Phonathon Phenoms

Kate Burke knew she had a great group of student workers for this year’s annual fund phonathon. But the manager for the phonathon and the University’s legacy fund had no idea the students were this good. Faced with the charge of reaching a highly ambitious goal of $625,000—a whopping $100,000 more than last year’s record-setting mark—the group not only hit its goal, it did so three months ahead of schedule.

But they didn’t kick back for the remaining three months. They kept dialing. And when the students finally hung up their phones right before finals week, they tallied a total of $719,326.

Now, about next year …

Major Influences

In their combined 50 years teaching at Xavier, Charles and Anne Cusick left strong impressions on countless biology students. So their six children—Tim Cusick, Kathleen Cusick, Dr. Brian Cusick, Norah Cusick Mock, Kevin Cusick and Patrick Cusick—wanted to say thanks. Urged by Brian’s wife, Jamie, they decided to give others the same opportunity their parents gave them—a Xavier education. So the Cusick clan pooled their resources and established the Charles and Anne Cusick Biology Scholarship for students in the natural sciences.

The scholarship goes to a student in biology. But, says Mock, the fund doesn’t have to stay all in the family. Any of the Cusicks’ former students who were also influenced and wish to contribute to the scholarship may do so.

Close to Home

Dan and Julie (Jones) Murphy met as Xavier students, graduated together in 1985 and were married in Bellarmine Chapel. But it was another part of their mutual history that led them to endow the Murphy Family Scholarship for middle-income, public school students from Hamilton County.

“It’s our roots,” says Dan. “Somewhere, somebody gave money so two public school kids who worked hard got a chance to attend a great university we could never have afforded. We wanted to give back, and we’re hoping other people will do the same.”

Financing Leadership

Many who knew Irv Beumer found it hard to imagine Xavier without him. But those who knew him best would add it was also hard to imagine Beumer without Xavier.

Beumer, a 1941 graduate, retired as the University’s treasurer and vice president for business and finance in 1983, but his dedication continued until his death in 2003. And this year, his widow, Mary Ellen Beumer, created a living memorial to that dedication: the Irvin F. and Mary Ellen Beumer Scholarship, which will go to a finance major involved in leadership activities. The scholarship will be fully funded by 2008.

“Irv thought Xavier was the best place in the whole world,” she says. “So I want Irv’s name to remain with Xavier in perpetuity.” In all, Beumer spent 36 years working for the University. Over that span, he served under five presidents, was the first layman to be named dean of the evening college, the first lay business manager and the first lay treasurer. Finally, he and Ed VonderHaar were the first laymen to become University vice presidents.

On Beumer’s financial watch, the University added seven buildings: Husman Hall, McDonald Library, Kuhlman Hall, the Joseph Building, Schott Hall, the O’Connor Sports Center and the College of Business Administration building. In his last decade at the University, enrollment grew from 2,898 to 6,950. Perhaps even more impressive given the financial challenges of the time, Beumer produced a balanced budget in each of his final 10 years at Xavier. “He worked very, very hard and laid the financial foundation for the present Xavier,” Mary Ellen says. “I always teased him that Xavier was more important than his family.”

Richard Hirté, senior vice president for financial administration, succeeded Beumer when he retired in 1983. “He served about a three-month overlap,” Hirté says. “We kind of hit it off instantly. He was a great guy and the most gracious gentleman you could ever meet. He had the institution at heart every step of the way.”

The two men kept in touch over the years, and Beumer remained a ready resource, offering his experienced voice to any situation that crept up. “I felt very fortunate,” Hirté says. “Sometimes people leave and you never hear from them again. We had a lot of fun together. He was thrilled at the progress we made in transforming campus and the facilities.”

Beumer, a Cincinnati native, was a member of Roger Bacon High School’s class of 1937. He majored in finance at the University and, when the United States was plunged into World War II, he was commissioned through the Army Officer Training Corps and became an Army finance instructor at Duke University.

Mary Ellen met her future husband while he was a student at Xavier and she an undergrad at Our Lady of Cincinnati. They were married in 1944. After the war, Beumer left the Army and returned to Xavier to earn a master’s degree in English and work as the University’s director for veteran’s education. The couple soon found themselves in on-campus housing as well—small, gray two-family structures constructed largely to house married students. “Irv and I lived there for quite awhile,” Mary Ellen says. “We had so much fun together. It was a wonderful life. We had one daughter at the time, and our second was born there.”

Beumer left Xavier briefly to work as operations manager for an advertising firm but found he missed the University, and returned for good in 1954. Given his longstanding love of the University, Mary Ellen says funding a scholarship seemed natural.

“I think Irv would like that,” she says. “He had a wonderful relationship with Xavier. And because Irv was there, my love for Xavier is there, too.”

Best of X World

  • Both the men’s and women’s swim teams rank among the smartest teams in the nation. A study found the men’s team has the nation’s second-best cumulative grade point average at 3.35, trailing only Yale, while the women’s team has the 12th best GPA overall at 3.42.
  • Men’s tennis standouts Doug Matthews and Jeremy Miller each were selected to the All-Conference Team. Additionally, Matthews was named the league’s most outstanding rookie, while Miller was voted onto the Academic All-Conference Team.
  • Sara Doutt, a freshman on the women’s soccer team, was named to the A-10’s All-Rookie Team.
  • Brian Thornton was named the A-10 Student-Athlete of the Year for men’s basketball, earning second team Academic All-American honors and first team All-A-10 honors. Teammate Stanley Burrell was named second team All-A-10 and Justin Cage was named to the A-10 All-Defensive Team for the second straight year.

