Field of Dreams

Now, 17 years later, the questions are finally answered. In June, the University announced plans for Xavier Square, a mixed-use development created in partnership with the Covington, Ky.-based Corporex. The project, which is set to break ground in 2008, not only marks a new chapter in University history, but also gives a positive boost to the surrounding neighborhoods as well. 

 

Projections for Xavier Square include housing for 550 students, the University bookstore, student recreation center, the McGrath Health and Counseling Center, 120 housing units for area residents, 100,000 square feet of retail space, 120,000 square feet of office space, a 90-room boutique hotel, a bar, coffee shop, structured underground parking and a restaurant. It also includes a street grid system that weaves together the University and the neighborhoods surrounding campus.

All of this sits on a 20-acre site that includes about six-and-a-half acres that were once the BASF property and another 14 acres made up of various properties the University acquired over the past several years. Most notable among these are the Zumbiel Packaging plant and a watering hole rich in Xavier lore: The Norwood Café.

Xavier Square marks a number of University firsts, both internal and external.

“One weakness has always been that there’s nothing nearby for students to do,” says John Kucia, Xavier’s administrative vice president. “For the first time we’re able to address that. With this new strategic plan, we need to grow enrollment, and in order to grow enrollment we need more housing. But we don’t need to own more housing or operate more housing; we just need to provide more housing that’s available to our students. That will help increase enrollment and also help draw into campus some of the students who are living out in the neighborhoods.”

The project also represents the first time Xavier has involved the community in its campus master plan.

“It’s the first time that we’ve looked beyond the borders and realized that the health and vitality of the University and the community are interdependent, and to that end we involved the community as we developed the different interactions,” Kucia says. “Cincinnati, Norwood and Evanston have been very involved and are buying into the plan. We’ll have to work with both the city of Cincinnati and the city of Norwood at the same time in developing this land.”

In fact, Evanston, Xavier and the city of Cincinnati began working about seven years ago on a plan to develop just the south part of the area, essentially the BASF property, according to Liz Blume, associate director for the Community Building Institute at Xavier. Kucia says the idea gathered steam three or four years ago with the purchase of the Zumbiel factory. By the time the University undertook a new campus master plan two years ago, the idea of a university village was definitely on the radar.

Through a lengthy process, the University picked Corporex to partner with in developing the land. Corporex is the region’s largest real estate developer with office, industrial, retail and hotel properties. It’s responsible for all of the revitalization of the Covington, Ky., riverfront across from downtown Cincinnati, and its newest development, The Ascent, was designed by renowned architect Daniel Lebeskind, who’s also the master planner for the new World Trade Center site. “We will own all the land,” says Kucia. “The lease is with Corporex. They will do this development over an approximate 30-year period. At the end of 30-35 years, the whole project will become Xavier’s.”

“Our relationship with Corporex is unique,” says Blume, “because they were willing to be there as full partners with us and take on potential market risk and maybe receive a profit off of it. Their being willing to take this risk is what made the project possible. They’re also a big enough firm to accomplish what we needed to accomplish.” “Xavier Square is a place that will weave retail, residential, office, hotel and education together to create a new urbanity that will benefit the students as well as the communities that surround Xavier,” says Butler.

Plans call for the first student housing to be ready on the site for fall semester 2009. Necessary rezoning will be completed before the end of the year. And, because of the general consensus and community support, no one anticipates delays.

Xavier Square’s buildings will be between four and seven stories, and will be arranged around a square similar to nearby Hyde Park Square.

The presence of a hotel is critical in that it both serves the campus and creates opportunities for more use of the Cintas Center.

“The site is in that first outer ring from downtown, and it’s closer than going out to the farther suburbs such as Kenwood,” Kucia says. “So the opportunity to stay at a hotel on a campus with all of the look and amenities there could be very appealing.”

Demolition on the site will begin as early as this fall and take three to six months, according to Bob Sheeran, the University’s associate vice president for facilities management. Zumbiel, which will take the longest of all the buildings to demolish, will be the first to go. It is also possible, Sheeran says, that the brick and concrete in Zumbiel could be pulverized and used for landfill for the project, meaning it will never leave the site.

“It’s a lot different than going out to Mason and developing a cornfield,” Sheeran says.

“It’s complicated because it’s in two different municipalities—Norwood and Cincinnati—and it has a railroad running through it. It has a series of existing buildings that need to be removed, and there are many buildings and each one requires a separate permit and certain things we have to do to take it down.”

The BASF site has its own set of challenges. “When that building blew up, it wasn’t really demolished in terms of all the foundations taken out,” Sheeran says. “We don’t really know what’s there from a rubble standpoint, but we know there’s rubble down there. And then as we look at this site, we’re also going to be looking at it in conjunction with the Hoff Academic Quad and how we handle a variety of things, storm runoff for example. We could end up with some storm water retention ponds that those sites share.”

The end result: Xavier Square will make the University feel a lot more like a part of Cincinnati—and part of an urban experience, Blume says. “It’s the first time that we’ve really created a university village that’s a place where there’s the opportunity to connect students with the community in a physical sort of way and in a new sort of way,” she says. “Right now you’re either on or off campus; there’s no in between. Most universities have that in-between zone.”

That in-between zone should also revitalize the surrounding neighborhoods. “It will bring economic activity to a place where there was almost none,” Blume says. “It will bring jobs and energy to the housing markets in Evanston, Norwood and probably North Avondale.”

In a word, Xavier Square opens the door to opportunity. “It gives the University a new face other than Victory Parkway,” Blume says. “It’s a real attempt to create much more of an interface between the University and the community. Having these entry points to campus along with Ledgewood and Dana show that we’re saying, ‘We’re here, and we want you to come in and join us.’”

