By: Nate Sommer//
Tell me a bit about yourself!
Jim was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. He left home when he was 18 to go to
college in Iowa, then graduate school in Kansas where he earned a PhD in
Anthropology. He spent one year working at Colorado College before coming to
Loyola University Chicago where he was a professor for 36.5 years (now Professor
Emeritus there, retired in December 2020).
What experience did you have with volunteering prior to FORA?
Jim tutored at the Rohingya Cultural Center prior to the pandemic and before FORA
was around, and taught/advised/mentored students throughout his career at Loyola.
How did you learn about FORA and what made you commit to it?
Jim heard about FORA through a neighborhood online list. He was looking to do
some volunteer work after he retired, and after investigating FORA on his own, he
was impressed by its mission. Jim also lives in the area and wanted to help and
know more about students and families who live close by.
Why does refugee education matter to you?
“Education in general has always been important to me, and given that refugees
have added hardships to overcome, I know that a better education early on in life is
going to be of even greater value to them throughout their lives.”
What has been a highlight of your FORA experience, or a favorite memory with your student?
Jim believes that Anthropology is all about appreciating and understanding human
cultural and biological diversity. At FORA, Jim comes into contact with both
students and staff who come from highly diverse backgrounds, which gives him the
opportunity to learn more about neighboring families.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Jim enjoys relaxing in a nice place with his family (wife and two kids) when
everyone is having a good time and doing what they want to do, long hikes in quiet
and remote places, looking for fossils, and watching KU win a basketball game.