Profile: Kim Blanton

KIM BLANTON

Bachelor of Science in physical education, 1992 | Personal trainer, Cincinnati

Strong Start | Blanton was a member of the women’s basketball team from 1987-1991 after being heavily recruited coming out of high school in Lexington, Ky. She chose Xavier so her parents could watch her play.

Record Breaker | As a starting guard, Blanton set—and still maintains—the second-highest record for three-point accuracy in a career, just four-tenths of a percentage point behind leader Jennifer Parr. She is also a member of Xavier’s 1,000-point club.

Off the Court | After graduation, Blanton taught at private schools in Cincinnati for a few years. “I’ve always been active and have always had an interest in health and physical activity, and I thought I would enjoy teaching kids. It kind of ended up leading me into what I do now.”

Change of Pace | Eventually, Blanton found her calling as a personal trainer and became certified through the International Sports Science Association. “I started with two or three people and supplemented my income by working at GNC. Most of my clients now are elderly. They really enjoy working out.”

Internal Medicine | In July 2000, Blanton began taking a prescription medication that caused her to break out in a rash, which the doctors treated, unaware it was an early indicator of a much more serious problem. By February 2001, Blanton started exhibiting nausea and lethargy before contracting jaundice. She was sleeping 30 hours at a time and had stopped eating.

Emergency Situation | When tests for Hepatitis A came back negative, doctors ordered a liver biopsy, which revealed that her liver was 90 percent dead. “The medication attacks the liver and you don’t realize it. The liver can’t flush it fast enough over time. It sends your liver over the edge and goes into acute failure and you literally have four weeks to live.” They moved her to the top of the liver transplant list, and almost a month after her first symptom, she received the new organ.

Speedy Recovery | Blanton bounced back quickly, which she attributes to her good physical condition. “They said it would take me probably three months to return to work and I returned in a month and a half. I was hiking four-and-a-half miles four weeks later. I was lifting weights five weeks later.”

Good Example | “My clients always ask my opinion about anything medical. I always say you should go to your doctor, but I’m usually pretty accurate. They see from example how being in good physical shape I’ve been able to bounce back and continue my life. As far as the way I train myself, I’m just as strong and lifting heavier today than before, which is a surprise because that was something the doctors didn’t think I could do.”

Profile: John K. Ritter

JOHN K. RITTER

Bachelor of Science–Business Administration, 1994 | Co-owner, Ritter Daniher Financial Advisory; Cincinnati

Passion at Work | Ritter and his business partner, Jeffrey Daniher, launched their firm in July 1999 with no clients but “a solid business plan and a ton of passion.” The company now manages more than $70 million for about 80 families. Ritter attributes the rapid growth in part to its focus on financial life planning, a holistic approach that helps clients not only manage money but also define and achieve their goals.

National Recognition | Bloomberg Wealth Manager has twice named Ritter Daniher one of the top 250 financial advisory firms in the country, and Ritter was recently appointed to a two-year term on the national advisory panel of TD Waterhouse Institutional Services. The panel’s 20 members offer input on new services, technological advances and other issues related to improving the industry.

Close to Home | A Cincinnati native, Ritter had three requirements in choosing a university: a small school, a strong business college and the opportunity to play NCAA Division I golf. “Thankfully, I found what I was looking for right in my hometown.”

Links to Success | During Ritter’s first season on the Musketeer golf team, it featured five freshmen and one sophomore. The young squad won its first tournament and never looked back, winning the Midwest Collegiate Conference championship four years running. Ritter was named all-conference each of those years and served as co-captain in his final two seasons.

Honing a Focus | During his senior year, Ritter worked part time for a financial-planning firm and stepped into a full-time job following graduation. “I learned a lot in my time there, but I also learned that their approach to financial planning differed from the way in which I wanted to deliver it.”

Exclusive Club | Ritter, Daniher and a third partner, Ronda Koehler, are all certified financial planners and work on a fee-only basis—meaning they are compensated solely by fees paid by clients, not through commissions or other forms of compensation.

Staying in Touch | Ritter has remained close to the University through his involvement in a number of societies and activities. He is particularly proud of his work assisting with the All Fore One Golf Classic, a fundraiser for Xavier’s athletic teams. “This event has turned into one of the best in town, and it is raising significant dollars,” he says.

Profile: Tony Anderson

TONY ANDERSON

Bachelor of Arts vocal music, 2000 | CEO of Vizionary Productions; Doctoral student in hip-hop and education at the University of Delaware, Wilmington, Del.

