Parental Interest

Living in Birmingham, Ala., makes it a challenge for Mike and Vivian Bonamy to keep up with their daughter, MaryRose, a senior. The distance can be a true divider. But even parents who live closer to campus face similar challenges, so Dianne Fisk, director for parent relations, stepped in and created a new line of communications: ParentsXtra, a bright, colorful newsletter written with parents in mind.

 

The newsletter comes out three times a year and covers such topics as tuition and fees, student life, health and counseling and learning assistance.

 

“Xavier has gone a cut above most universities in bringing parents into the mix,” says Mike Bonamy. “The newsletter does the one thing it’s supposed to do-it puts something into the hands of parents that focuses on things that matter to them.”

 

For more information about ParentsXtra, contact the office of parent relations at 513 745-4266, 800 344-4698, ext. 4266, or e-mail to xuparents@xavier.edu.

Ignatian Spirituality

Howard Gray, S.J., is assistant to the president for mission at John Carroll University and founding director of Ignatian spirituality at Boston College. He spoke on campus recently about Jesuit identity. Here are his thoughts.

I hear frequently from alumni who say that today’s Jesuit education isn’t the same as that which they experienced. Whenever I hear this complaint, I reply, “If it’s Jesuit education, it should change.” It should never be just the repetition of what has been said before.

Because we are finding God in all things, we give God the freedom to reveal through all kinds of new realities like mass media, like emerging cultures, like a new generation of students. To freeze one period of history and to claim that this is the tradition we should maintain is wrong. In some ways, that’s the nadir of Jesuit educational process.

Certainly the weakest theology we taught was in the period of 1940 to 1960. It was all too frequently catechism instruction with more notes. Later, especially in the light of Vatican II, college theology became more infused with its biblical, ecumenical and interreligious heritage, with its need to engage and not merely critique contemporary culture.

Sometimes we older folks can bear nostalgia for the days when answers were more uniform, when problems were simpler, when being clear and assertive made an answer “the right one.” We would like to return to the times when a certain policing of vices made us all think that we were virtuous because we were being closely watched.

But this kind of uniformity was not really characteristic of the Society of Jesus. One of the important principles of Ignatian spirituality is adaptation, i.e., allowing the gospel and the rhythm of the Spiritual Exercises to meet where the individual is. You do not impose them. You work with congruence to the personality in front of you.

The Exercises are not a program to be engineered but a pilgrimage that accepts the differences and graces of individuals, believing that God respects both the individuality of people and their unique freedom. You can only love even God with the one heart that God gave you. Unfortunately the Spiritual Exercises and the spirituality that they engendered were sometimes presented in a monolithic way, which destroyed the vibrant principle of adaptation.

So when people tell me that “we” are not what we used to be—the Society of Jesus, Jesuit colleges or universities, a retreat house, the Jesuit formation program—I respond that we are now probably closer to the Ignatian way of proceeding than at any other time in our modern history.

I do not say this with any lack of gratitude for the great Jesuits who were my teachers and mentors. I say it with esteem for the willingness the contemporary Society of Jesus has to make itself and its works renewed in the charism of its founder.

Branching Out

Fifty years ago, Jesuit priests in Roman collars walked the campus, working as the primary faculty and serving as an outward sign of the Catholicity of the University. Students were required to attend Mass and at least one spiritual retreat a year. They were handed cards, and if they weren’t stamped with proof of their attendance by the end of the year, they risked not being able to graduate. It was a different era.

Today, the “Jesuit Tradition” banners hanging along the academic mall and the striking gilded sculpture of Ignatius Loyola standing behind Bellarmine Chapel provide symbolic, outward signs of the University’s Catholic, Jesuit identity. But Mass and retreats are no longer required of students, and seeing a priest in a collar on campus is a rarity. Dressed in sport coats and, occasionally, ties, they’re hard to distinguish from other faculty.

“Some alumni’s experience of theology here was 18 credit hours of
reading Thomas Aquinas,” says department of theology chair William
Madges. “Things have changed a lot.”

Yes, Aquinas is still around, along with Christianity’s other great
thinkers, prayers and doers, including Jesuit founder Ignatius
Loyola. But as the Catholic Church opened up to the world during the
past 40 years, the Catholic university’s approach to serving the
faith has opened up, too. Xavier is no exception.

“Catholicism is experienced in different ways, at different places in
the University,” says Madges. “You have to look not only at what
happens in theology, but also what happens in literature or
philosophy courses and what happens in campus ministry.”

