Need Nurse? Will Travel

Amanda Downer had always heard Chicago was the place to be in the summer. So off she flew to live in the Windy City, and she loved it. Then winter came, blowing the cold air off the lake and through the city streets. Suddenly she wanted a change of scene—someplace a little warmer. Someplace kind of deserty, like Phoenix. That sounded good, so she took off for Arizona, where the winter ambled through like a dusty tumbleweed. Tiring of cacti around April, her thoughts drifted back to Chicago, where spring was preparing to pop, and back she went.

Amanda the globetrotter lives a lifestyle many would envy: Moving to new environments every three months or so, free housing, a $300 allowance for every move, and even a month off with free health insurance between locales. Perfect for the young and unattached. As luxurious as it sounds, though, it is still a lot of work. But Downer doesn’t mind. She’s a nurse, the traveling kind, and she has enjoyed her year of changing venues.

Downer, 25, is among a growing cadre of traveling nurses who latch on with job-finding companies, such as Cross Country TravCorps or American Mobilecare, that specialize in placing nurses in hospitals across the country as the need demands. It’s called travel healthcare, and it got its start in the early 1970s. Amanda, who graduated from Xavier in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing science, heard about it two years later while she was working at Cincinnati’s Christ Hospital.

“I would rather be a staff nurse and not have to change jobs every 13 weeks, but I wanted to do this so I could get around the country and see how different hospitals run and what’s the best fit for me,” Downer says. “I pretty much just do cardiac care.”

She has considered other destinations, such as San Francisco, Seattle, New York City and Denver. But Phoenix and Chicago have kept her busy. Now a little older, Amanda is thinking it’s about time to leave the nomadic life and settle down, recently switching to a better-paying position at Chicago’s Loyola University Hospital doing heart telemetry. While the traveling program is attractive for its continuous promise of faraway places, it lacks the security of permanent employment.

“It’s a hard switch, because you don’t have that freedom that if you don’t like it in three months, you can just go,” she says. “But I think I’m getting to the point where if I find a hospital I really like, I’ll just end up staying there.”

More Letters to the Editor

Conscientious Objection
I strongly suggest that the administration reassess its values and its priorities before scheduling another scum such as filmmaker/author Moore. And please, none of that “diversity” nonsense.
John D. Harris, MBA Class of 1965

 

Biology Bonding
I am writing in response to your recent article on Lisa Close-Jacob [Winter 2004]. I had the privilege of having Close-Jacob for a physiology class, and her hands-on approach to education has been so motivational for me that I try to follow her lead daily as a current biology teacher in Pennsylvania. I hope I inspire my students as much as she has inspired me.
Mark Modrovsky, Class of 1999

 

Co-ed Considerations
I received the [Winter 2004] Xavier magazine in today’s mail. Walking up the driveway, I noticed the header mentioned rugby. The first article I flipped to was your article on rugby. You see, I have a daughter who helped form Xavier’s first women’s rugby team. Needless to say, I was very disappointed when I could not find any mention of the women’s team in your article. They won a few games this year and had many freshmen join. I drove down from Cleveland, as did other parents, to cheer the girls on. I also paid emergency room bills for the injuries sustained. Sarah has had a great experience with rugby, and maybe you will find time to let others know of a new tradition at Xavier: women’s rugby. Thank you for listening.
Ann Kalt

 

Enriching Memories
Congratulations on another fine issue [Winter 2004], featuring Russ Goings.

 

I have fond memories of stimulating conversations with him in the old South Hall snack bar during the ’58-’59 year. I was studying for an M.B.A.—after a Xavier B.S.B.A. in ‘57—and Russ was a senior. We had a common free period three or so times a week around 10:00 a.m. Even though the area was full of students, Russ was usually sitting alone—perhaps an unfortunate sign of the times—but that was fine with me because we could then concentrate on the subject at hand without outside comments not to the point.

 

I knew Russ went on to play pro ball, but then lost all contact or knowledge of his life. Your article in the Winter 2004 issue now completes the circle 45 years later. He indeed was an “enricher” for me, but what an impressive list of enriching experiences followed for him.

 

I wonder if Russ has similar memories—or any memory—of those South Hall conversations with a student whose name he probably has long forgotten. I am a better person because of him.
Bill Stenger

Natural Bridge

For centuries, Appalachia was a world unto itself. Its ridges sheltered a mysterious, ephemeral beauty reflected in foggy hollows, ancient music and drawled speech patterns that mystically transformed words like “creek” into “crick.” But the ridges also harbored something else—a dark reputation for brutal ignorance and violent, longstanding feuds. And to the world of the national mainstream, susceptible as it can be to “us vs. them” thinking, this dark side was an easy focus.

