Sweet 16 Sounds

Some things never get old, like making it to the Sweet 16. Each trip offers its own unique sights and sounds, and this year we recorded a few things we overheard.

“He just kind of wilted, like a flower.” —Joe Sunderman on Dez Wells hurting his toe

“When we played in the Hoosier Dome, the basket looked this big. And it was just floating there. It was like the ball wouldn’t even fit in it.” —Byron Larkin on playing in a dome

“To Kenny Frease. Four years and three Sweet Sixteens. Who else has done that? I love Kenny Frease.” —Joe Sunderman, raising a coffee toast at breakfast on game day

“Wayland Street goes nuts when Xavier wins. The cops came last time. They’re like, ‘Settle down.’ We’re like, ‘We’re in the Sweet 16, we can’t settle down!’” —Arthur Havey, junior

“Oh, you’re the tall guy. Remember me, from yesterday? I was like, ‘You’re so tall!’” —Waitress of Atlanta’s Metro Café Diner to Joe Sunderman

“If any of the Muskies has a toothache, there should be plenty of help available.” —Retired dentist and Xavier graduate Earl Schuh ’52 on the 100th annual dental convention that coincided with the NCAA playoffs in Atlanta (Laura Bush was the keynote speaker.)

“Feed the King!” —Kevin Lavelle encouraging the Musketeers to pass the ball to senior Kenny Frease

“He’s full of wisdom. He says a lot of things that are philosophically deep. I don’t know where he gets it.” —Zach Boothe on Tu Holloway’s Twitter account

“We’ve got a one-of-a-kind gnome. It’s fun.” —Susan Griffin on D’Artagnome, Xavier’s traveling garden accessory

“We fight for the same jobs, the same girls, but in the end we’re not that different.” —Atlanta telecom salesman Luckey Helms ’06 on the crosstown rivalry with UC

 

To relive more Sweet 16 memories, check out the “Let’s Go X” blog at xavier.edu/postseason.

Classic Example

The Cincinnati suburb of Carthage has always been a dirt-under-the-fingernails kind of place.

Vine Street, one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, cuts through the heart of the town, bringing outsiders to the hardware stores and used car lots that line either side of the street. Small, stick-frame houses are squeezed tightly side by side, filled by working class families who either farmed the fertile land or hammered out a day’s labor in the industrial sector on the other side of the Mill Creek.

Norbert and Gertrude Klekamp owned one of those houses. Gertrude stayed at home and raised their four children—three boys and a girl—while Norbert struggled to bring in enough money to pay the mortgage, groceries and tuition for the kids to attend Catholic school at St. Charles Borromeo.

As each of the three boys grew and prepared for high school, though, the struggles increased. Neither Norbert nor Gertrude finished high school, but they knew the value of education and wanted nothing but the best for their children.

Rather than have them attend Central Vocational or nearby Roger Bacon High School as most Carthage kids did, Gertrude loaded them onto a streetcar and took them downtown to St. Xavier High School where they met with John Benson, S.J., the school’s president. It was the best high school in the city, but tuition was $140, a steep sum for the 1940s.

“I can pay for one,” she would say, “but that’s all.”

So each year they made a deal. If she paid for one, all three could attend, under one condition—they would have to work for the difference. Gertrude agreed. If her boys knew anything, it was how to study and how to work.

Don, the middle son, spent his afternoons cleaning up the physics lab after a day’s worth of experiments. Bob, the oldest, and Bill swept up other parts of the school.

In the end, it worked. Bob earned his doctorate and taught business at Xavier. Bill went to work for IBM and retired at age 55. Don forged a different path. Fr. Munson, a Jesuit scholastic who taught Latin at the school, pushed him to enroll in the Honors AB program at Xavier, the most intense academic offering at the University in which students major in Classics and minor in philosophy.

“There were only eight of us in the program,” he says with a laugh. “We were a bunch of geeks.”

He spent his summers working odd jobs—assembling cars at the Ford plant, working construction, loading box cars, running garbage trucks, bartending—to raise as much money as he could to pay for tuition.

