Time Trials

Two of the most fascinating people ever to attend Xavier were not necessarily the most ethical: Consider the cases of Harry Gold and Tito Carinci

Harry Gold arrived as a junior chemistry major in 1938, a short, chubby-faced unassuming young man with black hair who was six years older than his peers on the pre-war Xavier campus. He was quiet socially, yet brilliant academically. He avoided the University dances and social gatherings and spent most of his time studying, racking up As in chemistry, calculus and even English lit. His dedication paid off as he graduated summa cum laude in 1940.

Gold’s main extracurricular activity during his two years at Xavier was the chess club, but he also joined the intramural softball team as the 10th man in the outfield. Gold wasn’t very good, but he seemed to enjoy the game.

People who knew him just wrote him off as shy. They never suspected Gold of his other extracurricular activity: Russian spy. While carrying a full course load, Gold was living a double life, selling industrial, defense and atomic secrets to the Soviets as part of an espionage ring that led straight to Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, the most notorious spies America’s ever known.

“I never knew he was a spy until it was revealed in the newspapers in 1950,” says classmate Richard Trauth, who considered Gold a friend. “There were no signs. He was one of the gang.”

Xavier has many successful graduates—politicians, athletes, rocket scientists, inventors, business executives. But the University also has a small number of infamous graduates whose actions fall far from the high ethical and moral standards that the Jesuits strive to instill in every student. Gold was the standard.

Born Heinrich Goldnitsky in 1913 in Berne, Switzerland, Gold began helping the Russians in 1933 by stealing industrial formulas from the soap and sugar plants where he worked. He would wrap the documents in brown paper, as instructed by his Soviet contact known to him only as Fred, and slip them in the folds of a daily newspaper, which he’d pass to another spy at a designated time and place.

By the time he got to Xavier, he was thoroughly entrenched. Fred gave him more than $1,000 toward his educational expenses, met with him several times in Cincinnati and instructed him to make contact with a government official at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Gold made several attempts to recruit the official but was unsuccessful, according to FBI documents.

After graduation, Gold worked as an industrial chemist, a job he kept through World War II. During this time, he made contact with the British scientist spy Klaus Fuchs, who worked on the Manhattan Project, with David Greenglass, a machinist on the bomb project in Los Alamos, N.M., and finally with Julius Rosenberg, who sold secrets directly to the Soviets. Gold was a courier for Fuchs and Greenglass, who was Ethel Rosenberg’s brother. Busted by the FBI in 1950, Gold fingered Fuchs, Greenglass and the Rosenbergs. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were sentenced to death by electric chair in 1953, and Gold was given 30 years in federal prison. He served 15 years, was released in 1966 and died from heart disease in 1972. His obituary never ran in a newspaper, and he died in obscurity.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that, while at Xavier, Gold’s worst class was ethics. But his time at Xavier apparently had a deep effect on him. At one point, he considered returning to Xavier to confess his crimes to one of the Jesuits. And during his trial, Gold expressed remorse for the pain he caused “those who mean so much to me—my country, my family and friends, my former classmates at Xavier University and the Jesuits there.”

The story isn’t so neatly concluded for Tito Carinci, whose future was bright when he led the 1951 football team to the University’s first undefeated season. After graduating in 1953, Carinci went on to the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. But his professional football career didn’t last long. Cut by Green Bay, he went into the Army, and when his service was over, Carinci returned to Cincinnati.

“That’s when he got mixed up in the Mafia,” says his friend and Xavier teammate Dennis Davis, who was the first African American to play football at Xavier.

Carinci looked out for Davis in that era before the Civil Rights Act. Both were from Steubenville, Ohio, and Davis got to know a side of Carinci that few others did. He says Carinci’s troubles didn’t make sense. “His father was the woodshop teacher at Central Catholic High School. He came from good, wonderful people.” But trouble is what Carinci found. By 1961, Carinci was president and manager of the Glenn Hotel and its Tropicana casino in Newport, Ky., which operated in the “Sin City” venue that catered to gambling, drinking and prostitution. The city’s reputation had been long in the making. In the 1940s and 1950s, the Cleveland mob controlled the businesses and the law. For decades it was wide open, earning a reputation nationally as a place where people could go to have a little fun.

Then came George Ratterman, a former Cleveland Browns standout who ran for sheriff as part of a campaign to clean up Newport. On May 8, Carinci met with Ratterman in a Cincinnati bar ostensibly to seek his help to come clear of the Mob. After one drink, however, Ratterman became groggy and disoriented. Newspapers reported that detectives found him half-dressed in Carinci’s Glenn Hotel apartment in bed with a stripper named April Flowers.

