Profile: Ernestein C. Flemister

REV. ERNESTEIN C. FLEMISTER
Master of Business Administration, 1990
Rector, St. James House of Prayer Episcopal Church
Tampa, Fla.

Liberian Escape | In June 1980, the Liberian government was overthrown in a military coup. When the revolutionaries killed the president and shot his cabinet members on a beach, Flemister, a native of Liberia who worked as an attorney in Monrovia, realized she had to get her family out of the country. She, her son and her sister’s three children packed suitcases and fled, catching one of the last flights out to New York, where her father was the Liberian consul general.

Flemister_0042Surviving | Flemister moved to Columbus, Ohio, to live with her sister, first on a visitor’s visa and then on a student visa. She was not allowed to work until 1990, when the Liberian civil war broke out and she gained protected status in the U.S. By then, she’d gone back to school to earn an undergraduate degree in finance and then to Xavier for an MBA, attending satellite classes held at Ohio Dominican University.

Turning Point | Flemister found work in customer service and insurance but was unhappy in her new field. She was raised an Episcopalian, and her grandfather was a priest, so she attended a Columbus-area Episcopalian church. When members of her church told her she ought to become a priest, she resisted.

The Calling |  “They said, ‘We think you have a calling for this.’ At first I didn’t take them seriously,” she said. “It’s such a high calling, I didn’t think I was worthy. But I liked the idea of helping people and doing things in a way that I think will transform people. I talked to a priest who was a dear friend and became a mentor for me, and that’s when I started thinking this is something I really wanted to do.”

Back To School | Flemister entered the seminary in 2004 and finished in 2007. She was assigned to Grace Episcopal Church in Cincinnati for two years, but they could not hire her full time. She interviewed elsewhere for full-time positions and was the finalist for the rector’s job at St. James House of Prayer in Tampa, Fla., where she started in September. The old church is on the National Register and has about 150 members today.

Many Firsts | “I’m the first African-American female in the diocese of Southwest Florida as a rector,” she says. “For me it’s not a big deal, but I think it serves as an example for other young women to know they can accomplish anything.”

The Rift | She’s distressed by the rift occurring in the Episcopal Church worldwide among traditional, conservative Episcopalians who are breaking away from the mainstream church. “I think it’s unfortunate because, as Christians, we’re called to be reconciled no matter how big the differences are and to keep talking to each other,” she says. “I’m saddened they’ve chosen to leave the table as opposed to staying and sticking it out.”

Profile: Silka Gonzalez

SILKA GONZALEZ
BSBA, computer information systems and accounting, 1984
President and founder, Enterprise Risk Management
Miami

Secure Business | Gonzalez founded Enterprise Risk Management in 1998 to provide security and auditing services for information systems to a wide variety of domestic and international businesses.

Right Place, Right Time | Gonzalez’ career has coincided almost precisely with the worldwide computerization of the home and workplace, as well as the evolution of the Internet. She had twin degrees in computer information systems and accounting, which was unusual in the early 1980s. The combination along with her work experience gave her a strong foundation from which to create her business. “The timing was good,” she says. “We had been in this booming era of technology, but no one was paying much attention to security and controls. I was able to grow with it as those problems emerged. I was at the right place at the right time.”

Security Concerns | “I don’t think people took technical controls very seriously 20 years ago. I have seen the progression through the years to where it’s become extremely important for organizations. We’ve seen the changes in both state and federal laws related to security and privacy. Everyone is paying attention. If you look at identity theft, everyone is worried about that.”

Organized Crime Online | “Incremental security breaches have been growing in an incredible way in the last three years. That, to me, is alarming. There are internal personnel doing things they aren’t supposed to do, but now we’re seeing organized crime from overseas—places like Romania, China, Russia. People aren’t paying enough attention to it.”

User Beware | Gonzalez is very cautious about using credit cards online for fear of security breaches. “My colleagues call me paranoid.” Paranoia in the IT security business, though, is understandable. After all, Gonzalez spends her days hunting down hackers who break into computer systems to steal sensitive private information from people and companies. Her advice: “Don’t throw anything in the garbage. Shred everything. You need to be very careful.”

Family Influence | Moving to Cincinnati from Puerto Rico for college at age 16 was a big move for Gonzalez, who struggled her first year at Xavier because of the language barrier. “It was a big change,” she says. “Cincinnati was very different from Puerto Rico.” But Xavier offered a Jesuit education that was important to Gonzalez’ mother and a relatively unique program in information systems. “I wanted to major in something related to computers and there was no such bachelor’s degree in Puerto Rico.”