Michael Maloney knows both of these worlds well. Born in 1940 in a log cabin in Breathitt County, Ky., in the mountainous eastern portion of the state, the 1967 graduate weathered early tragedy and years of outside prejudice to bring the two worlds together. And if traces of the distinctive Appalachian accent have disappeared from Maloney’s speech, the meaning of his mountain culture has only grown stronger. As an activist and founder of the Urban Appalachian Council, he helped set the stage for reforms that continue to resonate.

“Mike’s a pioneer,” says writer Phil Obermiller, who’s worked with Maloney since the early 1970s. “Pioneers can see things we can’t. In Mike’s case, it’s an idea of how society can be. He not only helped Appalachians adapt, but also helped the city learn how to react to the migrants. And what he did created a pathway for other minorities that followed, like the Hispanics.”

Maloney was a natural fit for the task, with an education and a developing, big-picture view that most of the migrants lacked. Equally important, though, he understood what it meant to be uprooted. Breathitt County is notorious for a bloody, feud- riddled history unmatched by any other county in the United States. And before Maloney’s second birthday, violence came to his doorstep: His father was beaten to death, the result of a “disagreement.” Fearing her oldest sons would seek revenge, Maloney’s mother moved her nine children to neighboring Lee County, where they lived in a succession of rental properties. Maloney joined St. Theresa’s Catholic Mission at age 17 and graduated from high school in 1959. By then, well-meaning teachers had already altered his speech, in the process giving him a taste of prejudice to come.

Blatantly rejected by one college because he was from the mountains, Maloney enrolled at the University of Kentucky. There, the upscale bluegrass society recognized his gifts, but urged him to break ties with his heritage. A local priest, however, challenged him to do just the opposite—to embrace his heritage.

“That was the beginning of my Appalachian consciousness,” Maloney says. “He called me to be true to myself.”

His direction altered, Maloney decided to enter the priesthood and came farther north to study. Disciplined for pushing reforms in the wake of Vatican II, though, he resigned from the seminary in 1966 and enrolled at Xavier.

By the time he received his Master of Education degree in 1967, activism was in the air. At the urging of Appalachian activist Ernie Mynatt, Maloney headed for Over-the-Rhine, and was soon helping migrants find the services and opportunities they needed to succeed.

In the late 1960s, racial unrest exploded into rioting across the country, and Cincinnati wasn’t immune. In the wake of the violence, Maloney detoured to the University of North Carolina to study city and regional planning. He intended to take his new knowledge back to Eastern Kentucky, but a professor urged him to finish the work he’d begun in Cincinnati. Maloney acquiesced, and soon began a 15-year stint teaching Appalachian studies at the University.

He also continued to advocate for migrants, work that in 1974 led to the founding of the Urban Appalachian Council. Cobbling together a solid core of financial support through the United Way, grants and private donations, he built a stable organization.

“One of the other things that Mike did so well was to establish a solid base in terms of research,” says Maureen Sullivan, a 1978 graduate who succeeded Maloney as the council’s executive director in 1982. “He built a baseline of data that identified the urban Appalachian community.”

By the time Maloney left to launch a multi-faceted career as a consultant, writer and editor for a variety of Appalachian- oriented projects, he’d built a powerful legacy. Obermiller credits him with laying the groundwork for advances ranging from Cincinnati’s anti-discrimination policy for city workers to the emergence of the annual Appalachian Festival, the largest festival of its kind in the country.

For his part, Maloney admits to lots of advances educationally, economically and perceptually but says much work remains to be done, particularly with those Appalachian migrants who remain in the inner city. But he takes satisfaction in knowing that a younger generation of activists has picked up the torch.

Today, Maloney still owns the family land in Kentucky. The cabin is long gone, but he built a shack on the property, and from time to time heads back to the hills—and the culture that continues to shape his life. And if he’s forced to stop and think about it, Maloney sees himself as a “bridge person” between the two worlds±—the one he came to, and the one he never really left.

Forming the Foundation

A fleet of 22 canoes glides past a long bend in the Ohio River. The mammoth hand-hewn pirogues holding at least 10 men each fill the channel as they slip past the hilly banks. Dipping their paddles into the clear water, where sturgeon fish float visibly beneath the surface, the men cautiously scan the hillsides for signs of life—animal and human. As they move downriver, they come to a junction where the Great Miami River yawns into the Ohio. Complaining of its shallow bed, the French explorers name it Riviere de la Roche—River of Rock. Shouts go out to pull to the shore, and into the mud and onto the glimmering stones the men disembark. Among the travelers are 180 Canadian citizens, about 30 Iroquois warriors, a band of Miami men, women and children—and one Jesuit priest.

It was Aug. 31, 1749. The first Cincinnati settlers wouldn’t arrive for another 40 years, and Xavier University wouldn’t open its doors for another 82. But the seeds of their founding were being planted that day as Joseph-Pierre de Bonnecamps, S.J., stood among the group, recording the event in his journal.