What You Should Know

To help you catch up on what you might have forgotten since graduating, we asked faculty members to create a handy primer on a handful of subjects:

[divider]BIOLOGY [/divider]
Charles Grossman, Professor of biology
1. Biology is the scientific study of the environment and how organisms interact. Everyone should understand the scientific process, which is when you propose a hypothesis, set up a test with controls to see if it works, and if it doesn’t, you change the hypothesis. The scientist must remain objective. Having a preconceived notion is not science.
2. Life is an organism with a variety of characteristics that when combined form a living system. To be living, an organism must have: a metabolism; mobility; respiration; energy-trapping ability like food or sunlight; homeostasis, such as maintaining a core temperature; reproduction; and the capability to grow and evolve—to adapt to changing environments.
3. The smallest single living organism on the planet is the cell. The cell is the organizational unit that traps energy, carries on homeostasis and maintains itself with energy and water. As it reproduces itself by dividing, building up and multiplying, it becomes a more complicated structure of tissue and whole organisms. Before it becomes a living cell, it begins as electrons and protons in the nuclei of atoms, which form molecules that make up the chemical elements that form the cell.
4. Dissection, yes. Classification, no. Even the non-scientist should have to dissect an earthworm or frog. Pictures don’t show the three-dimensional ways organisms are put together. But learning the Latin names of all living things and their classification system—kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species—was a boring ninth grade biology assignment. You don’t need to know that unless you’re a biology major, especially if you’re studying different organisms, anthropology or genetics.
5. Evolution and religion are separate entities. Evolution is science. Religion is not. They can live together and not be at odds because they are completely different. I tell students who argue with me that it’s your choice to believe or not, but you must know evolution to pass the test.
6. The study of biology helps people understand complex social issues. Students are exposed to many issues, some controversial, like global warming, stem cell research, the ozone hole, artificial intelligence and how the brain works. I’m trying to make them see what the world is like so they can understand what they’re reading about. These people are voting, and they need to make informed decisions.

[divider]MUSIC [/divider]

Morten Kristiansen, Assistant professor of musicology

1. Exposure equals understanding. For classical music, really one basic thing you need to know is a basic outline of who, when, where and what. Who is Bach? Who is Mozart? Who is Beethoven? When were they? What were they doing? What does the music sound like? Why do you or don’t you like it? Why don’t you hear it anywhere?

2. Classical music is for everyone. People think of it as an elite thing—something only for old white people who have a lot of money. Whereas, of course, if you put on a piece of classical music, some famous piece like Beethoven’s 5th Symphony—ba-ba-ba-baam—then everybody’s heard it somewhere; everybody can enjoy it; and it just shows it’s not really for the elite.

3. Enjoy the drama of opera. The main misconception is, of course, that it’s a bunch of people howling as loud as they can on very high notes that are unpleasant to listen to. You need to know that it’s almost like a movie with a slightly more elaborate soundtrack, where the soundtrack is more important than anything else. But it’s a flesh-and-blood drama, and once you get drawn into the story, you stop worrying so much about whether they’re singing high notes or whether they’re really loud or whatever they might be.

4. There is art in rock music—sometimes. As we can see with people like The Beatles, they’re considered sort of the epitome of the art side of popular music. But they’re also very popular. It is possible for the two to converge, they just don’t often do that.

5. Respect your roots. You can’t just write something off, like the blues, for example. You might think, “Oh, that’s 1930s to the ’50s, old stuff.” But as it turns out, the blues influenced most rock musicians. That might be one of the most important things that people need to learn is that something like the blues really has infused any number of things later on. In a way, rock came out of the blues. In fact, most early rock ’n’ roll, Elvis and all that stuff, is really based on blues. Heavy metal came out of the blues. Southern rock is very blues-oriented. So you have a number of different genres that really all came out of the blues. That may be the biggest wellspring of music.

[divider]ACCOUNTING [/divider]

Sandra Richtermeyer, Chair, department of accountancy

1. Accountants are service providers. They provide information that’s useful for decision support, planning and control. In all aspects of business, accountants help guide decision-making and demonstrate how well operations are performing. They also make sure agreed-upon principles and procedures are being followed.

2. Accounting has become more forward-thinking and analytical. That’s different than learning debits and credits, which is what many people think of with accounting. The trend is that accountants are an integral part of all functional areas of business, such as marketing, human resources, operations, logistics and other treasury functions. They also provide reports on operations. A lot of what we see in the press revolves around Sarbanes-Oxley, and that’s really for publicly traded companies, but a lot of those principles and procedures can be very useful to businesses of any size.

3. Accountants aren’t just cops and scorekeepers. That’s how a lot of people view accountants—that they come in and tell you when you’re doing something wrong. But that’s really not the case anymore. Now they’re business partners, meaning they’re right there with the people making decisions.

4. It’s really important to link strategy to accounting information. Accounting information should support a business’s strategy—it should be linked to it. Organizations that fail to link their strategy to their accounting information don’t get the most they can get from their accounting function.

5. Accountants can keep track of anything, not just dollars. Accountants can’t just stay in their offices. They need to get out there and understand what makes the business run. They can’t just report on economic transactions, which is what, in the old days, triggered an accounting function. Now, any event can trigger an accounting function. We focus very much on financial and non-financial performance measures in our accounting information. We don’t just report dollars.

[divider]PHILSOPHY [/divider]

Michelle Brady, Associate professor of philosophy

1. Philosophy is personal. One misconception is there are smart, dead white guys who are ready to give us the answers. And it’s either, “I want them to give me the answers,” or, “They think that they’re going to give me the answers, and my opinion is as good as theirs.” It’s not about figuring out what they said; it’s about learning to ask the right questions about what they said and thinking about it yourself, which is a lot more work. You have to explore them for yourself. More generally, the idea is to learn to figure out what these people were talking about, why they believed the type of things they did, and why you believe what you believe.

2. Read Plato first. Everyone should read The Republic. Everything in there’s sort of the starting point for all of the big questions: What kind of person should I be? What can I know? All of the questions about if faith and knowledge are opposed to each other or can they work together? And the questions about reality—is there a reality to know or do we all make it up as we go along? And most of the fundamental alternatives for answering them get played out somewhere in there.

3. Read Descartes, Aquinas and Nietzsche next. How we approach the world, what we think human beings are and what we can know—all of that changes radically in the 1600s. Descartes is a big part of that. How did we start looking at the world the way we do now? Because we don’t look at it like Plato did or Aristotle did. Then there’s Thomas Aquinas, his theories and all those questions of faith and knowledge. And then I’d put Nietzsche there. Nietzsche came along and called everything into question.

