Xavier Magazine

Fifty Years Later

It’s been 50 years since the University formally created an annual giving program.

“I’ll tell you the biggest difference between now and then,” says Paul Lindsay, a 1956 graduate and associate vice president for university relations. “Back in 1952, when the annual fund started, you could actually pay your own way through college. We had guys who would brag, ‘I paid my own way.’ You can’t do that today. In 1952 the cost of attending Xavier was $10 a credit hour. If you took 16 hours, threw in books and fees, it would cost you $350 a year. That was a lot of money back then, but that was something you could handle. You could get a job over the summer at $1 an hour. That would be $40 a week for 12 weeks. By the end of the summer you’d have $480. Well, you wouldn’t have that much because you’d blow some of it. But you had enough to pay for school. Today, there’s no way a student can earn $25,000 over the summer.”

Helping underwrite the cost of a Xavier education is the driving force behind today’s annual fund. The University charges undergraduate students $25,120 for tuition, room and board.

The typical student’s family can afford about $5,300 less than that. Who makes up much of the difference? Donors to the annual fund.

“It’s a critical support for the University,” says Richard Hirté, vice president for financial administration. “There needs to be more. It’s an essential element of the budget.”

The groundwork for the annual fund of today was laid by Jack Moser, who was hired in 1952 to organize and run the “annual alumni fund.” Peer solicitation was considered the best way to raise funds, so on a designated Sunday each spring, the University asked volunteer alumni to knock on the doors of fellow alumni.

“We’d divide the city into neighborhoods,” says Lindsay. “You’d get a stack of names and you’d go through it and say, ‘I’ll take him. I don’t know him. I used to date his daughter and he hates me, so someone else better take him.’ Then you would go door to door.”

It wasn’t until 1973 that the University began drifting away from the door-to-door visits and testing phone solicitations.

“It sort of happened before that,” says Lindsay, “because the alumni association now had out-of-town chapters, and we called the people in Chicago and asked them to raise money door to door. They’d say, ‘Are you nuts. Do you know how big Chicago is? We’ll phone them.’ ”

After a six-week trial period, it was clear that raising money over the phone was not only more efficient, but more effective. Soon after, phoning became the preferred method of solicitation.

In the 1970s, special recognition societies began for those who gave at certain levels each year. The first was the Chimes Club for those who gave $100 or more. The need to establish higher giving clubs was recognized—especially for those who gave $1,000 or more a year—so two new societies were created: the Elet Society for those who gave $500 to $999 and The 1831 Society for $1,000-plus donors. Today, five levels exist.

This year’s annual fund goal for unrestricted dollars—money the University can apply to its most pressing needs—is $3.4 million. The total annual giving goal, which includes restricted and unrestricted gifts, is $5 million. That’s a long way from 1953, when Xavier raised about $24,000.

But the needs are greater than ever. The University’s budget is more than $100 million annually, but that’s what it costs to run a first-class institution.

“Xavier has always relied on the generosity of alumni,” says Dan Cloran, current director for the annual fund, “and today is no different from 1952. Xavier can’t hope to continue providing a top-notch education without the support of alumni, family and friends.”

Xavier Magazine

The Fame Names

The University is inducting three new members to its athletic hall of fame on Nov. 15: Pete Gillen, who is the University’s winningest basketball coach, rifle star Jason Parker and former two-sport standout Karen Ohe Jagers.

Gillen went 202-75 in his nine seasons as head coach, leading the team to seven NCAA Tournament berths—including a Sweet 16 appearance in 1990—and a trip to the NIT quarterfinals.

Ohe Jagers lettered four years in basketball and two in volleyball. She grabbed a school record 873 rebounds for the basketball team and led the volleyball team to its best season ever, 29-9.

Parker earned seven All-American citations as a member of the rifle team, leading it to first place in air rifle in the 1996 NCAA Championship. He also participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

Xavier Magazine

Karolina On Its Mind

The women’s basketball team is becoming very worldly. This season, it has players from four countries on its roster—France, Finland, Bosnia and America.

The French connection is freshman Karolina Piotrkiewicz, a 6-foot-3 forward who played in Calais, France, where former all-American Taru Tuukkanen was playing professionally.

“I told her about Xavier because she was very interested in playing in the U.S.,” says Tuukkanen. “I told the Xavier coaches about her, and they became interested. She’s a very talented player offensively. I think she has a lot of potential and could have a great career at Xavier.”