With his traditional ankle-length black gown rustling in the warm August breeze, and his wide-brimmed black hat shielding his face from the sun, the French Jesuit took notes as the men anchored a leaden plate bearing the coat of arms of King Louis XV into the ground.

As perhaps the most educated man on the journey, Bonnecamps’ role was more than just a scribe, however. A mathematician and teacher of hydrography at the Jesuit College in Quebec, he was the expedition’s scientist, its missionary and its interpreter. But he had another, more vital role—cartographer. Using latitudinal and compass readings, he meticulously calculated and recorded the most accurate map of the Ohio River at the time—a map used by later explorers to open up the frontier.

Today, as Xavier prepares for its 175th anniversary in 2006, it can trace the roots of Jesuit influence on the region not just back to when the order took over the University, but to a time when one priest ventured into the unknown and charted the way for others to follow.

A lot can happen in 250 years. The hill on which Hinkle Hall now stands was once part of a rich fertile land, a forest inhabited by bear, deer and a few scattered Indian clans. Claimed first by the French, then by the English, the region was finally taken by the new Americans after many bloody battles. For all of them—early European explorers, fur traders, soldiers—it was the Ohio River that opened it up.

According to the earliest journals, the river was a gem, a ribbon of crystal clear water that was a ticket through the wilderness. The French called her Beautiful River, or La Belle Riviere, after the Iroquois word for Great River, which the French explorers translated as “Oyo.” It became the link between the fledgling French colonies in Canada and a new French community taking shape along the Gulf of Mexico. Everything in between was up for grabs, and the French, wary of the English settlers pushing west from the colonies, were determined to keep the entire territory, which they called New France, for themselves.

Bonnecamps’ journey in 1749, led by Pierre-Joseph Celoron de Bienville, was a mission to reinforce these French claims. From the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania down the Ohio to the Great Miami near what is now the western side of Cincinnati, Capt. Celoron planted six plates laying claim to the land, the river and all its adjoining tributaries. As they paddled and portaged, Bonnecamps mapped the river, improving upon another map drawn from a French expedition 10 years earlier. He fixed exact geographical locations of major tributaries and noted on his map the locations of the plates, only three of which have since been found. After carefully sketching the bend in the river where the Cincinnati settlement would be built, he and the expedition turned north, heading up the Great Miami toward Detroit, across Lake Erie through Niagara and home to the city of Quebec. The journey lasted five months and 18 days.

Bonnecamps and Celoron set off with more than 200 men, and except for the loss of one man, who died when his canoe careened over a waterfall on the third day, returned with the group intact. But not without adventure or danger.

In his journal, Bonnecamps describes the hardships of carrying canoes and gear along dry riverbeds, the severe storms that suddenly raised the river levels, and the constant worry about hostile Indians and English soldiers. At one point, two officers were sent ahead to meet with the Shawnee Indians. They were greeted cautiously, then attacked and bound to a stake. They would have been killed if not for an Iroquois Indian traveling with the mission who convinced them the French meant no harm.

He also writes about the environment, describing unusual trees such as the cottonwood or sycamore and the bean tree or honey locust. He tells how 29 men took their meal inside the hollow base of a giant cottonwood tree. He meticulously describes the seven rattlesnakes they caught, the first he’d ever seen—detailing their varying colors and segmented tails—and points out the fatality of their bite.

Toward the end of his journal, written as a report to the French territorial governor-general, Bonnecamps, ever the scientist, regrets missing the salt springs at Big Bone Lick downriver in Kentucky, where he would liked to have studied the elephant bones preserved in the pits.

“This news greatly chagrined me; and I could hardly forgive myself for having missed this discovery,” he writes.

Finally, he makes note of Detroit, a developing post on the frontier, which he suggests will be valuable in lending assistance to other areas, including the Beautiful River, “supposing that settlements be made theron.”

Settlements were, in fact, made theron. Bonnecamps, who eventually returned to France, couldn’t have known what lay in the future for the region that would become Cincinnati, but he expected his chart of the Ohio River’s course would help later explorers and settlers find their way. And it did.

“There were previous expeditions to the area and the French claimed it, and this expedition was to strengthen their claim,” says Jacques Monet, S.J., of the Canadian Institute of Jesuit Studies in Toronto. “Bonnecamps was to draw this map and report on the territory. The map was important. It contributed what the French knew of the territory.”

History would have it that neither the French nor the English would lay final claim to the territory. Rather, that honor would go to the new American revolutionaries, who renamed the region the Northwest Territory.

Still, the French left their mark in the names they gave to the rivers and towns of New France—now largely the Midwest. For his part, Bonnecamps may be the only Jesuit known to have come through the area until 1831, when a future Chicago bishop visited Bishop Edward Fenwick in Cincinnati and his newly opened school, the Athenaeum. Then in 1840, eight Jesuits arrived to take over operation of the school at the request of Bishop John Purcell, who was struggling financially to keep it open.

