Archived Story

Coffee Chat: Jeff Dennis

Published 10:54pm Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Occupation: Teacher and historian

Family: Tasha (wife) and Chloe (daughter)

Jeff Dennis

Originally from the Dowagiac area. Moved back to Dowagiac from Atlanta in 2008 (to accept position at Southwestern Michigan College).

Member: The Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution. We occasionally attend the Catholic Church and sometimes the Methodist church.

Education: Dowagiac Union High School, SMC, Andrews University, Notre Dame
If I had not taken the position at SMC, I would have continued serving in teacher education and as a assistant professor of history at Kennesaw State University.

n Were I to suddenly receive $1 million, three/fourths of the money would be used to eliminate family debts, develop investments and savings accounts.  The remaining quarter of the funds would be earmarked for charitable contributions.

n One item most people would not know about me is that I play the piano and particularly enjoy music from the early to mid-20th century.

Favorite food: Wood Fire grilled trout or salmon, baked potato and green beans with mushrooms

n Currently, I am reading “An Unspeakable Sadness” and “War Party in Blue,” two of the texts required for an NEH workshop on the Plains Indians I plan to attend later this month.

Favorite TV show: Either the original “Star Trek,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” or “Little House on the Prairie” (try not to laugh!)

n My dream vacation would be to spend a summer driving across the U.S. with my family; alternatively, it would great to spend a summer touring Europe, although considerably more complicated.

n My pet peeve is the degree to which we live today in the artifice.  Let’s limit the cell phones and iPods, TV and computer time.  Let’s embrace our families and communities, prioritize time for contemplation and communion with nature.

Best advice: I heard Dr. John Maxwell speak about 10 years ago at a conference in Ashland, Ky.; he’s a well-known writer and presenter on various concerns in leadership.
According to Dr. Maxwell, the proper perspective on life is to recognize that “the entire universe — with one trifling exception — is composed of others.”
Consequently, we should strive to “treat every person that we meet as if he or she is the most important person in the world.” I think these ideas offer great advice for all of us.

n Perhaps my tombstone might read … “beloved husband and father” and “in faith that we all

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