Honors | Gonzalez was part of the South Florida Business Journal’s Inaugural Class of Most Influential Business Women in 2002.

Good Reading

Looking to keep your kids occupied while you sink into your La-Z-Boy and follow March Madness? Former Cincinnati Enquirer sports reporter Michael Perry created a Xavier Activities Book that offers young Musketeers a primer on Xavier hoops, its coaches, best wins, record-setting players as well as puzzles, coloring pages and more. The book’s available at the Xavier bookstore as well as local stores.

Profile: Patricia M. Summe

PATRICIA M. SUMME
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, 1975
Chief Judge, Kenton County Circuit Court
Covington, Ky.

Recognition | Summe’s career on the bench has brought her a number of awards, including the Kentucky Bar Association’s 2009 Outstanding Judge Award, the 2006 Salmon P. Chase Alumni Association Exceptional Service Award, the 2003 Martin Luther King Award from the Kenton County Chapter of the NAACP and a 1998 Kentucky Post Woman of the Year award.

Xavier Roots | Summe was part of the second Xavier class to include women. A Northern Kentucky native, she followed her father and seven uncles to Xavier. She was not alone: Four of her five siblings attended either Xavier or Edgecliff.

Xavier Days | “It was all a very wonderful time. I enjoyed the socializing. I enjoyed Dana’s. I enjoyed the football games, because there were still a few. I enjoyed the basketball games. I enjoyed going to class with young men—I’d come from an all-female environment. So that was very challenging and also very heartening because you started to exercise your intellectual abilities.”

Embracing Law | Summe worked as a legal secretary in her father’s law office during her last two years at Xavier. Somewhere in her final year, she decided to give law a try as a career choice. “I thought, ‘If I really like it, if it’s what I’m supposed to do, then fine. If not, then I’m going to walk away.'” By her second year of law school she was hooked. “Before you know it, you’re thinking as they want you to think, and you can’t think about being anything else.”

Plans Interrupted | Following law school, Summe worked with her father for 18 months. She was looking to move to a larger firm with more opportunities for litigation when her father died, after which she and her brother, Peter Summe, continued his practice. During those years, Summe gained experience representing several cities as well as family law and real estate law.

Approaching the Bench | “About 17 years ago, I decided being a judge would be a good fit for me. So I ran for office, and I lost. The next judgeship that became available was this one, and because my name was out there, it made it easier to run for this position.” Summe was elected to the bench in 1994.

On the Docket | The court did not keep statistics on case loads until 2001, but since then, Summe has tried 129 cases, including three death penalty cases. One of those resulted in a death sentence, which was negotiated to life without parole when the defendant agreed to testify against a co-defendant.

A Higher Power | Being a judge has “made my life calmer, more thoughtful, harder in some ways because you are making tougher decisions than most people have to make. Death penalty cases are things that you really have to think about and pray about. You have a larger opportunity to be thoughtful about the decisions that you make, which is something that the Jesuit education was always about—thought.”

Adult Behavior | Summe is known as a no-nonsense judge. “I was always taught that I had to be responsible for my own actions. I expect everybody to act like adults. To that extent, I think people need to be truthful with themselves. So when someone says to me, ‘Judge, it was a mistake,’ I say, ‘No, it’s not a mistake, it’s a crime. Let’s all be real clear what we’re talking about.'”

Profile: Julie Chichlowski

JULIE CHICHLOWSKI
Maser of Business Administration, 1989
Director, Trike Platform Division, Harley-Davidson Motor Co.
Milwaukee

Tomboy | At Iowa State University, Chichlowski majored in industrial engineering and was often the lone female in her classes. When she took a job as a propulsion systems engineer at GE Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati, she was outnumbered as well. So it was no big deal when Harley-Davidson called her to come in for an interview. Sort of.

Surprise | “I thought—Harley?” She knew nothing about motorcycles. She’d never ridden a bike. When she visited a local Harley dealership as part of her evaluation process, though, she was taken by surprise. “I thought, Oh boy. This is a different culture.”

You’re Hired | That was in 1992. She was hired as a manufacturing engineer to run the power train assembly process at the company’s Milwaukee headquarters but progressed swiftly up the ranks, changing positions every two or three years. Her newest position as director of Trike Platform puts her in charge of the three-wheeled bike that debuted in 2008.

One of the Guys | “It was a very good decision to come here. There aren’t very many women here, but it’s very similar to what I experienced going through engineering school. There are pockets where it’s very male-dominated and so was GE Aircraft. I’ve never dwelled on it, and I haven’t run into any problems. I did recognize that I need to understand the product and be credible with what I’m talking about. It’s the tone that you set for yourself. I know how to tear down and build up a power train.”

