Greatest Stars on Turf
Groundskeepers Joey Wolf, left, and Mike Lewis rubbed elbows with the best in baseball during the July 14 All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park where they volunteered their skills as veteran groundskeepers.
Cats Come Back for Shootout
On Dec. 12, a Cincinnati tradition returns home to the Cintas Center after a four-year hiatus as the University of Cincinnati Bearcats venture into Musketeer territory for the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout.
“We are excited to have the Crosstown Shootout back at Xavier,” Athletic Director Greg Christopher says. “The atmosphere at last year’s edition (at UC) showed what a difference it makes to play the Shootout on campus. And with this year’s game being shown on the FOX broadcast network, the game will be available to its largest TV audience ever.”
After a fight during the 2011 game, the Crosstown Shootout was rechristened the Crosstown Classic and moved to a neutral location at U.S. Bank Arena. But after two years, the game returned to its former format—and name—and was played at the Fifth Third Arena, UC’s home stadium. The game was an exhilarating return for Xavier fans, with a 59-57 Xavier win.
It’s not every day that you get to play tennis with a superstar like Venus Williams. But for Doug Matthews, 2009 grad and new head tennis coach, that day came during the Western and Southern Open in August. Matthews served as Williams’ hitting partner for the tournament. “It was obviously a great experience,” he says. “Just to be on the court with a legend of the game, one of the best players in the world. It’s kind of a bucket list moment.” As hitting partner, Matthews’ job was to run drills with Williams leading up to the tournament. It may seem like a tall order, but Matthews is an old pro at it. In past tournaments, Matthews has hit with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic—all world-renowned players. And no wonder. Matthews, who was named head coach in June, played at Xavier from 2005-09 and is the most decorated tennis standout in Xavier history.
Ten years ago, a group of extraordinary freshmen came to Xavier to begin their education. This was no typical group of first-years. This was the first class in a new program called Project SEARCH designed for students with mild disabilities. The program helps students develop technical, social and communication skills through internships on campus that allow them to transition into the workplace.
Xavier was the first university with a Project SEARCH site. In its first 10 years, 94 students have achieved both personal fulfillment and financial stability. The program is so successful that it’s a model for over 340 additional program sites, and it received an award for placing 100 percent of the Class of 2014 in jobs. At a reception to celebrate its graduates, President Michael J. Graham, S.J., spoke about the program being a good fit because it “matched the mission of the University to care for the whole person and to support diversity and inclusion.”
Consider what went into designing this page—the fonts, the layouts, all the decisions made before ink meets paper. Now consider the designs and layouts encountered in a single day—pop-up ads on your laptop, billboards on the highway—all the result of interaction between designers, copywriters, clients. Or as associate professor, artist and designer Jonathan Gibson says, “Better designers for a better world.” Now in the Department of Art, the undergraduate degree in graphic design now features additional classes and resources, focusing on “interdisciplinary design opportunities, real-world clients and blending traditional and innovative approaches to design,” Gibson says. Students leave Xavier with a dynamic portfolio and real-world experiences in the form of mentoring, portfolio reviews and internships that transform them into competitive designers.
A New Home for a Legacy
Wondering what happened to that Xavier legacy brick you bought a few years back? More than 300 legacy bricks donated by graduating alumni have been moved to a new home to make way for renovations to the Xavier Yard in front of the Gallagher Student Center. Many of the bricks were moved from their original location along the sidewalks to the area around the Scales of Justice sculpture. Bricks located near Husman Hall and in front of McDonald Library are still in their same spots. The legacy brick program began in 1996 and continued into the mid-2000s. The bricks were engraved with the student’s name and class year, and cost a total of $100, raising money for the Annual Fund to support Manresa and other student-related activities. Be sure to look for your brick next time you’re on campus.
It’s been 17 years since Kevin Crawford graduated from Xavier. But the letter-winning swim team member, National Jesuit Honor Society member, summa cum laude graduate, former Air Force officer and successful dermatologist never forgot the place where it all began or the people who helped him get started. To show his gratitude, Dr. Crawford, of Columbus, Ind., donated a new academic center for student-athletes in the area of the Cintas Center below the concourse that originally housed the Hoff Dining Hall.
Constructed over the summer, the Kevin and Georgette Crawford Student-Athlete Academic Center now serves as the study space for student-athletes, consolidating their academic needs into one location and providing multiple spaces for them to study, work with a tutor or meet with an advisor. Crawford, a 1998 graduate, and his wife, Georgette, wanted the center to be an efficient place for athletes. “We believe strongly in the importance of academics in the lives of student-athletes,” Crawford says. “Placing this academic center in close proximity to the training areas gives them another important resource and saves valuable time.”
The Psychology of Giving
When psychology Professor Christian End discovered March Gladness, the Annual Fund’s annual social media awareness campaign, he saw an opportunity to help his students and the University at the same time. The faculty came up with nearly $2,500 and asked alumni and friends to match it during March Gladness, which they did. Now, with $5,000 in the travel pot, this year’s psychology students have a better chance of having some of their conference costs covered. Presenting student research projects at professional conferences is practically a requirement for psychology majors and grad students aiming for solid careers in major practices. End says he also learned something about human behavior. “Asking people for money requires a certain personality, but it was easier than expected. People were happy to give.”
Since Taj Smith was hired last year as director of the Multicultural, Gender and Women’s Center, he’s made a number of changes—most notably the name and mission. Now the Center for Diversity and Inclusion is focused on being inclusive of all minorities on campus, not just race and gender. That includes redefining the whole idea of identity, which the new Identity Development Series addresses with lectures, presentations and events that invite attendees to think critically about their social identity development. Smith’s background includes work with subjects such as sexism and diversity at the University of Massachusetts. Now he’s expanding the role of the Center to involve more of the Xavier campus. The Center itself is already a hub for programs and support groups geared toward minorities, such as Smooth Transitions which helps minority students transition into college, and a support group for those who identify as LGBTQ.
There’s a new student business in town. Well, actually there are five—Blue Blob Cleaners, Xavier Urban Farm, Aramis Consulting, Campus Solutions and a restaurant named Faves. They’re all part of D’Artagnan Enterprises, Xavier’s new program to promote student entrepreneurial pursuits. “There was always a latent student interest in running enterprises,” says director Owen Raisch, “but there was never the structure to realize it until now.” The program was the brainchild of Brian Till, former dean of the Williams College of Business, who admired a similar student business program while he was at Loyola University Chicago. He brought the model to Xavier and dubbed it D’Artagnan Enterprises. It was a rigorous process selecting which business ideas would be included. “All five endeavors get funds from the same budget. So in a way we are operating as a single company,” Raisch says. “The students have worked together to make the most of the budget for everyone. This culture is really collaborative.” The business managers enjoy helping each other out. “This is a really unique opportunity, not only to learn but to fulfill Xavier’s Jesuit mission.”
Beginning this year, first-year students have a new destination in addition to the traditional Manresa orientation. Goa, First-Year Journey Program, is named after the city in India where St. Francis Xavier traveled to experience the world. Six times each semester students engage in discussion and activities that include the really big questions of “What do I want to accomplish at Xavier?” and “Budget? What budget?” And while GOA is a no-credit course, the end results are still A-plus—a freshly-minted, successful and confident sophomore.