Xavier Magazine

Public Support

The University’s newest honors program, Philosophy, Politics and the Public, caught the attention of the prestigious McGregor Fund, which donated $100,000 in May to help with course development. The fund awards only five such course development grants each year. The grant lasts four years and supports faculty in planning and developing the interdisciplinary coursework, and paying for a program evaluation, says director E. Paul Colella.

Xavier Magazine

Basket Case

Bill and Nancy Cleary really were not expecting anything. They were just trying to help Xavier. Bill, a 1963 M.B.A. graduate and retiree from Procter & Gamble, filled out a form and pretty much forgot about it. That’s when they got the call. In March, Mary-Kate Carpenter, director of the University’s matching gifts program, sent a letter to everyone who works for—or retired from—a company that matches financial donations, asking them to fill out the necessary form and hand it in to their human resources department. Those who did were automatically entered in a drawing for a basket filled with Xavier merchandise—pen and pencil set, coasters, D’Artagnan bobblehead doll, T-shirt, cookies, cups and key chains, among other items—valued at more than $250.

Xavier Magazine

Folling Father Finn

The spring of 1925 was a time of great optimism at the University. Since the end of World War I, a wave of new construction had swept across campus—Alumni Science Hall, Corcoran Field, Hinkle Hall, Elet Hall. And at age 66, Francis J. Finn, S.J., had watched the University’s progress for more than 35 years.

As a trustee, he had a vision for the future built on a strong understanding of the past. So when the University’s sports teams needed a nickname, Finn reached into the history of the University’s first president, John Elet, S.J., whose close relative was a member of the French Legion of Honor. Finn’s suggestion: “Musketeers” and the motto “All for one and one for all.”

To be certain, the chivalric spirit of the French warriors must have appealed to an avowed idealist like Finn. But on a deeper level, their dedication in the face of adversity paralleled his own. A man of fragile health and self-deprecating humor who saw himself not as a leader, but as “a good second fiddler,” Finn nevertheless turned his life into a symphony of achievement that had a profound impact on the University and society in general.

Finn, for instance, single-handedly resuscitated Catholic children’s literature, authoring 27 books, and enjoyed a long career as a successful educator and fund-raiser. In the process, according to accounts published after his death, he became one of the best-known and best-loved men in Cincinnati, a man comfortable with the poor and the powerful of all ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Finn’s impact is still felt at the University. His concern for students and his determination to offer a better education provide the spiritual cornerstones for the Fr. Finn Award, given annually to an outstanding senior, and the Fr. Finn Society, an organization that recognizes those who include Xavier in their financial or estate planning and thus help carry his ideals into the future.

In the classic tradition, Finn’s story has humble beginnings. Born in St. Louis in 1859 to Irish immigrants, he enrolled in St. Malachy’s parish school as a youth, but his father, believing his son exceptionally gifted, soon transferred him to a private school. At age 10, Finn entered St. Louis University, then a high school, where he studied until age 17. Though he rarely lived up to his father’s academic expectations, Finn found his vocation there, joining the Society of Jesus in 1877.

Ill health soon intervened, however, and after 13 months, his superiors decided the strain of Jesuit life was too much for the novice and freed him of his obligation. Reflecting on their decision, Finn agreed. “Humanly speaking, I was not fit for the life of the Society,” he said. “Humanly speaking, I say. God often chooses instruments in themselves most unfit to do his work.”

A determined Finn reentered the Society in 1879, but continued to struggle with his health. By his ordination in 1891, Finn’s training included a brief assignment at the University as well as the publication of three children’s books. In these he established his hallmarks of high ideals and right choices.

Finn returned to Xavier in 1897 to teach postgraduate literature. In 1901, he was placed in charge of St. Xavier Parochial School in downtown Cincinnati, a position he never relinquished. There he created an endowment to make the school the first free parochial school in Ohio and started a library to get Catholic literature into the hands of young people.

Finn continued his relationship with the University as well, serving as a trustee. But by 1925, Finn was diagnosed with chronic nephritis, an inflammation of the kidneys. He died on Nov. 2, 1928.