4. Philosophy is alive and relevant. Another misconception is that philosophy deals with old questions that people used to be interested in, but we’ve either answered the questions or figured out that the answers don’t matter and none of this is relevant to our lives. But once you get into it, you realize that it infects your whole life.

[divider]FINANCE [/divider]

Shelly Webb, Chair, Department of finance

1. Finance is designed to make decisions in business using mathematical analysis. You need to understand: (a) how financial markets work in order to decide where to fund projects and where to invest, and how the markets interrelate; (b) the global macroeconomy and its interrelationships with financial markets— how macroeconomic policies and conditions affect financial markets; and (c) how to value a company and its ventures. This is important strategically for a company to know what ventures to pursue. It’s also important for investors to know the value of a company and its prospects for growth.

2. All markets depend on having buyers and sellers who have access to information in order for an asset to be priced correctly through supply and demand. Whether it’s a market for stocks, bonds, options, pork bellies or foreign currency, they all work the same. Take the difference in the market for Euros and the real estate market. The dollar price of the Euro is very accurate and constantly changing as new information hits the market. It’s a 24/7 global market with a lot of savvy participants such as global banks, foreign exchange brokers, mutual funds, central banks, speculators and arbitragers. If you’re in an efficient market, you can feel comfortable the product is accurately priced. But in a market like real estate, it’s going to be riskier and even though there are opportunities to make a lot of money, there are a lot of opportunities to lose money. It’s a localized market with very few participants. It’s a riskier market where you have a greater chance of paying the wrong price for that asset.

3. There is no return without risk no matter how many bestsellers want to convince you otherwise. If you want a higher return, you have to be willing to take on more risk. This also means, from a firm’s perspective, if you are riskier than the average company, you are going to have to provide a greater return for your investors—your stockholders and your bondholders.

4. Finance goes beyond the glamour of the stock market. When most people think of finance, they think of stockbrokers. They think of Wall Street and all the exciting stuff. But in reality, there are many jobs in finance that aren’t as high profile but are very exciting and rewarding. When most people think of investing, they think of stocks, and it’s exciting to think about the products that companies make, and you tend to think that’s where the jobs are. But in reality, the bond market, which is a market for debt, is a much larger market. A bond is just a debt instrument that raises money to fund large investment projects. It all boils down to risk and return. The individuals or entities that invest in bonds assess the riskiness of a company’s debt and have a certain return they expect in order to compensate for the risk they take on.

[divider]PHYSICS [/divider]

Steve Herbert, Chair, department of physics

1. Physics is a way of trying to understand how the universe works. Humans want to know where we fit in the universe and how things work. Before science, we turned to magic to exercise some control over our environment. The beginnings of astronomy go back to the ancient Sumarians who studied the skies. Astrology was magic with science mixed in to observe the sky and correlate it with life. That led to the science of the universe and our whole history.

2. Science is an ongoing process. Every scientist knows our most cherished scientific models might be pitched if enough new data contradict the model. Johannes Kepler modeled the planets’ motion using elliptical orbits but didn’t know why they worked. Isaac Newton, who invented Calculus to explain the orbits, discovered gravity and the three laws of motion to explain the orbits, but he didn’t know why gravity worked. Albert Einstein explained how gravity works and thus tossed out Newton’s law.

3. Newton’s laws of motion are fundamental to understanding the physical world. The law of inertia says objects moving in a straight line remain at a constant velocity unless they’re acted upon by an outside force. The second law is the formula, force equals mass times acceleration, where a change in velocity occurs when a force is applied. Finally, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

4. Newton discovered the law of gravity. His formula, the law of universal gravitation, told us the strength of the force with which two masses attract each other, but it couldn’t explain why. For 300 years, Newton’s model was accepted and was considered a law. But it took Einstein to explain why.

5. Einstein’s theory of relativity explained how gravity works. Einstein treated gravity as geometry and proposed space-time curvature, where space is curved by massive objects and mass follows this curvature of space. His theory also says that energy can be converted into matter and vice versa, or E=MC2. When two particles of matter—an electron and its antimatter twin, the positron—meet up, they annihilate each other and create pure energy, just like in our sun.

[divider]CHEMISTRY [/divider]

Dan McLoughlin, Chair, department of chemistry

1. Chemistry is the study of matter and its transformations. Gases like nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur oxides transform within our atmosphere into other compounds that are considered pollutants such as ozone, nitric acid and sulfuric acid. The burning of coal produces carbon dioxide, another compound that we are beginning to understand is polluting our atmosphere. Understanding these simple transformations can assist us in creating technologies that will help minimize these and other pollutants. Chemistry also allows us to create other positive technological transformations such as plant products into clothing and pharmaceuticals, oil and coal into a variety of useful products such as gasoline and plastics, and bacterial products into useful medicines.

2. The production of energy always creates pollution. There is no free ticket for our high-energy consumption. For example, the idea that we can have pollution-free energy by using hydrogen that produces only water as a waste product overlooks that this energy economy will have many high-energy needs. A hydrogen energy economy requires that we produce and transport hydrogen gas. This production and transportation alone will require a tremendous amount of polluting energy input before we can gain any energy benefit. Our atmosphere has improved in many ways over the past half century, but we still have a long way to go in reducing our man-made pollutants.

3. Some of our misguided efforts actually cause pollution. For example, a mistaken symbol of our nation’s apparently poor water system is bottled water. Individuals do not seem to understand that most of our nation’s water—and Cincinnati’s water in particular—is of very good quality. In most cases, using bottled water does not appear to be an environmentally or healthy decision. The production of bottles from oil requires energy. The water then needs to be transported by truck using even more energy. Most of the empty bottles are not recycled. This is a burden upon our environment.

4. Many chemistry concepts conflict with the notion that man-made products are bad and nature is good. Man-made preservatives have protected our food supply from a variety of toxins. Man-made pharmaceuticals have increased our life expectancy and protected us from a variety of diseases. And man-made household products have liberated us from much of nature’s turmoil. Our students learn that these products are a result of planned chemical transformations.

