Presidential Performance

On Tuesday, May 4, department of music faculty member Dawn Stone sang a selection of show tunes and patriotic songs for a crowd of more than 2,500 people gathered in Lebanon, Ohio, to greet the arrival of President George W. Bush. The president’s eight-bus caravan stopped in Lebanon before continuing on to a campaign rally at the Cincinnati Gardens in Bond Hill.

Stone, along with pianist Jay Mills, performed 30 minutes of music at the Golden Lamb Inn where President Bush met with supporters, including U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, whose grandparents own the historic restaurant and inn. “It was a really exciting day—Lebanon was so beautiful,” said Stone, who changed the words from the Showboat tune, “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” to “Can’t Help Votin’ Republican.”

Bush was the 12th president to visit the Golden Lamb, but the first sitting one. “I’m proud to be the first sitting president to visit here…Actually, I’m a standing president right now,” he said, speaking from a podium. Bush arrived at 2:00 p.m., too late to hear Stone’s performance, but they exchanged greetings before he entered the Golden Lamb to meet with the restaurant’s kitchen staff.

Stone regularly entertains at the Lincoln Day Dinner, a Republican fundraiser, and was tapped by Warren County Commissioner Pat South to perform during the president’s visit. “I’ve sung on Broadway and throughout Europe, but this was the most exciting thing I’ve ever done,” Stone said.

Closing a Circle

Kenneth Francis Sieve died in 1982, much too soon for his then-12-year-old son David. As the years went by, David, now a major in the U.S. Air Force, found himself wanting more details of his dad’s life. So last year, when he came across his dad’s Xavier mug, David decided to act. In December, he contacted Kevin Garry, director for alumni chapters for the national alumni association.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time with my father due to his passing,” Sieve says, “but he always talked proudly and fondly of Xavier. The University definitely left an impression on my father and how he lived his life.”

Garry went to work. He did some research and found a Kenneth F. Sieve listed with the class of 1957. He then made several calls, including one to 1956 graduate Joseph Bunker. Unbelievably, Bunker and Sieve had been best friends—Sieve was even in Bunker’s wedding. Bunker asked Garry to have David give him a call, and the two men spoke for 90 minutes. “This was one of the most precious moments of my life,” Davidsays. “Mr. Bunker was as emotional as I was. His kind words sealed the deal—I know my father was truly one of a kind.

I’m proud to be his son. I hope I make him proud.”

Cloning Around

When little Nemo’s dad sinks to the darkest depths of the ocean in the Disney movie “Finding Nemo,” he comes fin to fang with one scary-looking character—an angler fish. With its oversized jaws, big eyes and mangled teeth, the angler is one of the strangest fish on the planet. But to biology professor Dottie Engle, it also makes for riveting research, especially the flashlight dangling from the antenna on its head.

Engle and her students spend their days in the biology lab cloning the DNA from the bacteria that cause angler fish antennae to glow.

“I never had any idea I would be doing cloning,” says senior William Penn. “My friends look at me with a very odd face. They think I’m joking.”

But it’s no joke. All biology and natural science majors practice cloning the bioluminescent genes from the phosphorescent bacteria that light up the ocean at night. Some of them use those techniques to clone genes from other organisms such as the fungus aspergillus for their senior research projects. But the fact that cells from the angler fish glow in the dark makes a successful cloning job that much more tantalizing. Students can see their results glowing in a petri dish. The energy in the bacteria makes the cells shimmer like faint stars.

But cloning in the biology lab is not like cloning Dolly the sheep. “A clone is a group of cells derived from a single starting cell and have identical DNA,” Engle says. “True cloning—growing a new organism from a single cell—doesn’t exist in mammals.”

Cloning in the lab is making copies of a particular gene for further study. Engle’s students learn the process of isolating cells in test tubes, extracting and purifying the DNA, then growing new DNA. The process takes several days, but in the end, after viewing their glowing results, they have learned the basic processes of setting up substances for further research such as gene sequencing or mapping to isolate genes, including those that cause disease in humans.

¡Vota!

In the hard light of a March afternoon, the dusty TransNica tour bus pulls into a tiny village on the border of El Salvador. The 14-hour trip from Managua, Nicaragua, has had a numbing effect—the constant hum of the road; the endless dying vegetation of Central America’s dry season; the breakdown of the bus and the wait in the morning heat for its replacement. And now it comes down to this dingy little town littered with refuse, populated by squat buildings, shotgun-toting border guards, locals on bicycles, a few ramshackle food booths and the occasional stray goat.