Ratterman’s political goose looked cooked. Then it came out that he’d been slipped a mickey—a triple dose of chloral hydrate—in an alleged attempt to besmirch his reputation. The case caught the attention of then-U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who used the case in his crackdown on organized crime, including in Newport.

Charges of soliciting prostitution against Ratterman were dropped, but so were charges against Carinci of attempting to frame him. Ratterman was elected sheriff, and Newport’s renaissance has been underway since. Carinci had several other scrapes with the law, including a conviction for selling $3 million worth of heroin in 1979. He pleaded guilty in a deal with U.S. Attorney James Cissell, a 1962 Xavier graduate, and served five years of a 20-year sentence.

Several years ago, Davis saw Carinci in Steubenville, and they shared memories of Xavier and of football. “But I didn’t talk to him about Newport,” Davis says. “We talked about the good things, not the bad.”

Today, Carinci owns a bar, the Pitcher House, in Hermosa Beach, Calif., and was even honored by the city council for his efforts to keep the ocean clean.

In 2002, Carinci, then 73, returned to the scene of his mistakes for the opening of a restaurant named after his famed casino. Gazing over the restaurant and the new Newport, he stood amazed. “I can’t believe how beautiful the whole place is.”

Time Tested

Walking across campus on a brisk fall day, it’s easy to point out the myriad ways Xavier University has changed. Orange leaves ripple on the cool breeze, bouncing light off buildings that didn’t exist even a decade ago. And proposed expansions and recent property acquisitions all but guarantee that greater, more dramatic transformations are on the way.

But beyond the realm of bricks and mortar lie things older and stronger—fundamentally unaltered traditions that provide the University’s true foundation. Leo Klein, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry and a 1955 graduate, traces the core of those traditions directly to Ignatius Loyola, who founded the Society of Jesus in 1540.

“His key phrase was ‘to find God in all things,’” Klein says. “From the beginning of Jesuit education, the spiritual aspect of one’s life was important. And I think it’s still in the fabric of Xavier University.”

Not that forms haven’t changed, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s. But Klein is quick to point out that the guiding principles remain solid.

“Xavier University is pretty conservative,” he says. “But some of the old structures dropped. It used to be that before they would hand you your diploma, you had to have made a spiritual retreat every year. For the past 35 years it hasn’t been there in a structured way. But I think the intent is still there. We provide retreats, big time. And a lot of kids take advantage of them. So I think it was there in the beginning, and it is today. But it’s there in a new way.”

The same can be said for such traditions as the annual Spirit Celebration. “We used to have Mass of the Holy Spirit in the Fieldhouse,” says Paul Lindsay, a 1956 graduate and former associate vice president for University relations. “You were given an attendance card and you had to attend. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, that went by the board. Today we have the Mass of the Holy Spirit outdoors, and it’s participatory. Yet we get a good number of students to attend. So the focus is still on the Mass and the liturgy. The approach to the Mass has changed, but that theme is still there.” Xavier’s core curriculum, which embodies the Jesuit educational philosophy and makes up more than half of the 120 credit hours students need to graduate, has also remained intact, although it, too, has evolved.

“In the 1970s and the 1980s when a lot of other schools were cutting back core curriculum, Xavier kept it,” Klein says. “We were so far out of fashion that we’re back in fashion. If you check out the core curriculum, we’re right up there among Jesuit colleges and universities. If we’re not the most hours, we must be second or third.”

On the social side, athletics have served as a rallying point for University students since at least the late 19th century. Lindsay recalls football grabbed most of the attention in the early and middle portions of the 20th century. There was a brief lull after football was dropped in 1973, but basketball began to rebound in the 1980s. Now, student support for hoops rivals that of football’s glory days.

Then there are the strong, lifelong friendships—another constant in Xavier history. Once again, however, the conditions under which those friendships flourish have changed. Lindsay recalls that when Xavier was largely a commuter institution with a smaller enrollment, campus clubs and activities helped cement personal bonds. Now, with more students and activities, dorm life strengthens those relationships.

A constant in all of this has been the historical spirit of Jesuit creativity. It’s the same spirit, Klein says, that in the 19th century answered the need for business leaders by opening a commercial school downtown; the same spirit that led the University to open its doors to students from St. Xavier High School and, later, the U.S. Army Air Corps when World War II depleted enrollment; and it’s the same flexible spirit that today sustains Ignatian programs as it instructs lay faculty and staff in carrying out the Jesuit mission in the face of declining numbers of Jesuits.