The school, located just seven blocks from the long bend in the Beautiful “Oyo” River, was renamed St. Xavier College. Later simplified to Xavier University, it has been charting its own course for nearly 175 years.

Family Matters

By 10:30 p.m., dinner, homework and baths are finished, and the kids are in bed. Now—finally—Dianne Ceo-DiFrancesco can get back to work. At a time when most people who’ve been up since 6:00 a.m. are turning in, Dianne is grabbing a cup of hot tea and trotting down to her office in a carpeted corner of the basement. She logs on to her e-mail, finds a submission from her partner on a Spanish textbook they’re co-authoring, and begins editing what will be the final chapter.

As she edits, holding the cup of tea on her lap, she begins to relax. Her toes curl into the soft fibers of the carpet, which extends to the linoleum across the room where the kids’ toys lie randomly abandoned. Jerking suddenly to the sensation of warm tea on her legs, Ceo-DiFrancesco realizes she’s nodded off. It’s 12:30 a.m.

Usually one to work until 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m., she decides to call it quits. The fifth-year assistant professor of Spanish has been going all day—driving the kids to school, teaching, driving them home and returning to campus for an evening class. She got home at 10:00 p.m. Her husband, Mark, a physicist who also worked all day, handled the dinner and chores. She makes her way upstairs and finds him slumped on the kitchen table, asleep. It’s been an exhausting day.

Most days seem to be much the same—squeezing the responsibilities of parenting into the work day and the demands of work into life at home. For university professors, the unique demands of the academic world pose a particular dilemma: While their work schedules can be more flexible, the expectations that they also publish scholarly work eat up any extra time that flexibility may create.

“The pressure is very heavy in the first five and a half years, which is when most faculty have their first kids,” says William Madges, department of theology chair and a father of two. “Two of my three new hires this year have young children. Most young parents say they can still teach, but when they go home, they’re not getting much scholarship done.”

From the University’s perspective, it’s a challenge as well—how to attract talented young faculty with families without sacrificing the quality of its demanding programs. Either way, both faculty and administrators agree on one thing: Family matters.

Most faculty teach three to four courses a semester, which, with preparation and planning time, can take 30 or more hours a week, Madges says. Grading, meeting with students and University duties are all extra. Research and scholarship also must occur-and be published-to be considered for a tenured position. All in six years.

The work load alone can be daunting. When a baby is thrown into the mix-perhaps on top of other children-a professor’s life can become chaotic. Jennifer Beste, a new assistant professor of theology, earned her doctorate from Yale University and is eager to complete her research into the Catholic Church’s response to trauma victims. But her work stalled this fall when 18-month-old Anna couldn’t adjust to a new babysitter. Anna would get sick on the ride to the sitter’s, and Beste would arrive frazzled.

“I’m pretty speechless right now about how to do it without hurting my child,” she says. “I’m shocked at how hard it is.”

When the babysitter quit, fellow theology professor Van Pham agreed to watch Anna while Beste taught. Now there’s a crib in Beste’s office and a play table in Pham’s. It’s only one day a week, but Anna is happier and Beste is relieved. Yet now she worries about relying too heavily on Pham and the willingness of Madges, her chair, to let the arrangement continue. Madges says he wants his faculty happy at home and doesn’t want to lose talented new teachers.

“Xavier needs to convince them this is the place you want to stay, and if that means cribs or playpens on occasion in the office, then that’s what we should do,” Madges says. His approach meets the Jesuit ideal of caring for the whole person. On the flip side, however, the department can’t be a day care center. And the arrangement means Pham has to make up her time in other ways.

“It relies on the goodwill of others and could change at any moment,” says Madges. “It’s too tenuous to bring peace of mind to the parents.”

The situation reminds Madges of his own experience 16 years ago when his daughter was born prematurely. Katie could not be exposed to anyone for a year, so his wife, Marsha, a public library director, went part-time, and Madges’ chairman, Kenneth Overberg, S.J., allowed him teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Madges stayed home with Katie the other three days, rising at 5:00 a.m. to work. He put in more hours in the evenings. Still, his new parenting duties cut into his research. Once, he arrived for a department meeting carrying Katie in a soft pack on his chest. Katie went into full-time home care the next year, and Madges made tenure, but he’ll never forget the adjustments both he and his department had to make.

Ever since, Madges has been an advocate for on-campus day care, which, he says, would reduce travel time and ease parents’ worries about their child’s well-being and their own work. Two earlier proposals-one in 1983 and one in 1993-were considered and shelved. In May, Madges submitted a revised proposal to the University committee on the status of women, and a subcommittee took it to President Michael J. Graham, S.J.

