Saudi Scholars

In April 2005, President George W. Bush invited Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Aziz Al Saud to his Crawford, Texas, ranch where, among other things, they chewed on the idea of beefing up the number of Saudi students studying in the U.S., which had declined significantly after the Sept. 11 attacks. Wanting to do his part, Abdullah, since crowned king, pledged to provide full-tuition scholarships for Saudi students admitted to universities in the U.S.—including at Xavier.

Since then, 24 Saudi students have enrolled at Xavier, including 17 this year—a major increase, says Lea Minniti, director for International Student Services.

“They respect the U.S. education system,” she says. “Providing full pay for these students is great for us, and the students are bright.”

Students must complete one year of intensive English language instruction before entering as undergraduates. Some stay for graduate degrees. Abdulrahman Sadawi completed the English program in one year and decided to stay. Now a freshman, Sadawi is looking forward to a degree in medical technology and a job at a new hospital in his home city of Jeddah on the Red Sea. “I consider myself lucky,” Sadawi says. “It means a lot because with an education from the U.S., I will have priority when I apply for a job.”

Honorable Calling

Rarely has a Xavier faculty member been called upon by a government for the contribution of his or her services. But for chemistry professor Aaron Baba, that’s exactly what happened. Baba was commissioned by Nigeria’s Kogi State Government to be a special advisor on technological development in 2008. He took a leave of absence at that time, and then resigned from Xavier this spring when he was promoted to Honourable Commissioner for Special Duties, Science and Technology.

“As a result of the low level of development in Nigeria and Kogi State in particular, my experiences, training and skill set were needed to contribute to the development of the minerals, agriculture, tourism and human capacity potentials,” says Baba. “I was torn between my loyalty to the University that provided me the opportunity for professional academic growth and my commitment to improving the lives of fellow Kogi State citizens.”

Hair to Help

They came, they shaved, they left bald. In January, 38 men and two women sat in the Gallagher Student Center atrium and shaved their heads in solidarity with child cancer patients to both raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and to provide hair to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program.

“I knew I was going to be out of my comfort zone,” says junior Kristen Alpaugh, president of the Children’s Charities Club, which organized the event. She was also one of the two women to get buzzed. “But that’s when you grow. At the end of the day, it’s just hair.”

The event raised $3,500, part of the total of $9,000 the club raised in its first year. Led by professor of psychology Cindy Dulaney, the club also held a 5k run in which 211 runners raised $3,500 for St. Baldrick’s, and it sent volunteers each week to help at the local Ronald McDonald House.

So what’s next?

“Next year, we’ll take a more local approach to the charities we’re raising money for and possibly organize a service trip in conjunction with Ronald McDonald House,” says Alpaugh. “We will continue volunteering, because when you do good, you feel good. We want to share that with everyone.”

Fr. Hoff Tribute

What started as a campuswide debate about the proper title for student dining facilities—the colloquial “Caf” or the formal Hoff Marketplace—evolved into a movement of appreciation for former University President James E. Hoff, S.J.

Among the efforts of the Student Government Association was a video about Fr. Hoff, portraying his influence on the University.

“Everything that Fr. Graham is doing is a continuation of Fr. Hoff’s vision,” says student senator Jimmy Geiser. “With all of the changes we’re going through, it’s important to illustrate our history so students feel involved and understand the University’s development.”

Bowling for Ethics

Students always spend their weekends debating difficult choices. Which party should I go to? Should I get up now or sleep a few more hours? Should I do laundry or are these clothes clean enough? A few students, though, spent a weekend in November pondering tougher questions. Five students participated in the 11th annual Central States Regional Ethics Bowl at Marian University in Indianapolis, presenting and defending ethical arguments. Although it was Xavier’s first time participating in the competition, the team had an impressive finish, tying Belmont University for fifth in the competition.

“We brought our collective team strengths of logic, knowledge of the cases and our preparations for arguments,” says fourth-year student Ashley Taylor. “Because it was our first time competing, we were unfamiliar with the competition setup and debate methodology, but now we know for next year.”

Sponsored by the Center for Organizational Ethics at Marian University, Vectren Energy and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, students from various schools spent the day presenting their sides of tough and tricky cases—ranging from health care to school policies to business decisions to discrimination issues.

Students were judged by business executives, college professors, lawyers and entrepreneurs on logic, clarity, depth and focus of their team argument, as well as on the team’s ability to refute the opposing school’s argument. “The experiences of presenting a clearly thought-out argument and responding to other thought-out positions shape students into good critical thinkers and train them in respectful dialogue with others,” says Karen Spear, assistant professor of philosophy at Marian and director of the Center for Organizational Ethics.

The American Dream

From his 35-year career in politics, Michael Ford knows that talking about the American Dream is a sure way to get a roomful of people to nod their heads, no matter what their politics, age or income level. So when Ford—a 1970 Xavier graduate who’s worked for candidates such as Walter Mondale, Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown—set out to launch a political institute at Xavier, he wanted to focus on what the American Dream means to the people who dream it.