“Since 1831, Xavier University has proudly professed its Catholic and, since 1840, its Jesuit identity,” Klein says. “That identity remains the same. How the University shows itself Catholic and Jesuit evolves over the years, as do the Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus. A Catholic university today must profess and implement the goals of the Second Vatican Council—ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. A Jesuit university today must live out the mission of the Society of Jesus—the service of faith of which the promotion of justice is an integral part. Always the same—Catholic and Jesuit. Always evolving in a new and ever-changing world. There’s the challenge, yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

Time Honored

During its 175-year history, the University has hosted a number of famous visitors from politicians to musicians to artists

Lawrence Welk
On Feb. 10, 1939, the “champagne” sounds of up-and-coming bandleader Lawrence Welk filled the Florentine Room of Cincinnati’s Hotel Gibson—the site of the junior prom. Between 200 and 250 couples attended, but the audience was actually much larger: At 1:00 a.m., radio station WCKY broadcast the dance over its airwaves. It was wonderful, wonderful.

Peter, Paul and Mary
The University played host to the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary on Oct. 2, 1963, giving them a sold-out audience of students and adults from throughout Greater Cincinnati. The popular trio began the concert with some of their more famous tunes and, after a brief intermission, performed individual routines, including an impersonation of a ladies’ tea party by Paul Stookey. Several encores ensued.

Hubert Humphrey
Vice president Hubert H. Humphrey spoke at Schmidt Fieldhouse on Sept. 28, 1967, during a visit to Cincinnati. The vice president traveled to the city to address the Ohio Catholic Education Convention in the new downtown Convention Center, but stopped by Xavier at the request of the student council and the Xavier Young Democrats club to talk about college students and their interests.

Jimi Hendrix
There’s no doubt that the two performances of The Jimi Hendrix Experience at Schmidt Fieldhouse on March 28, 1968, introduced a different sound to the University concert scene. “The Hendrix shows promise to rival the traditional Muskie drink ’n drowns for psychedelic happenings and new vibrations,” predicted one writer from The Xavier Newswire.

Andy Warhol
Before artist Andy Warhol set foot on campus on April 3, 1968, controversy was already brewing due to an on-campus viewing of his film, “My Hustler.” “In some frank and revealing scenes, Warhol’s camera viewed the world of the homosexual, with no editing and without the fetters of the censor,” reported The Xavier Newswire. “The result was for most of the viewers nothing short of shocking.” Warhol arrived to find an administrative ban on the excerpt he was showing from his new epic. After a student protest, the ban was lifted and the film shown.

Bill Clinton
President Bill Clinton’s three-hour appearance on March 23, 1996, marked the University’s first visit by an incumbent president. Clinton gave a 39-minute speech on corporate responsibility followed by a roundtable discussion with U.S. Senator John Glenn, Procter & Gamble CEO John Pepper, Xavier academic advisor Sister Rose Ann Fleming and members of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative. Despite some controversial response to his visit, it nevertheless sparked political debates around campus and attracted national media attention.

Peter-Hans Kolvenbach
Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus and leader of the Roman Catholic Church’s largest religious order, spent two days in Cincinnati in May 1996 during a tour of the society’s Chicago province. Kolvenbach, who lives in Rome and oversees more than 20,000 Jesuits worldwide, spent three hours on campus as part of his first visit to Cincinnati.

Spike Lee
“Whether people want to admit it or not, we’re still trying to get the shackles off,” said African-American filmmaker Spike Lee to a crowd of more than 1,200 people gathered at the Schmidt Fieldhouse on Feb. 4, 2000. During his hour-long appearance, Lee talked about his early struggles as a filmmaker and issues that African Americans still encounter. Although his appearance elicited a mixed response, it led to a number of on-campus discussions.

Bob Dylan
A 60-year-old—and still impressive—Bob Dylan took the stage at the Cintas Center on Nov. 4, 2001, where he treated 7,500 fans to 21 songs, including favorites such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and tunes from his new album, “Love and Theft.” The two-hour show didn’t satisfy the howling crowd, who finally received two encores before the lights came up signaling Dylan had left the building.

