Winston Tabb ’72LS
Simmons Trustee Winston Tabb ’72LS, the Sheridan Dean of University Libraries and Museums at Johns Hopkins University, on flying with Barack Obama and not wanting to be a minister when he grew up.
What would you title your autobiography? Go East, Young Man.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Anything but a minister; for most of my youth I assumed I would become a lawyer.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? Professionally, a long career working in most departments of the Library of Congress. Personally, rearing a loving and successful son.
If success were guaranteed, what new career would you choose? Landscape designer/master gardener.
What Simmons course or professor had the biggest impact on your future? Professor Ching-Chih Chen.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self? Constantly seek adventure and new challenges.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? “Let another’s lips praise thee.”
If you could take credit for any existing work of literature or art, what would it be? Michelangelo’s David and Melville’s Moby Dick.
What’s the latest addition to your bucket list? Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu.
Whom would you most like to sit next to on a long flight? A very quiet person or Barack Obama.
What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been? Gardens in England, especially Hidcote Manor.
Would you rather spend a weekend 100 years in the past, or in the future? Definitely in the future.
What are your two favorite movies? Citizen Kane andGone with the Wind.
What’s next on your must-read list? Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts: Twelve Journeys into the Medieval World by Christopher de Hamel; and Sunburn by Laura Lippman.
Which historical figure would you like to be? Thomas Jefferson.
What fictional character do you wish you could meet? Ántonia Shimerda, from Willa Cather’s My Antonia.
If you could add one hour to every day, how would you spend it? Gardening by day, reading by night.
Would you rather win an Oscar, an Olympic medal, or a Nobel Prize? Nobel Peace Prize for bringing a true and permanent end to conflict in the Middle East.
What personal quality would you value most in a prospective hire? Curiosity and ambition.
If you won a lottery jackpot, what philanthropic dream would you fulfill? Establishing full-ride scholarships for first-generation college students, with preference given to the Dreamers.
What question would you ask John Simmons? Are you proud of what we’re doing? What could we do better?