The Main Event: The Wooden Tradition

More than 600 alumni jumped at the chance to trade in long lines at the shopping malls for prime seats at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis during the Wooden Tradition, an exclusive four-team men’s basketball tournament the weekend after Thanksgiving. The term “courtside seats” took on new meaning for the former Musketeers as they poured into a floor-level club room before the game. The venue offered a sports bar atmosphere—with Converse shoe centerpieces on each table—and exclusive views of the team and cheerleaders filing out of the tunnels. Tickets in hand, the group then formed its own cheering section in the arena, where the Musketeers took on—but lost to—Indiana University.

“The best part of road trips and away games is going beforehand and seeing all our alumni out and about,” says Matt Tripepi, assistant director for alumni chapters. “It’s kind of like a home away from home whenever you’re on the road for a game and you know there will be Xavier people there.”

For information about upcoming events, visit the national alumni association web site at www.xavier.edu/alumni, or call 800 344-4698.

The Longest Year

A white banner with three blue stars hangs in the front window of Mary Staun’s Cincinnati home. One star for each of her three children. The 1972 Edgecliff graduate, who earned a master’s in education in 2002, endured about 12 weeks when all three of her children—and a son-in-law—were stationed in Iraq. Her youngest child is still there.

William went in October 2002 as an Army tank gunner and participated in the attack on Baghdad. He suffered a severed artery in his arm when his gun exploded but returned to the front lines after four days. Her son-in-law, Mack Sutton, shipped out in January 2003. And in February, her oldest daughter, Rosemarie, joined him.

They all returned during the summer and were home for Christmas. But her youngest, Peggy, began a one-year deployment in March. Staun did not want them all there at once, but they wouldn’t let her petition the government to keep some of them at home. So she “put it in the hands of the Lord.”

Take Two

Apparently, Xavier students can’t get too much of a good thing. The new philanthropy program, which allows professors and their students to give away $4,000 to non-profit agencies, is growing. Last spring, students from four classes gave away $16,000 in grants to local agencies, as reported in the fall 2003 issue. This spring, Cincinnati philanthropist Roger Grein, who funded the first round, is adding enough money for two more classes. Six classes now hand out $24,000.

Signs of Success

It’s the top of the ninth inning, the game is tied and all eyes are on home plate. Well, almost all eyes. In the dugout, sandwiched between major leaguers, sits Anthony Ales, a 1999 sport management graduate. His eyes are on the rotating sign boards behind home plate. Ales works for Dorna USA, and his job is to attend games and rotate the advertisements on every sign wrapping the stadium’s interior.

As a summer intern for Dorna in his hometown of Chicago, Ales applied for the job of sign operator for the Cincinnati Reds and the University of Cincinnati games—even though he was only a sophomore.

He soon found himself traveling the country and rubbing elbows with some of the biggest-name athletes in professional sports.

Now the Midwest region manager for Dorna, Ales has been to all 50 states.

“I’m a sports freak. It’s tough to be in the sports business with the long hours and whatnot, but it’s ultimately a dream industry.”

Shelved

A few days before Christmas, a box arrived at the University’s McDonald Library. It came on a wing and prayer, with no return address. Its contents: a book and a confession.

“Nearly twenty years ago, I stole this book from MacDonald (sic) Library. It was stupid and selfish, and at this Christmas season, I want to return this book to where it rightfully belongs. I apologize for my action and regret it.”

The old red book, The Psalms In Latin and English, was long gone and forgotten. The library’s catalog system was electronically upgraded from the paper system used when the book was heisted, and the title was never entered into the computers. Therefore, it was no longer included among the hundreds of thousands of titles in the library’s system.

So it was a surprise to librarian Alison Morgan when she opened the box and found the book. The note was unsigned, so, obviously, the offending borrower doesn’t want to be known. If the person was an undergraduate student then, he would be in his early 40s now. “Maybe he’s having a midlife crisis,” Morgan says.

Normally, fines for overdue books are 10 cents a day. Over the course of 20 years that amounts to $730. Those books not returned within a set time, though, are listed as missing, and the library’s charge for a lost book is $60.

“I was very surprised, pleasantly,” Morgan says. “It was kind of neat. I thought it was amazing that he or she took the time to return the book, and for us to get it back.”

