Xavier Magazine

A Love Story

Donna Waymire didn’t see the faculty stand when her name was called. Her focus was on hugging her son, Brian, who received his diploma just a few seconds earlier. But this was more than just a parent and child graduating together. In walking across the Cintas Center stage this spring, Waymire underscored the twin mysteries of love and faith.

A lifetime ago, Waymire, who is a staff assistant in the Williams College of Business, wouldn’t have envisioned this scenario. She planned to be a stay-at-home mom for Brian and his siblings, Kevin and Jennifer. But that plan changed tragically in 1995 when her husband, Patrick, a 1979 graduate, died of cancer at age 37.

He had prepared her to test the waters of the working world before he died, and the things she learned in that time transformed her life. Ultimately, his belief in her—and her faith in God—provided the underpinnings for whatever the future might hold.

In 1998, Waymire enrolled in her worst subject–composition—at the University of Cincinnati. She got a B. A year later, she began working at Xavier and started taking classes. With her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts now complete, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in counseling.

Her ultimate goal: “Help other young parents who are going through what I went through because I didn’t do it alone.”

Xavier Magazine

War & Remembrance

Autumn 1938 was a season of promise for Xavier University. Just seven years past its centenary-and two years shy of its 100th anniversary as a Jesuit institution-the school was enjoying steady growth. As the summer shimmered into history, a record 514 young men were preparing to enroll in the day division. For a golden moment, all was well. But a third of the way around the world, clouds of war were massing. On Sept. 1, the German army stormed across the Polish frontier, and less than a month later-before football season had gotten into full swing-Hitler had taken Warsaw. Poland had fallen; World War II had begun. 

In the course of the next seven years, the University would see its record enrollment decline to an almost-desperate low, then spring to previously undreamed of heights. But all of that was in the future in the fall of 1938.

On campus, at least for a time, the war remained distant. Certainly, developments in Europe were a topic of conversation. But in describing campus activities, the ROTC section of the 1939 “Musketeer” yearbook bore no mention of the European situation. The thriving University community, on the other hand, was much in evidence throughout the book. The evening division-then the school’s largest, with classes held downtown-had grown 10 percent over the previous year to 829 students. And between 200 and 250 couples attended the junior prom, which featured the champagne music of an up-and-coming bandleader named Lawrence Welk.

The atmosphere shifted only slightly the next year. The first 10 pages of the “Musketeer” celebrated Xavier’s first 100 years and the fourth centenary of the founding of the Society of Jesus. In print, only senior class president Paul Beckman mentioned “the critical condition of world politics” in writing of the past, present and future of his class. That summer, Celestin J. Steiner, S.J.-a former University vice president and then-president of St. Xavier High School-took the helm as Xavier’s 27th Jesuit president. Writing in “Continuity and Change, Xavier University 1831-1981,” Lee J. Bennish, S.J., recounted the tenor of the times this way: “While the Germans invaded the Low Countries and France, and the British evacuated from Dunkirk, the Xavier campus remained remarkably quiet. There was, however, some evidence of military preparedness. In addition to the ROTC program a new civilian pilot training program for Xavier students, under the auspices of the Civil Aeronautics Authority, was in process at the Cincinnati Airport … The success of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third-term election to the presidency was downplayed by the attention given to the Jesuit centennial jubilee dinner on Sunday evening, November 24, 1940, at the Hotel Netherland Plaza in the Hall of Mirrors. More than 1,400 guests attended at $1.50 each.”

Of course, the dam of reality burst on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Recognizing that University students would soon be called to war, the administration accelerated classes to allow for early graduation. Steiner’s forward to the 1942 “Musketeer” was titled “Xavier University’s Status in the War Emergency Program.” And the opening page of the senior-class section bore the dedication: “To the seniors of 1942 … cooperating wholeheartedly in the accelerated program of studies … about to take their places in a troubled world … faithful to their religious and scholastic duties during four well-spent years at Xavier … pledged to the honor of God and their country … Godspeed.”

In spite of the grim possibilities, Bennish wrote that, “in September 1942, the school administration viewed the academic future of the school with optimism and realism. Although the draft law affecting 18-year-olds had not yet been passed, it seemed likely that it would be. It was also likely that a military training unit would be established on campus … [During 1942] of Xavier’s 530 students, 345 had joined the Enlisted Reserve Corps … All but five members of the junior class and three of the senior class were members. In a fieldhouse convocation on December 17, 1942, Steiner informed the student body that those enrolled in the Enlisted Reserve Corps would be called to active duty at the end of the semester in January.”

