In October, Paul Fiorelli was named director of the new center for business ethics and social responsibility in the Williams College of Business. We wondered what it is all about.
What is the new center and why was it formed? “My job is to make our faculty more comfortable with the question of ethics. We bring in business ethicists and experts in different functional areas to talk to the faculty. We want first to focus on the students but eventually to be a resource for the local business community.”
What are you trying to accomplish? “Our vision statement is ‘To help students and other Xavier stakeholders recognize and deal with ethical and values-related issues in the workplace.’ We hope to make the faculty more comfortable with ethics questions so they’ll bring it up in class more often and so students will get a lot of different perspectives on common ethical questions. If the entire University is thinking about questions like Enron and the impact it has on the business community, shareholders, the stock market and retirees, that’s a good thing for us to be doing.”
How does the creation of the center relate to issues like the Enron scandal? “I think Enron is the big stick that says it’s not all about making the most money in the shortest period. You should also look at other parties involved. You can set aggressive financial goals, but still do it in an ethical fashion. We want graduates to be able to see an ethical dilemma and push back when people encourage them to do wrong. There are lots of pressures to get things out the door. At times, you have to push back and say, ‘You can’t do this in a legal, ethical way.’ You may lose your job, but you won’t go to jail and you’ll save your reputation.”
Walking into campus police chief Mike Couch’s office, you’d expect to be intimidated by police gear: handcuffs, guns, billy clubs.
Instead you’re greeted by a talking cop cookie jar, a troll dressed up as a policeman and a bevy of law enforcement cars and figurines.
“I’m an avid antique collector,” says Couch, who first started his cop collection 10 years ago. “I’m always going to flea markets. Anytime I see police paraphernalia, whether it’s figurines, cars, books, I’ve been picking it up.”
His staff’s also contributed to the collection with birthday and Christmas gifts, including a cop doll wearing a Xavier security uniform and a toy car painted to match the campus patrol cars.
Highlights of his collection include an autographed picture of Don Knotts as Barney Fife in “The Andy Griffith Show” with a patch he wore on his costume, and a figurine of an English bobby that was made in Brazil during World War II.
“I’ve only seen one other one,” says Couch, “and it sold for $500.”
Couch doesn’t limit his collecting to police-related items, though.
“My passion at home is shaving mugs,” he says. “My dad is a retired barber and he gave me a collection of 140 shaving mugs. Over the years I’ve added to it and I now have over 200, including ceramic and sterling mugs and mugs from the battlefields of the Civil War.”
Even though Couch is right at home in the bidder’s chair—“Some of my fondest memories are of me at auctions at age 5 or 6 bidding on some small item for a quarter or 50 cents”—he’s moving to the other side. This spring he’s becoming a licensed auctioneer.
“I’m looking forward to working at auctions, seeing items, learning their value and maybe even picking up another police item for my collection.”
Apparently big things do come in small packages. At least that’s the lesson behind Shaun Rostron. The 123-pound sophomore has recently pumped up his résumé with some impressive records. In February Rostron won the National Collegiate Weightlifting Championship in Shreveport, La., with a two-lift total of 150 kilograms, or 330.6 pounds. The heavy lifting smashed three U.S. collegiate weightlifting records and his own personal records.
“This was my first meet, so it was an experience to say the least,” says Rostron. “I wanted to go down there and put up my personal best. It didn’t even hit me until I discovered that I broke three records.”
The records came from the combination of two lifts—65 kilograms in the snatch, in which the barbell is lifted from the ground to above the head, and 85 kilograms in the clean-and-jerk, in which the barbell is first lifted to the shoulders before being pushed overhead. All of which was great—while it lasted. The following week in another meet, he bested his snatch record by another 2.5 kilograms.
Rostron shatters the dunderheaded, testosterone-charged stereotype behind weightlifting, too. He has a 3.0 GPA in the University scholars program, is a varsity cheerleader and has a double major in criminal justice and natural science. He aspires to a career in forensic science.
He also aspires to one day snatch double his body weight, an elusive goal for most weightlifters. If he seems highly motivated, though, he is. He’s only been training a year and has just two competitions under his belt.
Back in 1972, before the advent of computers, getting cash was very personal—everyone had to go inside a bank and talk to a teller—but not always convenient. If you couldn’t get to a bank while it was open, you risked running out.