Xavier’s Institute for Politics and the American Dream launched its inaugural national survey earlier this year. It found that the American Dream is harder to achieve now than in the past and will be even more difficult to attain for future generations. Coming in

the midst of a severe recession, the pessimism didn’t surprise Ford, but the emotions behind the pessimism did surprise him.

“It’s the first time I went to a focus group where the participants wept. I was totally shocked. I’ve done a thousand of these things all over the place,” Ford says. He recalls a woman in a Dayton focus group who said she was reluctant to speak because she feared her emotions would overtake her. “She said, ‘We did everything we could to do right by our kids. My daughter graduated from college with $170,000 in debt and she can’t get a job here because General Motors left and National Cash Register left. What did we do wrong?’ She felt betrayed and also guilty; she felt like they must have done something wrong.”

The American Dream Survey is being repeated annually, and there are plans to conduct it in other countries to gauge how people outside the United States perceive the American Dream.

For this inaugural survey, the firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates conducted 1,022 telephone interviews with adults across the U.S. Among the survey’s most significant findings:

• Measuring the current condition of the American Dream on a scale of 1 to 10, nearly half of Americans rated the Dream lower

than a 5, with nearly a quarter assigning it the lowest possible rating. Only 5 percent awarded the highest possible mark.

• Sixty percent of those surveyed believe it is now harder to reach the American Dream than it was for their parents’ generation, while 68 percent say it will be harder still for their children to reach the Dream, and 45 percent believe it will be much harder. “The core of the Dream has always been that the legacy will improve, and now that’s not the case,” Ford says.

• A majority of Americans think the United States is now in decline and the world no longer looks up to it. Only 32 percent believe America is on the rise.

While the American Dream can be a vague concept, survey respondents defined it primarily in four ways: opportunity, freedom, family and financial security. Different groups emphasized different aspects of it, and those who defined it in terms of financial security gave the most negative assessments of the Dream. Middle-aged white women and Midwesterners also had a bleaker outlook than most.

The survey did find some unexpectedly bright spots: African-Americans, Latinos and immigrants consistently view the American Dream in a more positive light than white, native-born Americans. “Those who have the least had the most when it came to hope,” Ford says. “The only group to have a net positive impression of the American Dream was African-Americans. That stunned me.”

And while Americans believe the idea of the American Dream is suffering, they also view their individual prospects more optimistically. Most Americans believe the Dream can be reached through hard work, rather than luck or circumstances, and two-thirds are at least fairly confident that they will achieve it.

For Ford, the creation of the institute and the launch of its signature survey represent the achievement of his own dream, one he credits his alma mater with helping to achieve. “I graduated from Xavier and I launched a political career in Cincinnati after graduation. I then went off and did that for 30-plus years all over the country. I wanted to come home and give something back, as they say,” Ford says.

The Ultimate Feat

As a child, Kim (King) Andriole spent several hours in front of her television one Saturday afternoon, amazed at what she was watching: the Ironman triathlon from Hawaii.

She was mesmerized and inspired by the strength, challenge and passion of those competing in the endurance race: a 2.4-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride followed by a 26.2-mile marathon, back to back to back. As she grew, Andriole went on to accomplish plenty of athletic feats of her own—she became captain of the Xavier volleyball team, still holds the record for most kills in a season, and she began running marathons at age 30.

But she could never escape the memory of the Ironman. It was the ultimate athletic feat. So in 2008, she grabbed her family and went to watch the Ironman event in her hometown of Louisville, Ky. Her competitive juices started flowing, and she decided that in 2009 she would be on the course competing and not on the sidelines watching. She hired a coach to help her train and began running, swimming and biking up to 25 hours a week. She made it through setbacks that included tears in her calf and knee, three bouts of strep throat and a fear of swimming in open water (the 2.4-mile swim is in the Ohio River).

In the end, it paid off. In August, she finished the 140.6-mile race in 14 hours and 19 minutes. “I believe that the human mind and spirit has no limits,” says Andriole. “I wanted to show my children that you can set a goal and achieve it, that you can do anything you set your mind to.”

There was one hurdle she almost couldn’t overcome, though. During her training, she learned her family—husband Michael and two sons, ages 2 and 7—was moving to England for Michael’s job. The movers arrived the day after the race to pack up their house. She also had help during the race to keep moving. Nearly 50 supporters were there in matching “Team Kim” T-shirts encouraging her. “I was so overwhelmed by the support,” Andriole says. “It’s kind of like giving birth. You forget about all the pain because of what you have in the end.”

Sustaining Life

As his friends and family in the U.S. were celebrating Christmas, Ben Krause was in the tiny Ethiopian town of Kalala, rolling out two things that most of the residents had never seen: a map and a plan.