Product Knowledge | She even took it one step further and bought her own bike—a Sportster, just the right size for her. “I took my motorcycle safety course and learned how to ride.” She’s since upgraded to a Softail. “The suspension is hidden under the swing arm in the rear. It has a 96-cubic-inch power train, a very classic bike. Mine is red.” It’s also larger than the 88-cubic-inch engine bike her husband owns. They take day trips together and go on road rallies for the company.

Change is Good | Chichlowski believes her role at Harley has helped usher in some important changes at the company. While the traditional rebel image of the Harley rider is still strongly in place, there are more women buying bikes—12 percent of buyers today compared to 7 percent in the early 1990s—and older riders are scaling back. Baby Boomers who don’t want to give up their Harleys are buying the Trike, the three-wheeled bike that offers stability and cargo space without sacrificing the traditional Harley look and feel.

Safety First | In May, her contributions to the industry were recognized with her appointment as chair of the non-profit Motorcycle Safety Foundation, a group of motorcycle manufacturers that promotes safe riding behaviors through public service marketing and safety training programs. It’s volunteer work she enthusiastically performs because she’s become a true fan of motorcycle riding.

Thriller | “What’s fun about being on a bike is the thrill. It’s very exciting and freeing and empowering, and it’s not very common for women to be on Harleys. But it feels good to know you can do this and it’s a lot of fun. I was surprised that I liked it. It’s a lot more complicated than I thought, and it’s fun to be able to ride all my products.”

Best of Benefits: Liberty Mutual Insurance

The bigger the group, the bigger the savings, which is why Xavier’s National Alumni Association became part of Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Group Savings Plus plan—to give alumni the chance to group together with other Musketeers and save money on home and auto insurance. Go to www.libertymutual.com/lm/xu to find a detailed list of savings and discounts available through the plan. Other items include policy add-on information, a free coverage estimator, a free insurance estimator, a home replacement cost estimator, renters insurance information, a list of online services and a series of videos on crash test ratings for cars, emergency preparedness, policyholder benefits and what to do if you’re in a car accident. More information can also be found at local Liberty Mutual offices or by calling 800-901-4216

Foreign Territory

When college coaches talk about changes in recruiting, that can mean many things. There is dealing with NCAA rules, emerging social media tools and an increase in foreign athletes securing scholarships at American universities. Just this season, for instance, Xavier has 10 student-athletes from the Bahamas, Bolivia, Canada, El Salvador, England, Israel, Scotland and the United Kingdom playing five different sports.

“With recruiting, you can never rule anything out,” tennis coach Eric Toth says.

After all, every kid in the world is now just an e-mail away.

While still unusual for a small school like Xavier to recruit internationally, it’s not totally new. Over the last 15 years, Xavier has had more than 40 foreign-born student-athletes, including some from Austria, Australia, Bosnia, Holland, Finland, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Senegal and Venezuela. In 2000-2001 alone, the women’s basketball team had Tara Tuukkanen and Reeta Piipari (both from Finland), Colleen Yukes (Edmonton, Alberta) and Ada Sarajlija (Zenica, Bosnia).

Men’s soccer was the first Xavier sport to regularly dot its roster with international players. Former coach Jack Hermans was Dutch and had overseas ties. He passed those along to Dave Schureck, who played for Hermans and followed him as head coach from 2005-2009. Those overseas alumni keep their eyes and ears open for players who fit the bill academically and athletically and promote Xavier.

Andy Fleming, who took over the soccer program this year, also has former players playing professionally in European leagues that he can tap into as well.

The soccer program uses First Point USA, an international recruiting service, and receives 1,500 to 2,000 inquiries a year from overseas.

It’s a competitive world out there. Xavier had three foreign soccer players this season. Among five top Atlantic 10 Conference schools (Fordham, Dayton, Saint Louis, St. Bonaventure and Charlotte), there were 26 foreign players.

The men’s golf team leads the charge this year with four international players. Freshman Herbert Day is from San Salvador, El Salvador. Senior Alan Glynn is from Middlesex, England. Kieran Lovelock is from Surrey, England. Sophomore Sebastian MacLean from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, may challenge Jason Kokrak’s career scoring average record. MacLean was all-conference and set a Xavier scoring record for freshmen last season as he qualified for the NCAA Regional.

“If you’re going to be a top-flight program, you’ve got to keep your doors open and be open to all parts of the world,” says golf coach Doug Steiner.