Tom Clark helped change that. The 1969 graduate was part of a team of techies at NCR Corp. that created the first Automated Teller Machine. The group used the newly developed Intel 8080A processor to refine a teller’s system into individual units with screens and keyboards.
“We said, ‘If we limit the transactions to only savings and checking withdrawals and deposits, and added in a money counter, then the people could run this thing themselves,’ ” says Clark, who now works at Idea Business Systems in Cooper City, Fla.
The first ATM machine was a freestanding unit that Hollywood (Fla.) Federal placed in a Fort Lauderdale drug store, complete with an attendant to help people use it. The Winn-Dixie grocery store chain was the first mass user, seeking a cash machine as a way to cut down on bad check writing. But most of the industry, worried about the security of the machines sitting in their lobbies, hesitated.
“Bankers were scared to let people run their own accounts,” says the 55-year-old Clark.
So his team began working on a unit built into a safe that fit into the wall. All that was left was for someone to invent the bar codes on the cash cards and the switch that lets customers use one bank’s machine to access accounts at other banks. The system took off in the 1980s.
“It makes me feel I had an impact on society,” says Clark, a math major. “Every techie person likes to feel they can develop something that has some kind of influence on society, like Steve Jobs and Apple. I had a small hand in this thing.”
And we’re all the richer for it.
Senior Michael Sieve has been visiting Disney World since he was 4 years old. If you ask him who his favorite cartoon character is, the answer is an assured, “Mickey, because he’s a classic. It all started with a mouse.”
For Sieve it all started in high school with a letter he wrote to Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney Co., telling him that one day he wanted his job. He also asked if the two could meet to play a few rounds of golf. Unfortunately Eisner was out of town when Sieve was in Florida on vacation, but he passed the letter along to Ann Roberts, the head recruiter at Disney.
Roberts helped Sieve get a summer job working in food and beverages in the Tomorowland section of the amusement park. Sieve plans on one day returning to the company to seek more long-term employment. “I want to make somebody else happy and myself happy at the same time,” he says. “With Disney that happens instantly.”
If variety is the spice of life, then Laura Chapnick’s career is well-seasoned. The 1990 graduate is a freelance television producer, blending a dash of commercials and news reporting with a pinch of sports and entertainment. Among her portfolio: work for CBS News, Discovery, “Inside Edition,” Fox Sports and the “Guinness Book of World Records.”
It all started when “Candid Camera” came to Cleveland, where she was working in radio. She quit her job to become the show’s temporary production assistant, traveling around the country, gathering experience and contacts. She took that experience and began freelancing commercial productions.
After moving to Cincinnati, she received a call from the show “Extra.” They wanted her to do a piece on stroller aerobics. “I got in their Rolodex as the local person to do shows for them.”
The work hasn’t stopped since. Some of her more memorable moments: helping with a piece on Woody Harrelson for “Headliners and Entertainers”; a commercial with Florence Henderson; and a story on the oldest living male conjoined twins.
“They were very quiet, but by the end of the day I was their friend,” she says. “If at the end of an assignment I’ve come out their friend, then I know I’ve done my job. The best thing about being a journalist is going in and getting people to open up to you and tell you their stories.”
For a University of Cincinnati graduate, Thomas Tsuchiya spends an awful lot of time on Xavier’s campus. Maybe that’s because the University keeps throwing work his way. He’s the sculptor behind the bronze statues of D’Artagnan that stands in front of the Cintas Center, and of the Chancellor James E. Hoff, S.J., statue, which is being placed in front of the student dining center that also carries Hoff’s name.
But the University isn’t the only one keeping Tsuchiya busy. While he was working on the Hoff statue at the University’s physical plant building, Tsuchiya started collaborating with the Cincinnati Reds to make four statues for the Great American Ball Park, which opens next year. Since he was still working on projects for Xavier, he remained at the physical plant site to work on the statues for the Reds. The four former players being immortalized are Ted Kluszewski (1947-57), Ernie Lombardi (1932-41), Joe Nuxhall (1944-60, ’62, ’63-66) and Frank Robinson (1956-65). The players, who were chosen by the fans, spent their entire Reds career playing at Crosley Field.
And now they’ll play again, only this time on Crosley Terrace inside the new stadium. When fans step onto the terrace they’ll see Nuxhall pitching to Lombardi with Robinson at bat and Kluszewski on deck. “They’re right on the ground so fans can interact with them and go up and get their pictures taken with them,” says Tsuchiya “Also, it gives the impression that you’ve just stepped into the middle of a game.”
