The Candy Man

Easter comes early in the candy business. So on Sept. 11, 2001, Patrick Zachary, executive vice-president of Zachary Confections, already was looking forward to the following spring. And like many Americans, as the horror of the terrorist attacks unfolded, the stunned Zachary felt the urge to do something positive for the families of the victims. So the 1994 graduate decided to use some resources from his family-owned company to do just that.

The plan he hatched was built on crates of marshmallow Easter eggs, and one of the results is the Zachary Confections Memorial Scholarship, an endowed scholarship aimed first and foremost at young people directly or indirectly affected by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

To understand how Zachary was able to put all this together, you have to understand something about Zachary Confections. The general-line candy company produces 35 million pounds of candy each year—everything from old-fashioned candy corn and Mello-crème pumpkins to chocolate hearts and Cupids, cherry cordials, marshmallow Santas, chocolate-covered raisins and peanuts, and everything in between. With national distribution, the products from the company’s 250,000 square-foot Frankfort, Ind., factory find their way to the shelves of merchandising giants like Wal-Mart, Meijer, Kerr Drug, Ace Hardware and Walgreens.

“This isn’t your mother’s candy kitchen,” Zachary says.

One of the firm’s most popular items is an egg crate decorated with Easter graphics and packed with marshmallow eggs.

“Each year we sell millions of boxes of egg crates in just a couple months,” Zachary says. “So we decided that we were going to donate some of the proceeds to helping the families of victims.”

But the company principals wanted to be respectful. They wanted to avoid the barest suggestion of selling their product on the coattails of tragedy. So without a word to their clients, they quietly placed an insert in each egg crate, thanking those who bought the candy and informing them that a portion of the proceeds would go toward helping the families.

“We came up with $100,000,” Zachary says. “Half of that money went to the Twin Towers Orphans Fund. We had another $50,000 that we were wondering what to do with.”

At this point Zachary decided to visit an old friend—University Chancellor James E. Hoff, S.J., who presided over Zachary’s 1997 wedding to 1995 graduate Kathleen Suehr.

“I told him we had this money set aside and—knowing that we have a pretty good alumni base on the East Coast in New York and New Jersey—I said, ‘Is this something that we could do at Xavier?’ ” Zachary says. “He said, ‘Yeah, I think that would be great.’ ”

With Hoff’s support, Zachary took his case to Jim Jackson, the University’s director for development. Realizing that they wanted the scholarship to continue in perpetuity—and that at some point even the youngest children who lost parents in the attacks would grow beyond college age—the pair decided to omit any direct reference to Sept. 11 from the fund’s name. They also agreed that while those affected by the tragedy will get first preference, in the absence of such candidates the scholarship will be awarded on the basis of need.

Jackson says the scholarship, which was implemented this past summer, will be marketed through alumni chapters in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as through recruiting materials and other admission efforts.

Zachary says it’s important for his company to give something back to American families. “And personally, it’s important to me to do something to help someone in need attend a university that not only helped me in my business career, but helped shape my life through the Jesuit experience,” he says.

Remembering a Legend

Ned Wulk, who coached the men’s basketball team from 1951-1957, died in November in Tempe, Ariz., at the age of 83.

Wulk began his college coaching career at Xavier, compiling an 89-70 record in six years and earning election into the University’s athletic hall of fame.

Wulk was first hired at the University as a freshman football and basketball coach, varsity baseball coach, physical education teacher and intramural director, and was then hired as an assistant coach for the varsity basketball team. One week before practice started in 1951, the head coach left, and Wulk was hired to take his place on an interim basis.

During his tenure at Xavier, he led the team to its first-ever National Invitation Tournament appearance in 1956 and back to the NIT in 1957. He then turned the team over to Jim McCafferty—who took the team to the 1958 NIT Championship—to become coach at Arizona State University. There, he coached for 15 years and won 406 games. In 1999, ASU named its arena floor “Ned Wulk Court.”

Off the court, Wulk was president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 1978, chairman of the NABC’s All-American committee, member of the Basketball Hall of Fame board, and an appointee to the U.S. Collegiate Sports Council and the U.S. Olympic Basketball Committee.

Now That’s Fan Appreciation

It pays to attend Xavier women’s basketball games. Just ask Patricia Jenkins-Smith. The Cincinnati resident won two free airline tickets to anywhere in the continental United States courtesy of Delta Airlines and four free season tickets to next year’s home games simply by attending a game.