One of Xavier’s all-time best golfers is 1999 graduate Steve Dixon, who is from Canada. He’s only the second golfer to be inducted into Xavier’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

For almost every foreign student-athlete, there is a story. It may be about someone who knows someone. It might be the athletes who initiate contact. From there, who knows?

Take Natalie Handler, a freshman on Xavier’s women’s tennis team. Handler is from Herzliya, Israel. She served in the country’s military at age 18. Last spring, she sent a video to Toth. He gets maybe five e-mails a week from international players and often doesn’t even follow up.

But Toth was “scrambling for players” and had several scholarships available. When Handler’s video arrived, he was sitting at his desk and immediately popped it in. So began a series of e-mail exchanges and phone calls. Handler’s family made a trip to the United States last summer and visited Xavier.

There were details to work out. Xavier had to check Handler’s high school transcripts and make sure she would fit academically. Toth explained there was limited scholarship money available and needed to find out whether the family could afford remaining expenses.

Then there was the matter of an Israeli landing at a Jesuit university. Enter Rabbi Abie Ingber, founding director of Interfaith Community Engagement at Xavier.

“Without Rabbi Abie, I don’t know if it would’ve happened,” Toth says. “I can sell a family on the tennis and the education, but this was a different situation. I give her so much credit for coming clear across the world and coming to Xavier.”

Handler and the growing list of others who do the same.

Editor’s note: See the list of Xavier’s foreign-born athletes since 1995.

Xavie Year in Review and Faculty Accomplishments

Xavier Year in Review

Each year, more and more magazines recognize Xavier as one of the nation’s most
outstanding academic institutions. This year’s honors include:
• For the 15th straight year, Xavier was ranked among the top 10 Midwest master’s-level colleges and universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Xavier ranked No. 3 among 146 Midwest colleges and universities. As part of the rankings, Xavier was:
• Ranked No. 1 in student retention for the sixth straight year.
• Ranked No. 1 in average graduation rates.
• Ranked No. 2 in average alumni giving percent.
• Ranked No. 6 in best undergraduate teaching.
• Ranked No. 2 in “Up-and-Coming Schools.”

• Rated as a “good school for first-year experiences and service learning.”
• For the sixth straight year, the Williams College of Business was named an outstanding business school by The Princeton Review in its Best 301 Business Schools magazine.
• For the sixth straight year, Xavier was named one of the nation’s top schools for undergraduate entrepreneurship programs by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. Xavier is ranked 19th.
• Xavier was named a “Military Friendly School” by GI Jobs magazine.
• Xavier was ranked No. 196 in Forbes magazine’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges.”
• Xavier was named one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education, by The Princeton Review.

Faculty Accomplishments

Each year, Xavier faculty conduct groundbreaking research, produce and present fascinating papers, and receive honors and recognition from a wide variety of organizations. Among this year’s faculty accomplishments are:
Rachel Chrastil, assistant professor in the Department of History, was awarded a Malcolm Bowie Prize by the Society for French Studies at the University of Oxford for her article, “The French Red Cross, War Readiness, and Civil Society, 1866–1914.”
Kathleen Smythe, assistant professor in the Department of History, was named the Bishop Fenwick Teacher of the Year by the Xavier chapter of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society.
Thomas Hayes, professor of marketing, received the Alice L. Beeman Award for Outstanding Published Scholarship from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, for his book Marketing Colleges and Universities: A Service Approach.
Ida Critelli Schick, professor and chair/director of the graduate program in Health Services Administration, received the 2009 Teaching and Advising Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives for Ohio.
James Buchanan, director of the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, delivered the Harry S. Truman Lecture in Kansas City, which was sponsored by the Harry S. Truman Library and Avila University.
Edward P. Hahnenberg, Department of Theology, was a keynote speaker at the National Symposium on Lay Ecclesial Ministry.
The following were awarded Xavier Wheeler Grants: Christine Anderson, Department of History: The Great Migration in the U.S.; Tom Clark, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship: Social Entrepreneurship in the Arts; Graley Herren, Department of English, and George Farnsworth, Department of Biology: Enhancing experiential learning in Ireland; Joseph Wagner, S.J., Department of Mathematics and Computer Science: Enhancing the mathematical preparation of pre-service, secondary mathematics teachers; Shelagh Larkin, Stephanie Brzuzy, School of Social Work, Carol Scheerer, Joan Tunningley, Department of Occupational Therapy, Susan Namei, Barb Harland, School of Nursing, Eddie Hooker, Health Services Administration, and Renee Zucchero, Department of Psychology: A multidisciplinary approach to working with older clients experiencing dementia.

Read more about current rankings for Xavier and Faculty Accomplishments.