Profile: Grace Northern

GRACE NORTHERN 
Bachelor of arts, 2006
Assistant to the Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel
Washington, D.C.

Defining Moment | An English major at Xavier, Northern was headed for a career in broadcasting when she heard then-Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The speech changed her direction and eventually led to her current position in the White House. “I never considered myself a political person until that speech,” she says. “But when I saw Sen. Obama speak, I had a gut feeling that I would work for him one day.”

Next Moves | Two years later, Northern graduated and headed to Washington, D.C., to intern for Obama, by then a U.S. senator. After the four-month internship, she stayed in Washington to work for a consulting firm. “In the fall of 2006, I heard rumors that he may announce his candidacy. I closely followed him in the news and any story related to his anticipated announcement. Finally, in February 2007, Obama made it official—he was running for President.” Two months later, Northern joined the campaign in New Hampshire.

Criss-crossing the Country | From New Hampshire it was on to Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Colorado, Florida—a non-stop blur of work dotted with unforgettable moments. “Working at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver was my favorite experience on the campaign,” Northern says. “It was a great point where I realized that all of our hard work from the primaries had finally paid off—that we had helped Barack Obama become the nominee for the Democratic party. And of course, election night was one of the most memorable nights of my life. After two years of sleepless nights, knocking on doors, registering voters, we finally did it.”

New Office | After the election, Northern was hired in the Office of Presidential Personnel, which manages the selection process for all Presidential appointments. “It’s an exciting, intense, non-stop atmosphere,” Northern says. “I learn something new every day, and I’m surrounded by very smart, hard-working people. The best perk is giving West Wing tours to my family and friends. A lot of them were very supportive during the campaign, and it’s such a great pleasure to show them through the White House.”

Sports Nut | At Presentation Academy in Louisville, Northern played five sports: basketball, soccer, track, cross-country and softball. She started college at Denison University, where she played on the women’s varsity basketball team before transferring to Xavier. At Xavier she played club soccer and intramural basketball and served as the Newswire’s senior news editor and on the student activities council.

Best Laid Plans | The plan before hearing the 2004 speech was to work as an ESPN broadcaster, and Northern sees parallels between sports and her chosen field. “One of the best lessons I learned in my athletic career was that team sports don’t just build character, they reveal character,” she says. “I see the same thing in politics.”

Profile: Marcia Rusche Soule

MARCIA RUSCHE SOULE
Bachelor of Science in psychology, 1974
Policy Analyst,  Innovations Insitute at the University of Maryland
School of Medicine
Ocean City, Md.

Basketball Beginnings | Soulé was on Xavier’s first women’s basketball team, formed just three years after women started at the University. In 1971 she and a few classmates went to Dean of Women Mary Louise Faeth and asked if they could launch volleyball and basketball teams. At her suggestion, they circulated petitions and met with University officials. “Faeth called intramural director Tony Brueneman and said, ‘We’ve got some girls here who want to form intercollegiate athletic teams,’ and he said, ‘Send them over.’ He did everything. He opened his arms to us.”

Humble Start | The University supplied shirts but the women wore their own shorts, and Soulé’s mother sewed numbers on the uniforms. “We were so grateful to get on the court, to have some organization. You didn’t have to make the team back then—we’d drag our friends to play, tell them, ‘Really, you’re good enough.’ ” Soulé was the leading scorer all three years she played and the leading rebounder two years. The team went 1-6 its first year, 3-3 its second and had its first winning season, 7-6, during Soulé’s senior year. “Everything we did was a first. We started the basketball team and our friends were the first women on the swimming team. Everything was new, so it was a very fun time.”

A Fan Now | Soulé watched with satisfaction as the Xavier women’s basketball team reached the Elite Eight this year. “We didn’t do it with the intention of starting something grand; we just wanted to play. But to see what we left, it’s very gratifying. When I see it now—the equipment, the access, the fact that they were in the NCAA Tournament. And the conditioning—we ran up and down the stairs at the Armory.”