“He’s very supportive of the concept,” says chairperson Dawn Rogers. “We really felt that probably the biggest barrier would be finding the right place and getting it started.”

While the administration considers child care on campus, it’s also weighing a proposal to stop the tenure clock for one year for every new child in the family. Faculty who opt for the extension would continue to work and get paid but would have an extra year to complete their published work. Approved by the faculty in 2002 and backed by the administration as “affirming Xavier’s mission,” the measure went to the University’s board of trustees in December.

Some assistant professors already have successfully petitioned to stop their tenure clocks because of maternity issues, reflecting the holistic approach of department chairs who care about their faculty members’ personal lives. With board approval of the new policy, however, tenure extensions would become a right of all tenure-track professors.

“I want to do everything I can to further their professional careers and show I value family life,” says Jo Ann Recker, department of modern languages chair.

That may mean creative scheduling-strictly night classes for instance-to give faculty chunks of time to do research at home, or letting them bring their kids to work periodically. With the increase of new young faculty on campus, it’s not unusual to see children coloring in their parents’ offices or strolling to Burger King for chicken fingers and fries.

Stopping the tenure clock is not a new idea. The University of Iowa adopted a policy in 1993, the University of Texas in 1986 and Stanford University in 1971. And the trend continues. The American Association of University Professors in 2001 recommended extending tenure by up to two years for each child born. And a University of Michigan survey found 49 percent of universities have some form of tenure extension for professors.

Extending tenure may offer relief to harried new parents, but it also has its downside. It extends the time for promotion and salary increase. And there’s often a stigma attached.

“The view becomes they should have done more because they had an extra year or two,” says Daniella Sarnoff, an assistant history professor who’s expecting her second child in January. She’ll be on leave this spring but will return to do research in Berlin in July. With a baby on the way, she’s eyeing tenure extension.

“It’s one of the things I’ve kept in mind,” she says. “But if I can meet what I need to do without stopping the clock, then I won’t.”

Theology professor Gillian Ahlgren accomplished tenure while raising her son, Matthew, mostly as a single parent. It was exhausting, and her health suffered. Matthew was 3 months old and still not sleeping through the night when she returned full time for the fall semester 10 years ago.

“What I remember most is I would look in the mirror and just see black and blue lines under my eyes,” says Ahlgren, who cut her sleep to about four hours a night.

With her three children, ages 3, 7 and 9, still so young, Ceo-DiFrancesco is in the middle of her toughest years. She’s mastered the art of tweaking to keep everything functioning, occasionally picking up Vincent, her youngest, at noon from the Montessori Lab School on campus and walking him to her Schott Hall office. He eats lunch at a table while she works at her computer.

Recently he taped big sheets of colored construction paper to the cabinets. When they went to Recker’s office on business, Recker put chocolate Kisses in his hand. Later, they dashed out to get his brother and sister and head home for homework, dinner, baths, bedtime-and midnight tea in the basement.

She’s grateful for the support, she says, but something always suffers. “The house is a mess or you don’t get all your work done.”

The worst is when they’re sick. She has no family in town, so last winter, when Vincent had a high fever, she had a student watch him in her office while she taught. “You feel really bad because you know to be a responsible parent, he should be in bed,” she says.

As she tweaks, though, the tenure clock ticks. Her book nearly finished, she still has two more articles to do in a year. Still, she’s been fortunate. When Vincent was born, Recker offered her a one-year tenure extension, which she gratefully accepted.

“Dianne came to me nervous to tell me she was pregnant with Vincent,” Recker says.

“She was almost apologetic. I told her, ‘Congratulations.’ ”

 

Poetic Justice

It’s 4:00 a.m., a crisp October morning on New York’s Upper West Side. Silence hangs thick in the air, punctuated only by the occasional wail of sirens rising up from the streets below. In his 16th-floor apartment, Russell Goings Jr. has been writing for an hour. Clad in a gray ball cap, gray T-shirt and black shorts, he sits in a small pool of light at his writing table, his 6-foot-plus, 255-pound frame ensconced in a plain oak kitchen chair, his pen moving silently over a sheet of paper. He was up late last night watching “Martin Scorcese Presents: The Blues,” and his allergies are giving him a little trouble. He sniffles as he roughs out verses inspired by the series, part of a larger piece with the working title “I Have Known.”

I have known the inward and the outwardness of the blues …

I have known the different colors of the blues.

I have known the shape of the blues.

I have known the arch of a man’s foot that pats the blues.

I have known the blues that filled the cathedral of a man’s mouth. …

From the shadowy walls outside the sphere of light, works by renowned black artists Romare Beardon and Jacob Lawrence stand watch, providing a ready flow of inspiration. On the table, a pile of reference books—The Elements of Style, World Poetry, The Poetry of Black America and The Poetry of the Blues—share space with a darkened computer screen. Just beyond, a large window looks out over rhythmic rows of streetlights, pulsing into the distance with an energy that finds its way into the words.