Xavier Magazine

Hoop Dreaming

For the first time in school history, the University’s basketball team has two preseason All-Americans. David West, a 6-foot-9 senior forward, and Romain Sato, a 6-5 junior guard, were named to the 2002-03 Wooden Award Preseason All-American Team—a list of 50 players who are the early frontrunners for college basketball’s most coveted trophy.

The duo, who are considered one of the best inside-outside combinations in the nation, were also named to the preseason “Top 50” list by

West, who made a host of all-American teams last season and is the two-time Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year, averaged 18.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game last year.

Sato distinguished himself as one of the best defenders and most diverse and potent offensive weapons in college basketball. Last year, he averaged 16.1 points per game, second only to West.

Xavier Magazine

On Course

Doug Steiner is a week into an extended recruiting trip, sitting, for the moment, in the clubhouse of the Atlanta Athletic Club, which is hosting the U.S. Junior Amateur Golf Championship. He’s taking a few minutes to rest his feet, which carried him over 54 holes the day before as he followed the play of teenagers from around the country, particularly one top 50 player who’s just six strokes off the lead.

Recruiting a golfer who’s within a few shots of the lead of the largest junior amateur tournament in the country is on par these days for the University’s men’s golf coach. For the last 14 years, Steiner’s built the golf program from obscurity into one that’s now on the verge of national prominence. Golfers ranked in the top 50 nationally or who live beyond Greater Cincinnati are no longer outside the realm of those he’s able to recruit.

“I can now come to these tournaments, and these kids are aware of Xavier,” he says. It’s a major change. When Steiner took over the program in 1988, it had no scholarships, a miniscule budget and recruiting at a national tournament wasn’t even a consideration.

“The highlight of our year back then was going to Butler University in Indianapolis for a tournament,” he says.

Prospects, to say the least, were dim. Still, he preached patience and putting, and now, after more than a decade, the results are showing. Four former Xavier golfers are playing on various pro tours. The current team features back-to-back Atlantic 10 Conference freshman of the year players on the roster. And this year’s class includes a Rolex High School All-American.

The Musketeers finished first or second in the Atlantic 10 Tournament five times in the last six years and had three individual winners and one runner-up in that stretch. In 2001, the team made the NCAA Tournament after smashing the conference, course and school records with a remarkable 23-under-par performance in the A-10 Tournament. Sports Illustrated named then-senior Tim Donovan golfer of the week, and Golf Week magazine dubbed Xavier the NCAA Tournament’s Cinderella story.

“My goal has always been to simply get better every year, even by the smallest amount, knowing that eventually we’ll get to where we need to be,” says Steiner. “We don’t have too much further to go.”

Four years ago, the team finally got a full allotment of scholarships, and last year Steiner was hired full time as the director of the University’s golf programs, giving him the focus and finances to raise the team another notch. For the 13 previous years, he coached the team in the afternoon after teaching sports marketing classes all day at a local high school.

“Now I can really focus on making the team better,” he says. “Before, everything was so fragmented I’d be thinking of 50 different things at once.”

It was exhausting, but the combination of sleep deprivation and golf knowledge worked. Five times, Steiner was named coach of the year in the A-10 and in Xavier’s former stomping ground, the Midwest Collegiate Conference. What has proven to be just as helpful, though, is Steiner’s knowledge of sports marketing. In 1993, he recruited a local player named Jamie Tillman, whose father was an executive of The Kroger Co. Through that connection, Steiner was able to put together a tournament known as the Kroger Intercollegiate Invitational at the Old Colonial Country Club in Memphis, Tenn. Teams from around the nation flocked to the tournament in an effort to play the course and enjoy the star treatment Steiner made sure they received once they arrived.

“It became one of the premier events in the country,” says Steiner, “and was our first big step.”

The teams returned the favor by inviting Xavier to their tournaments, creating a better schedule, which, in turn, enticed better recruits. Guys like Steve Dixon, who was the team’s four-time player of the year and is now on the Canadian Golf Tour, came. So did players like Donovan, T.J. Wilson and Jeff Marr, who are all now on the Golden Bear Tour.

They, in turn, helped Steiner with a goal: “We’ve lowered our stroke average every year for the last 14 years,” he says. “I never thought we’d get under 300, but two years ago we shot 296, and last year lowered it to 294.”

