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Free Money

Whoever said nothing is free has never met Terry Horan. The president of Horan Associates Inc. has been converting free throws by men’s basketball players into free money for deserving Xavier scholarship students.

For each of the last three seasons, Horan has offered $25 for every free throw completed by a Xavier player during a men’s home basketball game. This year’s total of $7,500–representing far more than the 220 successful free throws at this year’s home games–was presented in the form of a check to athletic director Mike Bobinski at the March 3 senior night game against George Washington University.

“The cost of higher education today is pretty onerous, and this is our way to help some families who might not be able to afford college to get a good education at a Jesuit college, and we think that’s something,” Horan says. “We get something from it in heightened awareness about our company, but we’re also supporting a very fine basketball program. There’s a balance in the Xavier program that appeals to us.”

The money is being split into three $2,500 scholarships for incoming freshman students from southwest Ohio who have excelled in high school and need financial assistance to attend Xavier.

Over the three years, Horan has anteed up about $22,000 in scholarship funds, and he’s signed a contract with the University to keep doing it for another three years. The money is like a barometer of the team’s free-throwing percentages. As the team gets better, the pot gets fuller. And that’s something that all students can appreciate.

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Delivering Dreams

Steven Durkee has a sense of history, so he’s looking to the future. Even though the 1996 graduate still has a few years left before retirement, he and his wife Kathy decided to plan ahead by arranging to leave a percentage of their estate to the various institutions and organizations—including the University—that have touched their lives.

After 25 years as a businessman, Durkee got a master’s degree in religion from the Athenaeum of Ohio in 1988 and two years later began teaching at Covington Catholic High School in Northern Kentucky. He soon discovered teaching religion involved more than lesson plans and lecturing—students actively sought him out to talk over all kinds of things. “That was a great ego boost and inspiring, but at the same time kind of scary,” he says.

At the time, there was no counseling law in Kentucky, but Durkee decided he needed some practical and theoretical training. So he applied to the University to work on a master’s degree. “It was exciting,” he says. “We were blessed with some excellent full-time faculty members, and the adjuncts were wonderful. I got my M.Ed. in counseling in 1996. Then I did my clinical endorsement in 2000.”

The University gave Durkee, now 55 years old and a partner in the Northern Ky.-based Summit Behavioral Health Group, one of the biggest highlights of his career: In 1997, he was asked to come back to campus as an adjunct professor.

“To be accepted as an adjunct at Xavier was quite an honor,” he says. “I’ve been blessed to be teaching on the adjunct faculty ever since.”

Feelings like Durkee’s are common among those who give to Xavier, says Mark McLaughlin, the University’s director for estate and planning services. All share both a strong conviction that the University had a positive impact on their lives and the desire to ensure that future generations will be able to share that experience. They give, McLaughlin says, in a variety of ways, according to their ability.

 

Some, like graduate Stuart J. Kelley, leave property. Kelley, a 1953 graduate who died this past February, left a home and property in the Cincinnati suburb of Amberley Village and a two-bedroom condominium in Ocala, Fla., with a total value of $200,000. Others, like Robert Borcer, choose to give monetary gifts. The 1968 graduate, a longtime annual fund contributor who died last July, left the University a bequest of $2.5 million earmarked for the sciences.

And still others, like 1940 graduate Paul C. Beckman, make it a family affair. Along with his brother Vincent H. Beckman, a 1938 graduate, and sister Irene Leverone, Beckman, who passed away last October, pledged a total of about $1 million to establish the University’s Beckman Chair in Theology in honor of their brothers John J. Beckman, S.J., and Robert E. Beckman, S.J.

“Xavier was one of my father’s favorite places, partly because of his experiences there, and because it’s a Jesuit institution and his brothers were Jesuits,” says Beckman’s daughter, Mary Kay Rottner. “The impact the University had on him must have been very profound for him to keep up his love and support for 64 years.”

Rottner recalls that her father, a former captain of the Musketeer basketball team, was a longtime season-ticket holder and in recent years served as a member of a lay academic board put together by University Chancellor James E. Hoff, S.J. In addition, his law firm, Beckman, Weil, Shepardson & Faller, provides legal counsel for the University.