Faced with this devastating loss of enrollment, Steiner contacted military officials proposing the University as a training site. The military accepted, and on March 1, 1943, the first group of 260 cadets of the 30th College Training Detachment Aircrew from Maxwell Field in Alabama arrived on campus. A second group of equal size arrived a month later. Their training combined college-level courses in physics, mathematics, history, geography and English with specific military courses conducted at two local airports. For the next 16 months, the ranks of Air Corpsmen marching to class were a part of day-to-day campus activities. They would soon march off to save the world, but for the moment, they were saving the University. To make room for them, the Jesuit faculty vacated Hinkle Hall, and students housed in Elet Hall moved downtown to the Fenwick Club, the Friars Club or the Harrison Hotel.

Following the allied invasion of Sicily and Italy in 1943, the Air Force extended its contract with the University to June 1944. In the spring of 1944, confident the war was reaching its final phase, the government opted not to extend the contract further. At this point, Bennish wrote, “Steiner met with his trustees to discuss proposals on how the University was to continue until the war ended … The enrollment problem was acute … When the Air Corps moved out of Elet Hall in the summer of 1944, the entire group of civilian resident students who moved in numbered 14.”

One of the solutions was to transfer the entire senior class of St. Xavier High School to the campus for classes conducted by University faculty. Still, when Germany surrendered in May 1945, fewer than 100 undergraduates remained on campus.

It was now that Steiner’s hard work would pay off. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, which provided benefits to help servicemen readjust to civilian life, thousands of former soldiers had the opportunity for a college education. And the University was ready. The 1947 “Musketeer” reports that, “Even before the downfall of Germany and of Japan, Xavier began to plan for the future. Determined to retain in the ensuing peace the additional prestige that she had gained from her service during the war, she planned to accommodate the greatest possible enrollment she could accept. She increased her faculty both in numbers and in quality, and announced the opening of a graduate division. From the 85 undergraduates who were attending classes when hostilities ceased in 1945, her registration zoomed in September 1946 to 1,500-an increase of almost 200 percent over her normal pre-war enrollment. The evening division reported 1,200 part-time students, and the graduate division had a summer and first-year matriculation of 170.”

Looking at this remarkable growth, one faculty member observed that while Xavier needed more than a century to acquire 500 students, it had “grown in four days from 500 to 1,500.”

In preparation for this anticipated enrollment spike, the University also planned several new buildings, even contracting with the government to construct 10 military barracks on campus as temporary student housing. As the school year approached, however, it was evident that all of the buildings would not be completed on time. School officials, faced with finding alternative housing or delaying the start of classes, decided to turn the Schmidt Fieldhouse into a temporary dorm, arranging 194 army cots in rows, with lockers, chairs and study tables nearby. Five weeks into the semester, the barracks were completed and the students were able to move in.

Enrollment figures continued to rise in 1947, with more than 1,800 undergraduates on campus, along with 1,000 in the evening division, 200 in the Milford division and 200 in the graduate division. On March 1, ground was broken for a new armory-the first building in what would become a post-war construction boom.

In the decade between 1938 and 1948, the world had changed in unimaginable ways, yet the University’s sense of promise was undiminished. The 1949 “Musketeer”-the first to include color photos-concluded with a section titled “Xavier Looks into the Future.” There on the pages were architectural drawings of six buildings-Elet Hall’s north wing, a physical sciences building, a classroom building, the Chapel of St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J., a student union, and a natatorium and student health center.

Most of these would come to pass, albeit in very different form. But they served notice the University had begun to dream of a very bright future. Like the rest of the world, Xavier had been shaken but had endured to become stronger than ever before and now stood poised on the brink of greater things to come.

Committed to Serve

It may or may not be true that history repeats itself, but some parallels are just too striking to ignore. In 1941, Xavier’s strong Reserve Officer Training Corps program was full of enthusiastic cadets. With the attack on Pearl Harbor, those young men knew their lives would soon be forever changed. Sixty years later, in 2001, the ROTC program won its second Gen. Douglas MacArthur Award as the best in its class nationally, and following the terrorist attacks of Sept.11, the cadets-men and women this time-knew war was in their future.

Lt. Col. Timothy Gobin, chair of the military science department, is well aware of the parallels. And the 20-year U.S. Army veteran is also aware of Xavier’s ROTC tradition-a tradition he recognizes as the core of the program’s successes. Gobin says that while the University’s small size results in fewer cadets, Xavier retains twice the number of cadets as the national average. And like their World War II predecessors, today’s cadets are strong in their convictions and their desire to serve. It’s that commitment that most impresses Gobin.