Irene Hodgson, assistant Dan Marschner and a weary delegation made up of nine Xavier students and University photographer Greg Rust are heading into El Salvador to serve as observers in the country’s upcoming national elections. But here in no-man’s-land, there are problems. Certain elements in El Salvador’s political structure are trying to keep out the observers. Hodgson, a professor of modern languages, begins negotiations. The students wait, sitting in whatever shade is available, some napping on their backpacks. The air hangs heavy with the smell of exhaust from idling buses. Four hours later, after numerous phone calls and some bartering with another bus company, the group is finally allowed to continue its journey.

Nicaraguan service learning semesters have been part of the University’s educational fabric since 1995. But in 1999 and again this year, the students have taken a brief detour to monitor the Salvadoran elections, which are on a five-year schedule. Hodgson has led both trips, which are aimed both at helping create a climate favorable for fair elections and providing students with a valuable learning experience.

“There’s a lot of participation for my students when there are U.S. elections,” she says. “But I think you learn by looking at the process in another country, you learn a lot of things about your own system that you might never see if you didn’t do something like that.”

The students arrive in El Salvador’s capital city, San Salvador, four days before the elections to get acclimated to the country and its culture. They are met by Matt Eisen, a 1995 graduate who lives in the country and works among some of the poorest, most troubled elements of Salvadoran society. During the group’s 10-day stay, Eisen serves as a guide and provides social and historical insight.

Like all Central American countries, El Salvador is poor—60 percent of the population earns just $2 a day; more than half of the money coming into the country is sent by Salvadorans living abroad. Yet San Salvador offers the students a visible contrast to their two months in Managua.

“El Salvador’s a lot hipper than Nicaragua,” says David Cicerchi, a sophomore political science major. “It’s a lot more developed. They have a new highway system, and a lot more Burger Kings and McDonald’s and all that stuff.” They also have a Radisson Inn where the group meets to collect their election credentials—badges carrying the logo “Tribunal Supremo Electoral.”

Although four parties are on the ballot, the elections are billed as a showdown between the incumbent ARENA, a right-wing party favoring free trade and privatization of national industry, and FMLN, a left-wing, anti-free-trade group focusing more on education and housing issues. Some suggest violence is a likelihood by the losing party, so Hodgson makes arrangements for the group to leave before dawn on the morning after the elections and spend a day and a half camping, swimming and visiting sites in the mountains four hours away.

It’s election day, and sophomore Kevin Fitzgerald rises at 4:00 a.m. to the dark heat of the Salvadoran morning. The philosophy, politics and the public major hurries to get ready, then heads to one of two polling places staffed by the delegation. The polls are basic—a series of tables and cardboard voting booths set up at a local school. Outside, walls are covered with placards bearing the names, photos and identification numbers of those eligible to vote. When the doors open at 7:00 a.m., hundreds of people pour in. It’s chaotic at first, people rushing around. It takes a few minutes, but Fitzgerald finds himself relaxing into his role. “To watch over 35-, 40-year-old men and women doing their own electoral process is a little intimidating at first,” he says. “But then when you think about the millions of people who are hoping for fair elections and relying on you, it gives you a little bit more energy—the idea that the one voice the people can have is strengthened by you being there.”

Three times during the day, the students fill out sheets detailing their observances. El Salvador has a semi-literate population, so the ballot is simply four pictures—the flags of the parties. Voters use a black crayon and place an “X” on the flag of their choice. After voting, they dip a finger in a dish of indelible ink to show they cast their ballot.

“It is really amazing to see how many people are out there to vote,” Fitzgerald says. “There are 36 or so tables, and at the end of the day almost every table had an 80-percent turnout vote. In the United States, we get 30 to 40 percent.” The elections run smoothly, although a number of students note the lack of voting privacy. “People can pass behind the person voting and easily see who they’re voting for,” says Joe Hall, a sophomore honors major.

At 5:00 p.m., the polls close. Chaos reigns again. The students are instructed to be the most vigilant now because a lot can happen. They stand in front of a table and watch as the box is opened and every vote counted, slowly and cautiously. People dressed in red, white and blue for ARENA, and red and white for FMLN mingle nearby. Tensions are high.

Ultimately, the elections end with a fizzle instead of the predicted bang. The final tally isn’t close at all: 60 percent for ARENA, 35 percent for FMLN. The other two parties each fail to get 3 percent of the vote, and thus are excluded from future elections, leaving El Salvador with a two-party system. And while some people blare car horns and shoot off fireworks, violence is minor—the students see none.