Many Hats | Anderson—a teacher, live hip-hop disc jockey, music producer and composer—developed an educational program that uses hip-hop music as a means of exposing elementary and secondary school students to a wide range of life skills, from basic writing to business networking to career opportunities. The Delaware State Board of Education is now working to include some of his practices in its curriculum.

Worldwide Success | Anderson’s approach is best reflected in the success of Bassline Entertainment, a hip-hop group he assembled with 13 students, many of whom are underachievers. The group has taken its positive messages on tours of the United States and England. The students handle their own business and even have their own line of clothing.

X Days | Anderson came to the University on a music scholarship. He served as the Musketeer mascot, president of Alpha Phi Alpha, legislative vice president of the black student association, sang in a group called Trifecta and sat on a host of committees. He also helped with strategic program planning for African-American students and was instrumental in launching Greekfest and the Miss Black and Gold Pageant.

Rap It Up | At Xavier, Anderson launched his career as a DJ and built a thriving business. At one point, Anderson, whose stage name is DJ Tone Capone, decided to quit. “I tried to price myself out, but they kept paying. So I just kept doing it.”

Producing a Vision | Following graduation, Anderson headed to Florida to work on a master’s degree in education. While there, he started Vizionary Productions.

Worlds Collide | While student-teaching at an elementary school, Anderson began devising musical exercises for a class of behaviorally challenged students. The students bought into it, writing and recording a song, and generally changing their attitudes toward education.

Higher Ed | The success of the program brought Anderson public attention. As a result, a professor from the University of Delaware invited Anderson to the school to work on a doctorate while trying his hip-hop approaches with middle-school students—a project that became Bassline Entertainment.

Profile: Joseph P. Broderick, M.D.

JOSEPH P. BRODERICK, M.D.

Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude with distinction, 1978 | Staff attending physician;professor of neurology; chair, Department of Neurology; member, The Neuroscience Institute, University of Cincinnati

Service to Others | While his father, Xavier alumnus Joseph Broderick, M.D., encouraged his seven children to do “whatever makes you happy,” it was their mother, Marilyn, who encouraged the Catholic-educated Broderick clan to pursue careers in health care or the priesthood as an ideal way of service to others. Joseph, the eldest, took the advice to heart, and four of his siblings followed him into the field of medicine.

Choices | Broderick considered studying psychology because he was fascinated with how the brain works. “But you never get to touch the patient and that was not for me. I wanted to be hands-on and take care of the whole patient.” After graduating first in his class from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1982, he considered being an internist, like his father. During rotations with neurologists at UC and the Mayo Clinic, however, he realized neurology was his field.

Brain Teaser | “The brain is so complex and interesting and I looked upon that as a much greater challenge. Plus, there was more happening with the brain than with other areas,” he says. Neurology in the mid-1980s was mostly about diagnosing problems. There was little available to heal the patient. But in the last 25 years, the field of brain therapy “has just been revolutionized.”

Brainstorm | Since joining the University of Cincinnati medical school as an assistant professor, Broderick has accumulated a dizzying array of neurological research, published work, appointments and awards from such prestigious organizations as the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health. He works 60-65 hours a week and still has time for family, even helping coach his son’s seventh grade basketball team.

Stroke | Much of his research focuses on stroke, the most common neurological disorder. He also oversees research by other faculty into other neurological disorders including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Though he enjoys seeing patients, less than 20 percent of his time is spent with patients because of his research and administrative duties.

No-Brainer | Broderick was part of a research team that showed the clot-busting drug, Tissue Plasminogen Activator, or t-PA, if administered within three hours of symptoms, restores a person’s brain functions to nearly normal levels in about a third of all patients. Now the job is to educate people to hurry to the hospital.

Rewarding | “One of the coolest things in medicine is seeing someone who can’t talk or move, but within an hour of treatment they can talk and shake your hand.”

Brain Gain | The Neuroscience Institute, which he helped found in 1998, has recruited nearly 50 neurosurgeons, neurologists, psychiatrists and laboratory scientists to positions at the medical school. All are involved in research studies of the spine and brain, including testing a promising new treatment for brain hemorrhages.

Profile: Anne Marie Bourgeois

Anne Marie Bourgeois
Bachelor of Science in psychology, 1969; Master of Arts in clinical psychology, 1975 | Psychologist, consultant, artist, Ottawa, Canada

Minority Opinion | Bourgeois was one of five women to graduate in 1969—the first class to include women attending day classes. She says being in the minority “was definitely positive, overall.” Despite some teasing, “my classmates and most of my professors treated me with great respect.”