Before the home game against St. Joseph’s University on Friday, Jan. 16, the University announced the team had drawn 97,653 fans since the team started playing in the Cintas Center three years ago, and it would reward its 100,000th fan through the turnstile the tickets. In walked Jenkins-Smith.

Net Gains

The women’s tennis team needs to break out the record books and sharpen its pencils, because some rewriting is in the works this season. Senior Kate Weightman and junior Lauren Clary are both on pace to shatter the record for most career wins in singles competition. Entering the spring season, Weightman had 75 total wins and Clary had 70 wins. The record is 79 wins.

Both are also prolific doubles players—sometimes teaming with each other. Weightman has 65 career doubles wins and Clary 61. Both are also as strong in the classroom as on the court. Weightman has earned honors on the Atlantic 10 commissioner’s academic honor roll, while Clary—who won both A-10 performer of the year and rookie of the year awards as a freshman—was named the A-10 women’s tennis scholar-athlete of the year last season.

But the records may not last long. Clary’s sister, Kristen, is a sophomore and already has 43 wins.

All Fore! One

The All for One Club is hosting its first-ever golf outing on Monday, Aug. 30. Xavier trustee Joe Rippe reserved the Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati for the event. The club raises funds specifically for the benefit of the University’s athletic programs. To reserve a foursome, call AFO director Dan Cloran at 513 745-1031 or e-mail him at cloran@xavier.edu.

Inside the Game

Two hours before the Xavier men’s basketball team takes on La Salle University, Joe Sunderman walks into the Cintas Center and steps onto the court. It’s quiet. There are no fans and no players yet, only a few arena workers mingling about. It’s a scene few get to see, but one Sunderman knows well.

He walks over to the visitor’s bench, takes a seat and looks around at the surroundings. Xavier basketball, he says, has come a long way. He, arguably more than anyone, would know. For the last 29 years, Sunderman has spent his winters with the Xavier basketball team—five as a player and 24 as the team’s broadcaster—making him the person most closely associated with the program for the longest period of time. Sunderman played in 99 games as a player and, entering the 2003-2004 season, broadcast another 702, making him directly involved in 41 percent of the 1,944 basketball games the University has played dating back to the sport’s first season in 1919.

It’s been a long road, but one easily traveled, he says. “How lucky can I be?” he says.

As the players start appearing on the court for warm-ups, Sunderman unfolds his 6-foot-9 frame from the folding chairs, grabs his briefcase and heads toward the media room. He pulls out a digital tape recorder and patiently waits until head coach Thad Matta sticks his head in the door and gives a nod that it’s time to do the pregame radio segment. At 6:30 p.m., the nod comes. Matta likes to do the show as close to game time as possible.

With Matta’s comments fully encoded, Sunderman walks out to his courtside seat in the middle of press row and finishes his game preparations. He digs through his briefcase and emerges with a tattered file folder stuffed with notes. Among the papers are two laminated cards, one reading 700WLW and the other 55KRC, that help him remember which station the game’s being broadcast on. Because Xavier and its crosstown competition are both carried by the same station, the Musketeers get bounced to another station if both teams play at the same time.

He pulls out two large sheets filled up with the names and numbers of each team’s players, each written in a different color marker. The folder is filled with other items that stay filed for now, including a piece of paper with a basketball court drawn on it and names attached to various spots—top of the key, near baseline, far baseline, right elbow, left elbow. There’s also a lengthy sheet with catchy phrases he’s picked up over the years, such as “rips the cords” for a basket.

He digs more into the folder in search of one more item, another laminated card that reads “Time and score.” He sets that on the table. When he first started doing the play-by-play, he asked Mark Wagner, a longtime friend who now sits next to him during the games and feeds him stats, for feedback. The time and score are really all people want to know, Wagner said. The point was driven home by former coach Pete Gillan’s wife, who once said she wished Sunderman would give the time and score more often. So the card is now a fixture in front of him during games.

Typically, the transition from athlete to broadcaster seems all too easy—the knowledge of the game and capacity for insider information are there—but the communication skills are usually lacking and all too often the experiment fails. For Sunderman, that hasn’t been the case. Broadcasting came inexplicably easy.

