Presidential Fellow Jeff Mans Interviews Dr. Carl Colavito

Presidential Fellow Jeff Mans Interviews Dr. Carl Colavito

“I absolutely love people. I love helping people cultivate who they really are—introducing them to themselves. I love when they start to grow, because I know they will continue to do that. I don’t have to point everything in the world out to them, I just have to let them know that they have eyes, and can stand up and look. People have a lot of different things they want to do with their lives, so the best way to empower them to do this is by introducing people to all their faculties, and waking them up inside. I do have a deep reverence for people. I think we are more than just a collection of flesh and atoms. I love the idea of educating people and not just teaching a subject.” - Dr. Carl Colavito

Pictured above: Dr. Carl Colavito (bottom, right) and some of the organizers and attendees of a 1920s dance in the “Roosevelt Room,” held at Kent Campus on October 26. The event was a fun, experiential learning event that integrated across several disciplines, including history, fine arts, research and communication. Be on the lookout for the next event, sponsored by The Kent Philosophy Club and Student Success.  

1) What is something that not many people know about you, that you consider unique or interesting and you would like to share?

“I grew up wanting to be a biomedical engineer, and doing a lot of different things: owning businesses, writing screenplays, and practicing mixed martial arts, or MMA fighting. When I was younger, I was a good kicker and puncher—especially elbow strikes and knees. In my 30s, I couldn’t kick as high, so I got into judo. I LOVE judo. Teach your kids judo. It teaches restraint. Rather than striking, it teaches you to move people’s momentum against them. I don’t do it to hurt people ‘I seek decisive victory without harming my opponent.’”

2) What is an example of a moment that had a profound impact on your academic life, and that you may consider a “eureka” moment?

“I was nearing graduation at SUNY at Stonybrook, and I took a couple philosophy courses. After the second or third philosophy course, something dawned on me: I realized that philosophy wasn’t the study of some things that people who seemed smart have said. Philosophy was a journey – a way of seeing the world; it was striving. The turning point for me was when I realized that if I wanted to study philosophy, I would have to better myself. I would have to exercise all of my faculties in order to see what is actually out there in the world. Those two philosophy classes really changed my path from biomedical engineering to philosophy…the way those professors showed me how different cultures of the world have opened their children up to what it means to be human. Those things were always there, I just didn’t see them because I didn’t have the faculties for it.”

3) What upcoming projects are you currently working on, or considering getting started, that are exciting to you?

“I have one project that I hope takes off, which is a culture and language center. I would like FSCJ to have a center where anyone who speaks a foreign language can come volunteer to teach their language and culture and teach it through experience and immersion. It doesn’t have to be a class; just a place for cultural awareness and immersion to take place and for people to share their cultures. That can be cooking dinners, having music or dances — a space where people can commune with others who speak their own language and also have a space where people can come together and learn more about each other. Not just within FSCJ, but for the whole community.”

4) Who are the faculty members you would reach out to, and ‘tag in’ to projects and conversations, who you respect and really enjoy working with?

“I have to name a few: Professors Dustin Harewood, Mark Creegan and Harolyn Sharpe have supported and integrated into so many of my events. There are so many people here at Kent, the security guards, the IT support, my faculty colleagues, my new dean, Dean Dana White…they all are very supportive. Dr. Richard Greene is someone who always does everything in his power to help the student. He has attended many events, and the students really appreciated and took notice that he came to support them. He is a very talented, academically oriented, caring person, and I admire and appreciate him.”