5. You don’t have to know the table of elements by heart. None of our students is required to memorize the elements of the periodic table. There are about 90 naturally occurring elements and approximately two dozen more that have been created since the atomic revolution in the 1940s. The table of elements has common features that repeat within the table. Students are introduced at various levels pertaining to the regular repeating properties of the elements.

[divider]PSYCHOLOGY [/divider]

Cindy Dulaney, Associate professor of psychology

1. Psychology is a science. We use scientific methodology to examine psychological and behavioral issues. Like other sciences, many of our conclusions are based on inferences regarding things that cannot be directly observed. For example, emotions, memories and thoughts are not available for direct observation, just as gravity, hunger and motion aren’t. We study the construct of attention by presenting individuals with information with varying presentation duration, content, familiarity, etc. Then we infer “attention” based on the output provided by participants. Similarly, we infer the construct of “hunger” based on stomach contractions, blood sugar levels and caloric intake.

2. Psychologists do more than just analyze people. There’s a whole gamut. There’s research. There’s neuropsychology, which is brain and behavior functions, and the chemistry of the brain. There’s cognitive psychology, which is studying memory and attention. There’s engineering or human-factors psychology, which is thinking about the human user interacting with machinery. It’s amazing when they design stuff how they forget human users have attention and memory limitations. For example, when you hear “pilot error” in a crash, many times it’s a human-factors error, where something was designed in a certain way that made sense to engineers, but they forgot about the limited capacity of the human using it.

3. Psychology is applicable to almost any career. Psychological principles are important in everything from child rearing to behavioral economics and from management of others in the workplace to the effect of neurotransmitters on behavior. Psychologists are employed in private clinical practices, hospitals, educational institutions, management, human resources, marketing, economics. A lot of our psych minors are occupational therapy majors, because the principles of reinforcement in working with children and motivation are what you need to know when you’re trying to get people to stick to their therapy, to do the exercises they’re supposed to do.

4. Psychology develops critical thinking. Psychologists learn how to be critical consumers of information. They have be critical thinkers to overcome the Dr. Phil’s and Dr. Laura’s, the self-help books based on anecdotal experiences or case studies of one person, the “latest finding” about a cure for depression or eating disorders, for example, that are based on a single, unreplicated study or an “expert’s” opinion. Students must be prepared to critically evaluate the methodologies used to derive reported findings to separate the hype from sound research.

[divider]BUSINESS ETHICS [/divider]

Paul Fiorelli, Director, center for business ethics and social responsibility

1. There’s a difference between legal duties and ethical responsibilities. Laws are what we must do; ethics are what we ought to do. Laws are right vs. wrong. They’re easier. Ethics are more right vs. right—what happens when we have conflicting duties. Say your boss tells you to call your competitors to see what their prices are so you can match the price. That’s easier to say no to because it’s a violation of price-fixing. But what happens if you overhear your friend making the call? After he hangs up, you ask him about the call and he tells you to mind your own business. Now you have this conflicting responsibility of loyalty. You have your friend, whom you’re not sure is in violation, and the company, which is obligated to follow the law but also employs you. How do you deal with that? Push back? Ask more questions? Ignore it?

2. We don’t live on ethical Islands. Most of us consider ourselves ethical, and even more ethical than others we work with. That makes us feel like we’re alone on an ethical island. In reality, though, we’re not. If we talk about ethics in the workplace, we realize others share the same views as we do. It’s empowering. So when the boss tells us to do something wrong, knowing that empowers us to say no and push back.

3. You have to look at the culture of the entire organization. You can’t just look at the top. You have to look at ethical behaviors throughout the organization—in the middle and bottom as well. Your real cues are taken from your boss and your boss’s boss. If they aren’t ethically sound, that’s a problem because your life depends on them.

4. You have to be willing to bring bad news forward. If there’s a level of trust where you can tell your boss about a potential problem, he will have to devote some time to putting out fires. The good news is, though, the fires will be small brush fires rather than large infernos you read about on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

5. Talking about ethics won’t turn a bad person into a good one. There’s a process called cognitive moral development that is broken down into three phases: preconventional, which is how does what I do effect me? Conventional, which is how does what I do effect the people around me? And post-conventional, which is how does what I do effect society as a whole—like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., who willingly performed acts of civil disobedience and faced the penalty because it benefited society as a whole. What talking about ethics can do is help people move from one phase to the next. But if you’re not interested in ethics, then it doesn’t make any difference.

[divider]ECONOMICS [/divider]

Jamal Abu-Rashed, Chair, department of economics

1. Importing vs. exporting. One of the most important reasons for the rise in the standard of living across the world over the past five centuries is the great increase in international trade. If you go back to the mercantilist view in the 1700s and 1800s, it was taught that a nation could increase its wealth if it exported more than it bought from other nations. This notion might make sense, but it does not take into account the value of the product purchased. In other words, the benefit of the trade is consumption rather than production. So, there is more wealth when you import more than what you export because the product that you bought has a value.

2. It pays to trade. This mercantilist view of trade continued until economist David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economywas published in 1817. In his book, he promoted his theory of comparative advantage, which explains why specialization and free trade are such beneficial forces. Ricardo said that it pays for countries to trade because they are different. For example, the United States’ relative efficiency in labor-intensive products is less than, say, airplane manufacturing. In other words, it behooves us to focus our resources on the production of airplanes as opposed to products such as clothing. Also, our resources are limited and we have to make choices. Even the United States, the richest country in the world, has limited resources. Consequently, our production capability of what to produce is always limited.

3. The saving resources concept. So, if I have a fixed amount of resources to distribute among two things and am relatively more efficient at producing airplane engines than clothing, I put all the resources into engines and then I buy the clothing from Mexico at a lower price. The savings from the resources enables me to produce more engines than what I used to produce before. People might say the United States is the richest country in the world, so why don’t we close our borders and produce everything here? Can we produce coffee in this country? Yes, but it is very expensive. So instead of putting all the resources into producing coffee, I would rather buy it from Brazil at a lower price and use the extra resources that I saved to produce something that could benefit my own people and that I could export to the rest of the world.