Jane Goodall
Anthropologist Jane Goodall quickly captured the attention of the 3,000 gathered at the Cintas Center on Oct. 9, 2003, with a high-pitched chimpanzee call. For the past 45 years, Goodall has spent her life studying wild chimpanzees in Tanzania, Africa, and visited the Queen City to promote her Omnimax film, Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees. “It gives me greater reason for hope that more people are getting involved,” she said. “I’m trying to grow a family of caring people. Every one of us makes a difference every day.”

Time Gone By

The evolution of the University has brought about many changes, sometimes at the expense of one-time icons, leaving us to wonder: Whatever happened to…

The St. Xavier College Building
In the beginning was the Athenaeum. Built at the corner of Seventh and Sycamore streets in downtown Cincinnati, the building was Xavier’s home until 1891 when the College finally outgrew it. It was torn down and replaced by a five-story building that served both college and high school students until the College moved to Avondale in 1919. The evening college continued to use the downtown site until 1960, when St. Xavier High School opened its own building in suburban Cincinnati and the old building was razed. It’s now a surface parking lot.

The Victory Bell
An early gift from the Class of 1968, the Victory Bell first appeared at Xavier football games in 1965 along with the University’s first Musketeer mascot. Rung after touchdowns and victories, the cast iron bell became one of the casualties of the cancellation of football in 1973. Not suitable for basketball games, it was given to the national alumni association and sat in storage until this year when it was cleaned and donated to the newly constructed athletic hall of fame.

St. Francis Statue
The white marble statue of the University’s namesake stood for more than 30 years on a terrace overlooking Victory Parkway. In 1983, erosion caused it to tumble, and it broke beyond repair. A new statue was created and the old statue’s remains were moved to storage and then to the lobby of an art studio in Covington, Ky. When that building was slated for demolition, University employees went to retrieve the remains, but they were gone. They haven’t been seen since.

The Red Building
The imposing, red, four-story structure was the University’s first building following its move from downtown to Avondale. Originally the home of the Avondale Athletic Club, the building served as the University academy from 1912-1919, as a classroom building until 1920 and as a cafeteria and activity center until 1965, when the completion of the University Center made it possible to demolish the deteriorating structure. In 1968, the Joseph Building was erected on the site.

D’Artagnan
The stately Musketeer, a gift from the Class of 1962, stood guard on the Musketeer plaza directly across from the entrance to Alter Hall from 1968 to 1996, at which time it was taken down to accommodate renovation of the academic mall. A more modern, bronze statue of D’Artagnan was placed in front of the Cintas Center in 2000, leaving the older, weathered statue in a storage facility on campus, where it rests today.

The Alter Arches
With its opening in 1960, the University’s main classroom building sported dual arches that provided the hall with both an architectural element and a support for the overhang above its main entrance. For years the arches served as hanging posts for student banners. In 1996, when the academic mall was renovated, the arches and overhang were taken down and scrapped.

Edgecliff College
After assuming operation of Edgecliff in 1980 and purchasing the campus in 1983 from the Sisters of Mercy, Xavier ran the college separately until March 30, 1987. The University then sold the property for $6.1 million to a real estate developer, who cleared the site overlooking the Ohio River and built a high-rise condominium building, known as Edgecliff Point, in its place.

Marion Hall
The Beaux-Arts Classical-style house in nearby North Avondale housed 35-40 students a year until 1991 at which point it was sold and converted back into a private residence. Known as Marion Hall, the dormitory also served as somewhat of a classroom, with the resident Jesuit often giving Oxford-style lessons in his office. Many students may recall more vividly, however, the number of pranks played on visitors from other dorms.

Seismograph Station
In 1925 the University joined a unique cluster of seismography stations at nine Jesuit universities—the first seismology network in the nation. Xavier’s four machines, including one built by a Russian prince in the early 1900s, spit out readings in the Schmidt Hall basement. On March 2, 1937, director Victor Stechschulte, S.J., found the station had recorded the renowned Midwestern quake centered at Anna, Ohio. The station was closed in 1972 and moved to John Carroll University.

The Barracks
Immediately following World War II, the University’s enrollment tripled as a result of the GI Bill, leaving it with more students than its lone 100-student dorm could handle. To meet the need, University officials contracted with the government to construct military barracks on campus as temporary housing and as a student lounge. The barracks were torn down when Alter Hall, McDonald Library and Schott Hall were built in the 1960s.

The Football Stadium
Following the elimination of the football program in 1973, Corcoran Field sat essentially empty for years, suffering the ill effects of the weather and lack of upkeep. The soccer program used the grass field and the University took advantage of the sheltered spaces underneath the stands for storage. But the decay of the 15,000-seat stadium, which was built in 1921, led to its being torn down in the early 1990s. A new soccer field was built in its place.

