Alumni Profile: Digital Self-starter

Michael Loban
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Entrepreneurial Studies, 2008
Chief marketing officer and co-founder, InfoTrust
Cincinnati

Info What? | InfoTrust is a fast-growing technology company that was featured recently in the Cincinnati Business Courier for its early growth and global expansion. The start-up’s major customers include E.W. Scripps, Total Quality Logistics, the University of Cincinnati and LegalZoom. It reported earnings of $2 million last year.

Google That | “We’re in the business of analytics consulting…and are certified as a Google Analytics Partner. We try to answer a simple question: How do we turn data into something that helps organizations market themselves better and generate more sales?”

Origin Ukraine | “My family won a green card, which gave us the legal right to move to the U.S. when I was in high school. I’m grateful to my parents. When you’re 15 or 16 years old, you can adapt to anything, but it was harder on them. I’m confident I wouldn’t have the same level of opportunity if I had stayed in Ukraine.”

Major Studies | “When I declared entrepreneurship as my second major, I had no idea what it was. What I thought of as entrepreneurship is very different than how I think now. But my favorite classes were theology and philosophy. It helped me see the world differently.”

Data Discovery | “After graduation I worked in a number of different jobs and noticed how companies paid attention to social media. The Chamber of Commerce offered classes on Twitter and data analytics. It’s where the marketplace was going.”

Worry Wart | “The challenges have been in areas I didn’t anticipate, but I tend to worry. I consider myself a highly successful worrier, but worrying doesn’t stop me. It keeps me on my toes and helps me anticipate.”

A Xavier Foundation | “The best thing about Xavier is the ability to go out and explore. I was interested in things beyond business, so I applied for a fellowship to go to Israel, and I managed to go to the Vatican while I was at Xavier. You don’t anticipate those opportunities would be available in college. That’s why I love Xavier so much.”

Next Stop: Dubai | InfoTrust recently opened an office in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. “It seemed like a market that was ready for the services we offer. That turned us into an international company. We also have clients in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Asia.”

And Beyond | “We have very ambitious goals. We’ve been growing almost 100 percent year over year. We want to stay on track of being a company that builds products, and we want to grow our consulting.”

Alumni Profile: Nature’s Steward

Sally Gladwell
Bachelor of Science in Biology, 1993
Vice President, Mannik Smith Group
Toledo, Ohio

Environmental Pioneer | Gladwell’s interest in the environment dates to her childhood. At Xavier, she promoted recycling long before the University made green a priority. Now with MannikSmith, an environmental consultancy, she focuses on sustainable development. She’s also vice president of the board at the Black Swamp Conservancy, a land trust that protects farmland and open space from development.

An Early Affinity | “My interest grew out of a curiosity and vision of stewardship when I was a teen. I grew up with a love of nature. My happiest childhood memories took place outdoors. That grew into a commitment to make sure we had an energy-efficient home.”

Longterm Vision | At Xavier, “I really started to see my interest in the environment as a vision for a career. I wanted my career to be more than a way to support myself and my family, but also a way to contribute to the common good.”

Early Recycler | “I got involved with the recycling initiative on campus, using blue vans from Physical Plant to collect recyclables. Some offices weren’t willing to go to the trouble of setting things aside, but overall we got good support.”

Earthcare | “I helped found EarthCare out of the Dorothy Day House, an inspirational and foundational effort for me, and we received Club of the Year. We focused on expanding recycling and sponsored programs on farming, food challenges and how to be responsible consumers.”

Sustainable Developer | At Mannik Smith, Gladwell works on developing abandoned or underused land in urban areas, known as brownfields, into office space, retail, entertainment venues and housing. She developed funding strategies for an entertainment district being built by the Toledo Mud Hens minor-league baseball team. The district, known as Hensville, is redeveloping three vacant buildings and a vacant parking lot into a $21 million outdoor event space with sustainable stormwater management.

Wake-up Call | “Urban revitalization is one of the reasons I get up each morning. The most sustainable way for people to live is in cities and urban centers. Abandoning the urban core and regional sprawl has a cost that’s not just financial.”

Urban Core | “Once people understand a topic, they have a greater appreciation for environmental stewardship and sustainability. But I think people don’t understand that urban centers are a more sustainable way of living. It ripples out from environmental to economic sustainability.”

Abundant Opportunities | “I challenge myself to bring an environmental awareness to everything. I’m always trying to bring to mind what we can do as an organization to be more sustainable.”