Indeed, the information once contained in a mandatory class or two is
now spread to courses throughout the curriculum. And, says Madges,
it’s reasonable to expect students to graduate with an even deeper
understanding of Catholicism than they would have received before.
For students to not be exposed to this information, he says, they
would need to painstakingly select certain theology classes,
carefully avoid literature and the moral imagination courses that
deal with Catholic themes, never participate in the many
opportunities for worship, avoid all of the student-run retreats, and
have nothing to do with the Dorothy Day house and programs for peace
and justice.

“You’d have to work pretty hard at avoiding it,” he says.

And even if a student tried, he still might not be able to elude it
entirely, as faith-growing opportunities abound. Within the
curriculum, at least three theology courses are required. All
undergraduate students take a theological foundations course that
explores the nature of theology as a disciplined reflection. Students
must choose a course from the areas of scripture, Church history or
systematics and another course in the area of ethics or religion and
culture. One student might take courses that emphasize Catholic
theology. Another student might take courses that have more to do
with other religions, as about 30 percent of the student population
today is not Catholic, a major change from the past.

“The student has an awful lot of say in what he or she takes in
theology,” says Madges. “We respect our students’ ability to choose.”

Does that freedom take away from the University’s Catholic character?
Madges says plenty of courses teaching Catholic doctrine are offered,
but in the mix of the broader theological field. He quotes recent
Catholic teaching, both from Vatican II and from Pope John Paul II’s
curia, on the role of the university that supports this approach.

“Catholic theological education today is dialogical,” Madges says.
“In the past it was monological.”

 

Ignatius Loyola would be “jumping up and down” with joy knowing that
today’s Xavier students are putting their head knowledge together
with experience, says Klein-that they are developing spiritually
outside the classroom as much as in it.

“Here we are shaping these students who are going to be leaders. We
want them to be intellectually clear, but we also want them to be
morally astute, to have a sense of God.”

And they are, says campus ministry director Chris Potter-Wroblewski.
Mass attendance by students is at a 15-year high, she says, with
about 1,000 students attending on a typical Sunday. Xavier students
are not unlike other Catholic students today, she says. “This
generation of students tends to describe themselves as more spiritual
than religious.” But they see their Catholic faith as a foundation,
she adds.

Campus ministry offers no less than 13 different retreats, and the
600 students who attend them annually represent another all-time
high, she says. There are the 18 Koinonia groups, through which about
180 students meet weekly to share, discuss and pray over significant
issues of their lives. Social service involvement is booming on
campus. And a growing part of the faith-dialogue is a program for
students to study-and serve-in a Third World mission situation. Study
semesters are offered in Nicaragua, Nepal and Cincinnati’s
Over-the-Rhine, where students take courses while experiencing and
reflecting on the situation of the poor.

“One notable difference among students of this generation,” says
Potter-Wroblewski, “is that they are willing to put their faith into
action.”

Much of what’s different at the University can be traced not only to
changes brought about by Vatican II in the 1960s and society in
general, but to a pivotal General Congregation of the Society of
Jesus in 1974 as well, says Klein. This Congregation-only the 32nd in
nearly 500 years of Jesuit history-was called to assess the order’s
priorities in a rapidly changing Church and world. Led by the
visionary Jesuit General Superior Pedro Arrupe, Jesuit
representatives from around the world followed the Ignatian directive
to reflect on their experience.

“The experience of Jesuits behind the Second World, behind the Iron
Curtain, where the faith was oppressed, and in the Third World, where
there is such injustice, deeply influenced that Congregation,” says
Klein.

The result was a groundbreaking document, “Faith in the Service of
Justice,” that has been working its way through Jesuit institutions
everywhere for almost three decades. The Congregation, Klein
explains, “said that everything that was to happen through the good
services of the Society of Jesus was to be the service of faith, of
which the promotion of justice is an absolutely necessary
concomitant.”

Klein has led the effort to implement this vision. “Now Jesuit
identity is a pretty hot issue around the University.”

With a growing University and a decreasing number of Jesuits, “the
board of trustees has faced the fact that ultimately they are
responsible for the University’s Jesuit identity.”

Because faculty and staff establish and maintain the learning culture
for students, one key tack has been faculty and staff development. In
1986, the University started programs that help faculty and staff
understand Ignatian spirituality and educational ideals. There is an
orientation program for newcomers and continuing education for
everyone else.

A newer program, unique to the University, goes by the acronym
AFMIX: Assuring the Future of Mission and Identity at Xavier. This
voluntary two-year program for faculty and staff trains lay people to
continue the Jesuit traditions once carried out by priests. The
second class graduates in April, extending the number of trained
employees on campus to 60.