With no family contribution, though, it was never enough. The rest had to come from scholarships set up by others—a gift that wasn’t lost on him at the time, and hasn’t been lost since.

After graduating in 1954, Don went on to earn a law degree. Two years later help create a new law firm, Keating Muething and Klekamp. The three-person firm has grown to have more than 100 lawyers, and Don meets with the new associates and tries to pass along some of the Jesuit lessons he learned about giving back and being a man or woman for others.

“We’ve been blessed to have a number of significant and successful clients,” he says. “One way to give back is to offer financial assistance to the poor and underprivileged.”

Really, though, he doesn’t need to say anything at all. All they have to do is follow his lead. He set up a scholarship at Xavier for Honors AB students—paying forward the help that was previously given him.

He and his wife Marianne—“I would never make a gift without asking her first because it’s her money as much as mine”—have also created scholarships at St. Xavier High School and a professorship at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. They helped fund the new Legal Aid Society building, and Don spent five years as president of the nonprofit organization, which provides free legal assistance to the poor. They have long supported the National Right to Life Society and the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, an

anti-pornography group.

They’ve supported the Catholic Inner-City Schools Education Fund and Visions Community Services, which offers early childhood education and support services for parents in poverty.

Everywhere he was helped—be it in schools or law or Catholic initiatives—he’s turned around and offered help in return.

“We grew up broke,” he says. “But we had the greatest parents in the world. My mom was extremely wise. She got us up and we went to 8:00 a.m. Mass every day, and I still go St. Gertrude in Indian Hill for Mass every morning. She gave us all that structure, and that’s still important in my life.”

Golfers Gone Wild

Xavier’s golf program has garnered national attention in the last few years with the success of two of its graduates. Jason Kokrak won five college tournaments for Xavier and qualified for the U.S. Open as a 22-year-old in 2007.

After finishing his communication arts degree in 2008 he joined the eGolf Professional Tour, where he worked his way to the position of leading money winner. He then graduated to the Nationwide Tour. Last year in the Nationwide he was the 4th money leader ($338,092) and the Tour’s longest hitter, with a punishing 318.6-yard average drive.

At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Kokrak is known for his authority on the range. But his short game isn’t bad either, and two wins within five weeks at the end of the 2011 Nationwide season clinched Kokrak a berth on the 2012 PGA Tour. He opened his rookie season with a 75th place finish (and a memorable 362-yard drive) at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Then, in February, he battled to a 9th place finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, ahead of Tiger Woods. He’s earned $217,528 so far this year.

Also, Andy Pope, a 2006 communication arts major, is playing on the Nationwide Tour. He recently finished 28th at the Chile Classic Presented by Pacific Rubiales.

And those two may soon be joined by another Musketeer on the professional circuit, Sebastian MacLean, a senior who recently won his fourth college tournament at Myrtle Beach. MacLean is Bolivian, a fifth-generation descendent of a Scottish sea captain who sailed to Peru in the mid-1800s, met a wife and never went home. MacLean seems to have retained his ancestral predilection for the sport, and he plans to enter the PGA Latin America Tour this year, where he will try to play his way into the Nationwide and eventually the PGA Tour. That’s not MacLean’s only goal, though. He’s also aiming to represent Bolivia at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Golf Goes Inside

Hours after a spring cloudburst, Doug Steiner walks over to a puddle in the parking lot of the Maketewah Country Club, plants his feet in the water and looks up.

“The front door is going to be right…here,” he says.

In front of him are two empty tennis courts and 15 acres of tangled undergrowth. But the director of Xavier’s golf programs sees something else entirely: An indoor golf facility, designed to give Xavier’s golfers a year-round practice area just two miles from campus.

“My players will have exactly what they need to be good,” he says. “That’s a good feeling for a coach.”

He’s been building this dream for two years now. There were times when he wondered if it would be realized, but now the plans are drawn and the shovels hit the soil as soon as contracts are finalized and signed.

