Amy DeBaun  

Amy DeBaun
Director of Campus Life


It still happens to her, although not as often as it used to: Amy DeBaun, the former Amy Howard, might be walking down the Long Walk or waiting for a coffee in Funston Café when someone will stop her. “You look very familiar,” they might say, “but I can’t quite place you.” She will smile, wait a moment or two to see if the person figures it out, and then introduce herself.

A little less than a year beyond gastric bypass surgery, DeBaun is feeling terrific and has undergone much more than a physical transformation. One seemingly obvious, although a bit surprising, change is her last name. Rather than reverting to her maiden name following her divorce, the Southern California native decided instead to adopt a new name that holds special meaning for her. She chose DeBaun because it was her fraternal grandmother’s maiden name; she also took Maria as her middle name in honor of her other grandmother. DeBaun laughs as she relates that she had never considered her name so seriously before. “I guess I just never thought about it,” she says, “but, in a philosophical sense—and remember, I was an undergraduate philosophy major—we’re always changing as people. I’m definitely not the same person I used to be so why should I have the same name? It’s a way to sort of symbolize my re-invention as a person.”

DeBaun came to Trinity in 1998 after working for eight years in residential life and programming at Tufts University. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston University. “I grew up in Mission Viejo, half way between Los Angeles and San Diego,” she explains, “and when it was time to go to college, I was ready for a change of scenery. Both my parents are from the Northeast, so I had visited a lot when I was a kid. I had a definite affinity for the East Coast, and now it’s my home. I love New England.”

After taking a break from academics for more than a decade, DeBaun is enrolled as a provisional student in an international Ph.D. program in ethics and theology at Hartford Seminary. She notes that her studies correlate well to both her work at Trinity and her liberal arts background. “Because of some of the issues I encounter with students and my interest in philosophy and psychology, it seems like a natural fit. It’s something that interests and challenges me intellectually. It’s a great opportunity to interact with smart people from very diverse backgrounds and points of view. The dialogues we have in class are enlightening—we say it all.”

Her experiences with health-related issues and weight loss have also forced DeBaun to reconsider how she relates to the world, and how others view her. “I’m extremely sensitive to the fact that people treat you differently when you look different,” she says. “That’s probably the most significant thing I’ve learned as I’ve gone through this process. It’s critically important not to simply judge people’s shells. Don’t just look at the outside, because that’s not the real person.”


What they’re reading

Jeffrey Kaimowitz  

 

Jeffrey Kaimowitz
Head Librarian, Watkinson Library


 

"When I was in graduate school four decades ago, critical theory in classics was basically unheard of. I have picked up something of structuralism, deconstruction, the new historicism, etc. along the way, but never found myself wanting to read in any depth about criticism. I have been much more interested in reading the original literature. Still, I felt a gap in education and a few years ago I bought a very well-reviewed book by the English classicist Don Fowler, Roman Constructions: Readings in Postmodern Latin. I bought it, but then could not bring myself to read it. Recently, however, I began reading it right through. 

"I have found Fowler to be a wonderful writer with a clear style and open-minded approach in a field, from my limited experience, that can be difficult and off-putting. So I am now exploring focalization, the uses of ekphrasis, intertexuality, historicism, and closure. What I have found has increased my awareness of many aspects of Greek and Roman writing, but it also has brought home something that is always in mind when reading Greek and Latin—the formidable barriers, but also the intriguing and enticing challenge, that one is always faced with when confronting literature produced in cultures and languages so vastly separated in time and experience from our own."

 

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