To the end, though, he remained a loyal supporter of Xavier. A newspaper memorial recalled that he “never missed a St. Xavier College football game, going to the games this year despite his weakened condition.”

Xavier Magazine

Tees Overseas

It’s the coach’s job to inspire the players, but that doesn’t mean a player can’t inspire a coach once in a while.

John Streibich, a freshman on the University’s golf team, comes to Xavier from St. Thomas, V.I., which gave coach Doug Steiner the idea to do just the opposite—give the team a taste of the U.S. Virgin Islands by hosting the first St. Croix Collegiate Classic at the island’s Carambola Golf Club.

Held during spring break, the men’s tournament is March 5-7 and the women’s March 12-14.

“I wanted this to be a national event,” Steiner says. “We hope this will develop into something good for the school.”

The Golf Channel is broadcasting the event, which features 15 teams—the Air Force Academy, Ohio State and Penn State among them. Steiner says he hopes the tournament will become an annual event for top university golf programs.

Xavier Magazine

Hoopin’ Homecoming

Xavier is hosting this year’s Black Coaches Association Classic basketball tournament at the Cintas Center Nov. 15-17. The eight-team tournament is being held the same weekend as homecoming, providing alumni three chances to see the Musketeers in action—or see 12 games in all. Four games are being played each day, with Xavier starting off against Coppin State at 8:00 p.m. Nov. 15.

Other teams in the tournament include: Ohio University, Mercer University, Oakland University and the universities of California-Irvine, San Diego and Illinois-Chicago.

Five of the eight teams finished first or second in their conference last season, while six teams won at least 17 games.

“We are very excited to be hosting one of the country’s premier preseason tournaments,” says head coach Thad Matta. “Playing against solid competition from around the country so early in the season will be a great experience.”

The 15-year-old BCA’s primary purpose is fostering growth and development of minorities at all levels of sport both nationally and internationally.

Xavier Magazine

And One For All

More than a Musketeer’s motto, the University kicks off the All For One Club this fall, establishing the official support club of the department of athletics.

Donations from club members benefit all 15 intercollegiate sports, most of which don’t generate enough revenue to be self-supporting. Dan Cloran, director for annual fund and athletic giving, says donations from the club offset operating costs for teams, fund tournaments, provide for better and safer travel, and allow for more effective recruiting, to name a few.

One important goal is to enable each team to have a full-time coach; currently only one-third of the University’s head coaches are full-time.

The kickoff event—the all-sports preview night—is at the Cintas Center on Sept. 16 from 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. and open to all fans who want to hear about the future of Xavier athletics. For more details on the club, or contact Cloran at 513 745-1031 or if (history.length > 0) document.write(“Previous Page“);

Xavier Magazine

Off the Field

Josh Masters had no idea what he was getting into. He was about to climb into a van and go to a homeless shelter in the heart of Over-the-Rhine, the poorest and roughest area of Cincinnati.

“I didn’t know anything about the place except it was in a really bad neighborhood,” says the cross country runner, who graduated in May.

He also knew he didn’t have a choice.

“If you don’t go, you sit out,” he says. “And you get in the coach’s doghouse.”

His job: to spend a few hours helping the city’s homeless. As a means of fulfilling the University’s mission of helping others, contributing to the betterment of the community and developing the student-athletes in ways that are not solely athletic, the University’s athletic department requires every student-athlete to participate in at least one service project each semester. Usually the teams pick a project and serve together.

Like many of his teammates, Masters had mixed emotions about serving. Once he got to the center, though, he found out why the athletic department mandates such work: It was an education. For several hours, he mingled with the area’s homeless, listening to their stories, learning about their lives, realizing they are human beings, too. He walked away with a different perspective—a lesson he couldn’t get in a classroom or on a cross country course.

The program formally began five years ago when director for athletics Mike Bobinski and senior associate director for athletics Dawn Rogers came to the University. Rogers asked each team to begin doing at least one community service project each semester.

“One of the things I liked about Xavier was that what is important to me is important to Xavier, and that’s the students growing as a total person,” Rogers says.