And, Steiner says, it should continue. “The players coming in are the best ever,” says Steiner. “This could be an unbelievable season.”

Xavier Magazine

Strong Recomendations

Among items discovered in a box of files in the department of physics was a real gem: a letter by Albert Einstein.

The letter is not dated, but it was written on behalf of Boris Podolsky, recommending him for a job. Podolsky “is an explorer in science of undoubtable ability,” Einstein wrote. “[His] lucid mind enables him to demonstrate each matter in the field of physics clearly and originally…I have just finished a project with him and another colleague and have had ample opportunity to evaluate Podolsky’s capability and ability.”

Podolsky, a native of Russia, taught physics at the University in the 1960s. His fame, though, was earned in the 1930s, when he worked with Einstein at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton University.

Xavier Magazine

Quantum Leap

In October 1962, the attention of the science world was on Xavier when the University hosted a conference on the foundations of quantum mechanics. Some of the world’s best physicists walked around campus, including Nobel Prize winners P.A.M. Dirac, then of Cambridge University, and Eugene P. Wigner of Princeton, who was known as the father of the atomic bomb.

The 40th anniversary of that historic gathering is being commemorated this year by the department of physics.

“It was probably the last time we’ve had a significant gathering—and maybe the only time at Xavier that Nobel Laureate scientists have gathered—to discuss the important things of the time,” says physics department chair Terry Toepker.

Xavier Magazine

Bargain Basement

Times have changed. In the old days, leftover chemicals in a chemistry lab were quickly disposed of. “Back then, if you could mix it and it didn’t explode, it went down the drain,” says Steve Owen, director for environmental safety.

Not anymore. Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires every chemical on campus be inventoried and documented, and that’s led to some interesting discoveries.

As lab managers began taking inventory, they found all sorts of World War II surplus material stashed in the chemistry building’s basement, acquired over the years by frugal Jesuits.

Retired chemistry professor Theodore Thepe, S.J., for instance, once bought a neutron generator worth several hundred thousand dollars. “Paid practically nothing for it,” he says. He stuck it in the basement, but later sold it after his plans to get it working never materialized. Other stuff is still there, though, waiting to be discovered.

“I remember Father Fred Miller found out there was a chemistry lab being dismantled somewhere,” recalls Thepe. “He picked up a whole train car load of things.”

Xavier Magazine

Going High Tech

When it comes to technology on campus, this really ain’t your father’s classroom anymore. The University is catching up and even pushing ahead in terms of the technology available—from Internet access to interactive classrooms—as a means of better educating its students.

Just this summer, the University renovated another six classrooms with ceiling-mounted video projectors, a computer at the podium with online access and a document camera that displays three-dimensional images through the computer and onto a screen at the front of the room. Called presentation classrooms, 29 out of nearly 80 campus classrooms have now been converted, says Bob Cotter, director for instructional technology services.

Also this summer, three computer science professors launched the University into the world of supercomputing. The professors won a $142,767 grant from the National Science Foundation to buy specially designed computer equipment that gives the University supercomputer technology and allows for cutting edge research in a number of disciplines. New classes are planned, and space is being made to house the research laboratory.

“This provides Xavier with supercomputer technology and will have a huge impact on our ability to conduct research with our students,” says professor Gary Lewandowski. “This is high-performance, state-of-the-art equipment.”

The push to upgrade computer and information technology on campus is an initiative of President Michael J. Graham, S.J. Last fall the University created a new division of information resources, hiring Carol Rankin as its vice president and charging her with coordinating and addressing all technology needs. Cotter’s department is a merger of two offices and is now in charge of ensuring that technology is available to students and teachers.

“Our classroom support is unique,” Cotter says. “Anyone can have a computer projector set up in any classroom. Xavier was always able to set up and retrieve presentation equipment, and we’re maintaining that service even though the equipment has gotten more sophisticated.”

Some converted classrooms are, of course, more high-tech than others. And for those that haven’t been converted yet, Cotter’s staff can bring in a computer cart—a collection of wires on wheels, so to speak. The cart delivers a computer—or several laptop computers so students can interact—along with a data projector and online access so professors can display web sites for instructional or research purposes.