Best of Boothe World

Women’s basketball standout Tara Boothe capped her career at Xavier by being named honorable mention All-American. She earned the honor by finishing the season as the Atlantic 10 Conference’s leading scorer at 21.5 points per game and second-leading rebounder at 9.3 rebounds per game. She was named First Team All-Conference for the third consecutive year and to the A-10’s All-Academic Team.

Boothe leaves Xavier as its all-time leading scorer with 2,324 points and rebounder with 1,004 boards. She also owns the record for most points in a season and most points by a freshman, sophomore and junior.

The 6-foot forward was invited to participate in pre-draft camps by the WNBA but was not drafted by any of the league’s teams.

A New Ball Game

It’s a season of change for James Whitford and Amber Stocks-Whitford. Until April 19, the husband and wife were both assistant basketball coaches at the University—James for the men’s team and Amber for the women’s team. But in mid-April, Amber resigned her post, not for any of the typical reasons assistant coaches move on, but for a motive much closer to the heart: Family. The couple plans to start a family, either on their own—“whenever the Lord blesses,” Amber says—or through adoption. They recently began the process to adopt twins and they want to be ready whenever they get the call.

“We’re interested in adopting sibling groups, because James comes from a family of four kids, and I come from a family of four kids,” Amber says. “We couldn’t imagine having been separated from our brothers and sisters.”

Ironically, it was a family affair that first brought the two together—a baby shower for women’s head coach Kevin McGuff’s wife, Letitia. Two years later, they were married. With practices, games and recruiting, life was hectic. “Generally, it was difficult because we didn’t get to see very much of each other,” James says. “Particularly during the season, it can be so consuming.”

Too consuming, they decided, to impose it on their children. “Even when we were dating we felt like one of the benefits of our marriage was going to be opening our home to children,” Amber says. “People would ask us what we’re going to do when family comes, and we said, ‘Oh, we’ll get a nanny. It’ll be fine.’ And we really believed that.

“Then from about the instant he put the ring on my finger and we said ‘I do,’ my whole perception of that changed. Then the thought of bringing children into your home, whether you’ve birthed them or you’ve just been blessed by them, and then saying, ‘Bye, we’re gone, here’s your nanny,’ didn’t sound as good in reality as it did when we were just having a vision of it.”

The decision means a big transition for Amber, who grew up in a basketball family—her father was a coach—and has been involved with the sport since second grade. She played at the University of Cincinnati and coached for seven seasons at the University of Notre Dame and at the University of Tennessee under coaching legend Pat Summitt before arriving at Xavier four years ago. And she loved it.

“I never saw myself not doing it—until marriage,” she says. “The way I perceive my functions, goals, roles and purposes really has evolved.”

That doesn’t mean, however, the decision was an easy one. And while she vows to be the No. 1 fan of both programs, her stepping back from basketball may change a few things around the house. In the past, the couple avoided basketball-related conversations at home, preferring to focus on shared passions like theater, traveling, entertaining and dining out.

But James recognizes he may have to adjust to an increase in basketball conversation.

“When basketball is your whole life, tackling another team maybe isn’t that interesting,” he says. “But if she’s not coaching, it’ll be interesting to see how much she wants that basketball fix.”

To ease the transition, Amber alerted McGuff that she might call for some scouting films to watch. But she doesn’t plan to offer James any advice unless he asks—which she admits might be tough.

“I don’t know,” she laughs. “I might be sitting there with twins balanced on one leg, the remote in my hand, pausing and rewinding film trying to make notes and finish up. Then when he gets in and says ‘How was the game?’ I can just say, ‘Oh. It was great.’”

What’s in a Name?

Learning to write your name in a foreign language is more than putting pen to paper. Just ask the kids at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, who are doing that with the help of Xavier international students. The students volunteer there, helping the children write their names in different languages. For the patients, the exercise opens cultural doors they never imagined. The 9-year-old program includes students from Kenya, Cambodia, Taiwan, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and Indonesia, who spend time with the children, talking to each other, playing together and learning about each other’s culture.

Students are expected to spend two hours with the children four times during the semester. It helps the students get involved in the community, says Kathy Hammett, director for international student services, and fits well with the Xavier mission.

Parity for All

Despite its name, the University’s new “women’s center” isn’t just for women. It’s a resource center for all groups with subjects particular to women. “Women’s issues impact everyone,” says Luther Smith, dean of students.

It is first a safe place for any woman who feels threatened or vulnerable and provides advocacy for women who are victimized. It also hosts programs on behalf of women’s topics such as pay equity, sexual assault and domestic violence. It serves as a resource center for research on gender issues. It’s a site for discussion groups on matters such as pregnancy, abortion and social concerns. And it’s part of the University’s gender and diversity studies program, which addresses broader ideas such as the role of men in society and the needs of lower-income students.

News at 11

A group of students began making news this semester—literally. The student television club created a news show that airs two-minute cut-ins of the day’s events every hour from 7:00 a.m. to noon on weekdays. It also produces a half-hour news and sports wrap-up that airs all weekend at 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. The shows are produced by students in the University’s television center and air on MTV’s college access network.

The show, known as “Muskie News,” launched in January. The experience is priceless for those who hope to enter the TV news industry, says Bob Turner, video production manager for the television center and the club’s advisor.