“We talk a lot about it with recruits,” says women’s basketball coach Kevin McGuff. “When you go into a recruit’s house, their parents all want to know that their children will be learning more than basketball and academics, that they are going to grow as young people. We had one girl visit campus on a recruiting trip and we took her out on a project with us. We told her, ‘This is what you are going to do. You might as well find out what it’s all about.’ ”

The athletic department also began creating its own service projects that student-athletes can volunteer for—projects beyond their required events. Each Halloween, for instance, the department has a food drive and the student-athletes knock on every door on campus to ask for donations. At Thanksgiving, they raise money and purchase meals for local families. At Easter, they raise money for a local charity. At Christmas, they each individually purchase something to donate to a local charity. The teams also sponsor about a dozen families each Christmas, with the student-athletes making sure each child in the family has at least two presents to open Christmas morning.

The biggest event the department has is the annual fill-a-truck campaign in which fans are asked to help fill a truck with clothes and food for a local charity. The first event was four years ago, and a small U-Haul was used. With very little publicity, the students parked the trailer outside of the Cincinnati Gardens during a men’s basketball game and filled it. They also raised an additional $600 in cash from fans as they left the arena.

Since then, says Rogers, the fans have embraced the annual event and now pull their cars up next to a semi-trailer and unload boxes of clothes and other goods. The fans also donated an additional $2,500 in cash last year.

And the interest among the student-athletes in doing these projects—either as a team or for the athletic department —has grown to the point where Rogers’ role is now minimized. The student-athletes, she says, have taken over the coordination, implementation and carry-through of the events.

“What our athletes do is not different from what other students at Xavier do,” says Rogers, “but it’s a lot considering they don’t have one extra hour a day in their schedules between classes, weight training, practice, travel and games. They’re really in season all year. And the amount of requests we get for students to speak at events is incredible. So to give up their time to help the community says a lot about the kind of student-athletes we have here.”

Xavier Magazine

The Technical Edge

Xavier and Microsoft—Elaine Crable likes the way that sounds. So in the spring, Crable, chair of the University’s information technology department, jumped at the chance to make her program the first American member of the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance. The alliance gives free on-site help in curriculum development and provides free software to IT programs—and all of the students within them. In the bargain, Microsoft’s products become an integral part of the curriculum.

“We’re finding that Microsoft is a key part of business now,” Crable says. “So this allows us to teach the students what they’re going to be using anyway, and gives them copies of the software to be working with every day. In the end, it will also help them work for certification in Microsoft products, which will make them very marketable.”

Xavier Magazine

Telly Time

They can be serious, silly, irreverent. Whatever the assignment, Xavier’s television center seems to be turning heads at a neck-wrenching pace. The studio racked up six awards in the past year, including four Telly awards and two Aurora Gold awards. One of the first-place awards was for an upbeat piece produced totally by students for the Cincinnati Art Museum.

“It shows how well they’re shot and how creatively they’re edited,” says center supervisor Bob Turner.

One of this year’s other noteworthy videos was produced for the Hamilton County courts that walks potential jurors through the county’s trial system. The video was made at the behest of Cincinnati CAN—the group formed after the 2001 riots to address issues of racial disparity.

A CAN committee chaired by University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., partnered with the Cincinnati Bar Association and the center to produce a video. Two Xavier students worked on the video. That’s the type of experience that turns an electronic communications degree into reality TV.

Xavier Magazine

Brueggeman Chair

As a child living in Lithuania during World War II, Yaffa Eliach survived the Holocaust by hiding in attics and underground shelters. As a professor of Judaic studies at New York’s Brooklyn College, Eliach dedicated herself to educating others about the Holocaust and the vibrant Jewish way of life that it obliterated. And this fall, Eliach is sharing her unique perspectives as the 2003 Brueggeman chair in theology.

A pioneer in Holocaust studies, Eliach founded the first Center for Holocaust Documentation and Research in the United States, created the “Tower of Life” photo exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and served on President Jimmy Carter’s Holocaust commission. Eliach has authored several books, including “There Once Was a World: A 900-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl Eishyshok” and “Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust,” which won the Christopher Award for Literature. She’s also a contributing editor to both “Encyclopedia Judaica” and the “Women’s Studies Encyclopedia.”