The following night is calm and clear, the sky blanketed with stars—perfect for camping in the mountains. The elections are past, and the delegation aims to spend another five days absorbing the culture and history of the country. By March 28, the group is back in Managua, ready to resume the final month of service learning.

But the impressions that remain are both powerful and thought provoking. Julia Matson, a junior psychology and art major, says the election process itself appeared fair. But she is troubled by reports that some voters were coerced into voting for ARENA under the threat of losing their jobs.

Fitzgerald says the experience energized him to become involved in the American voting process. “Being 20 years old, I haven’t been able to vote in a presidential election yet,” he says. “And walking away, it really made me feel a little proud of democracy and the fact that my vote does matter. It’s really given me a lot more courage and energy to go and vote in the upcoming election. I’m pretty excited about that.”

That excitement , Hodgson says, is important. “The trip really gives the students an insight into the political process, both in our own country and in other countries,” she says. “This time, it was interesting to me to find out that several of the students had never voted. And I think they will now.”

Sweet.

A Magic Season
The Xavier men’s basketball team’s remarkable rise to the top this season began, of all places, at the bottom. The amazing run that culminated in the most successful season in Xavier history started not on the mountain of past successes or even the level ground of a new season, but in a place much lower-the dark hole of mediocrity.

Eighteen games into the season, the team was shoulder-deep in a self-dug pit of nothingness. They had just been blown out by 21 points by George Washington University, a team they hadn’t lost to in three seasons. It was the team’s fourth loss in five games and what members of the team would later deem an embarrassment to the University. With the toughest stretch of the schedule ahead of them, the team-and the season-was in jeopardy of imploding.

And it sent senior guard Lionel Chalmers over the edge.

As the team stumbled into the locker room, Chalmers exploded. He kicked chairs. He punched lockers. He screamed and shouted.

“I just kind of went off” he says. “I lost it a little bit.”

Facing the end of his college basketball career, he wasn’t going to allow himself to go out like this or break the tradition of winning the University was known for. He was the point guard. This was his team. He challenged everyone to step it up.

They did. The team would lose its next game to the University of Dayton, but it found itself in the process. It lost just one other regular season game and stole the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament title by winning four games in four days, something no other A-10 team and only eight other teams in NCAA history had done before. And it handed No. 1-ranked St. Joe’s its first loss of the season-a 20-point blowout.

“We had a feeling there wasn’t a team in the country that we couldn’t beat, but we had to prove it,” says sophomore guard Dedrick Finn. “That game proved it.”

Having won 13 of its last 14 games, Xavier earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament-an accomplishment that wasn’t even a dream six weeks earlier-as one of the hottest teams in the country. Its task was daunting. But not impossible. One by one, the Musketeers knocked off whomever was placed before them-Louisville, Mississippi State, Texas. The only team that kept them out of the Final Four was Duke, and barely.

Could they have won? Should they have won? It doesn’t matter. What matters is what was learned, what was accomplished and what can be gained.

It was a storied season for the fans, who got the thrill of a lifetime. It was a storied season for the University, which was placed in the national spotlight. And it was a storied season for 14 players who discovered who they were in a locker room back in January-a team. “I couldn’t have drawn things up any better,” says Chalmers. “We made a wonderful run. We really did.”

Just-In Kindness

It was unexpected and unsolicited. A letter. It arrived on the desk of University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., shortly after the men’s basketball team returned from its NCAA Tournament appearance in Atlanta. While it was just one of dozens of letters that he received regarding the team, this one stood out because it detailed an encounter between a fan and Justin Cage, one of the team’s players.

Jim Collins IV and his wife, CeeCee, are season ticket holders and occasionally follow the team on road games. Excited over the team’s appearance in the Sweet 16, the Collins’ took their children, Cameron, 7, and Calvert, 6, to the tournament. On Saturday, they noticed Cage sitting in the hotel lobby with his family. The kids approached him and asked if he would autograph a hat.

What came next was a surprise to everyone. It was unexpected and unsolicited. An offer. Cage not only signed the hat, he volunteered to take it and have it signed by the rest of the team. The kids were stunned. He took their names and room number and promised to return it to the family fully signed-as if he didn’t have enough to do to get ready to play against Duke.

It was past 11:00 p.m. by the time Cage finished with the team dinner and meetings and was able to return the hat. Unfortunately, says Collins, the children were asleep. More unfortunately, he adds, was that Cage wasn’t able to see the look on their faces when they woke up and saw the cap.