Alumni Profile: Public Financier

Natasha (Hamilton) Holiday
Bachelor of Arts in history, Bachelor of Science in political science, 2004
Director, RBC Capital Markets
New York

Financing | When New York City, its subway system or other city departments want to build things, Natasha Holiday is a key contact for getting the necessary financing in order.

The Projects | “Our area of finance is based on the municipal bond market and helping city and state governments leverage debt financing to facilitate infrastructure investment. That’s roads, bridges, highways, new school construction, airport expansions, housing and sometimes a more controversial issue like stadium finance. The whole nine yards.”

World Trade Center | Holiday is responsible for client coverage for large municipal issuers, primarily New York City and MTA, the regional transportation system, and clients all along the Northeast. “My clients are typically large issuers, transactions of $300 million-plus. The largest I’ve ever done was $2 billion to help finance the new World Trade Center.”

View from the Top | “We were able to tour the facility up to the 103rd floor. So that was very special.”

Time at Xavier | Holiday was the Student Government Association president her senior year and was involved with student government all four years. It was a time that involved greater work on diversity and some controversy concerning the on-campus showing of the “Vagina Monologues.” Under her leadership, Xavier also staged the first significant concert in years, featuring OAR at Cintas.

True Blue | “I’ve been a (Xavier) trustee for four years, which is really an amazing opportunity. I sit on the finance, investment and student affairs committees. I come back to campus four times a year. It’s completely different. When I was there, the new buildings were Cintas and Gallagher.”

Still Into Politics | A Democrat, Holiday ran in 2010 for state committee person. “It’s the entry-level elected office in New York City and state politics. I lost by 106 votes in a primary election where over 4,000 votes were cast.”

A Young Family | Her husband, Aaron Holiday III, is a venture capitalist at 645 Ventures. Their 11-month-old son, Aaron IV, is “definitely the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” They live in Battery Park, near where she works on the ninth floor at the World Financial Center.

Charitable Giving | They sponsor an annual party in November for a cause they choose each year, raising over $10,000 in 2013 for Morehouse College to support African American men pursuing careers in computer science and technology. In 2014, they raised over $10,000 for Xavier’s Women of Excellence scholarship to support women pursuing careers in business. This year it’s Practice Makes Perfect, a New York City-based education organization committed to narrowing the achievement gap.

Alumni Profile: Spiritual Advisor

ROBERT W. STEPHAN, S.J.
Honors Bachelor of Arts in history, 1995
Campus Minister for Liturgy, Seattle University
Seattle, Wash.

Flagged by God | Stephan pulled into town to start work on a law degree at the University of California at Berkeley on a Sunday. He wanted to attend Mass, but what church? He saw a sign for the Holy Spirit Parish’s Newman Center. But where to park on these streets, with his possessions in his car? He saw a man who flagged him into a parking lot.

Uncanny Connections | Then during Mass, Stephan was surprised to hear the priest, Al Moser, mention having lunch with his sister on Fountain Square in Cincinnati. Moser, like Stephan, had attended Covington Latin and Xavier decades earlier. The coincidences were too much.

A Real Resolution | Stephan says he “resolved that first day: I’m going to do the first campus ministry event at the Newman Center, which really wouldn’t have been my thing. But because of that, I’m like, ‘OK, God, you’ve got my attention. I’m going to try something here.’” The event was a meet-and-greet introduction to small faith-sharing groups that convened the entire semester. It was one of the pulls he felt that led him toward the priesthood.

Xavier Connections | The oldest of five, Stephan attended Covington Latin and Xavier and was baptized at Bellarmine Chapel. The seed for the priesthood was planted when he took history courses from John LaRocca, S.J.

Early History | But history was his first passion, and he continued his studies in Austria and earned his master’s in history at UCLA in 1998. He later went to law school at Berkeley, graduating in 2002, before finally succumbing to the pull of those signs that first day in Berkeley and joining the Jesuits. Stephan, now 42, was ordained in 2013.

Education is Key | In between, he earned master’s degrees in pastoral studies at Loyola University Chicago and divinity at Boston College. He also taught at a Catholic high school and at Loyola Marymount University, both in Los Angeles, and served as deacon at a parish in Brookline, Mass. He’s now in campus ministry at Seattle University.

Homeless Ministry | While in Chicago, he was captivated by the Ignatian Spirituality Project, a Jesuit ministry that offers retreats to the homeless. “We don’t think to bring the two together, but at the same time, who else might need that more? It can help be a foundation that those who are struggling with homelessness can build on for real transformation in their lives.” He continued his homeless ministry in Orange, Cal., where he worked with high-school students, young adults and homeless people.