“Those programs have done a great deal to alert everyone that this is
a Jesuit school,” says Klein.

The trappings of Catholic identity may not be as obvious as they once
were, but the University is as Catholic as ever.

John Bookser Feister holds master’s degrees in humanities
and theology from Xavier. He is founding editor of American
Catholic.org, the web site of the St. Anthony Messenger Press

Answering the Call

The Hamilton County Communications Center is quiet. For now. It’s 9:00 p.m., the parking lot is far from full and the glass-fronted lobby is empty. Inside, Chris Ferguson, Bob George, Larry Babel and about a dozen others sit quietly in a large, cream-colored room baffled with beige curtains. A few are on the phone. Others just sit. And wait.

“When you think about it,” says Babel, “we sit here and wait for something ugly to happen.”

Something ugly usually happens, too. When it does, Ferguson, George and Babel are the first line of defense. The trio are the anonymous voices on the other end of the phone who receive the 911 calls and then dispatch reports to about 40 police, fire and medical agencies throughout the southwestern Ohio county. About 75,000 calls ring through the dispatch center annually.

“We’re the guys no one sees or hears or knows about,” Ferguson says. “Nobody knows what we do or how we do it. They just know we’re here if they call.”

In an era when police, firefighters and other emergency workers have become national heroes, 911 dispatchers—a critical cog in the emergency-response wheel—have gone largely unnoticed. Like most in their line of work, though, Ferguson, George and Babel have long since gotten used to the anonymity of their jobs. Still, there’s a touch of pride in their voices when they talk about the importance of their work and the kind of people it takes to do it.

“It does require a special kind of person,” says Babel, a 21-year dispatch veteran who’s now a watch commander. “People don’t call here when things are going well. And ours is a dead-end business. Newer people struggle with that sometimes. Police and firemen have the ability to interact and make things positive out of a situation. Closure to us is dispatching units to the scene.”

By comparison, Ferguson is a relative newcomer, starting four and a half years ago. A 1991 communications major, Ferguson began with six months of training in which he learned how to operate the computers, run searches, answer the phones, make radio dispatches, sharpen his knowledge of area geography, and memorize a laundry list of police, fire and EMS signals.

He has been on the 6:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. power shift for the past three years, working four days on—two days answering phones and two days at the dispatch radio—then two days off. That translates into lots of weekends and holidays working at a job that can lull you to sleep one minute, then test the limits of your psychological endurance the next.

“The best part of it is when you legitimately get to help somebody who needs help,” he says. “The most frustrating thing is when somebody dies.”

As might be expected, different people handle the demands differently. Some exercise, some go out together after work, some use humor, some rely on faith. For extremely rough situations, such as lengthy, emotional calls involving a death, the county offers counseling via a critical incident stress management program.

If there’s such a thing as the perfect dispatcher personality, Ferguson’s vote goes to George, a 1978 graduate. A quiet, devout man with a calm, reassuring demeanor on and off the phone, the 15-year veteran tries to remain philosophical in all situations. But it can be tough. He’s still bothered by a recent incident when he took a call from a mother whose infant daughter wasn’t breathing. George read her the infant CPR instructions. The child revived for a time, but died later at the hospital.

“Sometimes you don’t know God’s will,” he says. “You try not to let it get to you, but you don’t want to be impersonal to it. You try to treat these people as if it’s your family calling in. What if it was me, you know?”

Fortunately, the job also has its lighter moments. George, for instance, once got a frantic call from a man who had a bee fly up his shorts. And Ferguson remembers a call from a lady who dialed 911 to request a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call.

“You’re going to be there anyway, aren’t you?” she asked.

Then there was the caller who demanded to see the police because, she claimed, a pizza chain delivered the wrong pizza and charged her too much for it. In polite terms, Ferguson informed the woman that hers was not an emergency situation.

“She was a little irate,” he says. But most important of all, there are the triumphs when childbirth instructions read over the phone bring a baby into the world or when the CPR instructions save a life. Ferguson recalls such a save. A man called, saying his wife wasn’t breathing. Ferguson walked the man through CPR, and the woman survived.

“It brought a smile to my face,” he says. “That made me think ‘It’s worth doing it.’ ”

Ultimately, Ferguson says, being a dispatcher is sort of an extension of the Jesuit service mission emphasized back in college. George agrees.

“I’ve never really looked at this job as ‘I’m doing this for the money,’ ” he says. “You do it for the service.”