Chosen Field | Soulé graduated with a degree in psychology and earned a master’s degree in counseling from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore. Her first job was screening prospective foster-care parents and counseling children in foster care. She’s been involved in the field of children’s mental health ever since, and has seen great progress. “A lot of the stigma is gone; more families are willing to say, ‘We’ve got a problem that we need to address.’ There are a lot more resources available, and families are a lot more involved in treatment plans.”

Technical Assistance | Soulé now works for the Innovations Institute, which is affiliated with the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. As a policy analyst, she helps various agencies with their strategic planning and helps implement and evaluate programs for children with emotional and behavioral issues. She’s now working to introduce coordinated networks of community-based services for foster kids with emotional problems in rural Maryland. Soulé finds that she prefers administrative work to delivering direct care. “I’m a big-picture person, and I like to help people do their specific activities to achieve outcomes. It’s fun to put all the pieces together.”

Family Matters | Soulé’s athletic activities now include golf and cycling. She’s been married for 32 years to Steve Soulé, and they have two children: Brian, a golf pro on the faculty of the Professional Golf Management Program at Penn State University; and Katie, a presidential management fellow with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Profile: Matthew Kendrick

MATTHEW KENDRICK
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, 1984
General Counsel, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International
Hoover, Ala.

Jack of All Trades | Kendrick is the only attorney employed by Mercedes-Benz in the U.S. and is based at the automaker’s plant in Alabama. While outside law firms assist, Kendrick is involved in everything from employee relations and immigration to product liability and patents. “It changes every day, which is exciting.”

Bridging the Divide | Kendrick says his degree in business administration helps him navigate the traditional divide between executives and attorneys. “Legal departments are historically an impediment to business. That’s a matter of personality and strategic thinking, but business decision-makers are savvy. They understand risk and they want it clearly explained so it can be minimized.”

Heavy Metal | While Mercedes-Benz is one of the best-known brands in the world, Kendrick says he sought his current job because it fit well with his previous experience. “Manufacturing printing presses is different than manufacturing cars, but it’s all heavy metal and the issues are the same,” he says.

State of the Industry | About half his time is spent on employment issues, which, in today’s economy, often means buyouts and staff reductions. Parts suppliers in financial trouble are another big responsibility. The factory builds each model “just-in-time,” with only two to three hours worth of inventory stocked. That avoids having to stockpile large amounts of inventory, but it means that “we have to move fast when a parts supplier is in trouble.”

Changing Market | The Alabama plant manufactures the M-, R- and GL-Class Mercedes, the automakers’ sport utility and crossover vehicles. It’s the only place in the world Mercedes builds SUVs. About half stay in the U.S. and the others ship to 138 countries. “With declining interest in SUVs, we’ve had to make roughly a 25 percent negative change in our personnel here.” But the plant will start making all the C-Class entry-level luxury sedans for the North American market in 2014. Kendrick hopes that will take the current staff size of 3,000 back up to its previous level of 4,000.

A Car-Dealing Family | Kendrick’s father owned a dealership in Lafayette, Ind., and his brother eventually took it over. The dealership used to sell Buicks and Cadillacs but now sells only Nissans and used cars. Family members debate the issue of foreign vs. American cars, but Kendrick says the lines aren’t as clear as they used to be. “The cars we build here are built in America and they provide a decent living for American citizens,” he says. “But those discussions are lively.”

And a Xavier Family | Kendrick’s siblings all attended Xavier, and three of the four met their spouses at Xavier. Kendrick met his wife, Lori (Harkins), a 1985 graduate, the first day of school. They have two daughters, Caroline, 14, and Olivia, 12.
His Ride | Kendrick drives a future model of the R-Class crossover vehicle, and offers feedback to colleagues on the test car.

Alumni Profile: Michael Phillips

MICHAEL PHILLIPS
Master of Education, 1973
Retired powerboat-industry executive
Benton, Ill.

