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Chasing a Legend

When she isn’t teaching Shakespeare to seventh graders, Jessie Meyer Magoto is doing something almost as challenging—coaching junior high and high school girls’ cross country. Though both pursuits bring her great satisfaction, Magoto’s better known for running hard than teaching the Bard. Her teams have won six Ohio Division III state championships in seven years—five in cross country and one in track. All’s well that ends on the winner’s podium.

But Magoto defers credit for the Min-ster High School girls’ running program to the legend that came before her. Magoto, who ran for Xavier and graduated in 1997, says it was Katie Horstman, the high school’s first coach, who put Minster girls’ running on the map.

“She was my role model when I was growing up. I knew that’s what I always wanted to do, and when I ran, it wasn’t for myself but for her.” Horstman’s teams collected nine state championships, the last in 1987, but it wasn’t until Magoto became the coach in 1999 that the cross country team returned to glory. Her secret, she says, is emulating Horstman’s coaching style. “I coach like I was coached. I’m not as tough as Horstman, but I am demanding, and the girls are very disciplined. They don’t question that they want to be champions. I just do the best I can to get them there.”

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Xavier Magazine

Home Again

Charity Wayua and Sheran Oradu are spreading the Xavier message around the world. Wayua and Oradu, both junior chemistry majors and recipients of the first Kenyan Student Scholarship, spent a little more than a month in their homeland last summer recruiting potential Xavier students. They visited schools, met with guidance counselors and students, handed out stacks of Xavier T-shirts, viewbooks and other giveaways. It was the pair’s second trip, and they’ll make a third trip this summer.

“The families there are really scrambling for information about colleges,” says Angela Boyce-Mathis, director for enrollment research.

“These two share the same background.” Jim McCoy, associate vice president for enrollment management, says the trips reflect today’s new realities in attracting international students. “It’s important to build relationships rather than just sending out applications,” he says.

The Kenyan Student Scholarship is part of a larger effort aimed at East African women—founded by Susan Mboya, a brand manager at Procter & Gamble, and John Pepper, P&G’s retired chairman and chief executive officer. The program pays room and board, while the University picks up tuition costs.

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Xavier Magazine

Boehner Gets a House Call

Nearly 30 years after earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Xavier, U.S. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio is poised to take care of business. The U.S. House Republicans elected him majority leader, defeating Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, by a 122-109 vote. The 1977 graduate replaces indicted Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, making Boehner the No. 2 man in the House, second only to Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois. Boehner now oversees every piece of legislation that comes before the House.

It’s quite a coup for the Cincinnati native who hails from a family of 12 children raised in a blue-collar environment of Catholic schools and Democratic values. Boehner, who became a Republican after graduation, worked in his family’s pub as a boy and brought to Washington an understanding of the working man. Known for founding the Gang of Seven that crusaded against corrupt House banking practices in the 1990s, he also suffered defeat with then-Speaker Newt Gingrich when the party lost big in the 1998 elections. But he went back to work and has since been rewarded with powerful positions, first as chair of the education committee and now as majority leader.

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Xavier Magazine

Early Tee Time

It’s never too early to start thinking about this year’s Horan Associates/All Fore One Golf Classic, says Tom Brady, assistant director for the annual fund. This year’s classic takes place Monday, Aug. 28, at the Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati.

Last year, the classic raised $55,000 in support of University athletics. Most of that money came from the event’s $25,000 raffle, which, Brady says, is open to anyone, not just golfers. Along with the raffle, this year’s event includes a live auction.

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Xavier Magazine

Annual Giving

Perhaps it was the time spent savoring a hot fudge sundae in the white clapboard barracks on University Drive where students from the Class of 1956 would kill time with each other between classes.

Or maybe it was the dances—the annual Military Ball and the Greek fraternities’ Turkey Trot and Bunny Hop—where guys in spiffy suits would show off their dates. Or it could have been the way the dormies shared their dorm rooms with the day hops in exchange for a double date in the day students’ cars.

Whatever it was that makes the Class of 1956 so active, so loyal, so generous to Xavier is found somewhere in the mix of these and other moments its members experienced together. For many, actually, the bonds were formed long before they arrived on campus.

Most of the 250 freshmen entering Xavier in 1952, when annual tuition was $300, Dwight Eisenhower was president and rock ’n’ roll was on the cusp, attended Catholic high schools together—St. Xavier, Purcell, Roger Bacon and Elder in Cincinnati. A large group came down from Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High.

They started tight and ended tight. And it’s been that way for 50 years.

