Take Two

In December, Xavier’s board of trustees unanimously approved an amendment to the faculty handbook that allows tenure-track professors to add a year to their normal six-year tenure track for every baby born into their families.

An article in the winter 2004 issue of Xavier magazine examined the challenges facing tenure-track professors who teach full loads, participate in University affairs and conduct research while also raising families.

Supernova Surprise

About 30,000 years ago, our galaxy exploded in a wave of brilliant light that now bathes a bevy of radio telescopes and satellite observatories pointed toward the center of the Milky Way. It was a supernova, the remains of a bright star that collapsed and died, producing particles like gamma rays and creating a palette of data for people such as Marco Fatuzzo to study.

Fatuzzo, a physics professor, is no stranger to these phenomena of space. He tosses around terms like galactic center, black holes and cosmic radiation like Emeril tosses ingredients.

Fatuzzo came to Xavier because he wanted to teach. He’s done well. One of his research students, physics major Eva-Marie David, has given national presentations of a paper she co-authored with him on the stability of Earth-like planets and the likelihood they could support life.

But he also has continued his research into the energy emitted by supernova remnants—in short, high energy astrophysics. He has co-authored six papers and won seven research grants since coming to Xavier in 2000.

His research focuses on the galactic center of our galaxy, which produces an unusually large amount of gamma rays. Fatuzzo wants to know why. The supernova remnant, which sits in the constellation Sagittarius, is a 100,000-year-old dense shell of gas containing matter swept up between the stars.

It is the primary suspect for the source of these high energy rays that eventually bombard Earth, says Fatuzzo. He makes mathematical models using data from radio telescopes on earth and NASA observatories launch into space. The knowledge has no practical application on earth, he says, but that’s no reason not to study it.

“We’re trying to get an understanding of all these things so we can say this is how it is in space,” he says. “Astrophysics is simply a search for the truth to make sense of what we see in the universe.”

Sky Queen

Flying about 4,000 feet above the rugged coal-laden mountains of southeastern Kentucky, a single-engine plane circles in a tight grid—15 miles in one direction, then 15 miles back again. The plane repeats the pattern until it covers a swath 15 miles wide, then repeats the grid in another section.

Lynda Kilbourne sits in the co-pilot seat, scanning the ground below for something, anything—smoke, shiny reflections, broken trees—indicating the presence of a Cherokee 6 aircraft that crashed on its way from South Carolina to Illinois.

The associate professor of management spends her off hours as a scanner on search-and-rescue missions for the Kentucky Civil Air Patrol. Although she is a licensed pilot, she’s not certified yet to fly the missions—a position she hopes to one day achieve. Kilbourne started flying just four years ago when she turned 50. It was one of those midlife things, she says. Having grown up with a father who was a World War II fighter pilot, she always knew she would fly. She just didn’t know it would take her so long.

In 1999, she moved from San Antonio to Cincinnati, built a house, got divorced and decided it was time to do something for herself. So she signed up for flying lessons. Then Sept. 11 happened, and, like many others, she became motivated to volunteer her services to help the country.

“I read an article that said the Civil Air Patrol would have a stepped-up role in homeland security,” she says. “I wanted to do something for my country, and this gives me the opportunity to do something really important for society with my flying.”

Second Chances

There’s a gentle curve to the right side of Erin Ehlinger’s head just above the temple. You don’t see it unless you look for it, and you don’t know to look for it unless you’re told.

Ehlinger might tell you about her ordeal that left titanium clips holding together pieces of her skull, but she’d rather not. She’d prefer to focus on her degree in special education, her joining 1,200 other students in this year’s commencement ceremony, her planned move to San Francisco, where her boyfriend lives, and her future teaching children with special needs.

It’s been a long trip from the day in 1998 when she learned she had a tumor pressing on the part of her brain that controls the left side of the body. It explained the lethargy she was experiencing, the headaches and nausea, the fact she had trouble holding onto things with her left hand. The memories are forced upon her every six months when she undergoes the MRI that scans her brain for signs of the tumor growing back.

So far, it hasn’t. The surgery in December 1998—along with the radiation, chemotherapy and the medications—appears to have been successful. Now, at age 24, she has a second chance. After enrolling in Xavier’s undergraduate education program in 2001, she completed her degree this spring. After all, she says, life is not as Socrates says—“To live in order to die.”