An Army of One

Simon Leis strolls easily down the maze of hallways in the 1,400-bed county jail. The taps on his shiny black shoes click with each step he takes, echoing off the concrete walls and metal bars.

He’s leading an entourage of administrators, all dressed like him in dark suits and ties, on a surprise inspection. And he is clearly in charge. Looking for cleanliness, he’s pleased with what he sees, and only once leans over to pick up a tiny scrap of paper. As he strolls, he proudly points out improvements to the showers and takes a moment to greet a gray-and-white striped inmate mopping an already gleaming floor. Leis jokes they knew he was coming.

Corrections officers, their fit physiques dressed in pressed uniforms, snap salutes as he approaches each locked door. Prisoners watch as he goes by. As sheriff of Ohio’s Hamilton County, Leis is the man responsible for putting each one of them where they are—behind bars. He seems unfazed and unafraid.

The sidewalk on Elm Street slants slightly downhill as it approaches
Fourth Street on its path toward the Ohio River. It’s one of
downtown’s least traveled retail corridors. But one store is open,
identified by a distinguished-looking sign with old English
lettering: Hustler.

Named after the pornographic magazine and publishing empire that made
founder Larry Flynt rich and infamous, the store is what you’d expect
of Flynt, but not what you’d expect of conservative Cincinnati. But
here it is, in black and white-and red and green and purple and blue.
Cards, candles, boas, body oils, books, magazines and eye-popping
adult toys. A sign above the card rack reads, “Relax. It’s just sex.”
Yet another hanging over shelves of X-rated videos is a
warning-you’re being videotaped. But the material somehow feels
stale. The people shopping here slightly sleazy. The subject matter
shocking, yet laughable. And definitely overpriced.

But the fact that Hustler has an address in downtown Cincinnati is
noteworthy in that it’s all that remains of the 30-year battle waged
by Leis against those who would sell faceless adult-oriented material
in Hamilton County. The proprietors, however, would say Hustler’s
existence is proof they prevailed.

“I have a nice little store that’s very profitable, and I’m leaving
well enough alone,” says Jimmy Flynt, brother of Larry and owner of
the Cincinnati store and another in a neighboring county. “Was it a
victory for us? I think so, because there’s adult products sold in
Cincinnati.”

For years, it wasn’t that way, though. Strip clubs were closed.
Bookstores were banished. Playboy couldn’t be purchased. Over time,
though, the community standards that kept the laws enforced relaxed.
But Leis never did. He tried to prosecute the singer of a rap song
because he thought the lyrics were obscene. When a suburban hotel was
caught dispensing X-rated videos from a vending machine, Leis filed
criminal charges against the owners-a horrified Southern Baptist
Conference-even though conference officials immediately eliminated
the machine and the prosecutor dropped the case.

Such actions caused trouble with many, including all three
prosecutors who succeeded him. Leis, who places a high value on
loyalty, was always mystified when their interpretations of the law
didn’t mesh with his.

“I believe in the Marine Corps credo-semper fi-always faithful,” Leis says.
But he also earned their respect.

“He is so Marine,” says Phil Burress, founder of the anti-porn group
Citizens for Community Values. “The man is Mr. Cincinnati and always
will be, and he’s my hero. The man simply does his job, which is a
rare breed among prosecutors today.”

“I think there’s a lot of porn peddlers who are afraid to come here
because of him,” says

Joe Deters, a former Hamilton County prosecutor and now Ohio
treasurer. “Flynt came in saying he would have a showdown on
obscenity and we went after
him. They agreed never to sell any movie in Hamilton County ever
again. And now he’s gone.

I would suggest to you his Elm Street store is just a matter of pride.”
“What I like about Si is you can actually joke with him,” says Lou
Sirkin, the First Amendment lawyer who has represented the Flynts and
many others against Leis. “He doesn’t get ticked off or take it
personally. In the past, I have subpoenaed him, and he’s never shown
a sense of outrage for me doing that.”
Even Jimmy Flynt, after years of legal fights and lawyers’ fees,
appreciates Leis’ unquestioning belief in the law.

“You could say whatever you want about Simon, but he has been
consistent in the 30 years I’ve known him. He’s very committed in his
views, his values, his morals, and he hasn’t wavered or been caught
up by the press or politics, and I have respect for people who have
opinions and stick with them.”

Then Flynt tosses Leis a zinger.

“I think he’s probably done more for the adult industry than any
single person in America because of the national attention he gave
Larry Flynt. Simon has been more responsible for the success of Larry
Flynt and Hustler than any other person.”

