Ten Questions: Meet UCSD's new dean - Seth Lerer

Seth Lerer was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1955 and grew up there and in suburban Boston and Pittsburgh.

He was educated at Wesleyan University, Oxford and the University of Chicago, and he taught English and comparative literature at Princeton and Stanford before joining the UCSD faculty as dean of arts and humanities last month.

Lerer's interests include medieval literature, the history of the English language and children's literature. He has lectured widely to public and community groups on such topics as the English language and the past and future of children's books.

For many years, he has been an amateur geologist and jewelry maker, and for a while he was the president of the San Francisco Gem and Mineral Society.

Seth Lerer was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1955 and grew up there and in suburban Boston and Pittsburgh.

He was educated at Wesleyan University, Oxford and the University of Chicago, and he taught English and comparative literature at Princeton and Stanford before joining the UCSD faculty as dean of arts and humanities last month.

Lerer's interests include medieval literature, the history of the English language and children's literature. He has lectured widely to public and community groups on such topics as the English language and the past and future of children's books.

For many years, he has been an amateur geologist and jewelry maker, and for a while he was the president of the San Francisco Gem and Mineral Society.

What brought you to Del Mar?

When I took up my new job at UCSD, I was looking for a place during my first transitional year. Henry Abarbanel and Beth Levine were put in touch with me and I have the honor of subletting their house on Crest Road for 2009.

What makes Del Mar special to you?

It is a beautiful town, with great restaurants and a perfect location, some remarkable and original architecture, and a community love of nature.

If you could change one thing about Del Mar, what would it be?

I'd hate to change anything, but that traffic on old 101 can really back up - no chance of an extra traffic lane?

Name one thing that you hope

to bring to your position as UCSD's arts and humanities dean. A sense of good humor in a time of financial stress.

Is there a common thread between being a dean/professor and being an author?

We all care about audiences: whether they are readers, students, listeners or other faculties.

Of the books you've authored, do you have a favorite?

"Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter," published by the University of Chicago Press and a finalist for this year's National Book Critics Circle Award.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

John Barrymore, Marie Dressler, Jean Harlow, Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore, Billie Burke, me and my mother.

Who or what inspires you?

Classical music and brilliant pianists like Rachmaninoff.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

Being the best father I can to my son, Aaron.

What is your motto?

Nothing lasts forever.

   
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