Bill Meredith, who broadcast Xavier games during Sunderman’s playing days, asked him on several occasions to go with him and do color for the high school game of the week. Sunderman finally relented.

“Joe’s on his way to one of those high school games and he calls me and asks me to listen if I get a chance,” says Wagner. “Growing up, Joe was always very quiet—never said much, always respectful of people, treated everyone the same, nobody was better than anyone else. And he’s still that way. But I turn on the radio and my first reaction was, ‘Who’s this guy?’ It was amazing. He was a natural.”

When Bob Staak was hired as the Musketeers’ coach, he wanted a former Xavier player to do the color commentary, and an alumnus, Paul Olding, heard the games Sunderman did and recommended him.

“It wasn’t something I naturally wanted to do,” says Sunderman, “but I thought it would be a good experience. What surprised me is how much I enjoyed it.”

Over the years, Sunderman’s been the lone constant through a stream of broadcast partners—Bill Sorrell, Dale McMillan, Red Pitcher, Andy MacWilliams. And in the case of MacWilliams, he was also the calming influence.

“We were doing a game against Detroit in 1995,” says MacWilliams. “It was Xavier’s last season in the MCC, and Michael Hawkins was bringing the ball up the court, and one of the Detroit guys grabbed him by the jersey. It seemed like an obvious intentional foul to me, so I jumped up out of my chair and started screaming about how the officials had to make that call. Joe grabbed me and pulled me down and tried to be the rational one. It was a real role reversal because it’s usually the former player who is the excitable one.”

The next game, former director for athletics Jeff Fogelson had a seat belt installed on MacWilliams’ chair.

If Sunderman’s career has had a low point, it’s that his entry into doing the play-by-play was borne of tragedy. MacWilliams was stricken with abductor spasmatic dystonia, a neurological disorder that causes the voice to fade. During a game against St. Louis University, MacWilliams’ voice faded completely, and Sunderman was forced to do play-by-play for the second half. “It was a tough way to get into it,” he says.

At the end of the season, Sunderman was given the opportunity to take over. “My intention was to do this until Andy Mac came back.” That was six years ago.

Doing analysis was easy, he says, because you’re just reacting to the play and discussing basketball. Doing play-by-play, though, requires a lot more preparation beforehand, something he’s had to make adjustments for because he also has a fulltime job with Interior Supply, selling building products to architects and contractors.

“Fortunately, the nature of my other job is flexible and allows me to do this,” he says. “It gets busy. There really aren’t any days off, but it’s something I wanted to do, and I’ve worked into my lifestyle.”

That’s a pattern for Sunderman. After graduating from LaSalle High School on Cincinnati’s west side in 1973, he signed on to play at Xavier. He describes himself as “a hack,” but was good enough to start—and smart enough to take advantage of his scholarship. After sitting out one year because of knee surgery and part of another because of a broken thumb suffered when his car slid on some snow and crashed into a train near campus, he spent his off time studying. The result was earning his bachelor’s degree in business and his master’s of business administration in the same year.

He simply shrugs at the accomplishment.

“The time is there if you organize yourself,” he says. “Most of the classes were at night and it’s something I wanted to accomplish.”

The same holds true for juggling dual careers. It’s not the hours you put in—it’s what you put into the hours. And if you love doing it, it’s easy.

“And I do love doing this,” he says.

Smoothing the Way

This fall, the University hired Molly Maher as assistant director for student success and retention to help improve an office that’s already set the bar high. More than 89 percent of last year’s freshmen returned as sophomores—the national average is 65 percent. But Adrian Schiess, director for student success and retention, wants to carry that one step further by offering upperclassmen the same support services given to freshmen. The ultimate goal, he says, is to boost overall retention figures and ultimately raise the University’s already strong graduation rate.

Maher is focusing her energies on sophomores, juniors and seniors, keying in on the problems they face and working to find solutions.

Healing Wounds

Ann Marie Tracey, the longtime Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge who now teaches business law and ethics at the University, was appointed by the Cincinnati Archdiocese to the three-member panel that will distribute $3 million in funds to victims of sexual abuse by priests. The Archdiocese pleaded no contest to abuse charges in court in November 2003.

“This is a healing and reconciling process that the Archdiocese is undertaking at a difficult time, and I am eager to be a part of that,” says Tracey, a lifelong Catholic.