While it’s true large gifts often grab the headlines, McLaughlin says it takes gifts of all types and sizes to help the University realize its dreams. Perhaps Durkee, as much as anyone, personifies that idea. “I want to make sure Xavier’s counseling program will be there for people I don’t even know,” he says. “Someone did that for me before I got there. You’ve got to provide for the future. And at $400 or so a credit hour, if I can help pay for somebody who otherwise may not go to school—hey, that’ll work.”

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Controlled Chaos

Only a few hours before converging on the Georgia Dome to watch the Musketeers play the University of Texas in the NCAA Sweet 16, Xavier students, alumni and friends gathered at the Wyndham Atlanta hotel to prepare.

Considered the largest alumni event outside of Cincinnati, the pre-game reception welcomed an estimated 1,000 enthusiastic basketball fans—a number that surprised organizers who had received only 291 responses to invitations sent out three days earlier.

“We tried to get the biggest room available and prayed it would be large enough,” says Matt Tripepi, assistant director for alumni chapters. Fans squeezed into the main ballroom for the two-hour event, eventually spilling into the adjacent lobby and pool area. University President Michael Graham, S.J., and Atlanta chapter president Michael Scanlon, a 1995 graduate, addressed the crowd, many of whom had to stand on chairs for a better view.

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Speaking of Change

Until now, students who took language courses below the level at which they tested did so sans credit. For some, the value of auditing such a course to brush up on their knowledge of French or Spanish was nada—a waste of time and money. The only thing they might get out of it was a chance to succeed when they took the course assigned them on the placement test.

As of the fall 2004 semester, however, students can parlez with pleasure, knowing they’re now getting credit for such courses. The credit hours won’t count toward their language requirement, but they will count as elective hours, says Thomas Kennealy, S.J., associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“It was done because students feeling unsure of their language in high school were tempted to switch to another language and start over, and this was counterproductive,” Kennealy says. “Now with permission students may take the previous level for credit as a free elective, not as a language credit. It counts toward graduation.”

Which, he says, would be a fait accompli.

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Education Ace

Marketing professor Tom Hayes has been named an ACE Fellow for 2004-2005 by the American Council on Education, which identifies and prepares promising faculty and senior administrators for high-level positions in college and university administration. Hayes is among 35 fellows nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their institutions for this year’s national competition.

Hayes has been a member of the Xavier department of marketing faculty for 28 years and is the University’s first ACE Fellow. His focus is on the marketing of colleges and universities.

“Tom’s scholarly work and his professional contribution to the University and Cincinnati communities have proven to be great assets,” says Roger Fortin, academic vice president. “The University community is extremely proud of his accomplishment.”

As part of the ACE program, Hayes is attending three seminars on higher education issues, reading extensively in the field and engaging in activities that focus on the challenges and opportunities confronting higher education. He’s also spending the year working with a president of another university and visiting other colleges to observe different styles and philosophies of higher education administration.

I’ll look for new ideas that may benefit Xavier’s academic objectives as defined by President Graham and Fortin,” Hayes says. “I will also spend time pursuing my own interest in strategic planning and institutional development.”

Most former Fellows have advanced into major positions in academic administration, says Marlene Ross, Fellows program director. More than 250 of the 1,400 participants who have gone through the program have become chief executive officers and more than 1,000 have become provosts, vice presidents or deans.

“We’re extremely pleased with the incoming class,” says Ross. “The individuals have demonstrated strong leadership ability.”

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Stage of Learning

Cathy Springfield knows theater can change students’ lives. The University’s director for performing arts has seen it time and again in her 14 years on campus. So last year, Springfield formalized the idea and launched the Theatre of Conscience, a service component that’s being integrated into virtually all Xavier Player’s productions. The goal is deceptively simple: to help students see further into their characters—and deeper into themselves as well—at the same time deepening their performances and strengthening their impact on audiences.

“We’re looking for a social conscience behind the plays that we do,” she says. “The idea is to do plays that support the University’s morals and ideals, and that include some kind of social justice issue. I’m not saying every play we do will pass that litmus test, but most of the plays will, we hope.”