“I think it goes hand-in-hand with Xavier’s mission,” he says. “A lot of people say ‘I’m behind you’ and ‘We appreciate what you do,’ but they don’t want to be the ones doing it. And these young people are willing to step up and do what’s necessary.”

In Loving Memory

It’s easy to miss unless you purposely go for a visit. But Our Lady, Queen of Victory and Peace is one of the most stirring reminders of the University’s role in modern wars. The shrine, originally dedicated on June 2, 1946, looks out over Victory Parkway from a niche just below University Drive in front of Edgecliff Hall. Bronze plaques at the base of the shrine list the names of the 75 Xavier students who died in World War II, as well as one student killed in World War I, three lost in Korea and seven who died in Vietnam. In his book, “Continuity and Change,” Lee J. Bennish, S.J, says the plaques also originally included the names of 65 Air Corpsmen killed during World War II who trained at the University. The shrine was rededicated in 1999 with an inscription that reads, “To the greater glory of God and to the sons of Xavier who serve in the armed forces of our country, especially to those who gave their lives in our cause, this Shrine of Our Lady, Queen of Victory and Peace is humbly dedicated by the alumni and friends of Xavier University.”

Xavier Magazine

School Days

 Xavier students studying in far-away places discover the world is their classroom as they come face-to-face with different cultures, languages and people. Academics are the focus of the academic service-learning semester program, whether it’s spent in Delhi, India; Managua, Nicaragua; Kumasi, Ghana; or Over-the-Rhine in downtown Cincinnati. The difference is that the students’ daily living experiences make their studies come to life in a way that can’t happen in a classroom in Alter Hall.

“We try to identify the cultural components we think are important, and what we’ve done everywhere is talk about the history, the politics, the economics and the theology of the area,” says Susan Namei, director for the program. “We use the service site as the focal point to attach a face to what they’re learning. It makes the learning real and memorable, and gives the students a living context.”

Wherever they go, the students are always learning—whether at their morning volunteer work sites, in their daily afternoon classes or while living with their host families. Students in the program earn a standard 15 credit hours during their semester away by taking:

  • Six credit hours of the local language—Twi in Ghana, Hindi in India, Spanish in Nicaragua, while the Over-the-Rhine students choose two other electives.
  • A three-credit course in theology that examines the local religions and the impact of others such as Catholicism, Islam or Buddhism depending on the location.
  • A three-credit cultural studies course that varies, such as literature or history.
  • A three-credit service-learning class that involves daily journaling about their work site experiences plus a final reflective paper.

“Our goal is that they’ll develop some sort of solidarity and compassion with the people they’re working with and learning from,” Namei says. “The experience usually raises more questions than it answers, and they begin to see the complexity of how the world really works.”

Xavier Magazine

Out of Africa

On most Saturday afternoons, Cincinnati’s tiny West End branch library is alive with activity. A steady stream of children and adults files through the glass doors to read, learn and participate in various programs. And for the past two semesters, Mohamed Sow and Catherine Baldwin have been part of the library’s Saturday landscape, talking quietly at one of the reading tables.

They are an unlikely pair. Baldwin is a 20-year-old junior pre-med student from Tampa, Fla.; Sow is a 41-year-old immigrant from the African nation of Mauritania. A French teacher in his native country, Sow now works at a warehousing company, hoping to gain U.S. citizenship and bring his wife and two children to America. But thanks to a service-learning component professor of history Kathleen Smythe added to her African history classes, he and Baldwin now spend 90 minutes a week honing his command of English. Begun last fall, the program matches Xavier students with African immigrants with the goal of helping them learn or improve their English. Students commit to at least 15 hours of tutoring during the semester. A total of 83 students participated in the program’s inaugural year.

There’s certainly no shortage of need. Natalie Fair-Albright, a 1999 graduate and director of the Greater Cincinnati International Center, says most people are surprised to discover there’s a large African population in Cincinnati—estimates range from 8,000 to 15,000.

“Many have university educations,” she says. “But they don’t have enough English to pursue their occupation.”

By any standards, Smythe’s program came together with an unusual synchronicity or—considering the near invisibility of this particular population—divine intervention. For several years, Smythe searched without success for a project that would introduce her students to Africans. Then in April 2004, she stopped at a camera shop to get a passport photo for a trip to Ghana and had a chance meeting with Marilyn Eisbrouch.

Eisbrouch, the children’s librarian at the West End branch, mentioned that many West Africans frequent her library and that she needed someone to help tutor them in English. Would Smythe’s students be interested in helping?

The students were indeed interested, but there was a hitch: There weren’t enough immigrants at the library for all the students to be involved in the project. Enter Fair-Albright. Fair-Albright is one of Smythe’s former students. She happened to be on campus one day, ran into Smythe and agreed to pair students with Sudanese refugees living nearby.