4. The case for comparative advantages. It is impossible for a country to have no comparative advantage in anything. So it may be the least efficient at everything, but still has a comparative advantage in the industry in which it’s electively least bad. The United States probably has an absolute advantage in everything, but yet we don’t have a comparative advantage in everything. So specialization and resources allocation should increase the total world output and, hence, the standard of living of all citizens in the world.

Turning Points

[divider]SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR ALL [/divider]
It’s mid-morning on July 14. Katie Heins slips on a T-shirt and shorts, grabs her large, hand-lettered banner and heads out from her apartment onto the steamy streets of Over-the-Rhine. Passing by Washington Park, she casts a sympathetic eye toward the crack addicts and homeless men bedded down on trampled grass and benches, then makes her way to the Drop-Inn Center Shelter House, where many of Cincinnati’s homeless residents seek refuge.

Usually she goes to visit a fellow Xavier student who works there. But today is different. Heins is participating in her first real civil action, a protest and demonstration orchestrated by groups advocating for the homeless and fair housing. Their target is an empty building in the low-income neighborhood.

Raising her banner – a bed sheet on poles that spells out “Housing Now” in bright red letters – Heins and several dozen protesters make their way to a large brick building with boarded-up windows and doors. A group tears off the boards and enters the building while Heins stays outside, listening to speeches and waiting for police to arrest the trespassers.

But the police don’t come, so the protesters decide to march on City Hall, where they win an audience with Mayor Charlie Luken. They demand the city give them the vacant building so they can convert it into livable housing. To their surprise, and with the TV cameras rolling, Luken agrees. Heins is floored.

“The sit-in was a turning point for me because I saw people with a well thought-out plan who won,” she says, recalling the 1989 housing protest. Today, formerly homeless tenants still live in the house. “It was a real civil rights movement of people deeply committed to their cause. This showed me that people who are activists can do these things and win.”

The experience led Heins, a senior at the time, to commit herself to a life of social justice work – at a women’s shelter after graduation, then as director of the anti-poverty Contact Center for 12 years, and last year leading the successful Ohio campaign by Let Justice Roll to raise the minimum wage.

But Heins isn’t alone. Such a path is increasingly embraced by college students both at Xavier and nationwide. According to a 2006 report by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, the value of “helping others” is the highest it’s been in 20 years and was the third highest common value held by incoming students. At Xavier, more than 500 students participated in service work in the last 25 years through the peace and justice programs, and nearly 30 members of the 2007 graduating class chose service-related positions with non-profit groups for their first jobs.

What motivates students to bypass the path to the corner office and follow their hearts into the service life? The work can be grinding and gritty and the financial rewards slim. Alumni like Heins say it’s the human connections they make – and the chance to make a difference in the world. But they also give Xavier a lot of the credit.

Ben Urmston, S.J., knows the pattern well. He founded Xavier’s peace and justice programs in 1982, and many alums today say his Faith and Justice theology class and rural and urban plunge programs were what opened their eyes and triggered their transformation into advocates for social change. Others say it was theology professor Paul Knitter, often remembered for quipping, “The Jesuits ruined me for life,” for inspiring them to go out and live the Xavier mission.

“With my students,” says Urmston, “I’m trying to get across the dignity of each human person, that we can love and be loved, we can understand and be understood, we can love so much that we are willing to try to change any structure that’s oppressing any person.”

[divider]DESERT WAL-MART  [/divider]

Up one aisle and down another, Jon Gromek and his friends selected supplies for their week in Mexico – mac and cheese, bottled water, hamburger, cereal. The Wal-Mart in Douglas, Ariz., had it all, so they stocked up. After flying from Xavier to Tucson to spend spring break doing service work in an orphanage and home for the elderly in Agua Prieta—a village just across the Mexican border—they didn’t want the villagers to feel obligated to feed them.

The store was just a mile from the checkpoint, where the Mexican border guards passed them through without incident. But the incongruity of the well-paved, brightly lit U.S. side next to the rough road and darkness of the Mexican side was as obvious as a neon sign. And as they rolled past the iron slatted fence that separates the two countries, Gromek looked back and noticed another incongruity – there, in plain view, was the Wal-Mart they just left. Suddenly it hit him.

“I realized what these people need and we take for granted every day is in such close reach,” he says. “It’s right over the border, and these people can see that, but it’s not reality for them. This imaginary line is all that separates this country known for wealth and power and this other with such poverty. You look at this giant wall that separates us, and it seems a little overkill – barbed wire and posts and armed guards – for two countries at peace.”

The experience with the alternative breaks club two years ago so affected him that he plunged into more social justice work last year, working on immigration reform and traveling with the club to El Salvador after graduating in the spring. Not surprisingly, his degrees are in theology and political science with a minor in peace studies.

Now, as one of Xavier’s newest graduates, he’s preparing to join Network, a non-profit national Catholic social justice lobbying group in Washington, D.C., that will allow him to explore his political activism. At Network, Gromek will be researching and writing about issues such as war, health care, Darfur and the farm bill.

“I could be making four times what I’m making at Network, but I don’t feel I’d be living up to my potential and doing what Xavier prepared me to do,” he says. “I need to be working for those people I met in Alabama and Mexico and El Salvador who would say, ‘Don’t forget us, don’t forget us.’ This is one way to do it, and I’ll always choose that over something else.”

[divider]A JESUIT AT HEART [/divider]

The August deadline was fast approaching. Ben Krause should have felt elated, but instead he had an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. Something wasn’t quite right. Everything was going as planned – he graduated with degrees in philosophy and Spanish, taught at Creighton Prep High School in Omaha, Neb., and entered the Jesuit order as a novitiate for the two-year term. But now, as he faced taking his first vows, he suddenly wasn’t so sure anymore.

Then he realized that if the prospect of taking his vows made him this uneasy, it wasn’t God’s plan.

“I came to a point where I had to admit that after three years, if I was not at peace with that way of life, I couldn’t justify taking the next step of perpetual vows for the rest of my life,” Krause says. “Leaving was by far the most difficult and painful decision I ever made, but when I decided to go, it was the greatest sense of relief. That feeling of peace I was missing was suddenly there.”