Dana Gardens
And then there’s Dana’s, which hasn’t changed much in its 70 years or so of serving up warm smiles and cold beer to Xavier fans. Located just off campus, Dana Gardens was originally built as a firehouse in 1898 and converted by the Delaney family in 1935 into a bar and restaurant. Generations of Xavier students have whet their whistles at Dana’s, which closed briefly in 1994 but was reopened in 1996 by a trio of Xavier alums. Students today still take part in Dana’s many specials like Senior Night and Kegs ’N Eggs on graduation day.

Moments in Time

As Xavier University plans to celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2006, its future has never been more promising. The University is entering a new epoch, a novel and distinctive phase in its history. It is undertaking a major transformation in the way it conducts teaching and learning, in the way it relates with its external communities and in the way members of the University community relate with one another. While it is carving out new and fresh directions, the institution is also rekindling its rich Catholic and Jesuit tradition. Indeed, Xavier University has a story to tell.

This saga traces the University’s beginning in 1831 to its present distinct place within the gallery of American colleges and universities. Its story is one of constant change and adaptation. In every period of its history, the University has been influenced by the growth, flux and ferment in society. The expansion from a small downtown college numbering fewer than 200 students in 1831 to an urban university with an enrollment of more than 6,600 involved more than geographical expansion, physical growth and academic development. Xavier’s history is an account of the adventures of the institution—its ups and downs, its wanderings, trials and accomplishments.

While the University’s narrative reflects a series of struggles, challenges and ordeals, it is also an account of considerable achievement in higher education. It also takes into account Xavier’s own unique combination of institutional prerogatives. Throughout its 175 years it has encountered new constituencies and engaged in new tasks. It has stretched its resources to support new ventures. Through it all, it affirmed and sustained its Catholic and Jesuit heritage.

Like Xavier, most of the colleges and universities founded in the United States before the 20th century had a strongly religious character. Most of these institutions, which were usually Protestant Christian, have no significant religious identity today. In the wake of the Civil War, the leading individuals in these institutions subscribed to the idea of creating a national, nonsectarian Protestant public culture. As the institutions became more secular, religious sentiment became identified more with public service, religious beliefs became more the object of scientific study and many of the institutions abandoned any legal relationship to the founding denominations.

In contrast, Xavier’s history, like many other Catholic, Jesuit colleges and universities, is characterized by its growth as a multi-purpose institution that continued to add functions and responsibilities without disregarding older commitments to its Catholic, Jesuit identity. One of the most formidable challenges faced by Xavier was adapting its European Jesuit educational heritage to an American milieu, to the realities of American life. Maintaining a balance between those two dynamics was—and continues to be—a central theme of the Xavier saga. While it remained committed to its religious and educational tradition, the University always proved flexible enough to provide the education essential to the needs and dreams of its students and to the needs of potential employers. In the process, it always attracted students from less privileged socioeconomic backgrounds.

Significantly, 12 moments proved pivotal in the history of the University. Each one reflected a turning point in the life of the institution. The first came in 1840 when, upon the invitation of Bishop John Baptist Purcell of Cincinnati, the Society of Jesus assumed control of the diocesan College, called the Athenaeum, and renamed it St. Xavier College.

Second, when the Jesuits in 1850, in the face of financial difficulties, considered abandoning the College and decided instead to close the boarding school and conduct a day college only.

third occurred in December 1888 when two dozen alumni formed the alumni association to assist the College in its work. Over time, it proved to be an enduring source of support and strength to the College.

fourth turn of events took place in 1911 when Jesuit officials bought 26.7 acres of property in Avondale, on the eastern edge of Cincinnati, to move the College from its downtown location. In the 1920s, six buildings of the Tudor Gothic type of architecture were erected and, in 1930, St. Xavier College became Xavier University. The new campus and name change significantly altered the identity of the institution.

The fifth pivotal moment occurred when the University, in the wake of the economic depression of the 1930s and World War II, saw its enrollment increase substantially with the return of the war veterans, established a graduate school and began expanding its facilities.

sixth key event is when University officials, in the midst of surging enrollments, affirmed the institution’s long-established Jesuit commitment to its classical course of studies by establishing in 1948 the Honors Bachelor of Arts program, Xavier’s first honors program. The seventh telling moment witnessed, from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s, the modernization and unprecedented expansion of the University. Under the guidance of President Paul L. O’Connor, S.J., the University saw a huge expansion in enrollments, especially at the graduate level, a corresponding expansion in the number of lay faculty, growth and diversification of academic programs, and the erection of eight new buildings on campus.