“Ah, it’s goose bumps for me,” Steiner says, shaking the ice in his soda and touching his arms. “Truly. It’s pure excitement, paired with relief.”

Steiner’s journey to this parking lot puddle began two years ago when he lost a top recruit to Purdue University, which had an indoor facility.

“All the big programs in this part of the country started building them,” Steiner says. “Kids want to go where they can practice all year round.”

Xavier’s golf program is already highly regarded. Golf Digest ranks it 19th best in the country and No. 1 in the Midwest. It has produced many successful players, including Jason Kokrak (see sidebar), who plays on the PGA Tour and beat Tiger Woods this February at Pebble Beach, and Andy Pope, who plays one step down on the Nationwide Tour.

But Steiner knew if Xavier was to keep pace with other programs, it needed the facilities to attract the best players. So he and his staff started dreaming. “We were drawing things on napkins in the early stages,” Steiner says. They visited facilities at other universities and began raising money. Steiner’s initial goal was $200,000. When he met that, he aimed for $400,000. After 15 months of fundraising, he had $850,000. Maketewah Country Club, Xavier’s new home course, chipped in the rest of the money for a $1.3 million building, slated to be finished in time for winter practice.

“It’s become a necessity now,” Steiner says. “Ten years ago, it might not have mattered. Now it matters if we want to be great.”

It matters to Korey Ward, a tall freshman at the driving range, knocking balls 175 yards in fluid strokes with his seven-iron. An Ohio Amateur Champion, Ward chose Xavier for its golf program, education and proximity to home. He can’t wait to have a year-round practice facility, especially on days like today when pools of rainwater cover the driving range.

“We’re all very excited about it,” he says. “It will give us a chance to practice in the winter. It will be pretty spectacular, from what I hear.”

Judging by the plans, Ward won’t be disappointed. The tri-level, 10,000-square-foot building includes men’s and women’s locker rooms, a 3,500-square-foot putting green, four covered hitting bays and a Cobra-Puma fitting center. It will also have a kitchen, conference room, trophy room and study lounge. And a short game area behind the building allows players to practice their putts, chips and wedges.

“It’s kind of like our own clubhouse,” Steiner says. “My dream is that a player, on a snowy day in February, can take a two-minute drive and stay all day. They can putt, chip, drive, make something to eat and study for class.”

Steiner says Xavier’s recent successes and talented young recruits bode well for the future of the golf program. As he talks, he checks his phone for news updates—Kokrak just teed off at the PGA Transitions Championship in Florida.

“One of my dreams as a coach was to have a guy make the PGA tour,” Steiner says. “My next dream is to win the Masters. What would it be like to have a Xavier guy win the Masters? It would be big. It’s possible.”

More immediately, Steiner is looking forward to the new building that will elevate the golf program among its competitors and even within the University. “It gives us a home,” Steiner says. “This will be our Cintas.”

The Theater of College

Xavier has always had great performing arts, but the performing artists have always been performing on the side. They’ve been math majors and philosophers and science students who just like the stage and spotlight. That’s changing. Xavier is creating two new majors—theater performance and theater education—that will be located within the growing Department of Music and Theater. Stephen Skiles, chair of the theater department at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, was hired to oversee the program.

Student Scholars

All that work inside—and outside—the classroom paid off for two students, Anna Robertson and Margaret Weidner.

Weidner, who graduated in 2011, was awarded a Fulbright research fellowship for work she began her senior year as a Brueggeman Fellow. Her research focuses on the global water shortage and if public or private financing is the best path for just distribution. The accounting graduate spent four months in India conducting research, and then returned, passed her CPA exam and got a job with Ernst and Young. She returned to India to study Hindi for two months before starting her job, and is now spending a year conducting more research in India.

Robertson, a junior theology major, was one of just 162 students nationally to be named a Newman Civic Fellow for her commitment to creating lasting change for the betterment of communities. Some of her activities include working with Voices of Solidarity, Contemplatives in Action, Students for Economic Justice, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Crayons to Computers

Ironman, Iron Mind

If exercise is an addiction, then swimming was Bryan Krabbe’s gateway drug. Krabbe’s mother, a nurse, is responsible.

