Getting to know Bishop’s: Jesse Dymond

Getting to know your #Ubishops community is a must if you wish to fully immerse yourself into the BUbble! We decided to help you out by conducting monthly interviews with staff and faculty that contribute to the school’s success. This month, we had the opportunity to talk to Jesse Dymond, Chaplain at Bishop’s University and Champlain Regional College.

Favourite book of all-time?
I’m tempted to call foul on the question’s boundaries, but I think it’s fair to say that a campus chaplain’s answers will often be… nuanced. So, while the most candid answer would probably be “well, that depends,” I offer this: The Andromeda Strain. Crichton’s first novel published under his own name was one of my first introductions to science-fiction—a genre that quickly became my literary home outside of academic work. Good sci-fi is never actually about what it’s about, but rather abstracts serious ethical, moral, and relational questions for the reader by posing them in another time and place. 

Still, I can’t help but mention Oliver Sacks’ (non-fiction) Awakenings, which I discovered only after watching the Robin Williams film of the same name. My reasoning can be summed up in the book’s dedication to W. H. Auden, who wrote these words: 

Papa would tell me, 
‘is not a science, 
but the intuitive art 
of wooing Nature.’ 

Favourite group or singer?
Was Rachmaninoff a singer? Prokofiev? Bill Evans? Okay, then probably Radiohead. Or Tool. Or Massive Attack. John Cage?

Favourite movie of all-time?
Notwithstanding the aforementioned Awakenings, this one is a tie between A Beautiful Mind and Shine. Both portray human hope and longing within the context of the struggle to balance the expectations of genius with the journey to mental health. 

Favourite spot on campus? 
No question: St. Mark’s Chapel. It’s older than Canada. From the architecture to the organ, from the plaques on the walls to the gathered community, the chapel serves to remind me that I am part of something much greater than myself. Regardless of one’s faith or tradition, an hour in the chapel is an hour spent in the memory of those who have sought peace, justice, and understanding for generations, and an hour spent in hope for the future. 

Favourite spot off-campus?
Behind the wheel of a boat on Lac Massawippi, or winding through mountain roads by motorcycle. Otherwise, at home, keeping bees, or in the forest, foraging mushrooms and wild edibles. 

Favourite #Ubishops moment? 
There are so many! So many experiences of connection, and moments where I’ve been honoured to witness a concept click in a student’s mind, or heart, or soul. But a personal favourite is definitely Winterfest in February 2018, when members of the SRC convinced me to ride my snowboard down the ramp built on scaffolding in the quad. Fortunately, the picture that went in the yearbook was taken before I slipped off the rail and rolled to a painful stop. 

Describe #Ubishops in three words. 
Personal. Peculiar. Persistent. 

If you had to switch jobs with someone on campus, what would it be and why? 
I’d switch with Dr. Daniel Miller. The study of religions, both ancient and modern, is a core element of a liberal arts education. I have been impressed by the way Dr. Miller has worked to establish a healthy culture of questioning and respectful learning—about the proverbial other, and about one’s own traditions (or lack thereof). 

But perhaps more importantly, I think Daniel would serve my own office well. His patience and understanding nature, as well as his compassion for students would be an asset to my role, as they are in the one he currently holds. 

If you had to join a club or student group on campus, what would it be and why? 
It would be hard to choose between the Photography Club, Maker Club, Bishop’s Bees, and BU Music Society. So instead, I would probably consult the SRC clubs manual and prepare an application for a club committed to photographic documentation of the use of musical technology in beekeeping. 

If you had to go back to school, which program would you pick and why? 
I left high school to study choral conducting, improvisation, and composition, and I have no regrets. But if I could go back to that time in a way that was additive rather than replacive, I would probably follow my plan B (or was it plan A?) and begin with biology. I had, and still maintain, a fascination with both virology and neurology. On the other hand, physics could have led me to cosmology. And then, BU offers a few philosophy courses that have caught my eye. I guess there’s always next September? 

To learn more about Spiritual Care Services at Bishop’s, please visit our website.

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