From 1969 to 1972, three significant changes mark the eighth special moment. During this period the University became fully coeducational, the board of trustees elected six laymen to the board and the trustees launched the first capital campaign in the history of the institution.

The ninth pivotal moment was when the University in the late 1970s and early 1980s acquired properties on Ledgewood Drive and Herald Avenue, on the eastern side of campus, and purchased Edgecliff College, formerly Our Lady of Cincinnati, from the Sisters of Mercy. While the new properties opened up opportunities for future expansion, the acquisition of Edgecliff College enabled the University to broaden and enrich its course of studies.

In 1979, six years after the University dropped football from its intercollegiate sports, Xavier successfully invigorated its athletic program by making a pledge to build a competitive national level Division I men’s basketball program as well as comply fully with federal guidelines for women’s athletics under Title IX. That 10thpivotal moment and commitment not only helped increase the quality of Xavier athletics but helped increase the national visibility of the University.

The 11th key moment consisted of the University’s conscious decision in the late 1980s to initiate and foster greater collaboration among Jesuits and the lay people to help sustain and nurture Xavier’s Jesuit identity and the decision by the board of trustees in 1990 to establish a permanent Jesuit Identity Committee to maintain and promote the Jesuit character of the University.

Significantly, under the leadership of President James E. Hoff, S.J., the University in the 1990s, by raising its “sights and expectations,” witnessed not only significant renovation and physical growth as well as the most successful comprehensive financial campaign in its history, but a dramatic, unprecedented change in its self-esteem and stature.

Building upon Hoff’s foundation and inspirational legacy, in 2001 the trustees and new University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., helped launch what promised to be an academic renaissance, potentially the 13th pivotal moment.

As the University celebrates its 175th anniversary, it acknowledges proudly its tradition. It is clear about what it is, where it has been and where it wants to go. In its own special way, each generation of faculty, students, administrators, alumni, trustees and friends has sought to retrieve and reinvigorate the sacred values of the University’s Catholic, Jesuit traditions and bring them in line with the challenges and demands of their times.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it cared about its local reputation. Throughout much of the 20th century, it carefully built up and tended to St. Xavier College’s and later the University’s regional and national reputation. In more recent years, Xavier programs have attracted even greater public attention to the University. That has become a permanent part of the University’s governing strategy. But the commitment and dedication of its people have been, and continue to be, the strength of Xavier University. Without the support of the trustees, administrative and support staff, faculty, alumni and other friends of the University, Xavier would not be what it is today.

Excerpted from To See Great Wonders: A History of Xavier University, 1831-2006 by academic vice president and provost Roger Fortin . The book will be published by the University of Scranton Press in August 2006.

Profile: Rev. Joseph V. Urbain

Rev. Joseph V. Urbain Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, 1928 | Retired priest Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Clearwater, Fla.

Living Legacy | Rev. Urbain is believed to be the University’s oldest living graduate. He is also the oldest living priest from the Cincinnati Archdiocese. He retired to Florida in the early 1970s after a lifetime of teaching and ministry but continued to be active with parishes in the Clearwater and St. Petersburg areas through the 1980s. He remained independent until he moved into a nursing home in 2002. He turns 99 in February.

Awakenings | Urbain’s Catholic education led to an early desire to help others. As a sophomore at Xavier in 1926, Urbain was the corresponding secretary of the Catholic Students’ Mission Crusade which raised money through raffles and “self-denial funds” for missionaries.

Seminarian | Urbain completed his first two years at Xavier and his final two years at Saint Gregory Seminary. He returned to Xavier in the summer of 1928 to finish his bachelor’s degree.

Continuing Education | He completed seminary training at Saint Gregory’s and Mount Saint Mary’s and was the organist at both, and he earned a master’s in French from McGill University in Montreal. He also studied at the University of Poitier, the Sorbonne and the University of Paris.

Ordination | In May 1932, Urbain was ordained by Archbishop J.T. McNicholas. He celebrated his first Mass the next day at his boyhood church, Saint Peter in Chains in Hamilton, Ohio. He returned to Saint Gregory’s to teach French and liturgy, and he also taught French at Edgecliff College.

