Thomas Lavenir, a native of France, joined JMU in the spring semester of 2004 as Assistant Director of the Center for Multicultural/International Student Services. He worked with international and multicultural students to provide them a safe place, advocate on their behalf, and organize events and programs to celebrate their cultures and heritages meanwhile educating the larger campus and community about diversity issues. As the Assistant Director of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), Thomas is responsible for the smooth transition and adjustment of international students by ensuring that ISSS becomes their “home away from home,” as well as to enlighten the rest of the JMU campus and nearby community about the importance of looking beyond one’s country to understand the world we live and to appreciate the richness that lies within all of us.
After earning his Bachelors’ degree in Rhetoric and Communication at Hamilton College, he pursued his masters in Intercultural and International Management at the School for International Training which landed him a position as Program Coordinator at Duke University’s International House. His primary role consisted of designing, delivering and coordinating international student and family orientation programs, developing, organizing educational programs, overseeing the production of departmental marketing and publications as well as re-designing and editing the International House web page. Thomas’ interests lie in the intersection of domestic and international issues of diversity. He has and continues to offer diversity and intercultural communication workshops. He is also fascinated by technology and how to integrate it as a learning tool. Furthermore, he serves as one of the Safe Zone (http://www.jmu.edu/safezone/) coordinators. His favorite quote is: “The belief that one's own view of reality is the only reality is the most dangerous of all delusions.” by Paul Watzlawick