Interest to Industry | Phillips made a career as a school teacher and administrator, and in the home-renovation business. But as a lifelong boating enthusiast, when his brother-in-law launched Celebrity Boats three decades ago and asked Phillips to join as director of sales and marketing, Phillips couldn’t resist. “It seemed like a pretty fun business,” he says. “I was a little naïve about it.”

Growth and Offers | The company went from $8 million to $60 million in business over an eight-year period, enough to earn the attention of larger boat builders and an investment firm that eventually bought the company. “We probably turned them away six or eight times, and they came back every time with a better offer until they finally hit the button,” he says. Phillips stayed with the new owners for a while but left in 1989 to help a former colleague launch Maria Boats.

A Third Company | Phillips knew Maria would be a short-term gig, and in 1991 his brother-in-law again convinced him to help start a new boat business: Crownline Boats. “He said, ‘I’ve got the urge to start one more,’ ” Phillips says. “I said, ‘All right, let’s go.’ ”

Instant Hit | In five years, Crownline was the fourth-largest boat builder in the world, success that Phillips attributes to the relationships they built in the industry. “When we built the first prototype and I got on the road and started calling dealers, they knew us and knew how we had dealt with them in the past,” he says. “The thing I am most proud of is that the dealers would look me in the eye and say, ‘I believe you.’ ”

Typical Buyer | Owning a boat, long a province of the wealthy, began to appeal to middle-income enthusiasts about 25 years ago, and all three of Phillips’ companies targeted those consumers with all-purpose boats ranging from 17 to 34 feet. “One good thing about boaters—once they get a boat you usually have them for life,” Phillips says. “We call it one-foot-itis. Whenever you get a boat, in a few years you want one a little bit bigger.”

Harder Sell | Despite the industry’s efforts to market to women, men still make up the majority of boat buyers. “When I see that gleam in the guy’s eye, I don’t have to sell him,” he says. “I have to sell his wife.”

Discretionary Purchase | Boating is an expensive hobby and easy to cut out when times are tough. Things have been especially difficult in the current recession, and Phillips, who worked as a consultant after leaving Crownline, left the industry for good in 2008.

His Craft | Phillips has a 23-foot Crownline 230 BR, “a big, open boat with a big engine and all the bells and whistles,” that he keeps on Lake Freeman in Monticello, Ind. “The thing I like most about boating is the serenity, the quiet and the escape, family and friends, the sun on you and you get hot and jump in the lake,” he says. “It’s a tremendous lifestyle that you can’t get any other way.”

Best of Benefits

Whether you’re newly graduated or an established professional between jobs, Xavier’s alumni insurance program can help you get short-term health care coverage through GradMed. This program offers comprehensive coverage for alumni and family members under age 65, and can make easier those critical weeks or months until you’ve arranged for long-term care. Xavier also provides AlumniTerm, group term life insurance that includes 24-hour, worldwide coverage. Alumni as well as their spouses under 60 are eligible to apply and, unlike life insurance you may have from your employer, this policy is completely portable from job to job or city to city. Get more information on these insurance plans by visiting the alumni insurance program web site or calling American Insurance Administrators at 800-922-1245.

WOX Grants

In just its second year, Xavier’s Women of Excellence has become a fundraising force. The group’s Giving Circle raised more than $60,000 this year, with nearly all of it directed to nine projects proposed by faculty or student organizations. In its first year, $45,500 in grants were awarded to 31 projects. The projects emphasize the development of women in areas where they have been historically underrepresented. “One of our goals with the Giving Circle is to give through the lens of a woman,” says Norah Mock, WOX executive director. This year’s projects are:

• Nexus Community Garden, which brings the communities of Norwood and Evanston together with Xavier in developing an urban, sustainable community garden: $7,225.
• One in Four Day, which brings attention to sexual violence on college campuses: $6,500.
• Tuition Runs Out Day, which encourages students to give back to the University in support of future generations of Xavier students: $9,290.
• Women of Xavier Chemistry, which highlights opportunities for women in science fields: $5,500.
• Creating Relationships of Justice and Care, which includes requiring freshmen to attend an event exploring the issues of sexual relationships and the “hook-up” culture: $9,955.
• Career Road Trips to the Real World, which offers students a two-day program of on-site visits where they can see how their majors are used in different industries: $3,425.
• Retention and Success of Female African American Students, which researches why a disproportionate number of African American women leave Xavier before graduation and what can be done to remove barriers to their academic success: $7,220.
• Summer Service Internship Program, which places 20 Xavier students into paid summer internships to provide service to local disenfranchised populations, discover leadership possibilities and earn income: $5,000.
• Xavier Mentoring Program, which offers mentors to Xavier students and which needs financial support for campus-wide marketing to be successful: $4,000.

Smith Hall

The building that will house the Williams College of Business is now officially known as Stephen and Dolores Smith Hall in honor of 1968 graduate Stephen S. Smith and his wife, whose donations helped fund construction of the building. Smith, a member of Xavier’s board of trustees, was a partner in Brandywine Global Investment Strategies, now part of Legg Mason. The Smiths have established scholarships at Xavier and provide the Bloomberg financial data terminals for the student investment fund. Xavier’s mission prompted their gifts: “If your goal in business is money, I don’t think that’s the ultimate happiness,” Smith says. “The ultimate happiness is to be in business, be successful and have a moral compass. That’s what I really like about what the University is doing—the idea of forming the whole person who gives back to society. It isn’t just the education: It’s the commitment to the whole person.”

Blessed Event

As students were moving out of the dorms in May, University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., spoke of the day in August 2011 when students would be doing exactly the opposite—moving into Xavier’s new residence hall. With construction underway behind him, Graham presided over an official blessing of the ground on which the hall and dining complex are being built. Slowed by recent knee surgery, Graham turned to Al Bischoff, S.J., a residence hall minister, and Darrell Burns, S.J., to conduct the prayer and sprinkle the holy water. The 240,000-square-foot complex will house about 535 students in four connected buildings. The dining hall will seat up to 800 and replaces Hoff Marketplace in the Cintas Center. The new dining hall retains the Hoff name to honor the late James E. Hoff, S.J., former Xavier chancellor.

Countdown to the Quad

The clock is ticking. In just a few weeks, Xavier’s campus will be forever changed with the opening of two new buildings that will revolutionize the student learning experience and dramatically enhance the campus environment. The two new buildings—Steven and Dolores Smith Hall, the new home of the Williams College of Business, and the Conaton Learning Commons—collectively form the James E. Hoff, S.J., Academic Quad. A grand opening is planned for August.
Stay updated on the latest developments at theCountdown to the Quad web site:

• Explore the buildings – Specially created interactive maps allow users to explore both buildings, floor by floor, getting details about the many spaces that will allow students and faculty to interact and create a learning environment unlike any other in the nation.
• View a live web cam – Watch live as the finishing touches are put on the buildings from a camera placed on top of Schott Hall.
Receive Twitter updates. Follow the progress of the buildings through Twitter tweets that offer details about the projects from members of the construction teams.
• Set your watches – Count the time left, down to the second, until the first classes meet in the buildings in August with a special countdown clock.
• Speed up time – Watch the buildings rise from the ground with a special time lapse video that follows the construction of the buildings from the site clearance to the finishing touches.
• Watch and learn – Watch a series of videos that provide insights into the various stages of construction.
• Learn the legacy – Find out more about Father Hoff, the former chancellor of Xavier for whom the project is named.

The Price of Success

Business majors will enjoy new desks, high-tech classrooms, spacious gathering areas and glass-enwrapped towers in their new building, but they’ll be paying a little extra for the privilege. Starting this fall, Xavier is charging business students an additional $500 per semester. This is the first time Xavier has implemented a tuition differential for any area of study. The increase is justified by salaries for business faculty generally being higher than other professors, greater costs associated with educating business students and the basic business tenet of supply and demand. The college continues its rank as one of the best business schools in the country.