Prince of Peace | He was assigned to Saint Lawrence parish in New Miami, Ohio, as the administrator before establishing the Queen of Peace parish and school outside Hamilton in 1942. He became pastor in 1950. His portrait still hangs there, and Church members today hold meetings in Urbain Hall, named in his honor.

Land Master | He convinced the Archdiocese to acquire land nearby, which was later sold in sections whenever the church needed money. The subdivision around the church is named Queen Acres and its streets bear religious names he chose such as Fatima, Queen Mary Lane and Rosary Circle.

Farmer’s Friend | Urbain developed the parish to serve the 30 or so farming families near Hamilton, recalls longtime Queen of Peace parishioner Mary Conlin. He was vibrant and because of his efforts, the church became the focal point of their community. “He always had some kind of social time like a Halloween party. He was very, very much loved by the parishioners. He was just an outgoing person you loved to be around.”

Globetrotter | One of his passions is traveling, and he was one of the first priests to travel on a cruise ship offering Mass to passengers.

Kudos | In 2003, Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk honored Urbain with a certificate and a personal letter commemorating his 71 years in the priesthood. “Your priestly life has been a source of encouragement to others and your ministry has always been a blessing,” he wrote.

Profile: Anne Marie Bourgeois

Anne Marie Bourgeois
Bachelor of Science in psychology, 1969; Master of Arts in clinical psychology, 1975 | Psychologist, consultant, artist, Ottawa, Canada

Minority Opinion | Bourgeois was one of five women to graduate in 1969—the first class to include women attending day classes. She says being in the minority “was definitely positive, overall.” Despite some teasing, “my classmates and most of my professors treated me with great respect.”

Graduation Talk | Bourgeois doesn’t recall whether she was the first woman to walk at graduation. But she remembers the words of then-University President Paul J. O’Connor, S.J., as he handed her the diploma. “He said ‘Congratulations, Marie. I can’t believe you made it.’ I’m still not sure what he meant by that.”

Close to Home | Her father, Joseph E. Bourgeois, was a professor of modern languages at the University for 30 years, and the family lived on Dana Avenue in the building that now houses the University’s department of music. “My seven sibs and I spent hours climbing trees, roaming around the construction site of Alter Hall and watching the small campus evolve and grow around us.”

Inviting a Challenge | Bourgeois did not want to attend an all-women’s university because they seemed too insulated. “Xavier appeared to be more forward-thinking and a great environment for promoting social change. I spoke with Richard Deters, S.J. Thanks to his can-do attitude, encouragement and support, I was able to sign up for daytime classes as an evening college student.”

Native Psychology | As a psychologist, Bourgeois’ main focus is on children and families. But about eight years ago, she launched a unique treatment program in partnership with a Mohawk mental health team to offer Mohawk clients the best of Western psychology combined with ancient traditional native healing approaches. In the process, she was also inducted into the Turtle clan.

Second Calling | Bourgeois is also an avid artist. She was a political cartoonist for the Xavier News during her University days and once did a large mural for a Xavier fundraiser. Her paintings have appeared in a number of gallery shows and are included in several collections, and she often uses art in her clinical work with children.

Hindsight is 20/20 | “Despite my complaints at the time, I now appreciate the philosophy and theology courses we were required to take to graduate from the University.” She singles out Benjamin J. Urmston, S.J., John N. Felton, S.J., and Edward B. Brueggeman, S.J., among others as “a credit to the Jesuit community and to Xavier.”

Profile: Francis M. Forster, M.D.

Francis M. Forster, M.D.
Class of 1934 | Retired dean, Georgetown University medical school; retired chair of the department of neurology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

On Call | In 1957, while dean of the medical school at Georgetown University, Forster was called to the White House to treat President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had suffered a stroke. Over the years, Forster served as a consulting physician for an impressive array of dignitaries, including Philippine President Elpidio Quirino and Cardinal Albert Meyer of Chicago. In 1958, with the Cold War in full swing, Forster chaired the first U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps medical exchange mission to the Soviet Union.

Expert Witness | Forster’s neurological reputation carried him to Dallas in 1964 where he served as an expert witness for the prosecution in the trial of Jack Ruby. Ruby’s attorney claimed his client’s epilepsy caused him to pull the trigger and kill Lee Harvey Oswald; Forster and several other experts found no trace of epilepsy in Ruby.

Quick Study | A Cincinnati native, Forster worked his way through Saint Xavier High School and entered the University in 1930. He completed his pre-med training in two years and moved on to medical school at the University of Cincinnati. He still claims allegiance to Xavier and the Class of 1934, though, and was given an honorary degree by the University in 1955.

