Crimson Catch Up: Jim DePalo '87

Jim Depalo '87 helped Harvard Baseball to back-to-back Ivy League championships in 1984 and 1985, and was a three-time All-Ivy first team selection. He was presented the William J. Bingham '16 Award, Harvard’s highest athletic prize, at the 1987 Senior Letterwinners' Dinner and inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 2003. 

Since Commencement Jim has enjoyed a successful career at JPMorgan Chase & Co. He recently reflected on his experiences at Harvard, and how those experiences prepared him for life away from baseball.

 

Name & Class Year: Jim DePalo '87
Current Title & Employer: Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
House: North
Concentration: Economics
Sport: Baseball


When I think about my time at Harvard, the first thing that comes to mind is…

The incredible people I met when I was there and the life-long relationships that came from that.  My great teammates, coach, roommates, and friends have given me the opportunity for long-lasting relationships.


Away from athletics, I…

Worked at the athletic complex during the fall setting up for various football, soccer, and field hockey games.

What I’m most proud of during my time at Harvard is…

That I was hopefully a great teammate and a player that was easy to coach.  I loved to play baseball and was proud that I helped the program be successful during the years I was there.

Harvard helped me to…

Handle adversity.  I played with a couple of arm injuries that needed surgery after both my junior and senior seasons.  I had been very fortunate playing baseball and being injured was difficult to deal with.  But dealing with that adversity at that time in my life prepared me for the rest of my life, where there have been many times that I have needed to deal with adversity.  I had great teammates and a great coach who helped me through those difficult times. 

Being a student-athlete taught me…

That budgeting one’s time is critical.  I worked during the fall and practiced or played just about every day during the spring.  I found that to keep up with the work you I couldn't cram for a test or spend a couple days straight writing a paper.  I just didn't have the time.  Staying on top of the work load was critical and also prepared me for my career.
 

What surprised me most about Harvard was that…

The people were very much like me.  I came from a public school and going into Harvard I had the impression I would be different from most students.  However, from my visit to Harvard during my senior year until I came to Harvard, I realized I had a lot in common with a lot of my classmates and teammates.

 

Throughout my career I have learned that…

Nothing replaces hard work.  Having experience and knowledge is important but having the constant drive to succeed for yourself, your team, your division, and your company is irreplaceable.

My most important career move was to…

Take a position in Edinburgh and work in the U.K. for 18 months.  It was difficult on the family but also a great experience.  The work was important and very rewarding, and it allowed my family and I to spend time traveling to see London, Paris, and Italy.  It was definitely a risk, but it was very positive from both a career and personal perspective.

I enjoy my work because…

I enjoy managing a diverse group of people.  I get to work in a great organization with great leaders.  I continue to learn and hopefully have positive impacts on the people who work for me.

It is also different every day. I need to handle various situations across a number of clients that are always unique and different day to day.
 

Outside of work, I…

Enjoy spending time with my family.  I play a lot of golf with my wife as she has started to play the last couple years.  I am just afraid she will be better than me soon, as she plays a lot more than I do.

I also enjoy watching my daughter run.  She is is her final year at Colby and runs track. From January through May I get to spend Saturdays at her track meets.
 

As an alum, my strongest tie to Harvard is…

The Friends of Harvard Baseball and Harvard Varsity Club.  Since returning from the UK, I have made it a point to participate with my Friends group and attend Varsity Club events.  I have season tickets for football, go to the Beanpot every year, and go to all the various Varsity Club events I can, including the annual Golf Tournament and pre-game receptions.  It is great to stay connected to people I went to school with as well as people from other sports and other years.  The Friday night Friends of Harvard Baseball event and the pre-game Varsity Club event at Fenway Park prior to The Game in November were great events.  It was great opportunity to re-connect with teammates and friends as well as support the baseball program and Harvard Athletics. 

 

When my teammates and I get together, we…

Tell a lot of the same stories.  However, each year, they get a little funnier and we exaggerate a little more.


The most important piece of advice I can give current student-athletes is to…
Work hard and take advantage of what you have.  It is a honor to be a student-athlete at Harvard.  Enjoy each practice, each game, and every interaction with your teammates and coaches.  It will come to end at some point.  When you are done, you have something no one can ever take away, a Harvard degree.


-- Your Team for Life --