

My last day at JMU was a very surreal experience for me because there were lots of things that “just happened” that day that just couldn’t have been by accident. One of those was after I left my office for the last time (in tears I might add) I got into my car and what should be on my iTunes was Jimmy Buffet’s song “It’s Been a Lovely Cruise” which is exactly the tune I had thought about in terms of expressing my feelings about my time working with the folks at JMU.

It begins: “Drink it up, this ones for you, It’s been a lovely cruise, I’m sorry it’s ended, it’s sad but it’s true, Honey it’s been a lovely cruise.”

Jimmy captures it. Working with the people at JMU is one of the highlights in my life and my time with the JMU crew will always have a special place in my heart. And yes I am sad and it is hard to leave you, but please know it has been a great cruise.

Jimmy goes on with, “These moments we’re left with, may you always remember, these moments are shared by few.” This is exactly how I feel. I hope, like me, that those I worked with at JMU will remember our moments together and more importantly realize that what we did together is something that doesn’t happen for everyone. How do I say thank you for our moments together, for the times that you supported me with Dancing with the Stars, my two years as president elect and president of UPCEA, and finally supporting me through my broken heel. To my JMU colleagues and friends I say thank you, I’m honored to have shared my moments with you.

And like any cruise my time came to an end at JMU and like a cruise at it’s end “those harbor lights, aw they’re coming into view, we bid our farewell much too soon.” Even as I write this I can feel many of the same emotions I had on my last day in the office. My reoccurring thought is that we didn’t say good-bye too soon because we will have many opportunities to work together and more importantly to raise a glass.

I know that the best work and successes lay ahead for JMU’s Outreach & Engagement.

So Jimmy why don’t you take it from here:

“So drink it up

This one’s for you

Honey, it’s been a lovely cruise

Oh darlin’ it’s been a lovely cruise.”


To my ODU friends and colleagues, let’s launch this boat and start our cruise.


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4 Responses to It’s Been a Lovely Cruise

  1. Anne Neale says:

    Very well said, Jim. We will miss you as well.

  2. Don Swoboda says:

    Nicely done James, you will be remembered. . .but not forever, none of us will. Enjoy the excitement and thrill of being a founding dean, you’ve been preparing all your career for this and you will continue to do well. Keep in touch and good luck.

    don s

  3. Daphyne Saunders Thomas says:

    I find your blogs so interesting and meaningful. Please let us know if you start a new blog. I am sure many of us want to continue to follow your postings.
    Thank you for “being the change” for so many whose lives you have touched. JMU will miss you. WE will miss you.

    blessings to you and your family.

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