She instilled healthy eating and fitness habits in her kids from an early age, and enrolled Krabbe and his sisters in swimming lessons. Krabbe developed a taste for the sport. He swam through high school at St. Xavier, and in college he dabbled in water polo.

It wasn’t until he was getting his master’s in nutrition at the University of Cincinnati that Krabbe started running. A friend training for a marathon turned him on to it. Krabbe, now a student in Xavier’s PsyD program, started jogging with her. “Nothing extreme,” he says, at first. “It was difficult. I ended up getting a lot of shin splints. I wasn’t used to that long-distance stuff.”

But it got easier, and soon he was training for marathons himself. “It gave me a goal,” he says. “A reason to exercise.” The more he ran, the faster he became. In 2004, he qualified for the Boston Marathon. “That was enjoyable,” he says. But before long, even marathons lost their luster. He hankered for a bigger challenge.

“One of my friends suggested triathlons,” Krabbe says. “He knew I was a swimmer and had been running. But I didn’t have a bicycle.” So he went out and bought one. “That might be fun,” he thought. “Something different.”

He started cycling with people, building up his distance. He entered some shorter triathlons, and then, in 2006, he signed up for the Ironman race in Madison, Wis., an exercise binge that packages a 2.4-mile swim with a 112-mile bike ride followed by a full marathon. Did he ever doubt he could do it?

“I didn’t really think about it that much,” he says. “That helped.” Two other things helped, too: the knowledge that a friend had done it, “and maybe some arrogance on my part.” The race began and 11 hours and 23 minutes later, an exhausted Krabbe crossed the finish line. It was a memorable high.

“This peace overcame me,” Krabbe says. “This huge sense of accomplishment and confidence that I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to.” The feeling went beyond fitness. It also inspired Krabbe to get his doctorate in psychology at Xavier, where he is, fittingly, president of the Student Health Advisory Council.

Madison didn’t kick Krabbe’s exercise habit, though. Six triathlons later he had shaved one hour and 40 minutes off his Madison time, finished second in his age group and qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. He went there to join the world’s top endurance athletes in the 2011 race. “Being there, seeing the professional athletes, it was a dream come true,” he says.

With all that behind him, it’s hard to imagine any higher fitness aspiration for Krabbe. But he’s signed up for another triathlon this summer, one he hopes to win. He’s also helping friends and fellow Xavier students get hooked on exercising. Maybe not a triathlon right away, he says, but how about a 5K? Go on. Just try it.

A Superior Gift

What looks nice with a black suit? How about a blue and gray Xavier hat—the flat bill variety, of course, so it’s stylish as well as fashionable.

That was what business professor Tim Kloppenborg thought in March, anyway, when he met with Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., the Superior General of the Jesuit order, during a Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education conference in Rome. Kloppenborg is president of the CJBE’s global faculty group. Some of Kloppenborg’s colleagues teased him for upstaging them by presenting Nicholas with the hat, but Father General was quite happy to be the owner of the second nicest hat in the Vatican.

Mostly, though, Nicolas was happy with the efforts of the business faculty. “Father General encouraged us to use technology to expand our reach and encouraged networking in many forms,” Kloppenborg said. “He also said ethics education is so critical—even saying business without ethics is a disaster. He wants education to be in greater depth and wants our graduates to be better people, not just better at business. And he has great respect for creativity and would like our graduates to change from thinking about work as a job to thinking of it as a vocation.”

Business at Hand

In July, Brian D. Till becomes dean of the Williams College of Business. Xavier magazine sat down with him to learn more about his vision.

Xavier: You’re coming to Cincinnati after nearly two decades at the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University, a Jesuit institution. What will you bring along with you in terms of that SLU experience?