Krause tells his story while sitting on a broken bench outside a restaurant by a busy, dusty street in Iganga, Uganda, where he’s been a project coordinator since 2006. He’s surrounded by six children age 10 or so. It’s late, and the laughing children should be home in bed, but not tonight. They are mesmerized by the young man from Omaha who’s been talking on his cell phone for almost an hour.

“I love it here,” he says. “I wake up every day and know I’m doing something that’s helping other people. I know that in small ways, I’m making the world a little bit better.” In the months since he made his fateful decision not to be a Jesuit, Krause has learned a lot about himself. He’s doing work he did as a Jesuit – and for which he prepared by doing service work at Xavier. But he also has found the freedom to choose where to live and what to do. His choice of work was the Uganda Village Project, which brings medical students to work in the developing country. His job is to coordinate projects that contribute to better health, such as digging wells near villages, educating people about safe water practices and malaria prevention.

“My favorite project is safe water promotion,” Krause says. “Their sources, where they get it, how they transport and store it, how to keep it safe. We’ve got a dynamic and entertaining program where I act things out, and the people get a big kick out of it. We have a great time, and it has the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives.”

[divider]FLYPAPER MEMORIES [/divider]

Jim Bunker drives a yellow school bus down a road in Hillsboro, Ore., picking up pre-school children along the way. They’re going to Head Start where Bunker, a 1991 graduate with an English degree, works in the Spanish language program serving the Hispanic migrants who settled on the Northwest coast. The migrants are poor, and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, spotting the need to help provide child care for their families, has sent Bunker to lend a hand.

As Bunker drives the bus full of chatty children, the road comes to a dead end in front of one last house – a shack, literally, with unpainted walls falling in against each other. Out runs a little girl, excited that the bus is here. Her clothes are faded. Her mother comes outside to wave goodbye. On other days, she boards with her daughter and becomes a fixture in the classroom or lunchroom.

“It struck me that with as little as she had, she was the one who had the least to give,” Bunker says.

One day, Bunker goes to her house to help her fill out forms so her daughter can receive the free government lunch program. He’s never been in a home like this. When he steps inside, he takes it all in – the single room, the plywood floor, the single bed for mother and daughter. The flies.

“I remember the flypaper hanging from the ceiling and the oppressive air,” he says. “But we sat at her kitchen table and filled out the papers. Thinking back, for her to allow me to come into the house must have been hard for her.”

It was a pivotal moment for him, though. He thought the woman needed his help. “But by the end of the school year, she taught me so much about living and respect and taking chances. I thought, Who am I to go into this woman’s home and try to help her? She didn’t ask for my help, but she took a chance and it paid off for both of us.”

Bunker didn’t come easily to the field of social justice. He stumbled into it through friends who brought him to the Dorothy Day House on campus for a presentation by the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). That’s when it all started to come together – his political leanings, the English works he was reading, his friends’ conversations about social change. He accepted the one-year position with JVC in Oregon, but the experience so moved him that he stayed. One service job led to another – at a diversion program for delinquent juvenile boys, an intervention program for low-income Portland Public School families, a middle and high school counselor.

Times changed, and Bunker is now a counselor at a private Episcopal high school. He finds the students, though economically better off, face some of the same issues as the troubled students and migrant families he worked with before. So his challenge is to pass the baton that was passed to him and educate the students on issues of social justice. Last spring, he led his first group of students on a service trip to El Salvador with Habitat for Humanity. While they learned a lot about giving of themselves through labor, he says, they learned a lot more from the people they met.

“We went to a cultural exchange evening at one of the homes and the mom created this evening dance and taught us to make a corn meal-based bread,” he says. “It became clear – and I let the experience unfold on its own – that the actual building of the house was beside the point of why we were there. What it was really about was building authentic relationships with the people we met.”

[divider]BOOKS FOR GUATEMALA [/divider]

It was just a minor problem. Or so Jeff Berninger thought as he completed his first day as a volunteer teacher of English for middle school students in the Guatemalan village of La Labor. Someone obviously forgot to drop off the textbooks he needed for class. So he went to the other teachers to ask where they get their books.

“They looked at me and said, ‘What do you mean? We don’t have books.’ I asked them, ‘How do you teach?’ They said, ‘We write everything on the blackboard and the students copy everything into their notebooks.’ It’s called chalk and talk. They couldn’t afford to buy books.”

Rather than despair, Berninger put his Xavier business degree in information systems – and his faith – to work. Upon returning home, he launched Cooperative for Education, a small initiative that would become an international non-profit education business and sustain him and his family for the next 13 years. The company buys textbooks for the schools, which in turn rent them to the students.

“We started with one school and one math book for seventh and eighth grade, and now 13 years later, it has grown to 155 schools and four subject areas – math, science, language and social studies,” he says from his Cincinnati office staffed with Xavier grads. The cooperative is now a $1.6 million operation with a staff of 55 and offices in the U.S. and in Guatemala.

Discovering the need for schoolbooks in a Guatemalan village was a major turning point for Berninger, although it wasn’t his first. When he got to Xavier, Berninger found a passion in Urmston’s theology class and in a rural plunge—a service project at a Central Ohio seminary that is also a working farm. “He really challenged me to think and to question what the social responsibility of business is and the actions of our government and to look at things with a critical eye,” Berninger says.

Before graduating in 1991, he traveled to Guatemala to see the Mayan ruins but found himself overwhelmed by the abject poverty amidst military rule. Nevertheless, he took a lucrative job with Procter & Gamble as a systems analyst, thinking that if he got settled into a career, he would be better able financially to give back to society in the future. But on two subsequent trips to Guatemala, he met a cousin who lived there, and his plans unraveled.

“It was for me a conversion experience,” he says. “He introduced me to the real Guatemala – the beauty of the country and the difficulty and strife the people were confronting daily. I spent several days in the little village of San Juan Sacate Pequez. What impressed me was this traditional Guatemalan village and the people walking around carrying baskets of corn and vases of water on their heads. I came home changed and determined to go back.”

He quit his job with P&G and returned to Guatemala. The plan was to go for three months, but he ended up staying for three years, living with his cousin and helping at the family bakery. He supported himself with contract work as an information systems analyst. At one point, low on funds and fearing he would have to go home, he received an e-mail from a favorite Xavier Jesuit, who inquired about his finances. He wrote back saying how desperate he was for money.

