Simpson College a second home for faculty couple

by DiAndre NevilleStaff Writer

Simpson College is home to several faculty/staff couples: Rich and Barb Ramos, Justin and Jennifer Nostrala, Frank and Gabrielle Curti, among others. One couple in particular, however, has really made Simpson their second home.

Carolyn Dallinger, assistant professor of social work and criminal justice is married to Walter Lain, assistant dean for multicultural and international affairs. Their daughter is freshman Dana Lain.

Lain said he met Dallinger on the Simpson campus on C Street right in front of the Brenton Student Center at 9 one morning.

“She doesn’t remember things like that, but I do,” Lain said.

Dallinger arrived at Simpson to begin her career as a professor in August of 2003. Dallinger was here on campus for two months before Lain joined the Simpson faculty later that year in November.

“I came to work at Simpson because it was such a great place,” Lain said.

Some may consider working with a spouse a near-death experience, but for Dallinger and Lain, this hasn’t proven to be anything but a small game of teamwork. They leave for work each day together from a small town outside of Des Moines and wrap their day up the same way they started it.

“We never really have to drive separately unless our daughter needs to use the car,” Dallinger said.

After working together and with students over the last few years, Dallinger and Lain have been able to keep work from occupying too much of their home life.

“It’s really not all that bad. We have a passion for doing what we do and working with students, so we definitely share the same interests,” Lain said. “It seems like you work all the time, much like this call here, you find yourself doing work even when you’re at home! We talk a lot, and it does get hard to leave work at work and just live life, but we talk about a lot of things and we work well with one another.”

It’s common to think that Lain and Dallinger would spend a lot of time together during the day at Simpson. But when it comes down to it, they spend very minimal time with each other, if they even get the chance to see each other throughout the day.

“We don’t really see each other much during the day,” Lain said. “We may get a chance to have meetings together, or occasional lunch dates, but we really don’t get to do much with one another.”

One opportunity that allows Dallinger and Lain to work with one another is the May Term course they teach together. In previous years the two have travelled as far as Africa.

“We get to do the May Term trip together, and that is really a lot of fun.” Dallinger said.

Most students might think that having mom and dad at school could be problematic, but for Dana, it’s not too big of a deal.

“It’s really not bad,” Dana Lain said. “I don’t really see them that often, so it works out.”

Other than the usual text messages, e-mails and phone conversations, the couple doesn’t connect as often as you would imagine in a typical day at work together.

“She’s in Wallace, and I’m in the BSC, so we really don’t see each other much. But we do get lunch together from time to time, and there’s always resources like the internet and Facebook to stay connected with one another,” Lain said.