The 1959 graduate has always been an early riser, and today, as usual, he started working a little after 3:00 a.m. Behind him on the couch, four stacks of handwritten manuscripts sit in mute testimony to his passion and dedication, the same passion and dedication that have marked most of his life’s pursuits. Among the titles he can claim are professional football player, pioneering black stockbroker on Wall Street, founder of one of the first black-owned companies to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, key player in the founding of Essence magazine, first black chairman of the Studio Museum in Harlem, dealer and collector of African-American art, crusader for black empowerment, rallying force for alumni of the Jesuit honor society, Alpha Sigma Nu, and inner-city school volunteer.

And now there’s the writing. In 2001, he completed “The Children of Children Keep Coming,” an epic 309-page poem that draws on the traditions of West African griots to sing the history of blacks in the United States. It’s a fairly new passion, but one that has grasped his soul. At 71, an age when most are beginning to look backward, Goings is still focusing on the future, still searching for new ways to improve his life and the lives of those around him intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.

“I try to enrich the moment,” he says. “That’s what I got from the Jesuits at Xavier. If you enrich the moment, you get the other stuff.”

n hindsight, perhaps the amazing aspect of Goings’ life isn’t all that he’s accomplished, or that he’s lived this philosophy, but that he was determined enough to discover and embrace it in the first place. He started life impoverished and wanting, living the kind of life that makes young men hard and angry.

From time to time, young Russell and his family took his little red wagon to the rail yards of his native Stamford, Conn., to gather the scraps of coal that littered the ground. The scraps fell from the steam locomotives with each earth-shaking arrival and departure, creating a cold-weather treasure trove for the shivering poor and allowing the family the chance to light the stove they otherwise couldn’t afford to feed. To his lasting embarrassment, the wagon also saw duty collecting supplies in the welfare line.

Goings’ parents, Russell Sr. and Rose, came north from South Carolina in search of opportunity. But in spite of his high school vocational training, Russell Sr. was denied entry to the unions and wouldn’t find steady work until World War II.

Against this backdrop, Goings entered first grade and immediately ran into trouble. Offended early by “Little Black Sambo,” the youngster turned away from reading and began reacting physically to the taunts of white classmates. “I was in the slow-to-retarded class until sixth grade,” he says. “I got into a lot of trouble.”

But at the end of the sixth grade, with reform school looming, a school psychologist discovered something about Goings: He’s dyslexic. The psychologist began teaching him to read using comic books and, playing on the youngster’s love of sports, exposed him to successful black scholar-athletes. Goings grabbed the ball and ran.

At critical turns in his life, Goings has always found mentors-enrichers, he now calls them-who have taught him what he needs to know to go forward. Fittingly, Rose Goings was her son’s first enricher, and, finally, the high standards she set for the oldest of her six children in the bleakest of times began to pay off. His new enthusiasm for education connected with a lesson learned in a local stockbroker’s office.

“I was shining a man’s shoes and he took a telephone call,” Goings says. “By the time I was done, he had made $200. Then he gave me a quarter. The same amount of time was spent. The difference was I was on my knees, and he was sitting in the chair.”

Goings resolved to sit in the chair. A teacher told him blacks couldn’t be stockbrokers, but he wasn’t buying. “I never understood what my blackness had to do with it,” he says.

In 1951, America was a hard place. It would be four years before Rosa Parks ignited the civil rights movement by refusing to give up her seat on an Alabama bus, and 13 years before Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. But Goings had grown used to the hardness, even if he hadn’t accepted it, and was looking forward to graduating from Stamford High.

He had reason to be optimistic. He was, after all, an outstanding football player with a pair of state championships under his belt, and he’d developed into a solid student as well. So when the invitation came to visit an Ivy League university, he didn’t see any signs of impending disaster. “I was the only black person in this group,” he says. “They served hors d’oeuvres. They gave me Gouda cheese, and I ate the paraffin. They kept giving it to me. Nobody told me. Finally they bring something I recognize-a bowl with a piece of lemon in it. I ask for some ice. I make myself some lemonade. They called for more. I didn’t know it was a finger bowl. I drank the stuff. I told the story, and my high school counselor cried.”

Embarrassed, Goings abandoned his college plans and joined the U.S. Air Force, where, he says, “I spent four years learning how to sit down at a table.” Well, not exactly. Goings was selected to study martial arts at the Kodokan in Tokyo, and he became an escape, evasion and survival instructor. By the time he left the service in 1955, Goings had a wife and a full scholarship to play football at the University-the latter courtesy of Xavier head coach Harry Connolly, who was from the Stamford area.

“It was the best decision I made in my life besides my family,” Goings says of his University experience. “The Jesuits took me by the hand and got me to knock the chip off my shoulder about being black. They showed me I could learn anything.”