“Christmas in March in Atlanta,” he says. “We certainly enjoy and appreciate the winning ways of the 2003-2004 men’s basketball team. We are more appreciative and impressed with Justin Cage and the young men that Coach Matta is helping to produce.”

The full letter can be read on the Xavier magazine web site, www.xavier.edu/magazine.

ESPN 

“No team had a bumpier road than Xavier. To have to face Louisville, Mississippi State, Texas and Duke-and play well enough to win each of those games-is remarkable. Compare Xavier’s slate to that of UConn, Duke, Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State. It is hard to argue that Xavier didn’t play as tough a tourney schedule, and almost as well, as any team in the Final Four.”

The New York Times “With many underclassmen leaving teams early for the pros, and some high school seniors skipping college altogether, a senior-laden starting lineup has become a rarity in college basketball. Chalmers and Sato represent an envied chemistry, one that has helped conferences like the Atlantic 10 make a national impact.”

The Chicago Tribute From a story about which of the Sweet 16 teams had the most fashionable uniforms:

“Although Texas earns points for the scale of its numbers to its lettering, its blandness was its undoing against Xavier’s bold design. And, as one judge said, ‘I like that X.’ ”

The Washington Post “Of the 16 teams still in contention for the NCAA championship, only four-Duke, Kansas, Vanderbilt and Xavier-posted graduation rates of 50 percent or better in men’s basketball, according to the latest graduation data issued by the NCAA.”

Did You Know? 

Xavier has been in the NCAA Tournament 15 times in the last 22 years. Only 13 teams have been there more often.

In the past five years, only seven schools have sent a men’s and women’s team to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament: UConn, Duke, Oklahoma, Purdue, Texas, Stanford and Xavier.

Xavier’s Elite Eight game against Duke earned an 8.6 television rating and an 18 share, the highest ratings in that time slot since 1999.

Xavier has won at least 26 games in each of the last three years. Only three other teams have won that many: Duke, Illinois and Pitt.

Xavier has won at least 20 games in each of the last eight seasons. Only seven other Division I schools have a streak of that length: Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Charleston, Maryland, Stanford and Duke.

Graduation

The spotlight shines brightly on the teams that advance to the Sweet 16, and it covers an area much wider than the basketball court. The Chicago Tribune, for instance, wrote a story for its leisure pages this year on which team’s uniforms were the most fashionable. Xavier’s “X” got an “A” from the paper’s design team.

Each year, at least one newspaper also shines the spotlight on one area that many universities prefer to keep in the shadows-graduation rates of their players. Often perceived as the soft underbelly of college athletics, graduation rates reveal a lot about an institution’s priorities and which part of the term “student-athlete” it chooses to emphasize.

This year The Washington Post examined the rates and found that only four of the final 16 teams had graduation rates of 50 percent or better-Duke, Kansas, Vanderbilt and Xavier. Xavier tied with Duke at 67 percent. The rates included all scholarship players over a six-year period, including those who transferred.

For those basketball players who stay at Xavier for four years, the University’s graduation rate is well documented-100 percent dating back to 1986. Of the four seniors on this year’s team, all earned their degrees. Point guard Lionel Chalmers, a fifth-year senior, spent the past academic year in graduate school. Of the 10 former Xavier players to play in the National Basketball Association, all 10 have their degrees, including last year’s National Player of the Year, David West, who graduated a semester early.

Profile: Drew Myers

Drew Myers: Master of Business Administration, 1999 | President and owner of RecruitMilitary and Alumni for Life, Cincinnati

Taking Charge | After seven years in the United States Marine Corps and seven more as a consultant, Myers became his own boss in 2001 by opening first of his two companies, RecruitMilitary, which specializes in helping businesses recruit those leaving the military. “We are the only firm in America that offers employers so many ways to hire veterans,” he says.

Taking Charge Part Two | If one business wasn’t enough, Myers’ founded Alumni for Life in 2004 around the idea of helping organizations build strong alumni networks. The company has, in a new way, brought Myers back to the University: The Williams College of Business is one of its newest clients.

Lessons Learned | As an entrepreneur, Myers says he regularly draws on lessons from his X.M.B.A. days—both lessons from the classroom and lessons from the human side. “I found the relationships with several classmates and faculty to be a terrific benefit of the program,” he says. “I really met some quality people and maintain contact with many of them.”