“But before I sent the e-mail,” he says, “I took a walk in the community and realized my situation was nowhere near theirs. So I erased the e-mail and said I’m fine and I trusted in the Lord to provide for me. And the next morning, Chiquita called and offered me a very lucrative contract.” It allowed him to stay for six more months. After a short trip home, he returned to Guatemala and started the non-profit, staying for eight more years.

Profile: Russell Newsom

RUSSELL NEWSOM Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, 2006, Domestic Policy Council staff member, the White House, May 2006-June 2007, Student, University of Chicago Law School

 

Lying In Wait | Newsom was in Washington, D.C., on a break from Xavier while taking classes at American University in January 2005 when he decided to ambush Michael Hart, the Canadian who helped craft the North American Free Trade Agreement. Newsom, who was 20 years old at the time, wanted to talk to Hart for a class assignment about trade, and Hart was the guru.

Got Work | “I waited outside for him at an event, and I walked up and started talking to him. I asked him about President Bush’s free trade agenda and asked him to lend his expertise for my analysis, and I was quoting his article to him.” Hart answered Newsom’s questions, then offered him a job as his research assistant.

Feet of the Masters | Newsom accepted the internship, which with his studies meant working non-stop. Hart held a Fulbright chair at the non-partisan Woodrow Wilson Center. “Wilson is a think tank where people spend the day thinking about policy. To get an opportunity to have access to them and sit at the feet of the masters was just a tremendous experience.”

Road To the White House | Newsom met people in the Bush administration, which led to a White House summer internship with the Domestic Policy Council, led then by Claude Allen before he left during a theft investigation. Newsom felt let down. “He was my mentor. He gave me great opportunities to do research and help the domestic policy advisors in any way I could.”

Shifting Gears | After his last class at Xavier the following spring, Newsom headed straight back to Washington for a job with the council. “I missed graduation and everything. I walked out of my last class, drove to D.C. and worked the next day.”

Access | The position gave Newsom access to the highest levels of government. With offices in both the Executive Office Building and the West Wing, Newsom occasionally found himself in the presence of people like Karl Rove and even President Bush. His work involved researching and writing on domestic policy issues such as immigration and stem cell research.

Funny Guy | One day, Newsom was with a group in the Oval Office when Bush walked in. It was the day the story was circulating about his watch being stolen off his wrist in Albania. Bush’s first words were, “Do you want to see my watch?” “Turns out he had taken it off himself. He stuck out his wrist jokingly. In terms of one-liners, he’s the funniest guy I’ve ever met.”

Incognito | “He recognizes me, but I don’t think he knows my name. I was always the guy behind the guy talking to the President.”

Next Step | As he heads to law school, Newsom imagines running a large organization some day and running for office. “This taught me I won’t be fulfilled unless I’m doing something where I’m directly influencing humanity. My passion is these institutions that shape society.”

Grace Gottenbush

GRACE GOTTENBUSCH Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, 1989, Retired president, Servatti Pastry Shop, Cincinnati

 

Family Business | Gottenbusch comes from a long line of bakers and shop owners. In Germany, her great-grandfather was a baker and her grandfather had a pastry shop. Her German-born father started Servatti Pastry Shop in Cincinnati in 1963. Today there are nine stores in the Cincinnati area. Gottenbusch started working in the Hyde Park location at age 14.

Early Inclinations | “My father sent me to college and sent two of my brothers to Germany to learn the trade. My older brother and my younger brother went to the trade school in Germany and studied baking and pastry shop for three years in Muenster, my father’s hometown. In eighth grade, I knew I wanted to go to Xavier. I was the first female in my family to graduate from college.”

The Job | After she graduated from Xavier, Gottenbusch started off as the general manager at Servatti. She had to figure how much of a product to order for special events, study retail trends and project sales.

The Quirks | “There’s some difficulties in the fact that this is your family, and this is your baby brother and he’s yelling at you because your manager screwed up and cost him a lot of overtime. It’s really hard to take that ‘baby brother’ out of the equation. It’s the same way with my father. He’d tell me to go clean up my office. What, are you going to ground me into my office if I don’t? You have those kinds of quirks, but it’s really nice that everyone would always kick in and help.”

Early Retirement | Gottenbusch worked her way up to president, managing everything to do with the front-of-store operations such as customer service, sales training and marketing, until she retired last year. At 39, Gottenbusch had already put 25 years into the business.

Life After Servatti | “My new career is being a foster parent to four wonderful children and parent to my two teenagers,” she says. “I have been gone a year from the bakery and it still feels right. I don’t plan on another business, but I am involved in the stock market.”

Foster Care | Gottenbusch first became a foster parent 14 years ago, shortly after graduating from Xavier. “I just wanted some children in my life, and I thought this was a way to get a lot of experience with children—the house was too quiet,” she says. “I’ve adopted two (ages 16 and 14), and I’m in the process of adopting my 1-year old. And I’d adopt more in a minute if I had the ability.” Right now she has six children in the house, ages 16,14, 4, 2, 1 and a newborn.

The Rewards | “I like being home with my teenagers. Foster children deal with a lot. They have a lot of emotional and physical hardships that they have to go through that I wouldn’t have been able to handle at their age. This allows me to focus on them.”

Hispanic Source

JOSE GUERRA Executive M.B.A., 2003, Founder and President, L5 Source, Cincinnati

 

Mr. President | Guerra launched his own company, L5 Source, in 2004. The firm helps companies align their technology with their corporate strategy. Its key: balancing risk, quality and cost through the use of onshore resources and strategic partnerships with near-shore technology firms.

Opening Doors |Guerra is also president of the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic M.B.A.s, which focuses on educational attainment, professional development and leadership development for Hispanics. Guerra helped found the Cincinnati chapter in 2003. In addition he serves on the boards of the Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati, the philanthropic organization Hispanics Avanzando Hispanics and the Hispanic IT Executive Council.

Getting Started | Guerra began his career in information technology with Procter & Gamble in Mexico. During his tenure at P&G, his IT assignments included finance, human resources, sales and marketing, and product development. He was eventually assigned to P&G headquarters in Cincinnati from 1984-1987.

