Geoff Larcom: More than the man behind the emails
Geoff Larcom, executive director of media relations at Eastern Michigan University, is infamous for his emails. Multiple times throughout the day, members of the EMU community can anticipate an email waiting in their Eaglemail account from Larcom. But Larcom is more than the face of EMU updates—he’s a man who enjoys just being silly sometimes and loves to dance.
“Dancing demands a freed person, one who vibrates with the equipoise of all his powers,” is taped to the front of Larcom’s planner, along with the rest of the quote from “Praise of the Dance” by Saint Augustine.
“One silly thing I do is I’m not afraid to dance alone. They always say dance like nobody’s watching,” Larcom said.
Part of Larcom’s enjoyment of being silly comes from his love of talking to people, even in weird situations. He goes out of his way to be available on Facebook and Twitter and provides students with his cellphone number in order to open those doors of communication.
Larcom said he once received a text message around three in the morning from a student asking, “Hi Mr. Larcom, how you doing?”
“And I text them saying, ‘Are you an EMU student?’ He responded, ‘Yeah.’ So I asked him, ‘What’s your major?’” Larcom said. “That’s
the point, to put a human face on all these emails.”
Though Larcom said he doesn’t always get replies and contact back from students, he does sometimes depending on the circumstances.
“I got a ton of replies when I sent out notification that we still had school on the snowy day,” Larcom said. “It was important that they had a place to go with their anger and frustration.”
Larcom has been in the communication field for a long time. When he attended the University of Michigan, he worked as a sports editor for U of M’s newspaper The Michigan Daily. In regard to his choice to write for the sports section, Larcom said, “The reason sports is cool is that it’s unrehearsed drama. It exposes the raw of human nature.”
Afterward, he went on to write for The Ann Arbor News, where he remained for almost a decade. Larcom said part of why he loved working for The Ann Arbor News was because of the people and events he was able to experience.
“The reporter’s notebook allows you access to interesting people,” Larcom said. “Presidents of universities, sports coaches, politicians, local people.”
Larcom’s parents also played an intrinsic role in his communication development. Being that Larcom was significantly younger than his sisters, he grew up in an environment that mimicked one of an only child. At home, he had only his parents to talk to, and both of his parents were English scholars.
“My father used to introduce me to his friends,” Larcom said. “He would say, ‘Say something bright, Geoff,’ and I’d have to say something intelligent. I had a lot of conversations with my parents’ friends.”
Larcom not only got to interact with his father’s friends, but also his mother’s coworkers and students at EMU. Having “grown up” at EMU, he found his home here after The Ann Arbor News ceased its print publication in 2009.
But it wasn’t just the personalities of Larcom’s parents that made him who he is today, but also their relationship with each other.
“Probably another thing that affected me was that they were intensely in love,” Larcom said.
Larcom said he thinks that such a household led to him being empathetic and caring of other people.
“Someone will come at you mean or say something mean, you don’t have a reference point for that. It’s not all rose petals out there dude,” Larcom said.
Together, it’s Larcom’s love of communicating with people, his love of EMU and his love of reaching out to people that inspired him to put his name behind all the university’s emails.
“The hope is that students will tell you about cool things going on campus,” Larcom said. “Leaving yourself open to others’ thoughts and realities and listening well is very liberating.”