 

The crusade against immorality actually began with Leis’ father,
Simon Leis Sr., who turned it into a career. He served as a special
prosecutor, traveling with bodyguards around Ohio busting organized
crime. He went on to serve as judge and assistant prosecutor, railing
against dirty magazines and movies, gaining headlines along the way.
A Cincinnati Enquirer headline declares: “Leis Lashes Out At Smut
Sellers.” It could have been today, but it was actually 1958-45 years
ago.

The young Simon relished the dinner table conversations about his
father’s exploits, not realizing his own career path was being laid
out for him by his father’s moral warnings and his own Catholic
upbringing.
“He was very much like his dad, a very strong person,” says William
McClain, a former Cincinnati city solicitor who gave the young Leis
his first job. “When you’re a prosecutor or judge, you have to make
difficult decisions, and you cannot be swayed by what public opinion
is but what you think is right, and Si always did what he thought was
right. Si has held to his old-fashioned morality.”

His Marine Corps spit-and-polish boot camp management style, while
efficient, has also caused him problems. He’s sued the national
Democratic and Republican parties over money, fought tooth and nail
with unions and raided a citizens’ computer bulletin board that
sparked a class-action lawsuit. His latest endeavor is to track down
kiddie porn, and for that he gets everyone’s applause.

“He is human, he’s not larger-than-life and is truly a very kind
man,” says Robert Cornwell of the Buckeye State Sheriff’s
Association. “And that’s what many people don’t see-the other side of
Simon Leis.”

That other side of Leis is fed by the memory of the accidental death
of his first child, a boy, at age 2 1/2. Simon III, nicknamed Trey,
stood up in a shopping cart while his dad, his hand on the cart,
looked through the shelves of a grocery store. The toddler fell out,
hit his head and was rushed to the hospital, where doctors drilled
holes in his skull to drain the gathering fluid.
“I said to my dad, ‘If he’s going to be an invalid all his life, I
hope the Lord takes him.’ And the Lord took him,” Leis says.

It’s a side of Simon Leis that is rarely seen, kept close to the
heart and allowed out only at special moments-at the bedside of a
seriously injured deputy, or the funeral of a murdered little girl.

Leis and his wife, Margery, had three more children, all girls. But
the incident had a lasting effect on the young father, contributing
to his zeal to enforce the law.

“He was a beautiful boy,” Leis says. “He had blond hair and blue eyes
and a perfect little body. I totally believe he was born to become an
angel. It had a lot to do with my moral values and my lack of
tolerance of mediocrity. The best way to describe it is when you
recognize the fact that little boy lost his life, and then you see
people who aren’t dedicated to what they should be doing.”

Leis, however, is dedicated. Since his appointment as sheriff in
1987, he has whipped the office into shape-literally and
figuratively-and proved how aggressive drug investigations can
generate a fortune for cash-strapped departments. The way he’s
managed his drug forfeiture fund has earned him a national reputation
with the purchases of helicopters, patrol boats, a motorcycle unit,
an underwater rescue team, an armored personnel carrier, and a drum
and bagpipe corps that plays around the state. Some observers quip
he’s built himself an army. Or a Marine Corps.

“He is very well thought of by other sheriffs in Ohio. He doesn’t
demand respect, he commands it by the way he carries himself and by
the initiatives in place at his office,” Cornwell says, referring to
Leis’s weight and physical fitness standards.

Leis himself stays equally as fit, rising daily at 4:00 a.m. to work out.
Says Leis: “No long hair, no fat boys.”

 

Lately, local pundits are pondering the future of the sheriff’s
department, and Cincinnati’s moral signature, as Leis, now 68,
approaches retirement. The Republican Party offered a replacement
candidate for next year’s elections, but Leis cut them short when he
announced he intends to run. He will be 74 when that four-year term
ends.

“I had thought about retiring, but I’m still in great shape and I
enjoy the job. So why not?”

The question is, will he continue the staunch anti-smut legacy his
father started? Or have more tolerant social attitudes caused him to
mellow? “The problem now is, I can’t get a prosecutor to prosecute
cases. I’d be more vigilant if I could.”

When he was prosecutor, Leis says, he loved the power of being able
to set the level of law enforcement in the county. It was his
favorite job. But, he says, it’s harder to find violators today
because “they’re allowed to sell soft porn.” Still, true to his
convictions, Leis created a regional computer task force that’s busy
sniffing out illegal porn as well as a variety of other high-tech
crimes.

