Muskingum trustee James (Jim) W. Schmotter ’69 addressed the bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates at the University’s Dec. 8, 2023, commencement. He was honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the ceremony.
He congratulated the graduates on their achievement and reminded them that “Commencement” both celebrates the accomplishments of the past and marks the beginning of the future. His remarks focused on the graduates’ preparation for their future.
He encouraged them to engage in the civic life of their communities, to use the critical thinking skills they acquired at Muskingum, maintain empathy and compassion toward others, maintain connections to their alma mater and to the friends they made here, to be humble about their education, to use learning they gained from outside their major as lifelong learners, to remember their Muskingum experiences, and most of all to “be the self that you define.”
Jim served from 2004-2015 as President of Western Connecticut State University. Under his leadership, Western Connecticut became known for high-quality professional programs on a strong arts and sciences foundation and as the preeminent public university of the fine arts in the state. A passionate supporter of student-athletes, Jim also served as Chair of the NCAA Division III President’s Council and as President of the Little East Athletic Conference.
Jim’s academic career had a strong international focus. He served as Associate Dean and Director of International Studies and taught international business at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, and later served as Dean of the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University and Dean of the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University. Jim authored numerous publications on business education and international business, consulted frequently for multinational corporations and U.S. government agencies, and developed and managed international education academic programs in the European Union, Malaysia, India, Japan, Singapore, Pakistan, Russia, and China.
Since retiring from Western Connecticut, he volunteers for the Educational Foundation of Collier County (Florida) and is a member of his local Habitat for Humanity’s Family Selection Committee. He previously served as a Director of Ethan Allen Interiors (an American home furnishings company with a strong international retail presence, including nearly 100 stores in China), President of the Naples Council on World Affairs, Chair of the Board of the United Way of Western Connecticut, and Chair of the Graduate Management Admissions Council.
Jim earned his Muskingum Bachelor of Arts degree in History, studied Higher Education Administration at Columbia University, and received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in American History from Northwestern University. While at Muskingum, he was a member of the Fighting Muskies varsity basketball team and the Ulster Club.
He is married to Daphne A. Jameson, Professor Emerita of Management Communication at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.