By Stacy Nowicki
As CIO Greg Diment ’84 retires, Kalamazoo College Library Director Stacy Nowicki reflects on his impact to the College.
The title “chief information officer” might evoke images of a tie-wearing tech guru. Yes, Greg Diment often wore a tie, and yes, he knows his tech. But true to the liberal arts education he received here at K, Greg is much more multifaceted. This came through in his leadership style. After working with Greg for nearly 16 years, I can say he was supportive, empathetic and curious. He knew what he didn’t know—a characteristic I believe all of us in Information Services appreciated—and would make a point of asking for information so he could make solid, data-driven decisions. He also has a quick wit, and though we often groaned at his puns, he could make a situation lighter with a laugh and a dash of optimism.
Greg’s journey at Kalamazoo College began in the early 1980s. A math major and computer science minor, Greg studied abroad in Germany and completed a student teaching externship in the education department, teaching mathematics and computing at a high school. I remember having conversations with Greg about how much more difficult teaching is than it appears, and I can’t help but think that his own teaching and study abroad experiences gave him some insight into how he approached supporting students and faculty. After graduating in 1984, he worked at Pfizer for 20 years, becoming the global director of clinical data management.
Greg seemed to easily make the transition from the corporate world to higher education. I remember Greg spoke very clearly in his campus presentation during his interview for IT director. He was impressive—someone “in tech” who could communicate abstract concepts in plain English! He had a clear commitment to supporting students in that interview which made him stand out from the rest. If he joins our team, I thought, we will be in good hands. In 2005, Greg started the next phase of his career at Kalamazoo College as IT director.
We are lucky that a year later Greg took on the role of CIO, inheriting a merged organization of IT, media, web services, the library and an addition of educational technology. With a staff of such diverse talents, roles and mindsets, Greg made a point of becoming familiar with each aspect of Information Services. He shadowed library staff for a day, asking questions about each function and getting to know us. And that was key to Greg’s style: he really wanted to know us in IS and he cared about us as people. When the pandemic hit, he attended our daily virtual library staff meetings almost every day. At first he was concerned that his presence would chill our conversations, but it was quite the opposite. Greg had garnered so much trust that we appreciated his support by being there, answering our questions and providing a calming influence. He was an advocate for us and all of our colleagues in IS.
This is why, when a job needed to be done, people naturally turned to Greg. And Greg took on some tough assignments. He represented K to the West Main Hill neighbors during lively discussions about the athletic field lights. He coordinated campus master planning. He oversaw Facilities Management in between hiring CFOs and led the process of classroom renovations. All of this in between his accomplishments as CIO: Greg helped implement myriad needed technology improvements at K (a new phone system, email system, enterprise resource planning system and campus WiFi, to name a few). Oh, and there’s that little thing of a pandemic where K suddenly pivoted to online teaching. (I say, with pride, that Greg and my colleagues in IT made it look easy and it certainly was not.)
Greg had a reputation for being capable, flexible and easy to work with. Coupled with his characteristic sangfroid and dedication to K, this made him the logical choice for big jobs that required diplomacy and thoughtfulness. I will always value Greg’s perspective, humor and support. He accomplished much of his important work humbly and without great fanfare. Greg moved Kalamazoo College forward in so many ways that our campus community will appreciate and build upon for years to come.