Could Simon Leis take on Flynt and Hustler again? Could there be a
round three? There’s a good chance, especially if Hustler keeps
selling videos at its downtown store in violation of the 1999 court
settlement.

“I would absolutely go after Flynt again,” Leis says.

And if reelected in 2004, as he has four times already, there’s a
good chance he will.

The Sounds of Life

It’s a cold, blustery Friday afternoon in January, and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is all but empty. Apart from the friendly face at the gate and a few straggling golf carts manned by zoo workers, the popular attraction lacks any outward signs of activity.

Inside the zoo’s Manatee Springs exhibit, though, it’s all business. Biology professor Charles Grossman and an interdisciplinary research team from the University are spread about, taking advantage of one of the few times the exhibit isn’t packed with people. Some huddle on a catwalk behind a case of electronic gear. Others wait in the viewing area in front of giant windows.

Together, they’re performing some of the most unlikely research at the University—marine biology. Despite being situated 15 hours from the Florida coast, the team is trying to find a way to preserve the world’s manatees, whose population has dwindled to endangered levels in recent years.

The number of these gentle giants has plunged as a result of the proliferation of Jet Skis and motorboats. Last year, a record-high 95 Florida manatees were killed after being run over by boats, according to Allison McDonald, spokesperson for the Florida Marine Institute. That number translates to about 31 percent of the state’s total reported manatee deaths for the year—a record-high percentage for boat-related deaths.

What can be done about this tragedy?

Enter the University.

 

“The problem is this,” says Grossman. “Manatees don’t appear to hear the engines of boats. It appears that there’s some kind of an acoustic shadow generated by the boat so the sound can’t reach the front. There’s also an effect where low-frequency sounds are not projected properly on the surface.”

Add to that the fact that manatees feed on the surface, move slowly, can be hard to see in the water and are drawn to shallow areas by a taste for sea grass, and you have a recipe for carnage.

Grossman and his team—physics professor Steve Herbert, WVXU engineer Jeff Johnson, support technician Dan Bellman, mathematics professor Dave Flaspohler and six senior biology students—believe the solution may lie in mounting a sound beacon on the front of boats to warn the manatees.

So the researchers hooked up a pair of hydrophones—small speaker/transducers of the type once used to listen for Russian submarine activity—rented from the United States Navy with a tone generator/amplifier/digital recording unit built by Johnson. They pipe a variety of sounds into the manatees’ 120,000-gallon tank, hoping to find a frequency, or series of frequencies, that irritates the manatees enough to make them move away from the sound source.

While the sounds are being piped in, others observe and record every move made by the zoo’s two 1,500-pound manatees, Douglas and Stoneman.

“We put one hydrophone in one end of the tank and one in the other end,” Herbert says. “Then we switch back and forth at random.”

Watching the team at work, it’s clear that the project has taken on a life of its own. There’s no small irony in that, considering the study really didn’t start out to be a University project at all. About two years ago, Grossman’s daughter, Stephanie, was looking for a topic for her high school senior project. Father and daughter attended a talk on the plight of the manatees, and Stephanie, who was working at the zoo part time, decided she wanted to see how the animals responded to various frequencies.

They found an early champion in Terri Roth, the zoo’s vice president of animal sciences, who guided their proposal through the various zoo committees. But because manatees are an endangered species, federal approval was also necessary. And there, the process bogged down. Officials in Washington, D.C., wanted a sound engineer on the project, so Herbert came aboard. Then, officials stipulated an acoustical engineer was needed. Enter WVXU’s Johnson. Along the way, Bellman signed on to videotape the research sessions. Flaspohler recently joined the project as a statistician.

Federal approval finally came in June 2001, a full 18 months after the Grossmans’ initial proposal. By then, Stephanie had graduated from high school. Her father, however, decided to carry on the study as a senior research project for University biology students. And in September, team members began visiting Stoneman and Douglas.

At the outset, they spent much of their time unraveling manatee behavior with the help of Manatee Springs’ head keeper Eric Todd.

“I’m not a behaviorist by training,” says Grossman. “I’m primarily a bench scientist. I had this naive idea that you’d turn on a sound and if they didn’t like it, they’d run away. They don’t do that. They have all kinds of odd behaviors and you have to learn them.”

The team’s persistence paid off, though. In mid-November, the researchers began to see some results. Douglas and Stoneman seemed to respond best to multiple tones—two alternating notes similar to a British police siren.