Back to School | Myers entered the Executive M.B.A. program after a tour of recruiting duty for the Marines, which found him as an executive officer in Cincinnati. He left the Corps in 1993 and ultimately moved to the consulting firm Carew International, where he laid the groundwork for the company’s military-to-civilian recruitment operation, Selection Integrity Resources. He purchased SIR and renamed in RecruitMilitary.

Corps Effort | Myers entered the Marines after receiving his undergraduate degree in political science from Indiana University. Commissioned a second lieutenant and ranking near the top of his class in both Marine Corps Basic School and the Artillery Officer’s Course, he went on to serve as a platoon commander and later as an executive officer in charge of a 150-man unit various overseas assignments. He then assumed the duties of commanding officer for a 130-man unit deployed in South Korea.

Profile: Jill Yungbluth

Jill Yungbluth: Bachelor of Arts in psychology 1999 | Executive director of the Center for Peace Education, Cincinnati

Immersion | Unsure about what she wanted to do, Yungbluth took a job after graduation with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Spokane, Wash., working with people with developmental disabilities. It was just the stimulation she needed to help her find her way.

Value Added | “One woman in a wheelchair was always so happy. She would just laugh, and if I would get frustrated she would just look at me. I was learning from how positive she could be. It made me more patient. I learned I have a general interest in other people.”

Southbound | Born in Cincinnati but raised in Atlanta, Yungbluth returned to her hometown to look for work. A former professor put her in touch with the Center for Peace Education, which was looking for a new program and training manager.

Never Look Back | Intrigued by the 25-year-old organization’s mission of educating school children to deal with conflict peacefully and without violence, she took the job, spending two years leading teams of trainers into elementary schools to work with the children. When the executive director left. Yungbluth was asked to serve as interim director. In the end, she realized she could do the job, and the board agreed.

Peace Education | The agency is all about conflict resolution—a real challenge in the inner-city schools where some students’ families practice different methods at home. “We’re teaching students how to resolve conflict constructively, that there are alternatives to physical fighting. We’re giving people skills they can use for a lifetime.”

Spreading the Peace | The agency now takes its training methods into 15 to 30 schools a year, reaching about 3,000 students and teachers. She plans to bring the program into every school in Greater Cincinnati—if funding can be found.

Useful Tools | “We teach them to look in their tool belt to decide what’s going to work in each situation—with their parents, or friends, or a stranger or a boss. Conflict is going to happen. It’s how do you choose to react to it.”

It Works | Several years of data from a Catholic school and a public school in different Cincinnati neighborhoods with high rates of poverty show significant declines in demerits and suspensions after the school-based training program was put in place.

Profile: Daniel C. Shannon, M.D

Daniel C. Shannon, M.D.: Class of 1957; honorary bachelor of arts and doctoral degrees, 1978 | Founding chief of pediatric pulmonary unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

Early Start | A Cincinnati native, Shannon was in his third year at Xavier studying philosophy and physics when Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine offered him early admission. He took it and never looked back. Xavier has since awarded him an honorary doctorate with the missing bachelor of arts degree in tow.

A Kid At Heart | In high school, he taught sports to kids at the old Fenwick Club. The experience steered him into a residency in pediatrics at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. And that set him on a path of invention and discovery—from founding the nation’s first intensive care unit for children to encountering the world of Greece and its tight families.

Drafted | During the Vietnam War, Shannon served at Hanscom Air Force Base as a pediatrician for soldiers’ families. Two years later, he left for Massachusetts General Hospital.

Breathing Easy | “I just decided this is where I wanted to be because this is where the best science was,” he says. “My interest was in how the respiratory system works and my research was in how the brain controls the breathing muscles.”

Founding Father | In the late 1960s, he developed the first intensive care unit for children at Massachusetts General. The system became the national model.

Helping Kids | He also was a leader in the field of pulmonary medicine for children. As a pediatric physiologist, Shannon applied science to the study of respiratory systems of children. His research led to the use of an asthma drug, theophylline, to treat babies who stop breathing. He developed the electronic monitor that detects heart rate and breathing of babies in intensive care. It was eventually adapted for use at home to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Ivy League Connection | As a founding member of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, he developed a medical research program, oversaw the research and directed the respiratory course for 21 years. He remains director of admissions and faculty development.

It’s All Greek to Me | Because of his reputation, a wealthy Greek businessman, whose 3-year-old goddaughter was dying from a heart and lung infection, flew Shannon to Greece, and Shannon brought her to Boston on life support, treated her and sent her home healthy. The two families have been friends ever since. Shannon now speaks Greek, and the family gave more than $100,000 to a research program named after the girl.