“I think the most important part is making connections with people here,” she says. “None of us knows for sure what’s out there.”

Reflections of Father Hoff

Friends and alumni of Xavier University paid tribute to University chancellor and former president James E. Hoff, S.J., in many ways following his death on July 23. One person placed a vase of flowers at the foot of his statue on campus. The following are letters to the University:

“As a 30 year employee of Xavier, recently retired, I will remember most about Fr. Hoff that whenever I encountered him he said, ‘Hi Dave’ and always had time for a few minutes of pleasant conversation.” —Dave Ralston

“I am a graduate of the class of 2003 and I would not have even chosen Xavier if it were not for Father Hoff. He is an inspiration to us all, and he will be missed by not only the Xavier community but everyone that knew him. Thank you Father Hoff for giving me a chance at Xavier. You are the best.” —Michael Garcia

“Father Hoff will be truly missed. He welcomed us so warmly when we came for Amy’s first visit to Xavier University. We felt we had known him for many years in a short time. God bless Fr. Hoff.” —Cal and Carol Waugh

“What a tremendous loss for the Xavier family. I have many fond memories of this great man. I rememeber when Fr. Hoff would come to our Indianapolis golf outings before I was even a student at XU. He was such an ambassador for the University, and he made me want to be a part of that. As a student at Xavier, I remember his incredible gift of making everyone feel special, important and valued. I enjoyed the work I was able to do with Fr. Hoff through the SGA and always enjoyed the first class manner in which he accomplished anything. As a Xavier alum, it has always been an honor and a privilege to see Fr. Hoff at Xavier weddings, basketball games and alumni events. He will be missed. May he rest in peace.” —Christopher J. Branson, Class of 1996

“Fr. Hoff dramatically changed Xavier into the world-class university it is today. He singlehandedly quadrupled the endowment in a very short tenure. But far more importantly, any student—like myself—that ever knew him, will never forget the genuine love he had for all of Xavier’s students and faculty.” —Sara (Hayes) Pressler

“Fr. Hoff was a very warm and caring person who dreamed great dreams for Xavier. I was a graduate student here in the mid-1990’s, and I was amazed and pleased by all the changes that were occuring on campus and in the academic life. His vision to prepare students was certainly realized in me. It is largely due to the influence of this great man that I desired to teach here, and propagate the same values he taught. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten and always honored.” —Roy Cohen

“It was Father Hoff who enabled me to graduate from Xavier, and helped me to attend Yale for my graduate degree. He once told me that I can consider him as “my father in the USA”—I am from Tanzania. Like thousands others, I mourn the loss of “my father in the USA,” my confidant, a friend etc. He will always be my guardian angel. May God rest his soul in peace.” —Jo-Angeline Kalambo

“My relationship with Father Hoff began when he married my husband, former basketball player Dwayne Wilson, and me in September 1995. Father then baptized three of our four children, attended funtions at our house, was on campus when I was employed with XU and was always available to myself and Dwayne when we had a hard time dealing with what life gave us. In April 2004 I was told that I had three tumors—two on my liver—and they were unsure of the outcome until after surgery. I underwent surgery in mid-March. Shortly thereafter I learned of Father’s health problems and called his office and left a message that I understood and if he wanted to talk to me that I was at home recovering from liver surgery. He did call me two days later. He began the conversation by just checking on my children and asking how the ‘big guy’ was. He then said, ‘So, how are you doing Tracey?’ My reply was, ‘I’m doing very well, Father, but I hear we have something in common.’ ‘Well Tracey, I think my situation might be a bit worse.’ You see my tumors were benign. I then said, ‘Yes, Father, but I can’t help but think that I could be you.’ His response touches me to this day: ‘But isn’t it good that it ist you, Tracey? Now, where’s the “big guy?” That was it. That statement alone shows who he was and how he felt about the people he cared for. I thank God for bringing him into my life. He will always be remembered as a beautiful person with a beautiful soul. Thank you for everything Father Hoff.” —Tracey Wilson

“Having known Father Hoff at Creighton, we were thrilled that he was coming to be president of Xavier. His friendship was cherished by our entire family as was his wise counsel on many occasions. He was truly a man for others. —Marlene Creighton, Class of 1963, and Ed Creighton, Xavier Class of 1959 and Creighton Dental Class of 1962

