Elon Questionnaire: Take 5 with Kenn Gaither

Kenn Gaither, the new dean of the School of Communications, takes the Elon questionnaire.

Kenn Gaither, the new Dean of the School of Communications, doesn’t hide his passions. Look no further than his extensive collection of colorful ties — and the fact that he never wears the same design twice in a semester. This attention to detail extends to his academic pursuits and the relationships he builds.

What book is on your nightstand?

I’ve been reading a lot of works by Hampton Sides lately. The book I am reading now is called “In the Kingdom of Ice,” a story about a polar expedition at the end of the 19th century. It’s a remarkable story full of detail and description; the kind of book that is so vivid that you almost get cold reading it.

What is your favorite phone app?

I’d have to say Calm. I just discovered it a year ago and I’m a big fan. It has so many selections for being in a mindful state. I like it because it has all these different meditations and soundscapes. Plus, it fits a busy lifestyle where you can find meditations that are three minutes long.

If the TV is on, what show makes you stop and watch?

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If I am flipping through the channels and I see “Seinfeld,” I’m going to stop and see
the episode. Also, I’ve always been a big fan of the original “Unsolved Mysteries” with Robert Stack. Even though many of those episodes are 20 or 30 years old, I still love a great mystery. I never get tired of those.

What is your favorite place on campus?

I like to say anywhere I am. But if I have to pick, I think Under the Oaks is pretty hard to beat. It is just a beautiful location. It almost feels magical when you look out the window, see the oaks and its beauty, and recognize the history here.

If you could invite someone from history (dead or alive) to dinner, who would it be?

I’ve always had a fascination for Egypt, so I would love to have dinner with a pharaoh. I also would very much like to have dinner with Winston Churchill — I am fascinated by his words and leadership style — and Nelson Mandela because in spite of what he endured he always had a peaceful, pacifist mindset.

[BONUS] Speaking of ties, what is the trick to tying a good necktie?

Repetition. You got to get the reps in. Sometimes I will tie it and I won’t like the length, or the look of it. So, I will go back if I have to. It is about the repetition.