She believes she was chosen because of her experience evaluating evidence and making decisions. For many, the funds are the only resolution, because their abuse happened so long ago.

“My understanding is for the bulk of the victims, it’s too late to file in court because of the statute of limitations,” she says. “This panel goes beyond a legal solution. It’s more of a moral solution.”

Business Moves

The Williams College of Business is aggressively positioning itself within the Cincinnati business community. New dean Ali Malekzadeh is setting up a board of executive advisors within each of the college’s departments, holding classes in the conference rooms of area businesses, and creating a new program in which sophomore business students are being paired with executives for mentoring.

Mentors are more commonly linked with those who are closer to entering the job market, but Malekzadeh wants to start earlier.

“These are only sophomores, so the mentors know they’re going to be somewhat unpolished,” says Sarah Mock, director for the college’s co-op program. “It’s not like they’re looking for an intern to hire. It’s more like they’re taking a ball of clay and helping mold it. They’re there to advise, coach, encourage.”

The executives are asked to take the students to lunch and a professional meeting, let them shadow them for a day, critique a résumé and stay in contact with them.

Anyone interested in mentoring can call Mock at 513 745-4869.

Creativity at Work

Samantha Huffman was skeptical. The 30-year-old M.B.A. student, a quality assurance supervisor at Consolidated Metal Products in Cincinnati, signed up for Melissa Baucus’ creativity and innovation class. But she wasn’t convinced creativity could be taught, let alone transferred to the day-to-day realities of her job. So she adopted a wait-and-see attitude, remaining open to—but not necessarily expecting—something special that might change her way of thinking.

Skepticism like Huffman’s is common among pragmatic business students, says Baucus, an associate professor in the University’s entrepreneurial center. But changing the way people think is what creativity and innovation are all about.

“Part of my job is to get students to understand that most of them are creative,” Baucus says. “But a lot of what we’ve done in the education process has taught them not to use that.”

Now, however, the burgeoning global economy and increased competition have made creative thinking a prized commodity, and educational approaches are changing.

“Corporations need people who can come up with creative solutions,” says Baucus. “They’ve got to have continuous innovation, and so we’ve got to go back and try to teach people to do that.”

And any skepticism aside, students have been quick to embrace the idea. Ed VonderBrink, director for the entrepreneurial center, credits the class with helping ignite interest in the new entrepreneurship minor. In fact, a second section recently was added to accommodate 13 newly declared minors.

“It’s very different, particularly for business majors,” he says. “It’s not a disciplined, left-side-of-the-brain class. There are no rules.”

To help students make that leap beyond the comforts of the known, Baucus focuses on both individual creativity and creativity within organizations, teaching students to think in creative ways and providing them with a number of tools and techniques to help them carry their ideas further. She’s developed an expanding series of exercises, some of which are geared toward making students more observant, while others, like improvisational theater or freeze tag, make students stretch themselves into new areas.

Huffman’s personal breakthrough came midway through the course during an exercise called “tiny truths.”

“It’s an exercise where you stare at a picture for 10 minutes,” she says. “You try to clear your mind of everything else and focus on what you’re looking at. I have a puzzle that I put together of van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night,’ so I used that. Anyway, I’m about six or seven minutes into it, and just when I’m about to say ‘Forget this,’ the whole painting shifted. What had formerly been in the background came to the foreground. It was the most bizarre experience. All the little white spots that aren’t normally visible in the painting were in the very forefront. It amazed me so much I called Melissa immediately. Honestly, it just blew my mind. And I think it was because of all the skepticism I had built up.”

In the final analysis, Baucus says, students need to understand that creativity goes beyond good ideas—it’s an actual process that can be used.

“The class should get people thinking, ‘How would I actually use this?’ ” she says. “I’ve had students develop the concept for a business. I’ve had students develop products they want to try to patent. And some of the best projects have been by students who work and did projects within their organizations.”

Huffman falls into this last group. Faced with convincing Consolidated Metal’s employees to buy into a series of new, tougher quality and safety regulations, she created an incentive program based on accumulating points that can be turned into gift certificates.

“We’ve given away over $12,000 worth of merchandise,” she says. “People are enthusiastic, and they’re believing in their company. It’s been very exciting. And I can largely credit Melissa. Through the class, she really helped me to re-evaluate what was important and focus on that. It certainly put a new spin on things.”