At the University, he found enrichers in the persons of University President Paul O’Connor, S.J., English professor Paul Sullivan, S.J., and business professor Thomas Hailstones. After a rough academic start, Goings rose in his class and became a member of Alpha Sigma Nu. Ultimately, he completed his undergraduate work early and earned a graduate scholarship to study marketing.

His football career blossomed as well. A linebacker and guard, he was named the team’s outstanding lineman in his final season, and upon graduation, headed to Canada to play for the Saskatchewan Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League. In 1960, he was offered a shot playing for the Buffalo Bills of the fledgling American Football League. “Toward the end of the pre-season, I hyperextended my leg,” Goings says. “The coach wanted to shoot me full of painkillers so I could play on it. I packed my clothes and went to Wall Street.”

Goings was ready for Wall Street, but to say Wall Street in 1960 was less than ready for Goings is beyond an understatement. Blacks were virtually invisible on the Street. One major firm told him they just hired their “first Jewish broker east of the Mississippi,” so he’d have to get in line. Undaunted, he landed a job with a small firm, J.W. Kaufmann & Co. His first month’s salary was $37.50. But he found another mentor in Kaufmann, and soon developed into a rainmaker-the designation given to brokers who impact the course of business.

Drawing on what he knew best, Goings courted black athletes and entertainers, then largely ignored by the financial establishment. He recalls staking out the Grand Concourse Hotel, where visiting football teams stayed, and playing cards with names like Jim Brown, Ernie Green and Bobby Mitchell.

“I networked,” he says. “New York was the jazz music capital of the world, and a lot of the best musicians hung out at a place called Jim and Andy’s. I would hang out at the bar, then go to recording sessions with them, and they would become my clients. Later, I had a contract as a financial advisor with the National Basketball Association Player’s Association.”

These were heady times. By 1968, Goings was a branch manager for Shearson Hammill, a New York Stock Exchange firm. And he began turning his attention to helping young black entrepreneurs, convincing his superiors at Shearson Hammill to offer advice and invest in some of the ventures. One venture involved a young banker, Edward Lewis, who envisioned a magazine aimed at black women. In a single meeting, Goings helped him assemble the elements to start Essence magazine. He later served two years on its board.

“I call him ‘The Godfather of Essence,’ ” says Lewis, who’s now chairman and C.E.O. of Essence Communications Partners and publisher of Essence. “He’s a visionary. He’s tough, charismatic, articulate, to the point, and can be off-putting. He’s well-read and has an incredible wealth of history in terms of what has happened to us as African Americans in this country. He’s also very clear about what’s right and what’s wrong. He’s a role model.”

In October 1971, Goings bought the Shearson branch and renamed it First Harlem Securities Corp. Another company, Daniels & Bell, narrowly edged First Harlem to become the first black-owned company of any kind to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. But Goings says First Harlem was the first fully operational, self- contained black-owned company to have a seat.

But the ride was about to end. Goings sold shares in First Harlem, and when he wanted to restructure the firm, some stockholders disagreed. The fight turned ugly, and Goings was charged with misappropriating funds. Although the charges ultimately came to nothing-indeed, the stock exchange has no record of the case-the fight cost Goings virtually all his assets, and in 1976 he decided to leave Wall Street and find a new passion.

On Saturdays and holidays, crowds of visitors flock to New York’s art museums. And beginning in the late 1970s, Goings reserved those days for his own visits. But he never went alone. He had long been developing an interest in art, and he convinced Bearden, one of the country’s best African-American artists, to show him the way.

Goings had spent the first half of his career helping establish a beachhead for blacks on Wall Street and in the halls of financial power. But that was behind him now, and he turned his attention to yet another cultural issue-he became a dealer in African-American art. Once again capitalizing on a largely untapped field, he also realized his influence could stretch beyond simply buying and selling to helping determine which artists lived on as masters.

Goings met Bearden around 1970, and the two became close friends, a relationship that lasted until the artist’s death in 1988.

In challenging Goings to learn about art, Bearden enigmatically challenged him to begin writing. “He told me that when he died, he was going to sit at the big table,” Goings says. “He asked me where I was going to sit. I wanted to sit at the big table, too.”

Writing became an increasingly serious goal in 1994 when an unrelated personal mission-to rally Alpha Sigma Nu alumni and get the Jesuit message out to African-American schoolchildren-took Goings to Fairfield University. There, he met Thomas Regan, S.J., a professor of philosophy and the newly appointed president of the society, and Kim Bridgeford, an English professor and award-winning poet. Both would soon join the ranks of the enrichers. Goings showed Bridgeford some of his writings and began taking classes.

“The Children’ just leapt off the page,” Bridgeford says. “It’s one of the most impressive pieces that I’ve ever read. It’s just so clearly great art.”