Graduation Talk | Bourgeois doesn’t recall whether she was the first woman to walk at graduation. But she remembers the words of then-University President Paul J. O’Connor, S.J., as he handed her the diploma. “He said ‘Congratulations, Marie. I can’t believe you made it.’ I’m still not sure what he meant by that.”

Close to Home | Her father, Joseph E. Bourgeois, was a professor of modern languages at the University for 30 years, and the family lived on Dana Avenue in the building that now houses the University’s department of music. “My seven sibs and I spent hours climbing trees, roaming around the construction site of Alter Hall and watching the small campus evolve and grow around us.”

Inviting a Challenge | Bourgeois did not want to attend an all-women’s university because they seemed too insulated. “Xavier appeared to be more forward-thinking and a great environment for promoting social change. I spoke with Richard Deters, S.J. Thanks to his can-do attitude, encouragement and support, I was able to sign up for daytime classes as an evening college student.”

Native Psychology | As a psychologist, Bourgeois’ main focus is on children and families. But about eight years ago, she launched a unique treatment program in partnership with a Mohawk mental health team to offer Mohawk clients the best of Western psychology combined with ancient traditional native healing approaches. In the process, she was also inducted into the Turtle clan.

Second Calling | Bourgeois is also an avid artist. She was a political cartoonist for the Xavier News during her University days and once did a large mural for a Xavier fundraiser. Her paintings have appeared in a number of gallery shows and are included in several collections, and she often uses art in her clinical work with children.

Hindsight is 20/20 | “Despite my complaints at the time, I now appreciate the philosophy and theology courses we were required to take to graduate from the University.” She singles out Benjamin J. Urmston, S.J., John N. Felton, S.J., and Edward B. Brueggeman, S.J., among others as “a credit to the Jesuit community and to Xavier.”

Profile: Francis M. Forster, M.D.

Francis M. Forster, M.D.
Class of 1934 | Retired dean, Georgetown University medical school; retired chair of the department of neurology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

On Call | In 1957, while dean of the medical school at Georgetown University, Forster was called to the White House to treat President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had suffered a stroke. Over the years, Forster served as a consulting physician for an impressive array of dignitaries, including Philippine President Elpidio Quirino and Cardinal Albert Meyer of Chicago. In 1958, with the Cold War in full swing, Forster chaired the first U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps medical exchange mission to the Soviet Union.

Expert Witness | Forster’s neurological reputation carried him to Dallas in 1964 where he served as an expert witness for the prosecution in the trial of Jack Ruby. Ruby’s attorney claimed his client’s epilepsy caused him to pull the trigger and kill Lee Harvey Oswald; Forster and several other experts found no trace of epilepsy in Ruby.

Quick Study | A Cincinnati native, Forster worked his way through Saint Xavier High School and entered the University in 1930. He completed his pre-med training in two years and moved on to medical school at the University of Cincinnati. He still claims allegiance to Xavier and the Class of 1934, though, and was given an honorary degree by the University in 1955.

Career Process | After post-graduate work in neurology at Harvard University, psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and physiology at Yale University, Forster became an instructor in neurology at Boston University in 1941. In 1943, he moved to Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and in 1950, moved again, to Georgetown University.

Double Duty | At Georgetown, Forster founded the department of neurology and served as its chair. After three years, he was appointed dean of the medical school. He managed both positions until 1958, when he accepted the positions of professor and chair of neurology at the University of Wisconsin.

Founding Father | While at Wisconsin, Forster and three colleagues from other schools founded the American Academy of Neurology. The organization began with 200 members; today membership stands at 14,000. In 1977, Forster founded the Francis M. Forster Epilepsy Center at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Madison, Wis.

A Legacy of Leaders | Under Forster, the training programs in neurology at Georgetown and Wisconsin produced more than 100 neurologists, eight of whom chaired departments of neurology in the United States and nine who chaired departments in other countries.

Getting It Write | Since his retirement in 1982, Forster has kept busy writing. Along with a family tree and his biography, he researched and wrote a history of Xavier’s class of 1934.