Teachers are getting more comfortable using the computer-assisted displays, which are slowly replacing the overhead projector, flip charts and even television, Cotter says. They also are getting trained on the Blackboard course management software program that allows students and teachers to communicate online outside of class.

“While maintaining and respecting the traditional media formats, we’ve aggressively pursued computer-based technology,” Cotter says. “Nothing is obsolete in the short term.”

He predicts the technology will eventually replace the old overheads, but the standby blackboard and chalk will be the last to go.

“It’s so spontaneous,” he says.

The University also has four interactive classrooms—the most high-tech available. These rooms have an Internet-based computer work station for every student, in addition to the presentation equipment. Some also have desks arranged in tiered semicircular levels. Professors’ and students’ work can be displayed on the big screen for all to see.

And finally, a classroom in the Cohen Center is interactive in a different sense. It has two-way video equipment that allows students in a distant city to view a classroom lecture and join in discussions with the professor and students. A television monitor, cameras and microphones are mounted in each classroom, allowing both groups of students to see, hear and converse with each other. It was tested in the spring and will be used this fall by the department of education.

Six years ago, when only one classroom had a ceiling-mounted projector and computer-based video display, a student-paid technology fee was put in place that allowed for most of the technology upgrades, Cotter says. What’s next is anyone’s guess. But Cotter sees computerized blackboards using a new plasma-based touch screen technology as a possibility, and more distance-learning software programs for off-campus learning.

Xavier Magazine

X Files

Xavier Faces
Janet O’Brien, department of athletics
 Raised in Lake Placid, N.Y., O’Brien married into a Xavier family. Her husband and brothers-in-law are alumni, her father-in-law began the Musketeer Club and her sister-in-law was one of the first female graduates. She and her husband recently became involved in a different type of family, hosting exchange students from Spain, Russia and Brazil. “I recommend it to everyone. They become a part of your family.”

Matthew O’Neill, comptroller A native of Cincinnati, O’Neill began at Xavier in 2000 while working toward his M.B.A. degree. As senior accountant, he handles all the grant accounting and annuities, and safeguards Xavier’s investments. O’Neill is an active runner and has run several 5K and 10K races. He’s always looking for running partners. He’s also busy planning vacations in Poland and Russia in 2003, even though he speaks neither country’s language.

Dennis O’Reilly, accounting As a military child, O’Reilly traveled throughout the country. He resided in Virginia, Florida, Alaska, South Carolina and Alabama before settling in Cincinnati. As an avid cyclist, O’Reilly participated in bike rides across Georgia in 1996, ’97 and ’98. When not cycling, he spends much of his time remodeling his suburban home. In July, he was published for the second time in Ohio’s CPA journal.


Pat O’Leary, physical plant He may not be the next Ted Kluszewski, but O’Leary’s hands will be seen on Big Klu’s sculpture at the Great American Ball Park. The maintenance repair technician with physical plant was asked to pose for the statue. Assigned to the Village and Commons apartments, O’Leary revels in the wide range of work his job affords. “I love working at Xavier, and enjoy what I do,” he says.

Naming Rights
Saintly connections aren’t required to work at the University, but it didn’t hurt the newest assistant professor of Spanish, Ignacio Francisco Rodeño. He is named after Ignatius Loyola and Francis Assisi.

Get a Job
Upromise, a Massachusetts administrator of college savings plans, reports students who work 10 hours a week or less do better academically than those who work full time or not at all. Working cuts into nonproductive time, it reports, and forces the students to concentrate on their schoolwork.

Did you know?
Of the incoming freshman class of 764 students, 181 (24 percent) have relatives who previously attended Xavier.


Rapped Up
When Soren Baker was asked to be on a communications panel at UCLA, he thought he was just going to share his experiences as a freelance music writer. Instead, he landed his biggest assignment—writing and producing a show on rap star Eminem for the music channel VH-1. Another panel member recommended the 1997 graduate. The show aired in June. “When I interviewed Eminem in 1999 for a magazine story, he was cracking jokes,” says Baker. “Now he’s more guarded and businesslike.”

Big Red CD
The memory of his first Cincinnati Reds game so stirred Leo Bradley that the program director for educational administration wrote a song: “Opening Day.” The tune, about a father taking his son to his first baseball game, is the first track on Bradley’s latest CD, Opening Day: The History of the Reds in Song and Narrative. His first album, One Bounce and You’re Out, covered the history of baseball through songs.