Spiritual Advising | “A place I feel very called to or passionate about is the spirituality and work with the poor and people who are marginalized in particular. I think there’s something very powerful, very much in line with the Gospels and what Jesus calls us to do.”

Peruvian Partner

A Jesuit University in Lima Helps Open Doors for Xavier Students to Truly Experience Andean Culture

In the low-income neighborhood of Ventanillas on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, a group of Xavier students is busy interacting with—and teaching—a classroom of chatty children. After singing a Spanish version of “London Bridge,” they gather round a table to brainstorm ideas for a storybook. The children create pictures for the book and practice acting their parts, prancing around in bare feet.

Continue reading “Peruvian Partner”

Center Court

$25 Million in Improvements at Cintas Center Benefit Fans and Athletes

If you like the new D’Artagnan’s Deck and the skyline silhouette on the court, you’ll love what’s coming next. It’s all part of a seven-year, $25 million renovation of the Cintas Center, a makeover of the Xavier landmark that’s well underway, as fans discovered last year. Continue reading “Center Court”

Big Dig

With big industry in need of data analysis, Xavier heeds the call with two new graduate programs

As a Xavier alumnus, Tim Schroeder is grateful for the education he received in the late 1970s. But as a Xavier trustee, parent and employer, he understands that higher education is changing radically, and institutions like Xavier must change, too. That prompted Schroeder to help launch the new Master of Science in Health Economic and Clinical Outcomes Research (HECOR) in a unique partnership with his company, CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services. Continue reading “Big Dig”

Class Acts

Greatest Stars on Turf

Groundskeepers Joey Wolf, left, and Mike Lewis rubbed elbows with the best in baseball during the July 14 All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park where they volunteered their skills as veteran groundskeepers.

Cats Come Back for Shootout

shootout2On Dec. 12, a Cincinnati tradition returns home to the Cintas Center after a four-year hiatus as the University of Cincinnati Bearcats venture into Musketeer territory for the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout.

“We are excited to have the Crosstown Shootout back at Xavier,” Athletic Director Greg Christopher says. “The atmosphere at last year’s edition (at UC) showed what a difference it makes to play the Shootout on campus. And with this year’s game being shown on the FOX broadcast network, the game will be available to its largest TV audience ever.”

After a fight during the 2011 game, the Crosstown Shootout was rechristened the Crosstown Classic and moved to a neutral location at U.S. Bank Arena. But after two years, the game returned to its former format—and name—and was played at the Fifth Third Arena, UC’s home stadium. The game was an exhilarating return for Xavier fans, with a 59-57 Xavier win.

Net Partner

matthews_1It’s not every day that you get to play tennis with a superstar like Venus Williams. But for Doug Matthews, 2009 grad and new head tennis coach, that day came during the Western and Southern Open in August. Matthews served as Williams’ hitting partner for the tournament. “It was obviously a great experience,” he says. “Just to be on the court with a legend of the game, one of the best players in the world. It’s kind of a bucket list moment.” As hitting partner, Matthews’ job was to run drills with Williams leading up to the tournament. It may seem like a tall order, but Matthews is an old pro at it. In past tournaments, Matthews has hit with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic—all world-renowned players. And no wonder. Matthews, who was named head coach in June, played at Xavier from 2005-09 and is the most decorated tennis standout in Xavier history.

Project success

PROJECT-SEARCHTen years ago, a group of extraordinary freshmen came to Xavier to begin their education. This was no typical group of first-years. This was the first class in a new program called Project SEARCH designed for students with mild disabilities. The program helps students develop technical, social and communication skills through internships on campus that allow them to transition into the workplace.

Xavier was the first university with a Project SEARCH site. In its first 10 years, 94 students have achieved both personal fulfillment and financial stability. The program is so successful that it’s a model for over 340 additional program sites, and it received an award for placing 100 percent of the Class of 2014 in jobs. At a reception to celebrate its graduates, President Michael J. Graham, S.J., spoke about the program being a good fit because it “matched the mission of the University to care for the whole person and to support diversity and inclusion.”

Graphically Speaking

Consider what went into designing this page—the fonts, the layouts, all the decisions made before ink meets paper. Now consider the designs and layouts encountered in a single day—pop-up ads on your laptop, billboards on the highway—all the result of interaction between designers, copywriters, clients. Or as associate professor, artist and designer Jonathan Gibson says, “Better designers for a better world.” Now in the Department of Art, the undergraduate degree in graphic design now features additional classes and resources, focusing on “interdisciplinary design opportunities, real-world clients and blending traditional and innovative approaches to design,” Gibson says. Students leave Xavier with a dynamic portfolio and real-world experiences in the form of mentoring, portfolio reviews and internships that transform them into competitive designers.