Profile: Sr. Mary Delora Brinker

Sr. Mary Delora Brinker
Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, Our Lady of Cincinnati, 1937 | Retired Mercy Center director, Cincinnati

Claim to Fame | Brinker was a member of the first full class to graduate from Our Lady of Cincinnati, later renamed Edgecliff College, one year after its founding in 1935, and one of two surviving members from that class of five. She turned 90 in October.

In Style | Brinker began thinking about becoming a nun as a high school student in Villa Hills, Ky. On Sept. 6, 1937, three months after her college graduation, she entered the Sisters of Mercy and has been wearing the traditional veil and habit ever since. The Gift | “I gave my life and everything to God, and I would not take it back,” she says.

Best Friends | While at Our Lady, Brinker met Sr. Mary Virginia Sullivan, the first dean of the college. They began a lifelong friendship that influenced Delora to choose the Sisters of Mercy.

Back to School | From 1940 to 1946, Brinker taught math at Mother of Mercy High School in Cincinnati. She also earned a Master of Education from the University of Cincinnati in 1944 and a master’s in philosophy from Catholic University.

Homecoming | Sullivan called Brinker back to the college to be the dean of students. She also taught philosophy, religion and psychology. As dean, she was charged with overseeing the welfare of the women living on campus, enforcing the curfews and dress codes.

House Mother | “I tried to be strict. I tried to make them women. If you came in late on a Saturday night, you couldn’t go out on Sunday,” she says. The women were not allowed out during the week and had to be in by 11:00 p.m. on the weekends. “I was more strict than others,” she says.

Cover Up | Brinker says some of the girls would try to wear shorts off campus when it was not allowed. “They would put their coats on and pull them close, but it would expose them in back, and I would send them back up to change.”

Moving Up | By 1960, Sullivan, then president of the college, promoted Brinker to academic dean. As an administrator, she dealt with all the “nitty gritty” details. The sisters often drove around the city, Brinker at the wheel, to shop. Mercy, Mercy | In 1969, she moved to the Mercy Center to be the director as well as a resident. In 1976, she received the Sr. Mary Virginia Sullivan Award given to outstanding Edgecliff graduates. She survived a stroke in 1990 but keeps active in her religious community.

Profile: Paul J. Dunn, M.D.

Paul J. Dunn, M.D.
Bachelor of Science in chemistry, 1955 | Retired pediatric physician, Ferryville, Wis.

Primal Knowledge | Though Dunn’s family was of meager means, they believed in education. He graduated from Covington Latin School in Northern Kentucky at age 15 and spent the next few years working odd jobs and attending college classes taught by the bishop of the Diocese of Covington.

Career By Chance | Dunn dreamed of studying aeronautical engineering, but while visiting a hospital in 1940 with his sister, who was interested in nursing, he discovered medicine.

Lightning Strikes | “It just hit me like a lightning bolt that this was what I wanted to do,” he says. “While on the roof of the Fenwick Club sunning myself, I would pray something would happen so I could go to medical school. Then the war happened.”

The Doctor Is In | Dunn joined the Navy and became a pharmacist’s mate. He soon was working in a surgical ward in the Naval Hospital in Great Lakes, Ill., where he filled in when the doctors were out. After a year, he was transferred to the Marines’ medical field service with the 28th Marine Infantry Regiment, the one that raised the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima.

Witness | “I worked in a field station behind the lines stabilizing those injured soldiers who might be saved,” he says. “I was there on the island when the flag went up and saw it from where we were on Mount Suribachi.”

End of the Innocence | “Hour after hour, night and day, the most horrible injuries came in. These Marines were kids, 17, 18, 19 years old. You’d never hear any of them complain.”

Education in Reverse | Shaken but toughened by his experiences, Dunn returned to Xavier, where he’d been studying before the war, and threw himself into his studies. Before he could finish, he was offered enrollment in Loyola University Chicago’s medical school. He graduated in 1951, did post-graduate study in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, then returned to Xavier to complete his undergraduate degree in 1955.

Time for Family | Dunn met his wife, Kath, a fellow medical student, in his junior year at Loyola. She had similar interests in treating brain-injured children but was sidetracked from her medical career by their family of 10 children—eight boys and two girls.

Out of the Box | While working as a pediatrician, Dunn and Kath started two unique programs: a Montessori school and an institute for the treatment of brain-injured and learning-disabled children, which was popular, but controversial. They later expanded the institute to include adults, offering sensory stimulation and other holistic treatments drawn from osteopathic medicine.

Profile: Francesca Thompson, O.S.F.