But, Grossman says, there are plenty of unanswered questions. For example, the manatees respond to these tones, but only for about 15 minutes. Then they simply quit. Are they bored? Are they blocking the sounds? Are these really the best frequencies? And how will all of this translate to manatees in the wild?

 

To get a better handle on these issues, the team modified its approach at the beginning of this semester.

“Two hours is too long,” Grossman says. “We’re going to need some shorter runs during the days of the week instead of once a week to get sufficient data. This is what happens in research. You don’t know what to expect, you review the data and then change what you’re doing to get maximum response.”

At this point, no one can predict how long it may take the team to get the information they need. But Grossman wants to continue the project into the summer, and once the researchers gather sufficient data, he plans to apply for grants to fund ongoing research. Along the way, he hopes to involve more students from more disciplines.

“The more the merrier,” he says.

The afternoon’s last testing session is drawing to a close. Out in the viewing area, a high-pitched sound is barely audible through the glass. At first the manatees seem curious, turning to face the sound and even moving slightly toward it. Then Stoneman moves in the opposite direction, going into a series of graceful barrel rolls, two and then three—a maneuver that indicates he’s agitated. And Douglas retreats and flattens himself on a rock on the bottom of the tank, also a sign that the sound is having a desired effect. The team members are low-key, but happy.

As he pulls on his coat, Grossman reflects on the project and the cooperation the team has gotten from zoo personnel.

“Who’d have thought there’d be manatee research in Cincinnati?” he asks with a touch of wonder in his voice. “We’re not exactly near the ocean, you know.”

Profile: Pat Kreke

X Days | Earned his degree in three years while playing for the Musketeer baseball team.

Working Days | Kreke began teaching at Fenwick after graduating and is now in his 24th year at the school. He taught physical education and health until four years ago when he was named the school’s athletic director.

Glory Days | He coached the school’s baseball team to the state championship in 1981 and to the final four in 1982. As an assistant coach on the basketball team, he helped the team to the 1982 state title. As the head basketball coach, he led the team to two league titles and the final eight in 2001.

Hall Monitor | In the 1980s, he volunteered in the oncology ward at Children’s Hospital. “I would play with the kids or take them out of their rooms to give their mom or dad a break,” he says. One of the children he met was Leigha Hall, a little girl who needed a bone marrow transplant. Kreke decided to get tested to see if he could help her. He wasn’t a match, but three years ago, he was notified that he was a potential donor for a 1-year-old boy with leukemia.

Matched Set | After a series of tests, he was picked to be the donor. “It was just an overnight stay in the hospital. They take the marrow from a bone in your hip. There’s very little pain. As much good as bone marrow does, it’s a very simple process for the donor.”

Opportunity Knocks Again | His friends Pat and John English have an adopted son, Marc, who was born with only one kidney. Last spring, Marc went into renal failure and Kreke had himself tested to see if he could donate one of his kidneys. He matched and donated.

Health Benefits | Both recipients are doing fine today. So is Hall, who eventually got her transplant as well. While Kreke has seen Marc recover, he’s yet to meet the little boy with leukemia, who lives in Canada. Kreke asked to meet the family, but is waiting to see if they’ll agree. “That’s what makes this exciting, the chance to meet some day,” he says. “Just that feeling that you had something to do with someone’s recovery. It’s an exciting feeling.”

New Attitude | “I think that any time you do something that affects somebody else, it helps you with your outlook on life.”

Game Notes | “As a coach, your whole life revolves around the game. But it is just a game and you realize how lucky people have it if they’ve been blessed with good health.”

Profile: Louis Terhar

Big Chief | Terhar came out of retirement in July to take over the Indian Motorcycle Co., which is headquartered near San Francisco. “Somebody found me,” he says. “I didn’t want to go to California, but they really wanted me to look at this opportunity. I did, and here I am.”

Back to the Future | Indian was the country’s first and premier motorcycle manufacturer, supplying police departments and the military through WWII. Its bikes even have a left-hand throttle so riders can shoot with their right hand. It lost market share and went out of business in 1953. It was resurrected in 1999 and now has sales of $100 million.

The Price of Desire | Indian is replacing Harley-Davidson as the trendy motorcycle, according to The New York Times. The company now has three lines of bikes, which sell for upward of $25,000.

Easy Riders | Some riders of Indian’s new motorcycles: Peter Fonda, George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenneger, Billy Joel and Mike Ditka. Roads Traveled | Prior to taking over Indian, Terhar was president of the David J. Joseph Co., a $1.1 billion steel processing and transportation firm in Cincinnati, and director of European operations for Black & Decker.