A New Home for a Legacy

Wondering what happened to that Xavier legacy brick you bought a few years back? More than 300 legacy bricks donated by graduating alumni have been moved to a new home to make way for renovations to the Xavier Yard in front of the Gallagher Student Center. Many of the bricks were moved from their original location along the sidewalks to the area around the Scales of Justice sculpture. Bricks located near Husman Hall and in front of McDonald Library are still in their same spots. The legacy brick program began in 1996 and continued into the mid-2000s. The bricks were engraved with the student’s name and class year, and cost a total of $100, raising money for the Annual Fund to support Manresa and other student-related activities. Be sure to look for your brick next time you’re on campus.

Brain Training

Advisor-with-MBB[1]It’s been 17 years since Kevin Crawford graduated from Xavier. But the letter-winning swim team member, National Jesuit Honor Society member, summa cum laude graduate, former Air Force officer and successful dermatologist never forgot the place where it all began or the people who helped him get started. To show his gratitude, Dr. Crawford, of Columbus, Ind., donated a new academic center for student-athletes in the area of the Cintas Center below the concourse that originally housed the Hoff Dining Hall.

Constructed over the summer, the Kevin and Georgette Crawford Student-Athlete Academic Center now serves as the study space for student-athletes, consolidating their academic needs into one location and providing multiple spaces for them to study, work with a tutor or meet with an advisor. Crawford, a 1998 graduate, and his wife, Georgette, wanted the center to be an efficient place for athletes. “We believe strongly in the importance of academics in the lives of student-athletes,” Crawford says. “Placing this academic center in close proximity to the training areas gives them another important resource and saves valuable time.”

The Psychology of Giving

When psychology Professor Christian End discovered March Gladness, the Annual Fund’s annual social media awareness campaign, he saw an opportunity to help his students and the University at the same time. The faculty came up with nearly $2,500 and asked alumni and friends to match it during March Gladness, which they did. Now, with $5,000 in the travel pot, this year’s psychology students have a better chance of having some of their conference costs covered. Presenting student research projects at professional conferences is practically a requirement for psychology majors and grad students aiming for solid careers in major practices. End says he also learned something about human behavior. “Asking people for money requires a certain personality, but it was easier than expected. People were happy to give.”

New Identity

smith-tajSince Taj Smith was hired last year as director of the Multicultural, Gender and Women’s Center, he’s made a number of changes—most notably the name and mission. Now the Center for Diversity and Inclusion is focused on being inclusive of all minorities on campus, not just race and gender. That includes redefining the whole idea of identity, which the new Identity Development Series addresses with lectures, presentations and events that invite attendees to think critically about their social identity development. Smith’s background includes work with subjects such as sexism and diversity at the University of Massachusetts. Now he’s expanding the role of the Center to involve more of the Xavier campus. The Center itself is already a hub for programs and support groups geared toward minorities, such as Smooth Transitions which helps minority students transition into college, and a support group for those who identify as LGBTQ.

D’Artagnan Biz

Screen-Shot-2015-10-08-at-2.27.02-PMThere’s a new student business in town. Well, actually there are five—Blue Blob Cleaners, Xavier Urban Farm, Aramis Consulting, Campus Solutions and a restaurant named Faves. They’re all part of D’Artagnan Enterprises, Xavier’s new program to promote student entrepreneurial pursuits. “There was always a latent student interest in running enterprises,” says director Owen Raisch, “but there was never the structure to realize it until now.” The program was the brainchild of Brian Till, former dean of the Williams College of Business, who admired a similar student business program while he was at Loyola University Chicago. He brought the model to Xavier and dubbed it D’Artagnan Enterprises. It was a rigorous process selecting which business ideas would be included. “All five endeavors get funds from the same budget. So in a way we are operating as a single company,” Raisch says. “The students have worked together to make the most of the budget for everyone. This culture is really collaborative.” The business managers enjoy helping each other out. “This is a really unique opportunity, not only to learn but to fulfill Xavier’s Jesuit mission.”

Destination GOA

GoaIndiaMapBeginning this year, first-year students have a new destination in addition to the traditional Manresa orientation. Goa, First-Year Journey Program, is named after the city in India where St. Francis Xavier traveled to experience the world. Six times each semester students engage in discussion and activities that include the really big questions of “What do I want to accomplish at Xavier?” and “Budget? What budget?” And while GOA is a no-credit course, the end results are still A-plus—a freshly-minted, successful and confident sophomore.