Francesca Thompson, O.S.F.
Master of Education, 1964 | Assistant Dean/Director of Multicultural Programs, Fordham University, New York

Home in Indiana | Thompson’s route to her vocation with the Sisters of Saint Francis of Oldenburg, Ind., was both circuitous and unexpected. Raised in a politically active Anglican family in segregated Indianapolis, she found that only one public high school and virtually no private schools accepted African-American students. A twist of fate landed her at St. Mary’s Academy.

Act of Faith | “I loved St. Mary’s; I loved the whole drama and aura of the Catholic Church, and after a year I wanted to join. My father made me wait. After a year, he said, ‘OK, I think you’re sincere.’ ”

Reading the Signs | Thompson decided to enter the convent, but her father insisted she attend college. He eventually acquiesced on the condition that she first join a group touring Europe for the summer. “We had an audience with Pope Pius XII, and he gave us all medals. I asked him to pray that I would be allowed to enter the convent. His eyes opened real big and he gave me another, larger medal. I figured that was a sign.”

Mission Cincinnati | Thompson began teaching at St. Mary’s in 1954 as she continued her education at Marion College in Indiana. After graduating in 1960, her first mission led her to St. Joseph’s, a black grade school on Cincinnati’s West Side. Her impact was strong—in 2004, those first students honored her with the school’s distinguished service award.

Back to School | Thompson’s superiors soon sent her with a group for summers at the University, where she earned a master’s degree in education with a concentration in communications. “I loved it—it was the very first time that we had been on our own. Our courses were chosen for us, but I felt like I had died and gone to heaven.”

Curtain Calls | Thompson’s parents were film actors and members of the Lafayette Players, the first black dramatic stock company in the United States. Her deeply ingrained love for the art led to the University of Michigan where she earned a doctoral degree in theater in 1966. At Michigan, she taught actresses Christine Lahti and Ann Crumb, and coached comic Gilda Radner. She’s also a longtime board member for Broadway’s Tony Awards.

In Demand | After 15 years teaching at Marion College, Thompson moved to Fordham in 1982. A noted orator, she’s spoken for such organizations as the Leadership Conference of Religious Women, the Leadership Congress of Religious Men, the NAACP, National Black Congress and National Black Women’s Conference.

Reflections | Thompson’s amassed honors, degrees and awards over the years, and has taught at all levels. But she says her greatest highlights pale in comparison to her vocation. “It is the joy of my life. Maya Angelou says we work to pay rent for the space we occupy, and I think working as a religious is the way I’ve worked to pay my rent.”

Profile: Denis M. Forster

Denis M. Forster
Bachelor of Science in Political Science, 1960 | Principal, the Law Offices of Denis M. Forster, New York

Firm Focus | Forster is one of the nation’s leading experts on the legal aspects of derivatives—financial securities that derive their value from an underlying financial source, such as shares in a company or stocks, and are used as a hedge against financial risk. He has represented a number of high-profile clients, including Microsoft, the Kingdom of Belgium’s ministry of finance, Bill Gates Investments, Procter & Gamble, MSNBC and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Golden Gates | Forster also represents the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest charitable foundation with assets of about $30 billion. “A primary focus of the foundation is to use technology, science and good business practices to transform the health of often neglected people in developing countries. My job is to help those who manage these funds protect the foundation’s assets through legally enforceable derivative contracts.”

Family Tradition | Forster was raised in Washington, D.C., and “guided” to the University by his father, Francis Forster, M.D., a 1934 Xavier graduate who was then dean of the medical school at Georgetown University.

Legal Learning | After graduation, Forster moved on to the University of Wisconsin Law School. In the summer of 1961, he hitchhiked through Mexico and Central America to Panama, in the process launching a lifelong interest in Latin America. Forster served as a J.A.G. officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1964-1968, and then worked as a litigator with a major law firm in San Francisco from 1969-1974.

Southern Success | In 1974 Forster returned to Latin America, teaching at the law school of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. By the late 1970s, he was in Venezuela, heading the Bank of America’s legal offices in Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

Derivative Experience | Forster moved to England in 1979 and began practicing law in London. There, he became involved with currency exchange agreements that evolved into derivatives. It has remained his area of expertise—he is a lecturer, expert witness and author on derivative legal issues.

Setting Up Shop | In 1994, Forster formed his own firm in New York City. One of his first cases was to assist Proctor & Gamble and its Cincinnati counsel in a successful, highly publicized suit against Bankers Trust regarding more than $150 million in derivative losses.