Gray Matters | Terhar retired early and started working on his third master’s degree “to keep my brain cells alive.” Two of his classes were taught by University President Michael J. Graham, S.J. “We were talking one day and I told him that teaching was something I always wanted to do. He said he thought I would be a great teacher, but I needed to teach business not history.”

Class Act | Terhar began teaching the “global business strategy” class to executive M.B.A. students—the program’s capstone course. He still returns to Cincinnati on weekends to teach.

Family Studies | While he was teaching, his wife, Debra, was busy earning a master’s degree in education, and his son, Evan, was earning a bachelor’s degree at Xavier. They graduated together on the same day in 2001.

Profile: James D. Ott

Flying High | Ott went to cover the Farnborough Air Show in London in July and flew home with the Bombardier prize for best story on the airline business. His report in Aviation Week & Space Technology was about the impact of Sept. 11 on airport design projects. His entry was then judged best of show, earning him the Aerospace Journalist of the Year title and $3,000.

The Waypoint | As a child, Ott fell in love with flying and writing. He earned his first byline at age 16 writing for the Cincinnati Enquirer. He was hired as a full-time reporter while in college.

In the Blood | “My grandfather was a reporter, and I was always attracted to the stories. I can remember the first ones I ever read. In my sophomore English class, they treated us to adventurous stories.”

Taking Off | His career got a boost in 1978 after Congress voted to deregulate the airline industry and allow airlines to set their own destinations and fares. Working as a copy editor at the Baltimore Sun, he landed a job for Aviation Week covering the deregulation.

New Vistas | His work opened up the world for him. He’s flown on the Concorde and went to Africa when Pan American Airlines began service to what was then the Dark Continent.

Grounded | His career ran into some turbulence when the youngest of his five sons, who has cerebral palsy, turned 14 in 1994. Ott quit his job and moved the family back home to Kentucky so he could better care for him.

Accomplished | Ott still works on contract for the magazine from his Crescent Springs, Ky., home, but also writes for Business Week and is quoted by National Public Radio as an airline industry expert. He also wrote a book about jets in 1993, one about the airline industry in 1995 and a history of the Covington, Ky., Archdiocese last year.

The Pilot in Me | “Aviation has always been a great love. When I was 18, I took my first flight. I just thought I was floating.” He took two flight lessons—one in the 1960s and one in the ’70s—but family responsibilities kept him from obtaining a pilot’s license.

Poetic License | “To be a good pilot, you have to be a poet and a mechanic, and I’m not much of a mechanic. I wish I could have learned to fly. But I’m 64, so it’s kind of passed now.”

Profile: Cynthia J. Alby

Old Times | She was previously chair of the department of education at Macon State College, while simultaneously teaching Latin and Greek culture and supervising student teachers at the University of Georgia.

Fun Times | “I think I’m just an extremely curious person. Learning is so enjoyable to me that anything involving learning more about something is my idea of fun. I wasn’t at the top of my high school class, and I’m not sure I had a real passion for learning back then. I give most of the credit to my professors at Xavier.”

Spare Times | She also raises guide dogs for the blind.

Going To The Dogs | Some friends who work with blind people told her she would be good at training the dogs. “I thought, ‘I could have a dog at work with me.’ So I applied. They checked me out, taught me what I need to know and soon I had a dog at the office.”

Pricey Pooch | The dogs, all Labrador retrievers, are worth about $10,000 each after they’re trained.

The Dogfather | Her first dog carried a classic Italian Mafia name: Don Ciccio. “He was just the sweetest thing ever,” she says. When she taught, he went into classrooms and would lie on the floor and sleep or chew on a bone.

Double Exposure | Taking the dog to work and having it around students, she says, not only helps the dog, but promotes the concept of inclusion of all people, even those with disabilities.

Educating Rover | She works with the dog about 10 minutes a day, teaching it commands. The dog goes with her everywhere, though, and she exposes it to as many different, and scary, situations as possible: airports, buses, crowds.

No Dogs Allowed | Sometimes, business owners object, but most people are helpful. The dogs wear a vest identifying the organization, and she carries a card to show nervous owners.

Dog Day | The hardest part is ending the training after 18 months. “Saying goodbye to Don Ciccio was really hard. When I saw that van coming, I burst into tears. But he’s just a happy dog. I told him to get into the van. He had no idea. He’s a dog that loves to serve. I picture him changing someone’s life, leading a blind person, and I feel so much pride.”

New Pup | She recently got a new 8-week-old puppy, a female yellow lab named Fiesta.