Jimmy Chassaing ‘09 ~ On Anthony Bourdain, Bond Trading, and Badgers

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 10:00am
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Spring Hill College alumnus Jimmy Chassaing lives his life by a simple philosophy: Move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Chassaing explains that he adopted the sentiment after hearing it explained by celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain.

“Bourdain urges people to open their minds, get off the couch, and move—whether it’s across the ocean, or simply across the river,” Chassaing says. “He advocates walking in someone else’s shoes, or at least eating their food. The end result—better understanding and acceptance of cultures, lifestyles, and human nature—is a plus for everybody.”

After living in St. Louis, Mo., his entire life, moving to Mobile, Ala., was a life-changing experience. Though he was connected to Spring Hill College as a legacy, (mother, Lisa Howe Chassaing ’76, his uncle, Larry Howe ’81, and aunt, Mary Crider Howe ’81) Chassaing applied to several schools along the Gulf Coast. However, a visit to campus and earning a spot on the men’s tennis team were all it took to convince Chassaing that SHC was the right fit.

Chassaing also found his true career calling at Spring Hill, graduating with a double major in Finance/Economics and Accounting. Now in Denver, Colo., he serves as associate vice president for Investment Professionals, Inc., and specializes in municipal bond trading. Chassaing attributes much of his professional success to the solid foundation provided by professors on The Hill.

“I enjoyed all of my business division classes, but Dr. Larriviere deserves a shout-out,” says Chassaing. “Not only is he a cool guy, but he also earned my respect early on as an educator because of his work ethic and the expectations he has for students. Everything was fair game on his exams. The hours I spent going over my economics lecture notes and textbooks helped me learn the most from those classes.”

Though Chassaing worked hard in the classroom, he also enjoyed Mardi Gras, crawfish boils, trips to New Orleans, and spending time at the beach with friends. Along the way, Chassaing learned valuable lessons in and out of the classroom—including time management skills, the value of service work, and the importance of having an open mind when meeting someone for the first time.

 “I came to Spring Hill intending to branch out and make new friends, but was able to do so much more than that,” says Chassaing. “SHC’s student population is very geographically diverse, which sets it apart from other schools. I learned that everyone has a different story to tell—where they came from, how they grew up. It’s very important to listen to these stories if you want to connect with people.”

SHC: What makes Spring Hill stand out from other colleges?

JC: Every once in a while someone will see a photograph from Spring Hill and ask “Did you go to college or a country club?” I love hearing that because it’s a reflection of the school’s commitment to maintaining a gorgeous campus where more than 1,200 students live for four years. SHC’s dorms are nestled in arguably the nicest neighborhood in Mobile, and you can’t complain about being 38 miles from the nearest beach!

SHC: What makes you proud to be an alumnus of Spring Hill College?

JC: With eight years of Jesuit education, I am able to explain to friends what it means to be a Man for Others. I also believe that the size of Spring Hill allowed me to be much more involved than if I had gone to a larger university with 30,000 people. I’m extremely grateful for that.

SHC: Do you still keep in touch with friends from Spring Hill College?

JC: Absolutely! Rarely a day goes by that I haven’t texted, chatted, or spoken with a Badger. Every year, there’s either a wedding, beach trip, or Mardi Gras that will reunite me with friends from Spring Hill.

SHC: Advice to Spring Hill College freshmen?

JC: Double major in a different area of study, because that’s what interests you. Get to know faculty and staff. Go to the beach and New Orleans often. Go on a service trip for hurricane relief because you have no idea what it’s like to have 10 feet of water in your house. But, most importantly, whether it’s you or your parents, identify who is financing your college education and experience, and never let them down.

 

In his spare time, Chassaing skis, hikes, attends concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheater, and cheers on the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies. He volunteers at Arrupe High school in Arvada, Colo., and is a member of the Young Arrupe Philanthropists in Denver. Chassaing serves on the Spring Hill College Alumni Board and is a former president of the St. Louis Alumni chapter.