“Such a sad day for the Xavier family. I vividly remember the day of Father Hoff’s innaguration at Music Hall. Little did any of us realize how Xavier would change under his leadership. How fortunate we were to have him with us. A man amoung us all. —Bill Charles

“I had the honor of having dinner with Fr. Hoff during honors weekend 2003, about a month before I graduated. He was kind enough to sit at my family’s table and just have a great conversation about anything and everything. That’s just one example of how great a person Fr. Hoff was. I returned to Cincinnati for the 2004 commencement to visit friends that were graduating. At the ceremony, the University surprised Fr. Hoff and everyone else by presenting the St. Francis Xavier Medal to him. It was very hard to watch because we all knew that his passing would be coming soon. Everyone was on their feet at graduation, giving him two well-deserved, teary standing ovations. What an amazing man Fr. Hoff was. May he rest in peace, and may his spirit live on.” —R. Alex Fajardo

“It is astounding the impact that Fr. Hoff had in shaping Xavier University that I know and love.” —Matt Graham

Recognition

Xavier University is included for the first time in this year’s edition of “The Best 357 Colleges,” the prestigious annual best colleges guidebook from the Princeton Review. The 2005 edition is set to be released in August.

“We regard the schools in this book as the cream of the crop institutions for undergraduate education,” says Robert Franek, assistant vice president for publishing of the Princeton Review.

“Only about 10 percent of the colleges in America and only two Canadian colleges are in the book. Each one offers an outstanding academic program. We select schools for the guide based on our knowledge of them, on data we review about them and on the opinions of students and parents we talk to and survey.”

Outstanding Honors

Benjamin Allen, the man believed to be the first African-American student to graduate from Xavier, now has an award that carries his name. The University’s black student association created the Benjamin J. Allen award in honor of the 1950 graduate. It is presented at the Antonio Johnson Scholarship Gala to those who impacted or furthered the development of African Americans at the University and in their communities. Damon B. Jones, a Procter & Gamble Co. executive and Xavier board of trustee member, was the first recipient.

Since returning to Cincinnati in 1946 after serving in World War II, Allen finished college and became a Realtor for the rest of his 50-year career. He and his wife, Helen, are avid art collectors and recently loaned their collection of African-American art to Xavier.

“He’s an outstanding human being and has a wonderful story about his experience at Xavier,” says Paul James, director for the University’s office of multicultural affairs.

One Stop Shopping

William Veeneman wants to ensure you get what you wish for. That’s why Veeneman, president and CEO of Minneapolis-based Automated Member Services Inc., launched MallGiftRegistry in October 2003.

The first registry service of its kind, MallGiftRegistry uses wireless technology to allow consumers to create a single wish list that includes products from multiple stores instead of just one. Users can access and update lists at kiosks in participating malls, via the Internet at MallGiftRegistry.com or by phone.

The service’s initial rollout took place at the Galleria, a specialty retail center in Edina, Minn. Veeneman predicts MallGiftRegistry will be in every major mall in the United States within at least five years.

“In the past, consumers were pretty limited in the types of gift wish lists they could create and the stores where they could create them,” says Veeneman, a double graduate of the University who earned a BSBA in 1971 and an M.B.A. in 1979. “But now, consumers can create a wish list for virtually any occasion—even Groundhog Day, if they want. They can register at specialty stores that previously didn’t offer registry capabilities, and their family and friends can quickly and easily find and purchase the items.”

Who could wish for more?

Now Speaking

The College Republicans followed through on their promise to expose students to a more conservative viewpoint after liberal activist Michael Moore was on campus last fall. Their answer: conservative columnist Walter Williams, who spoke in March on discrimination and society.

Williams joined a host of springtime speakers on campus, including: actress and model Jennifer O’Neill, who spoke about abortion; former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, who spoke on globalization; Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi, who spoke about his grandfather and nonviolence; and American Muslim leader W. Deen Mohammed, who spoke on leadership in the African-American religious community.