Career Process | After post-graduate work in neurology at Harvard University, psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and physiology at Yale University, Forster became an instructor in neurology at Boston University in 1941. In 1943, he moved to Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and in 1950, moved again, to Georgetown University.

Double Duty | At Georgetown, Forster founded the department of neurology and served as its chair. After three years, he was appointed dean of the medical school. He managed both positions until 1958, when he accepted the positions of professor and chair of neurology at the University of Wisconsin.

Founding Father | While at Wisconsin, Forster and three colleagues from other schools founded the American Academy of Neurology. The organization began with 200 members; today membership stands at 14,000. In 1977, Forster founded the Francis M. Forster Epilepsy Center at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Madison, Wis.

A Legacy of Leaders | Under Forster, the training programs in neurology at Georgetown and Wisconsin produced more than 100 neurologists, eight of whom chaired departments of neurology in the United States and nine who chaired departments in other countries.

Getting It Write | Since his retirement in 1982, Forster has kept busy writing. Along with a family tree and his biography, he researched and wrote a history of Xavier’s class of 1934.

Profile: Sr. Mary Delora Brinker

Sr. Mary Delora Brinker
Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, Our Lady of Cincinnati, 1937 | Retired Mercy Center director, Cincinnati

Claim to Fame | Brinker was a member of the first full class to graduate from Our Lady of Cincinnati, later renamed Edgecliff College, one year after its founding in 1935, and one of two surviving members from that class of five. She turned 90 in October.

In Style | Brinker began thinking about becoming a nun as a high school student in Villa Hills, Ky. On Sept. 6, 1937, three months after her college graduation, she entered the Sisters of Mercy and has been wearing the traditional veil and habit ever since. The Gift | “I gave my life and everything to God, and I would not take it back,” she says.

Best Friends | While at Our Lady, Brinker met Sr. Mary Virginia Sullivan, the first dean of the college. They began a lifelong friendship that influenced Delora to choose the Sisters of Mercy.

Back to School | From 1940 to 1946, Brinker taught math at Mother of Mercy High School in Cincinnati. She also earned a Master of Education from the University of Cincinnati in 1944 and a master’s in philosophy from Catholic University.

Homecoming | Sullivan called Brinker back to the college to be the dean of students. She also taught philosophy, religion and psychology. As dean, she was charged with overseeing the welfare of the women living on campus, enforcing the curfews and dress codes.

House Mother | “I tried to be strict. I tried to make them women. If you came in late on a Saturday night, you couldn’t go out on Sunday,” she says. The women were not allowed out during the week and had to be in by 11:00 p.m. on the weekends. “I was more strict than others,” she says.

Cover Up | Brinker says some of the girls would try to wear shorts off campus when it was not allowed. “They would put their coats on and pull them close, but it would expose them in back, and I would send them back up to change.”

Moving Up | By 1960, Sullivan, then president of the college, promoted Brinker to academic dean. As an administrator, she dealt with all the “nitty gritty” details. The sisters often drove around the city, Brinker at the wheel, to shop. Mercy, Mercy | In 1969, she moved to the Mercy Center to be the director as well as a resident. In 1976, she received the Sr. Mary Virginia Sullivan Award given to outstanding Edgecliff graduates. She survived a stroke in 1990 but keeps active in her religious community.

Shared History

Philip and Elizabeth Gasiewicz want to improve connections between alumni and the University. And they’re certainly making it happen. This year the couple, who graduated in 1968 and 1974 respectively, established the Surkamp Family Welcome Center in the Alumni Center and underwrote a major project to digitize all surviving issues of the student newspaper The Xavier Newswire and the Musketeer yearbook.

While the welcome center has been widely publicized, JoAnne Young, associate vice president for library sciences, says the digitization will also play a critical role. It’s a key link in the process of improving information access as the University moves forward into the proposed academic quadrangle and learning commons. When completed sometime next year, the information will be accessible online.

The project also provides an important next step in ensuring the preservation of aging paper documents. It’s a huge undertaking. Young says there are 19,623 pages to convert from the newspaper alone.

Mike Bobinski, associate vice president for development, says the gift reflects the Gasiewicz’s desire to ensure future generations can share in the Xavier experience.

“The extraordinary thing is, they made this gift in honor of Beth’s parents, Dick and Betty Surkamp, and extended family, nine of whom attended Xavier,” he says. “They have this tremendous alumni focus because of their own alumni connections. It’s something we’re very grateful for.”