The idea is as practical as it is cutting edge. “Of course, all plays have moral and ethical issues,” Springfield says. “But I don’t know that I’ve seen anywhere full casts go into service that relates to the moral and ethical issues of the play. I don’t know that that is done anywhere.”

Once plays are selected, the Players’ board of advisors then plans a service component to accompany each production. The first tentative step in this direction took place during the 2002-2003 production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” when the group brought in an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union who talked about how the story had changed his life. Since then, students have become more actively involved, Springfield says.

“For our production of ‘Fences,’ we went to the Drop-Inn Center downtown a couple of times,” she says. “We prepared and served food, and talked to the people who came in. That was an interesting process. There was a lot of character study going on. Then for ‘Footloose,’ we staged a senior prom at a retirement home. ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is a love story, so we did valentines, again for a retirement home.”

The concept takes a quantum leap forward in 2004-2005 when the Players team up with the Innocence Project and another as-yet-unnamed campus organization during the production of “Dead Man Walking.”

“Tim Robbins wrote the screenplay for this, and he’s released it to Jesuit schools only for one year,” Springfield says. “He wants the drama departments to work in conjunction with another department—like mission and ministry or theology or some other department—with regard to the issue of capital punishment. The Innocence Project, of course, works with people on death row.”

Senior Molly Boehringer, vice president and service coordinator for Players, says the concept fits naturally into a well-rounded education that includes learning to see into a variety of issues. And she says the lessons learned offstage are a big plus in performance.

“It’s definitely changed the thought process when you’re going through rehearsals,” Boehringer says. “It allows you to connect better with the character you’re playing and to relate to the audience better in presenting the message that you’re trying to get across.

“It’s completely changed my perspective on the purpose of theater and being up on stage. It’s given me much more of a feeling of purpose when I’m out there. You feel like you are possibly opening some minds and presenting material that is going to stay with people after they leave the theater.”

Although she’s happy with the program’s growth thus far, Springfield has her eyes on a much more widely integrated prize.

Ultimately, she’d like to coordinate activities with Xavier’s service program. And she’s also working to develop an effective written reflection piece to be completed by cast members after each production.

“It’s difficult when you’re rehearsing to direct, rehearse and do the service project,” she says. “But we’re dedicated to doing it.”

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Xavier Faces

Rosie Miller, O.F.S. Department of theology Mysticism isn’t antiquated, according to Miller, who teaches meditation theory and practice, spirituality and healing, and contemporary spiritualism. She is fascinated by dialogue between altered states of consciousness, meditation and science. This summer she’s teaching a “sacred pilgrimage” course in Italy. She’s also certified to practice one-on-one pastoral counseling and healing touch.

Sean Miller Department of athletics Miller is the men’s basketball team’s assistant head coach. He came to Xavier from North Carolina State “to be part of a tradition of winning and academic success.” His tenure has been very successful, exemplified by this year’s Elite Eight appearance. “The experience of winning in the NCAA tournament is an incredible high. Once you are part of that kind of success, you want it all the more.”

Georganna Miller Occupational therapy As academic fieldwork coordinator, Miller helps occupational therapy students find the practical experience necessary to graduate in placements as far away as Germany and Hawaii. She’s been with the department since its inception and is participating in its transition to a master’s program. A car enthusiast, she builds model cars, relishes her 1989 Corvette and aspires to drive from Chicago to L.A. on Route 66.

Daphne Miller McDonald Library Thespians, lend me your books? When Miller isn’t acquiring new materials, updating the collection or instructing people in bibliographic technique, she performs as a member of the College of Mount St. Joseph’s theater group. She is also an avid crocheter and Girl Scout troop leader. “I’ve been a librarian since 1982 and only one time have I had to ask someone to be quiet.”

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Washington, D.C.

When various marches, protests or national celebrations don’t interfere with their 14-game season, members of the Washington, D.C., alumni chapter can be found playing softball in front of the White House lawn or next to the Washington Monument.

