Your connection to the University of Michigan-Dearborn | Fall 2018

Nine More Things to Know about Chancellor Grasso

Chancellor Domenico Grasso chats about his mom's best advice, how he unwinds and what's on his playlist.

Thoughts on moving back to Michigan?
After 30 years away, Susan and I were thrilled to move back to Michigan for personal reasons as well as the special professional opportunity to serve the Dearborn community. Susan grew up in Troy and earned three engineering degrees from U-M; she is currently working on her Ph.D. in urban affairs and public policy at the University of Delaware. We're looking forward to many visits from our four adult children: Benjamin, Jacob, Elspeth and Caitlin, and spending more time with extended family here.

Team Cat or Team Dog?
We are an inclusive family! We have two dogs, an unsuccessful Guiding Eyes Labrador Retriever, Odie; and a Spinone Italiano rescue, Hadley; and a basic American shorthair shelter cat, Sadie. At various times, we have also been home to horses, llamas and chickens.

Favorite workday lunch?
Your basic peanut butter and jelly sandwich is what gets me through my day. Tasty, easy to make and easy to eat. Plus, growing up in an Italian-American family, I never saw enough peanut butter as a kid.

What states have you lived in?
A lot! Massachusetts, California, Texas, Georgia, Indiana, Connecticut, Vermont, Delaware and now, Michigan, for my second time!

Favorite vacation memory?
Cycling through Puglia (Italy) with my wife and children and arriving in the hometown of my mother (Vieste). A very powerful moment for me.

How do you decompress?
Long bike rides, reading and spending time with my family.

Best advice you've received?
This is difficult to answer. Over the years, I have received so much great advice; I really am the sum of my experiences. However, my mother's early and persistent admonitions have guided many of my decisions in life. Be friendly with everyone, be uniquely me ("be yourself") and don't define success in life by materialism alone ("you make money; money doesn't make you").

What podcasts are you listening to?
I often listen to podcasts while I travel or exercise. Freakonomics, TedTalks, New Yorker Radio Hour and Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me are some of my favorites.

What do you like to read?
Do you have any favorite books? I love to read broadly and across different genres. Books that I have enjoyed and feel have been influential in my life include The Fountainhead, Babbitt (really anything by Sinclair Lewis), Frankenstein, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Blindness, Mindset and Consilience. I also like to read periodicals: the Economist, the New Yorker, the Atlantic.

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