“Many of us have agreed that we received a fine education at Xavier, but what really held us together were the friendships we developed as students,” says Paul Lindsay, who returned to Xavier as alumni director in 1970. “When I was a freshman, we had more than 20 students from St. Ignatius. I’d gone from there to Purcell to finish and we had 10 from there, so I knew personally almost a fifth of the class.” Those relationships, coupled with Lindsay’s involvement in the early days of annual fundraising, gave the Class of 1956 special ties to the University that led to its distinction as one of the top contributors to the annual fund.

That’s why this year, the Class of 1956 was selected as the inaugural class for a new donor program that will celebrate the 50th-year reunion of every class. The annual Reunion Weekend event sponsors the 50th-year class each year with free accommodations, meals, golf and happy hour, and class members are asked to make a special gift to Xavier by either giving for the first time or stepping up their gifts from past years.

“It was done to honor those alums celebrating 50 years because when they come, they’re saying, ‘I’m still involved with Xavier,’ ” says Leigh Ann Fibbe, assistant director for the annual fund. “We want to honor those who have kept Xavier in their hearts all these years.”

To get ready for the event that takes place on Father’s Day weekend in June, Lindsay and co-chair Grant Dibert pulled together a committee of 24 class members and treated them to a party in October in the Surkamp Family Welcome Center. After eating, drinking and reminiscing, they gathered at a table piled with cards for every surviving member of the class. “Someone chose a name based on who you might see,” says Dibert. “I ended up with eight or nine calls. I got one guy who hung up on me, but I also had some really good conversations.”

Dibert says about half the people he called made a pledge, and more than 25 percent plan to attend Reunion Weekend. The effort has paid off for the Class of 1956. Its $60,000 donation last year was surpassed with more than $150,000 pledged for the anniversary year.

“In many cases they got people who have never given in the past,” Fibbe says. “Some of the class who gave $1,000 in the past gave $10,000 this year, and others joined The 1831 Society for the first time. The point is that everyone has stretched in whatever way they can. This class has always had among the highest participation rates in terms of numbers of people giving.”

Dibert and Lindsay know the value of fund-raising. The money supports the annual fund, which raised $6.4 million last year and has a similar goal for this year. It supports the costs of operations, such as paying utility bills, but it also supports scholarships and financial aid for qualified students. With tuition now more than $21,000 a year and room and board hovering near $8,000, more students need financial help. This year, 90 percent received some form of aid, averaging $13,000 each.

Lindsay says when trying to raise money for the University, the personal approach usually yields the best results. It’s worked magic with the Class of 1956, which on its own has maintained a supper club and annual golf outing for many years. But there was something else, says Dibert.

“We had a guy on the inside all these years.”

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Xavier Magazine

Record Rewrites

Tara Boothe is forcing the University to reprint its record books. In January, the senior shattered the University’s all-time scoring record for women’s basketball, breaking the mark of 2,036 points set by Jo Ann Osterkamp 22 years ago. She also broke the record of most games started in a career, which was previously at 111 games, after starting every game in her four years.

Boothe already owns the school record for most points in a season with 659, the records for most points by a freshman, sophomore and junior, as well as most rebounds by a freshman and sophomore. And, depending on how far the team goes during March Madness, she may add the career rebounding record to her list of accomplishments.

Boothe is being marketed as an All-American and potential player of the year. She’s one of 30 candidates for the Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS Award given annually to the country’s top senior player. She was already named to two preseason All-American teams by the Women’s Basketball News Service and Street & Smith magazine. To help in the effort, the University created bobblehead dolls of Boothe, which it gave out to the first 1,000 fans at the game in which Boothe set the career scoring record.

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Xavier Magazine

Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Relief | Former Xavier basketball great David West was in North Carolina last August when Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast, where he now plays for the National Basketball Association’s New Orleans Hornets. At the time, foremost on his mind was preparing for his third season. But, he says, “Worrying about playing time in the NBA is kind of minute compared to Katrina. That kind of grounded me.” West had a townhouse in suburban New Orleans that did not suffer damage as a result of the flooding, but friends of his wife were less fortunate. “They lost everything. It is just an unfortunate situation. Your heart goes out to them. We are in a very fortunate situation in terms of financial security.”

West and his wife donated supplies to her friends, and he was among the Hornets players who delivered goods and supplies to Katrina victims.

Another Xavier graduate Terry Kofler, is in his 18th season as the Hornets’ trainer and director of team travel. He also was out of town and survived unscathed. He’s since sold his home in Louisiana, though, and moved to Oklahoma.