She said it will be entered into the system and returned to the shelves.

Reaching the Summit

University facilities manager Bob Sheeran got the call while out to dinner on a Friday night. “They’re coming,” he was told. He knew exactly what those words meant. By early Saturday morning, Jan. 24, Sheeran had a crew inside the University’s new Alumni Center renovating two large empty spaces to make room for a new crop of students—high school students from nearby Summit Country Day School, a private college preparatory school. Part of their school building collapsed, and Xavier donated space for them to use for the rest of the year.

The University spent five days preparing the building for the 350 students—more than a third the size of a typical freshman class. Other classrooms across campus had to be freed up, identification cards made, cars permitted, maps handed out, meals arranged, and computers and phones hooked up.

It was one Catholic institution helping out another. Xavier is donating the space rent-free, but Summit is paying for the improvements. Summit students, meanwhile, are getting a dose of campus exposure, with talks from faculty, experience in college-level science labs and use of the library. It gives new meaning to the term “college prep.”

Pearling for Preemies

About 80 premature babies are born each month at the hospital in Gallipolis, Ohio, and many more at another hospital in neighboring Charleston, W.Va. The babies are a long way from Xavier but very close to the hearts of about eight University employees.

Every Monday at noon, eight women gather in the basement of Alter Hall to stitch, pearl, hook and sew tiny pastel-colored caps that fit snugly on the little ones’ heads. As they work, the women, who humorously refer to themselves as the Happy Hookers, eat and talk about their children, grandchildren—and the women’s basketball team. As more people hear about the charity effort, more sign on to help.

Since they first gathered around Christmas 2002, the group has mailed nearly 500 caps to the Appalachian region, where the premature birth rate is high.

“These are preemie babies,” says Evelyn Brannen, the curriculum specialist in the registrar’s office who founded the group. “Some are buried in these outfits, but some are fortunate to survive. It’s comforting to know we are doing something.”

Visit the Happy Hookers online at www.xavier.edu/angelthreads.

Parental Interest: Trading Spaces

When their children enroll at Xavier, some parents don’t even know the parents’ executive council exists. But parents on the executive council, which helps oversee the 20-member parents’ advisory council, are not only making a commitment to their students’ education, but to hundreds of fellow Xavier parents as well. They each serve a three-year term—a year as vice president, one as president and one as acting past-president—working with Dianne Fisk, director for parent and constituent relations, to be a direct line of communication between parents and the University.

So in February when Fisk said goodbye to outgoing members Matt and Diana Habash, it was a bittersweet step in the cycle that keeps the executive council working effectively. “We only meet twice a year as a group, so it’s very helpful to have that executive council, because we meet more often—four or five times a year,” says Fisk. “It keeps us on track.”

Stepping in as acting past-presidents are Tricia and Larry Kluener; as presidents are Beverly and Jim Broestl; and as vice presidents are newcomers Mary Ellen and Bernie Pappas. For more information, visitwww.xavier.edu/parents.

Oh! Kosovo

It was the challenge of a lifetime. Professor of management and entrepreneurship Art Shriberg, an authority on diversity, is helping officials in Kosovo build diversity and gender equity into the former Communist country. No small task in a land torn apart by religious and ethnic wars.

“Everything from language to lifestyle is up for grabs,” says Shriberg. “They have a history of abusing women.”

In October, he held workshops on enforcing laws in villages where abusive husbands are rarely prosecuted. The officials are ready for the change, he says, but not the people. He’s returning this spring to take his training into the communities.

New Explorers

Since graduating in 1994 with a biology degree, Dave Shurna has leapt around the world—Panama, India, Guatemala, Mexico, Nepal, Africa. But Peru, home of the Amazon and the vanishing rain forest, truly stole his heart. Inspired by a new-found love of environmental issues, Shurna wanted to share his passion and knowledge with ecologically minded kids. So he created a non-profit travel business to send kids all over the world. He received a $300,000 grant from the Walton Foundation this year, and now his Global Explorers business is planning trips to exotic locales for high school teachers and students. Trip leaders include college professors who are experts in particular regions. “Our goal is to tap into the hearts and minds of young people and teach them the world belongs to all of us,” Shurna says, “and their role as global citizens is to make a positive difference.”