LAMP Associate Director Michael DeNunzio Celebrates a Decade with LAMP

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Our Associate Director and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Michael DeNunzio, has been with LAMP for a decade. Throughout the past ten years, he has worked with many students, staff members, and now with two different directors. To celebrate, we asked Michael to answer some rapid-fire interview questions. Some questions are strictly fun, some are more serious, and all of them celebrate the wonderful qualities that Michael brings to the program. Thank you, Michael, for all of your contributions over the past 10 years!


Michael DeNunzio speaking to new LAMPers at the fall 2017 induction ceremony, held at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. 

1) Mountains or the beach? Beach

2) Early bird or night owl? Early bird.

3) Favorite month? May

4) Least favorite color? Orange

5) Most common food craving? Jelly beans

6) Where would you most like to live? The Bay area.

7) What’s your superpower? I seem to be able to pick out the most expensive item in almost any store without even trying. It's weird.

8) What would your debut album be titled and what genre of music would it be? Hmmm, I'd probably name the album "Miracle" because it would be a miracle if I ever made an album. I have zero musical talent. It would be covers of my favorite songs so the genre would be pop and some really good Americana type traditional stuff - older country stuff and the like.


Michael and his husband, fellow LAMP faculty member Eric Metzler, at a LAMP event in the Indiana Memorial Union Tudor Room.

And a few slightly more “in depth” questions.

a) What’s the biggest difference you perceive between IU today and what things were like when you were an undergrad? The thing that comes to mind first is the sheer size of the university now compared to 40 years ago. Particularly on the North side of campus. When I was first here the Little 500 was held on a cinder track on 10th street next to the library.


Michael, in back, with the 2017 SAB during LAMP Camp. Previous Assistant Director Mark Fraley kneeling in front.

b) What’s the best workplace advice you ever received? Hmmmm, I think some of the best advice I've gotten, it applies to work and life more generally, is don't ask people for things they don't have. It just annoys everyone.

c) Is there something you often want to say to students, but don’t? "Oh my god, calm down, it's just undergrad."


Director Rebecca Spang, left, and Michael, right, watch the solar eclipse in 2017 from the LAMP House balcony.

d) You have a long history of volunteer work and community participation. How did you get started in that? When I started working for the City of Bloomington I was finally in a position to make donations to charities and the United Way pledge envelopes would come around each year. I didn't like that the United Way funded the Boy Scouts because the Boy Scouts excluded gay kids and gay scout leaders. Several other communities had started de-funding the Boy Scouts and I would clip newspaper articles about those United Way's decisions and include them in the pledge envelope. Soon the United Way board president (who happened to be the deputy mayor and worked just down the hall) came to recruit me as an Allocation Volunteer for United Way (an Allocation volunteer is one that investigates a particular agency so the whole group could make more informed allocation decisions). That lead to an appointment to the United Way Board of Directors. About that time a lot of my friends were dying of AIDS and I volunteered with the local AIDS service organization (it's called Positive Link now but was something else then) and eventually chaired the Monroe County AIDS Community Action Committee and represented our area at the state level. And did that for a long time. We even built the first housing project in this part of the state for folks living with AIDS who were very ill with no place to go. I wrote the grants and got the architect and builder and took the whole project through the zoning process, worked with the affected neighborhood associations and finally the city council and it was built. It got really, really ugly for a minute, but I learned a lot.


Michael and LAMP Director Rebecca Spang waving from the LAMP House during a COVID-safe drop in event in fall 2020.