Moving On | After leaving P&G, Guerra worked for Convergys Corp. where he led various outsourced customer care initiatives for national and international telecommunications companies. He then worked in a turnaround situation with a subsidiary of U.S. Shoe before moving to Duke Energy, where he was hired to lead the IT function of one of their divisions.

Valued Memory | Guerra points to the 2002 Executive M.B.A. international business trip he took to Asia as a high point in his Xavier experience. “Being exposed to Chinese and Japanese business practices further reinforced the importance of the global economy and the criticality of recruiting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce in the U.S. if we are to continue being a world-class economy.”

Seeds of Inspiration | Guerra draws inspiration from his mother, Olga, and his late father, Jose, from whom he learned about hard work, integrity and standing up for your beliefs. They showed him the importance of picking himself up when something goes wrong.

Goals | Guerra wants his company to be recognized as a global source of excellence in IT consulting. His driving goal is to improve the communities in which he does business while building a financially secure environment for his family. In addition, he plans to become more involved with the health care industry over the next 10 years, applying technological know-how to help streamline and accelerate the development and discovery of new cures.

Profile: Fred Irwin

FRED IRWIN Bachelor of Arts in English, 1964; Master of Business Administration, 1967, CEO, Citigroup Global Markets, Germany President, American Chamber of Commerce, Frankfurt

 

Big Chief | As chief operating officer of Citigroup in Germany, Irwin is involved in all aspects of the bank such as investment banking, trading and cash management, but he focuses on strategy, client relations and problem solving at what is now the largest bank in the world. He’s lived in Germany for 36 years.

Let’s Do Lunch | His path toward Germany began in Xavier’s old South Hall in 1965, where he ran into Tom Hailstones, dean of the business school. Irwin was attending law school at the University of Cincinnati—and was miserable. His grades were poor and his future looked hopeless. Hailstones sat down and suggested he switch to Xavier’s M.B.A. program.

Enlightened | “I saw the light and said, ‘Yes, I’ll do it.’ I didn’t know anything about the business world, but I got the best grades I ever got there. If there’s anything I attribute my success to, it’s Tom Hailstones.”

Reporting For Duty | After graduating the second time, Irwin reported for duty with the Army and prepared for deployment to Vietnam. Again, fate intervened. “I was sent to Germany, and I learned later that 50 percent of my training class was killed.”

Adopted Country | Irwin fell in love with Germany. He lived off the base, learned German and reached the rank of captain. When he was discharged two years later, he took a job with Dun & Bradstreet in New York because they promised to send him back to Germany. Three years later he was assigned to London, which led to his promotion to general manager for Germany in 1974.

Climbing Ladders | Irwin joined Citibank AG in 1984, rose to chief operating officer in 2003 and is now responsible for 7,500 employees. But he also rose in the ranks of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany and sits on numerous advisory boards, including as chairman of the Motorola board and was a member of the NFL Europe board. He still attends every Super Bowl game.

High Brow Service | Irwin joined the American Chamber in 1975 and was elected president in 1991, giving him access to high-placed government officials such as the German chancellor and President Bush. “I’m very involved in German-American politics as the representative of American business in Germany,” he says.

Belly Up | He also loves German food. “In Frankfurt, we have Rippchen mit Kraut (pork ribs with sauerkraut), Handkaese mit Musik (a soft cheese with vinegar-chopped onions), and oder Gruenesosse (a green sauce of seven herbs served with boiled oxen breast and potatoes). But many think that the best food in Germany is Italian cuisine. Those from Cincinnati would feel very much at home here.”

Educational Giving

Norman Murdock, a 1955 graduate, established a $1 million endowed scholarship this year as part of the To See Great Wonders campaign. The scholarship provides teachers and administrators at Elder High School, Murdock’s high school alma mater, with scholarships to attend Xavier. More than 50 percent of Elder faculty hold degrees from Xavier.

Murdock’s career includes serving six terms with the Ohio House of Representatives, 10 years as a Hamilton County (Ohio) Commissioner and a term as judge on the Hamilton County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas. He was later appointed by President Reagan as vice-chairman of the intergovernmental council on education.

Murdock and his wife, Pat, have been married for 50 years and have six children and 15 grandchildren.

Anonymous

He called the switchboard and asked for someone in gift and estate planning. He was not an alumnus. He was a widower. He had no real connection with Xavier, but wanted to leave it in his will. And he did. When this anonymous friend of Xavier’s died in April at age 83, his gifts reached about $1 million—plus a 2006 Honda Civic hybrid showing 2,800 miles.

 

“He called us and initiated the conversation,” says Kathann Koehler, director for gift and estate planning. “All he wanted to do was leave us in his will.”

The man lived simply, and there were no indications of how much money he had. But he ultimately took out four charitable gift annuities totalling $1 million. Under this arrangement, the University pays interest on the gift for the life of the individual. It turned out to be a winning proposition all around.

“We were able to actually increase his cash flow and better his lifestyle,” Koehler says. “I don’t think he ever dreamed he could do any better than CDs, but we were able to pay him a better rate than the bank could.”

He was a chemical engineer, Koehler says, so much of his gift is going toward scholarships in the chemistry department. His reason for giving: “He thought we did good work here.”

A Giving Group

You don’t have to be a grad to love Xavier. Just ask Dr. Robert Osher. An internationally renowned cataract surgeon, founder of the Cincinnati Eye Institute and driving editorial force behind the world’s first video medical journal, Osher claims 28 international education awards and more than a dozen surgical techniques. He lectures around the world and has coached 60 youth sports teams, winning seven state championship. He’s also a big Musketeer fan and a long-time supporter of the University’s athletic programs.

But when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer four years ago, he found another way to give. He gathered his five children to help him remember the stories he made up for them when they were small, and began committing the tales to paper. The end result was seven children’s books—of which he gives 100 percent of the proceeds to various organizations he believes in, including the University.

“Xavier really has a wonderful set of priorities in terms of recruiting not only competitive athletes but really good kids,” he says. “Their whole philosophy embodies what the spirit of competitive sports is all about.