James (Jim) Swasey grew up in Cornish (formerly called Pumpkinville and Francisborough) Maine, an agricultural community with less than 1000 population in the foothills of the White Mountains, in the Saco/Ossippe Rivers Basin of the southwestern part of the state. He was schooled (grades 1 – 12) in a five-room school house, and graduated Salutatorian in a high school class of six boys and six girls.
From an early age, Jim maintained a lawn-care and gardening business that included the Town Park, his first exposure to a public garden! He was known for his entrepreneurial ventures in windshield cleaning at the local open-air theater and in car detailing. His community engagement extended beyond these activities as he also served as the church organist and choir director in his church throughout high school and college.
Jim received the BS degree in Horticulture from the University of New Hampshire, and the MS and PhD degrees in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Maryland. He served two years in the Quartermaster Branch of the US Army, stationed at Fort Lee Virginia, Fort Lewis Washington, and in the Republic of South Viet Nam.
Professional academic career included service as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Plant & Soil Sciences at the University of Maine in Orono, and the Landscape Designer for the University Maine’s system of 8 campuses (1971 – 1984). He is most proud of the two-year technical program in plant technology that he established while at the University of Maine.
From 1984 – 2005, Jim was the Director of the Longwood Graduate Program, and Professor of Ornamental Horticulture at the University of Delaware. He guided and advised hundreds of undergraduate students and over 100 graduate students at the University of Maine and in the Longwood Graduate Program at the University of Delaware.
Jim is most proud of his Longwood Fellows and what they have accomplished since they graduated from the Longwood Graduate Program, that he was named “Brother of the Century” by the National Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, that he was granted Professor Emeritus status upon retirement, that the Brothers of Beta Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity created the “James E. Swasey Scholarship Award” at the time of his retirement, and that he was named the United States’ Horticulture Educator of the Year by the American Horticultural Society
Jim is a dedicated family person who is deeply proud of his family and their achievements in the culinary, educational medical, and athletic fields. He continues to enjoy gardening, snow shoeing, wood working, cooking, tinkering/puttering, and working with students.