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Xavier Magazine

A Career Abroad

Torraye Braggs is becoming an expert in world geography. The 1998 graduate and former standout with the men’s basketball team was selected in the second round of the National Basketball League draft by the Utah Jazz, but he has spent most of his career making a scenic tour of Europe, South America and Asia. His goal: to find a place to keep showcasing his on-court talents. Although he returned to the States in December to play in the NBA’s Development League, he spent the beginning of the season in South Korea, while previous ventures led him to teams in Russia, Spain, Greece, Israel, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

Braggs, however, isn’t alone in his world travels. While the list of former Musketeers playing in the NBA is growing, the list of those making a living playing basketball in professional leagues overseas is just as long. Anthony Myles, for instance, began this season playing in China, as did Reggie Butler. Romain Sato now plays in Italy and Pete Sears in Finland. Kevin Frey played in Germany last year before returning to the States to play for a Development League team in New Mexico. Michael Hawkins played in Spain last year before moving to a team in Syria in the fall. Lionel Chalmers, a second-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Clippers, now plays for a team in Greece.

When the limitations of NBA rosters prove too much but the desire to play the game—and get paid to do it—hasn’t diminished, heading overseas is a common destination for many former college standouts. It’s a great opportunity to see the world while at the same time further developing the skills that might land them in the NBA.

Most Americans who play in Europe are provided the free use of an apartment and car, and some get meal allowances. Most of them have very little expenses, and the host club normally pays the players’ taxes in that country. Top stars can make more than $500,000 in countries such as Spain and Italy. Top Americans in Hungary can make nearly $100,000, while first-year Americans in countries such as Germany and Austria may have a salary around $40,000 a season.

But, it certainly has its challenges.

“The biggest adjustment to playing overseas is the culture and the way of life—the languages, food, rules, how they do things, how they live, their thoughts of Americans,” says Myles, who has also played in Spain and Turkey. “As far as on the court, their rules of the game and their style of play are different. For example, in Spain it’s about the team—who is in the best shape and has the better players. Here in China, the top teams run the fastest because they are not strong enough to play one-on-one.”

Myles began this season with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, a team in the Canton province near Hong Kong and the south China Sea. He’s one of about 56.5 million people in the province, although the 6-foot-9 African American is certainly one of the most noticeable. “Well, being black here, a lot of the Chinese people are scared of us,” he says. “I don’t know why. They are always watching us no matter where we are and what we are doing. They follow us around, but they are scared to talk to us if we say something to them.”

Still, he hasn’t allowed that to affect his play. In his first game, he had 31 points and 15 rebounds. In his second game, he had 48 points and 16 rebounds, the most points he ever scored in a game at any level. He joined the team after playing in the first division in Spain, which many American players say is the best league outside of the NBA.

Sato, a second-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 2004, is also making an impact, leading his team in scoring in the B league in Italy, which is considered one of the best in Europe. Sears, too, is doing well, averaging 13 points per game in his first five contests in Finland.

Being overseas does not mean that the NBA dream is over. James Singleton from Murray State University, who played the past two seasons in Italy, is a rookie this year with the NBA’s L.A. Clippers.

Myles and others are well aware of that. In addition to spending his free time playing video games and watching movies, he likes “keeping tabs on the NBA games and season, because it is my dream to some day be playing in the league.”

David Driver is a freelance writer who covers American basketball players in Europe from his home in Hungary.

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Xavier Magazine

Walk About

Twice a year, librarians from the McDonald Memorial Library emerge from the stacks and chilly archives to check in with faculty members across campus. For three days in the fall and spring, they knock on doors looking for professors who welcome the visit as a chance to catch up on new library services, review new and existing programs and clear up any questions they may have. Those who aren’t in get calling cards on their doorknobs.

“The faculty said they really liked this walkabout, and we may be expanding it to others,” says JoAnne Young, associate vice president for library services.

Everyone could use a little help getting acquainted with the library’s vast array of information systems and technology tools such as Blackboard, a software program providing faculty-to-student communication online, University e-mail and the internal portal communications system, as well as resources such as the XPLORE Library Catalog and OhioLINK, which takes researchers to other universities’ databases.

The walkabouts are in addition to an annual orientation library staff provide to introduce new faculty to all the information resources available on campus.

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Northern Exposure

Responding to interest from people in the high-growth suburbs, the Williams College of Business took its M.B.A. program on the road, opening a classroom in the offices of a financial corporation in Fairfield, Ohio. This is the college’s second off-campus spot, joining one at the General Electric Aircraft Engines plant in Evendale.

“Sometimes trial programs get minimal interest, but we were able to enroll more than 20 students, which was very successful,” says Jennifer Bush, executive director for the M.B.A. program. Bush says the Fairfield program is attractive to those in the northern suburbs who don’t want to commute to Xavier. They also like the two-year time frame and the bonds they develop with classmates sharing the same experience.

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