Interestingly, chapter president Mike Hanpeter, a 1996 graduate, says that Xavier basketball games helped spread the word about the newly formed softball team. “Our chapter got together and watched every basketball game on television, which was a lot,” he says. “That was a good way of getting people out—and once they’re out, you can give them any information you want.”

The 29-person team, coached by 2001 graduate Mark Zedella and 1993 graduate John Turner, plays weekly against alumni chapters from other schools. Sponsored by the Capital Alumni Network, teams often gather at the Bottom Line pub after games to socialize.

Hanpeter believes that these types of activities, in addition to the chapter’s community service opportunities and cultural events, help strengthen ties. “Those sorts of things help the alumni network really function as it’s supposed to,” Hanpeter says. “Thus far, it’s made the chapter really healthy.”

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The Peace Doctor

When peace and justice call, Paul Knitter packs his bags. Knitter, professor emeritus of theology and internationally known expert on interfaith relations, traveled to West Africa in early February for a weeklong meeting of the Interreligious Council of Liberia, and then jetted off to Thailand for yet another interreligious peace council meeting.

The Liberia conference brought together Muslims and Christians to discuss ways in which the two religions can work together to bring peace to their country, which has been ravaged by 14 years of civil unrest. A lifelong proponent of interreligious dialogue, Knitter made two presentations and participated in numerous discussions. And he came away with a sense of optimism.

“I saw confirmation that religion can be a significant factor in promoting peace,” he says. “What really impressed me was they resolved that their differences are not going to get in the way of working for peace.”

In Thailand, he met with the international Interreligious Peace Council and a group of women from around the world. “The idea was to see how globalization is affecting women and how religion, which has been part of the problem, can be part of the solution,” he says. The conference resulted in a declaration and plans for a series of meetings.

Which means Knitter probably shouldn’t unpack yet

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Xavier Magazine

The Deal of Art

Allen Zaring III is no stranger to success. He started his own home-building company in 1964, took it public and grew it to one of the 50 largest companies of its kind in the nation. He also holds degrees from Babson College and the Harvard Graduate School of Business.

All of which makes his latest venture a bit unusual. Four years ago, Zaring decided to enroll in the University in search of a bachelor’s degree. His major: art. The man who had made enough money to afford almost any painting in the world joined 18-year-old students taking introductory drawing classes.

Consider, though, that Zaring built his business career on the strength of his imagination. Studying art, he says, was a natural extension of a life built around creative thought. And indeed, his eyes light up with the same enthusiasm whether he’s talking about his latest painting in progress or explaining the land-use drawing for a 300-acre development.

“Going to Xavier was a rejuvenation for me,” he says. “When an entrepreneur sells his company, there’s sort of a post-partum depression. I thought it was a good time to find out if I had any latent talent in art. I used to try to paint on my own and felt that I wasn’t getting any better at it. I thought the way to get better was to come back to school.”

That doesn’t mean, however, he didn’t have a few initial underclassman jitters. “I can handle the work, but hadn’t been in college for 20-some years,” he says.

Being in familiar territory certainly helped ease his trepidation—Zaring is an adjunct business professor for the Williams’ College of Business, and his wife, Ann, served for a decade on the University’s board of trustees. But he says the real clincher was getting good grades on his first round of tests. And it wasn’t just art classes. Like all students, Zaring took the core curriculum classes and other requirements necessary to complete his degree.

With the experiential cunning of any worthy senior, Zaring put off his toughest class until his last semester, in 2003, and when finals were over, he graduated summa cum laude with a 3.89 GPA. “I got one B, ironically, in art,” he says. “My kids told me I could have done better had I applied myself.”

These days, Zaring works about three weeks per month on business interests. But whenever possible, he finds himself behind his easel for some quality painting time.

A huge fan of the French Impressionist painters and their American counterparts, Zaring says he’s still discovering his personal style. But his strong compositions and fearless use of color have already won gallery interest. “I have a gallery where I take my paintings to have them framed,” he says with a smile. “A lady there finally got out of me that I actually painted them. She said, ‘We have people looking for pieces like these.’ I told her, ‘Once I get enough walls filled up in family houses, then we can talk.’”

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