Till: A very strong commitment to the value of a Jesuit university education and its corresponding ethics and values. One of the things we have at SLU is a “Service Leadership Certificate” for undergraduate business students. Students take workshops on campus, attend speakers and participate in service projects in the community. I think that’s just a perfect program for a Jesuit university. It’s important that business students have out-of-class opportunities to engage and live Jesuit values through service work.

Xavier: Is there anything that the Williams College needs, or needs to change, in your view?

Till: I’m not coming on campus with pre-determined set of programs. As I learn more about what is unique at Xavier and the Williams College of Business, naturally I will have some ideas. But most importantly, I intend to work with the various WCB constituencies—faculty, staff, students, business community—to craft a strategic direction for the College. That said, I have a few focus areas. I want to assure we maintain a strong undergraduate program connected to their liberal arts education. I want to enhance students’ global perspective and ensure that students integrate learning across disciplines.

Xavier: Your background includes corporate stints in a variety of foreign countries. How does that affect your viewpoint?

Till: As I mentioned, it is important to look at ways to improve students’ exposure to international opportunities. I have developed strong personal ties with two countries in my life: Norway and Colombia—Norway through friends and Colombia through teaching experiences. I am particularly interested in connecting with Latin America. Colombia is becoming an important business hub for that part of the hemisphere. I think it’s an area of the world that has a lot of potential, but it isn’t as bright on people’s radar screen as is China, India or Europe.

Xavier: Without revealing any master plan, you must have some process in mind for the future?

Till: I want to immediately develop a strategic plan, which will provide a blueprint for what we do as a College. This strategic planning process ought to be very inclusive. It will include staff, faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and our board of advisers.

Xavier: You come to campus as a proven branding, creative advertising and marketing authority, having written a book and a number of articles on these topics. How will this influence your decisions?

Till: As part of the strategic planning process, we will define the Williams College of Business as a brand. I don’t know yet what that answer will be. But we will be exploring the question of what we want the Williams College of Business to stand for—what makes it unique and what are the defining characteristics of a Williams College of Business educational experience?

Xavier: You’re a native of St. Louis. How will this color your experience living here?

Till: I think there are a lot of similarities between St. Louis and Cincinnati. I look forward to learning more about the city and experiencing what makes Cincinnati unique and special.

 

[divider]At a Glance [/divider]

Name: Brian D. Till

Title: Dean, Williams College of Business

Education: PhD in Business Administration, University of South Carolina; MBA and BS in advertising, University of Texas at Austin

Author: The Truth About Creating Brands People Love (2009)

Background: Professor of marketing and department chair, Saint Louis University, 1995-2012; Special assistant to the dean and visiting professor, Loyola University Chicago, 2010-2011; Assistant professor, Drexel University, 1992-1995; Product brand manager, grocery division, Purina Co., 1985-1988.

Top Cop

Two years ago, police Sgt. Tia Pearson Miller was just another officer on the beat. As covert and stealthy as one of her undercover cohorts.

But she was everything producers from The Learning Channel were looking for when they came scouting for a new show—tough, no-nonsense, an Iraq War veteran who rode a motorcycle in her leisure time and practiced strength-training and kickboxing. So they made her a centerpiece of the reality television show “Police Women of Cincinnati,” and now she’s practically a household name and an equally recognizable face—at least, for the show’s 1.3 million weekly viewers.

“People keep coming up to me, asking for autographs,” she says. “I have new respect for celebrities. I would never approach a celebrity now because it can be so annoying. Sometimes.”

At work these days, the Hollywood era appears to be over. TLC shifted its focus to policewomen of other cities, but Miller turned her TV life into a new career as communications liaison for the police department, going out and talking with young adults who feel trapped by the urban street-scene. “I try to be the voice for the parents,” she says. “I listened to my mom, but whenever a star said it, I really listened.”

She can also offer a lesson on education. In May, she walked across the stage at Commencement after earning her master’s degree in human resources, a subject that’s totally different from police work, she says, and bound to keep her away from the TV cameras.

“Life has gone on,” she says, “but it will probably never be the same.”