Meanwhile, Goings and Regan became a formidable team, reaching out to corporate sponsors and taking the society to new levels.

“You don’t say ‘No’ to Russell,” says Regan, who is now provincial for the Jesuits’ Northeast Province.

Regan and Goings identified several New York schools as focal points of their mission to reach out to minority children, including St. Aloysius Middle School for Girls, which Goings took under his wing. He started a philosophy club, loaned more than 50 pieces of art by Bearden and Jacob Lawrence to the school, brought in numerous speakers in publishing, writing, editing, poetry and film making, staged workshops on writing and poetry, and entertained student art-discussion groups at his home. In typical fashion, Goings took his interest in education one step further by starting a production company-Praise Song on a Shoestring Inc.-to make classroom-ready videos about African-American artists and thus give black children greater insight into, and appreciation for, their cultural heritage.

As the first hint of daylight colors the autumn sky, Goings puts down his pen. Each day at 6:00 a.m., he joins a friend for coffee, sliced tomatoes and a toasted English muffin at a café down the block. Later, he’ll write some more, then maybe indulge in another passion-tennis. His goal remains what it’s always been: to keep growing, to keep contributing to the future.

“I want to make the earth that I’m around a little better than it was before,” he says. “I came in with nothing, and I’m going to leave the same way. Worldly things are fine, but it’s the moment that’s important. You must try to enrich the moment, and hopefully it touches somebody as it goes past.”

Romain’s Domain

The marketing effort of the University’s sports information department last year helped David West land honors as an All-American and as the nation’s player of the year. This year the department is turning its attention to Romain Sato, albeit differently.

For West, the department created a bobblehead doll, key chain and a few other items to help the media members who vote for the All-American teams remember him. The department didn’t want to duplicate its efforts, so for Sato it created three Russian nesting dolls, which fit inside one another. One doll depicts Sato the basketball player, another Sato the student wearing a cap and gown, and the third Sato the African native.

The trinkets aren’t available to the public, but the department created something for everyone—a web site that features the native of the Central African Republic who speaks six different languages. Visitors can go towww.starinanylanguage.com and learn about Sato on and off the court, learn about his home in Africa and watch video greetings from him in English, French, Sango, Swahili, Gkadiri and Yakoma.

Sato has earned consensus 2003-2004 preseason All-American honors. He is also on the preseason list of Wooden Award candidates for player of the year.

Off the Tee

Each year for the last 14 years, the University’s men’s golf team has lowered its collective stroke average—sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. And as its strokes have gone down, its ranking has gone up, culminating in the team now being ranked among the nation’s best. In September, it ranked as high as No. 2 nationally, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. At the end of the fall season, the team ranked 22nd in the nation.

The team finished second in the Mid Pines Intercollegiate tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., won the 15-team Northern Intercollegiate golf tournament at the University of Michigan and finished second in the 49er Collegiate Classic golf tournament in Charlotte, N.C.

The team also has been shattering school records, breaking the single-round score of 275 and the two-round score of 558. With the spring season still to be played, the team stroke average of 288.68 is on its way to breaking the school record of 295.37. Four of its top five golfers average below 73 strokes per round. And three golfers each recorded a hole-in-one this fall.

Aaaand Action

Before the women’s basketball team started studying game films, they spent some time making some films. The team shot two 30-second TV commercials on campus in October showing the players in the middle of normal, everyday family or school activities—while still in their uniforms. One commercial pans down a group of children in a dance class before stopping at a player in her uniform holding a ball. Another shows a group of schoolchildren walking to school, and in the group are two players in their uniforms. The theme of the commercials is “The Fun Stays With You,” which explains the uniforms. The commercials are airing during the team’s televised games as well as during family-oriented programming on local stations.

Segway This

Always wanting to stay on the forefront of technology, the physics department purchased a Segway Human Transporter, a two-wheeled vehicle that won’t tip over. Equipped with nickel metal hydride batteries, gyroscopes, a silicon sensor and several computer chips, the motor makes 1,000 adjustments per second to keep it upright. To go forward, the rider simply leans forward. It runs up to 12.5 mph. It turns with a twist of the handlebar and stops when the driver leans back.

Department of physics chairman Terry Toepker wanted to wow a gathering of physics teachers at the University this fall with a demonstration of the new two-wheeler, so he had Dennis Tierney, the department’s longtime laboratory technician, train on the intricacies of its design and operation. Ever since, he’s been tooling around campus answering questions from curious students, faculty and the like.

“People haven’t seen it, but they’ve seen it on ‘60 Minutes,’ ” Tierney says.

Riding it is like snow skiing or riding a motorcycle, he says. So far, Tierney has trained three professors who’re hoping students will be inspired to think outside the box and, maybe, invent something of their own.

The $4,500 Segway was purchased thanks to an anonymous donation from a physics graduate.