A Cincinnati native, Tsuchiya grew up a Reds fan and remembers drawing players like Tom Seaver and Johnny Bench when he was a kid. He says he looked to books and game footage to inspire his pieces. One fact he learned, and incorporated into his work, was how Kluszewski used to rip the sleeves off his uniform to show off his huge arms.
Another way Tsuchiya ensured accuracy was having Nuxhall look at the model he made of him. “It was a thrill and honor to meet him. I’ve been familiar with him as the Reds announcer since I was a kid,” says Tsuchiya. “He was pleased with what he saw. All he did was correct one of the arms a little bit.”
As for being a Bearcat in Musketeer territory, Tsuchiya says, “I’m a house guest here. I’m very thankful to Xavier for cooperating with me on this project. It’s a nice place to work and the Xavier community has been very supportive.”
Students no longer have to rely on praying to St. Jude—patron saint of desperate situations—when final exams roll around. Now they simply have their brains blessed by one of the Jesuits on campus. Near the end of each semester, students are invited to Bellarmine Chapel for a brief, nondenominational service in which they receive individual brain blessings. They also receive a stress ball in the shape of a brain.
The first blessed event was held during the 2001 spring semester. It was the brainchild of Brockman Hall director Angie Kneflin, who planned on it being a one-time event. Student demand, though, caused her to bring it back. Now, with the help of campus ministry, she plans to continue it each semester and make it a tradition.
“It lets the students get a start on finals with a positive attitude,” she says. “I want students to come and see faculty there and think, ‘Yes, these are the people giving me finals, but they’re here to support me as well.’ ”
By day, Dennis Stewart is the CEO of Partnership in Youth, a nonprofit organization that helps at-risk youth. By night, the 1969 graduate transforms into a radio disc jockey for WCSU (88.9FM). And that’s when things get cool, real cool.
Stewart is one half of the “Kool and Hot” jazz show that airs every Friday night on Central State University’s radio station in Wilberforce, Ohio. While he’s the “kool” element of the show— spinning classics the likes of Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye—his co-host, Ernest Lee, plays the “hot” new sounds such as neo-soul, pop music that has roots in Motown and urban rhythm and blues formats.
“It’s a show that crosses generations and cultures,” says Stewart. “Here I am, a Catholic white guy in his 50s, and my co-host is an African-American student who’s Islamic. The show’s theme is to use music as a format to discuss differences and similarities across age and race.”
Diversity also plays a role in his job at Partnership in Youth. “We have Catholics, Baptists, Muslims and Buddhists. Although all of these staff members have their own beliefs, the common values of forgiveness, nonjudgment, humility, hope and faith are powerful tools for change. Since the youth and families that we work with are very diverse, it is important that our staff and board have diversity of culture and backgrounds.”
Hope Stephan completed a master’s degree in business administration last year with plans of becoming publisher of a small newspaper. She got a little more than she bargained for, though, when she was hired by the Punxsutawney Spirit. Now, she’s not only putting out a newspaper, she’s keeper of the legend of Punxsutawney Phil, that famous weather-predicting groundhog.
The legend that now rests in her hands dates back to the late 1800s, when bands of good ol’ boys, including the newspaper’s editor, tromped into the woods each year to hunt groundhog and drink “groundhog punch.” They poured some down the gullet of the “seer of seers,” which, they claimed, extended its life indefinitely. The good ol’ editor, Clymer Freas, began publishing exaggerated stories about the groundhog’s weather prognostications, and the tradition continues today. “We’re still working with the original groundhog here,” Stephan says with complete seriousness. Uh huh. What is serious, though, is the business. In her first season with Phil, she saw the tiny mining and logging town of 6,000 residents absorb a record 41,000 visitors for the annual trek to Gobbler’s Knob, where fireworks heralded Phil’s 7:25 a.m. appearance on Feb. 2. This year, Stephan had the six-day-a-week paper, which normally publishes 5,200 copies, publish a special promotional edition by noon that day, carrying the official prediction. It sold 2,000 copies.
It’s all in good fun, and about the only identity Punxsutawney, Pa., has. “Phil is taken very seriously and this town knows it would be in a sorrier state if not for the holiday,” she says. “It’s meant to be fun. If you couldn’t have fun with this, you don’t belong here.”