Krause, a 2003 honors graduate with degrees in Spanish and philosophy, works for Catholic Relief Services in Ethiopia, a country that has been and will continue to be hard-hit by climate change. To help the country move past emergency aid and toward sustainable livelihoods, CRS is helping them create a plan to better manage their natural resources through concepts such as terracing, rehabilitating gullies, preventing erosion and recharging the water table. Hence the maps—giant vinyl satellite printouts from Google Earth.

“After carefully explaining what the maps were and where they came from, we put the farmers to work drawing in the existing water sources, schools, markets, rivers, land uses, degraded areas and other features that truly make this land their own,” Krause says. “Though most of them had never seen a map before, they quickly moved from utter confusion to crawling all over the maps, markers in one hand and shepherd staffs in the other, arguing over exactly where a river bends and how big the plot of irrigated land should be drawn.”

CRS then sent the community’s efforts back into Google Earth to serve as both a baseline and a guide for the next five years of work, while the maps stayed with the residents to help them manage their own futures. It’s a long-term project, though, meaning they are still dependent upon aid. In fact, a month earlier, Krause was at the Port of Djibouti helping guide the delivery of more than 30,000 metric tons of grain—the equivalent of 1,000 semis—brought to the country to help Ethiopians survive their third year of brutal drought. CRS feeds about 2 million people a month in Ethiopia.

In the meantime, more projects are underway: new irrigation and agricultural techniques that preserve crops; modern beehives that increase production 700 percent; and “arborloo” latrines that are used by people for six months and then filled in with fruit trees. It’s good to give a man a fish, and better to teach him how to fish, but enabling him to fertilize his own fruit tree every day might just be the best lesson of all.

Survival Mode

From hurricanes to blizzards to flu pandemics, disasters can strike anytime, anywhere. Many people fail to plan for emergencies, but Richard Harris is ready to help. Harris is CEO and “sustenance guru” of P3 Secure, which supplies self-heating meals, shelf-stable water and other products required for survival in emergencies.

Relief organizations urge people to have a three-day supply of food and water on hand in case of an emergency. Only half of Americans have any supplies, though, and many of those are insufficient. For instance, most water in plastic bottles can grow bacteria and is only good for about a year. P3 Secure’s water comes in aseptic packaging that’s good for five years. The meals, which can be heated in eight to 10 minutes with an included heating element, can last for at least three years. The company also produces hygiene kits with items such as hand sanitizer, toothpaste and self-heating washcloths.

Harris, a 1986 business graduate and former member of the men’s basketball team, founded P3 Secure in 2007 after working with a defense contractor in disaster areas. While MREs (meals ready to eat) existed for soldiers, he noted that average citizens in a disaster had different needs and would want meals that resembled something they’d eat every day.

“When disruption occurs, the meal is the most important thing of the day, so we wanted it to be as normal as possible,” Harris says.

The company, based in West Chester, Ohio, sells its disaster-response kits to government agencies, corporations, relief organizations and individuals. In 2008, it sent half a million meals and products to victims of Hurricane Ike, and the company donated to Haiti earthquake relief efforts. Many businesses are clients, Harris says, because they understand the need to take care of employees who might be stranded in an emergency, but individual consumers are harder to convince.

Events like the winter’s fierce storms on the East Coast, as well as earthquakes and the H1N1 scare, “make it easier to talk about disaster preparedness,” Harris says, “but the inclination of most people is to think about it but not to act.”

Prison Time

As he transitioned back to working in the family business in western New York, Tom Briody decided to take some time off and immerse himself in a grassroots ministry. While he searched for the right opportunity, a friend mentioned a prison ministry at nearby Attica State Prison, the site of an infamous 1971 uprising that left 39 people dead. Curious, Briody went for a visit. He was imme diately hooked.

“Clearly prison ministry is not one of those things that many people get interested in. It’s an overwhelming feeling to put a face to the concept of prisoner, see the humanity behind it and realize that we’re not that different,” says Briody, a 1980 graduate whose daughter and son now attend Xavier. “The differences often come from how we’re brought up; they’re often coming from poverty and single-parent families, and obviously they’ve made bad decisions, but a lot of the contributing factors are beyond their control.”

Briody threw himself into the ministry, called Cephas, and began travelling to Attica two days a week to help lead discussion groups in which prisoners laid bare their emotions, regrets, past hurts and hopes for the future. When Briody began his current position as managing partner of the Pinegrove Estates retirement community, he could no longer be at the prison twice a week. Instead, he became board chairman of Cephas and used his administrative background to help develop its strategic vision and secure funding. He also helped guide Cephas through a merger last year with another prisoner-outreach program. The resulting PeacePrints Prison Ministries operates three re-entry residences as well as the support groups and assistance to prisoners’ families.

Briody’s day job has ministerial aspects as well. He is passionate about educating people on successful aging and seeing older adulthood as a chance for growth instead of a period of decline. “We have so much control over the aging process,” he says. “It’s important to stay socially connected, physically active, keeping the mind and the spirit engaged. It’s knowing what touches your heart and then having the opportunity to actually engage in it.” Even if it takes you to prison.