Heartbreak | Shannon’s own daughter was 29 when she died on her honeymoon. His first wife died of a stroke in 1994. He dedicates research or cultural projects in their memories.

Balanced | Shannon keeps his busy life in perspective by balancing work—he still sees patients–and play. His hobbies include gardening, woodworking and playing piano, which he started at age 46 and reached symphony-level acumen.

Profile: Sam Ross

Sam Ross: Master of Business Administration, 1973 | Co-owner of HealthPro Brands, Cincinnati

One and Done | A native of Compton, Calif., Ross received his bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Cal-State University in 1970 and headed straight Cincinnati for a career at Procter & Gamble. To this day, P&G remains his only job interview.

Time Management | Ross started graduate school at the University in 1971 and, using evenings, weekends and vacations, completed his M.B.A. in 1973. “Xavier was perfect for me,” he says. “The course work was hard, but extremely fulfilling. When finished, I knew—and so did my superiors—that I was ready for the next level. I became a lifetime fan of the University during that period, and I remain a huge supporter. Perhaps someday I’ll see some of my students graduate from X.”

As Designed | Ross began his P&G career as an assistant art director, then moved through the design ranks, ultimately becoming design manager for the company’s fabric and homecare global division. As such, he was responsible for the look of some of the company’s biggest brands of the day, such as Tide, Ariel and Downy.

Branching Out | After 31 years, Ross left P&G in 2002 and became co-owner of HealthPro Brands, a company that acquires consumer product technologies and trademarks and grows them into viable businesses internationally. Its signature product is Fit fruit and vegetable wash, a product that removes wax, dirt, soil and other residues from these food items. “Right now we are in about 400 stores, online at www.fitwash.com and having a great time growing a business,” Ross says.

From the Heart | One of the projects closest to Ross’ heart is work as a teacher at St. Peter Claver Latin School for Boys in Cincinnati’s inner-city Over-the-Rhine community. The school provides a rigorous course of study and Christian character development aimed helping the young men rise to professional success. Ross began by volunteering 20-plus hours a week at St. Peter Claver, but that recently increased when it started a Boy Scout troop and he became a scoutmaster.

Building a Foundation | “St. Peter Claver is the cornerstone of a plan for the renaissance and renewal of Over-the-Rhine,” Ross says. “We have 22 students in grades K-5. Often, the only folks our students see making money are involved in less-than-acceptable ventures. They see poverty, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse and inadequate housing. We believe the young boys at the school are the future of the community. It is our vision that the boys we teach today will return someday as leaders.”

Money Man

For Mike Bobinski, it’s always been about the money. Not the grubby, greedy kind, but the kind that makes it possible for people to be their best and institutions to do good work. So the man best known for his skills as the University’s athletic director announced he is leaving athletics to take over in June as the University’s new associate vice president for development. He will oversee all Xavier fund raising.

While the sporting events were a highly visible side of his job as athletic director, what wasn’t so visible were the tasks of quietly establishing loyalties and raising money to help fund student scholarships and build up the athletic program. There, he excelled.

And there is where Bobinski’s career actually began—in finance as an accountant with Arthur Young and Deloitte, Haskins and Sells, as well as Disney. He is, after all, a certified public accountant. He left all that 20 years ago to concentrate on managing the business side of college-level athletics, first at the University of Notre Dame, then the U.S. Naval Academy. His next move was to the University of Akron, where he was the athletic director before taking on the same job at Xavier in 1998.

“I recognize clearly that athletics can be a great vehicle for development, and having been in this environment, I can only strengthen that for the University,” he says. “It all starts with the relationships.”

Under his leadership, the University’s athletic teams won nine Atlantic 10 championships and participated in 19 NCAA tournaments, including trips by the men’s and women’s basketball teams to the Elite Eight. He hired Thad Matta as the men’s basketball coach in 2001 and women’s basketball coach Kevin McGuff. He oversaw the opening of the Cintas Center. Those experiences were actually grooming him for yet a larger and perhaps more noble task. As head of development, Bobinski now is responsible for all fund-raising efforts, including planned giving, annual giving, major gifts, capital campaigns and grant services. He reports to Gary Massa, vice president for university relations.

“I really want people to feel they’re doing something meaningful with their lives,” says Massa, “and that’s one of the reasons I think Mike is so excited about his new life. It’s about making a difference.”