More Reflections of Father Hoff

“I will never forget my graduation/commencement ceremony back in 1991 with Fr. Hoff. The day I received my BA degree. I will remember to keep Fr. Hoff’s family in my prayers.” —Jeffrey Glenn

“Fr. Hoff was a wonderful man and a fantastic president. I feel blessed to have attended Xavier under his tutelage.” —Brian Geraghty

“The Edgecliff alumni community deeply mourns the loss of Father Jim Hoff. To us, he was the soul and the heartbeat beneath the cornerstone of Edgecliff Hall. He was our dream maker. It was his vision that gave Edgecliff graduates a new home on the Xavier campus. He was our No. 1 cheerleader. Father Hoff opened his arms and welcomed us as a vibrant, active member of the Xavier family. With his encouragement, we became completely immersed in the campus renovation. He welcomed our ideas for Edgecliff Hall; a new state of the art place for music, a very basic part of the educational background of Edgecliff grads. Music now had a whole building on the Xavier campus. Father Hoff encouraged us to dust off our memorabilia and hang it proudly thus educating the entire Xavier community about who Edgecliff College graduates are and what we are about. He never missed an Edgecliff Scholars’ dinner and personally mentored the Hoff scholar, which we named in his honor. We will miss him. It is our hope that Father Hoff will be remembered every time a voice sings and an instrument is played within the walls of Edgecliff Hall. Father Hoff was the music in all of our hearts.” —Rosellen Creighton

“My condolences to the family and friends of Father Hoff.” —Tanzie (Freedman) Nielsen

“I met Fr. Hoff at various Xavier sports functions and when he was the speaker at the Blue Ash Montgomery Rotary Club where I was a member. He always made me feel like I was the only person in the room when he greeted me. No matter who you were the way he looked at you was as if no one else mattered at that moment but you. It was one of his many special gifts. How appropriate that he was a member of the Society of Jesus. Jesus worked through Fr. Hoff to convey to each of us who had the privilege of meeting him the love that He has for us. A true treasure of a man is now enjoying perfect happiness in his new heavenly home. His work here on earth is now finished. Well done Fr. Hoff.” —Caroline (Kist) Melson

“I would like to extend my heart-felt sympathy to Father Hoff’s family. I remember walking across the stage at Cintas in May 1996 and shaking Father Hoff’s hand after receiving my diploma. Shaking Father Hoff’s hand, I could tell that he was a truly warm and personable individual. I cried after reading Xavier University’s web site about Father Hoff’s passing. I will miss seeing him on Xavier University’s campus.” —Dianne Butler

“Father Hoff married my wife and me 20 years ago this December. Prior to our marriage, he was my spiritual advisor. His wisdom and faith were inspirational to me. Because of his love for Jesus, I strongly encouraged my wife to let him officiate and bless our marriage. We have prayed for him frequently and my only regret is that our eight children did not get to meet him. May God have mercy upon his soul and welcome him into His kingdom.” —Tom Doyle

“I have known Fr. Hoff since 1959 via his days at my high school, Creighton Prep, where he was a young, tireless scholastic. To net it down, Fr. Hoff always had time for just for you, whether he was disciplining me or speaking at my father’s funeral.” —Steve Joern

“I met Fr. Hoff several times over the years but, the most fun occurred at a fundraiser for another college. We talked and later he noticed me with an earpiece in my ear. ‘Are you listening the game?’ he asked. Well, I rarely miss a game one way or another. I’m either tuned in or I’m there. He and I spent the next hour sharing that earpiece and a few drinks. Me with my beer and Fr. Hoff with his Chablis, we listened until the team put us comfortably ahead and we went back to the fundraiser. God bless you Fr. Hoff and thank you for all you’ve done.” —David Noll

“Gentle, caring, wise, genuine, honest, warm, friendly, leader, visionary. So many adjectives could be used to describe Fr. Hoff. Those of us who knew him are better people for having been in his company. God blessed us with his kindness and his friendship. Fr. Hoff has been a family friend for more than 40 years. He married several of my siblings and their spouses, and he was generous enough to come to Olathe, Kan., and marry my wife and me on July 26, 1996, even though his niece and her husband were tragically killed in TWA flight 800. He was asked to preside over a large memorial celebration for some of the victims and he politely declined saying he had prior obligations in Kansas at that time. He could have easily backed out of our wedding and my wife and family would have understood but he wanted to fulfill his commitment to me and my family. I think that story shows the character of the man. He was a man of his word and his word was important. My mother and my family, and I’m sure the Xavier and Creighton families, have lost a dear, dear friend. His spirit will live on through Xavier University and those who knew and loved him. Goodbye and thank you Fr. James Hoff. You will be sorely missed but not forgotten.” —Alan Marstall and family