Plans were soon finalized: Some of the students went to the library and worked, primarily with West Africans like Sow; some went to Winton Terrace and worked mostly with Sudanese mothers and children.

Along with the challenges of scheduling and cultural differences, students also had to adapt to being English tutors. While many in the program resorted to pictures and maps as the basis for English lessons, Baldwin’s task was somewhat easier. She and Sow both speak French, and Sow could already read English. His main difficulty was in pronunciation. This allowed for some communication from the outset, and permitted Baldwin to learn a great deal about Mauritanian culture. Sow, a Muslim, has also increased her understanding of Islam.

It’s precisely this type of give-and-take that made the fledgling program a success. The immigrants are happy for the help; the students benefit from an opportunity to add personal experience to course information, and have, Smythe says, discovered that “Africa isn’t just an ocean away. It’s right here.”

Real ties are developing as well. Fair-Albright says a number of immigrants expressed disappointment at the end of fall semester when they discovered students wouldn’t be coming during Christmas break. In the end, she says, one of her greatest hopes is that the friendships continue. That’s certainly the case with Baldwin and Sow, who continued tutoring sessions this spring, even though Baldwin was no longer taking Smythe’s class. She says the experience has taught her to slow down and appreciate the little things in her life. In contrast to many Americans, she says, Sow seems content—even grateful—for the opportunity to work long hours in a job less prestigious than he formerly enjoyed, just for the opportunity to send money home and hope for the future.

“Mohamed has given me a whole different perspective,” she says. “Really, I think I’ve gotten a lot more out of our work together than he has. I don’t know how much better his English has gotten, but I’ve learned a lot.”

Xavier Magazine

Maintaining Order

Ted Thepe, S.J., putters around the tiny room in Hinkle Hall that he’s called home for the last 10 years. He stuffs his cameras into boxes and cradles his precious orchid collection in safe containers. It’s moving day, and Thepe’s excited. Across campus awaits a new 10-story residence hall built specifically for Thepe and his fellow Jesuits. After years of cramped conditions and being scattered about campus, the Jesuits are now coming together, each getting his own room. Some, like Thepe, even get a large picture window.

Thepe’s room is on the sixth floor—not too high , but still with a nice view—and faces south. He plans to build a bench under the window so his collection of orchids can get plenty of sun. He’s a happy man. And he’s not alone.

The building is the University’s answer to the large number of Jesuits on campus. As their ranks swelled in the 1960s, it became painfully apparent that Hinkle was no longer sufficient. Built in 1920, Hinkle had only 40 rooms, forcing about 20 Jesuits to live elsewhere. The building was hot, and its dining hall was so small they had to eat in shifts.

So in 1969, the University built a new structure—big, functional and modern, complete with several chapels, a large kitchen and dining room, a 10th-floor lounge and air conditioning. As many as 70 Jesuits could live there.

But as Thepe carries his belongings onto the elevator, he and the others moving in are unaware of the paradox the building will soon create. As the University’s tallest building was going up, the number of Jesuits was going down. Schott Hall would not stay full for long, and the University would convert the building to offices. Today, 35 years after Thepe moved in, barely 20 Jesuits live on campus, and their one-time residence now stands as a reminder of a time that used to be.

It was an anomaly that showered campuses like Xavier with so many young Jesuits in the decades after World War II. The windfall made it easy to find highly qualified men to fill positions on campus. Students couldn’t avoid daily contact with a cassock-clad Jesuit. Xavier had 58 Jesuits in the 1959 school year, including six top administrators and 49 faculty.

“In the 1940s and 1950s, there was an extraordinary increase in the number of Jesuits, and we assume the war had something to do with that,” says Thomas Gaunt, S.J., executive secretary of the Jesuit Conference. “They were literally putting up curtains and subdividing rooms in seminaries.”

But the Jesuit order, like all Catholic orders, was about to be tested in the 1960s by forces beyond its control—Vietnam, changing attitudes toward authority and Vatican II.

“Those were exciting days after Vatican II,” says Leo Klein, S.J., Xavier’s vice president for mission and ministry who arrived on campus in 1970. “The message was you didn’t have to enter the seminary or a religious order to serve God. The whole theology of the importance of the laity was recaptured with Vatican II, and it had a good deal to do with the decline.” By the early 1970s, the number of U.S. Jesuits began a downward decline that lasted nearly 30 years. It bottomed out in 1999 when only 32 men joined the order. At the same time, large numbers were leaving. In the last 50 years, the Jesuits lost more than 5,000 men, and today they number about 3,200, Gaunt says.

And the crisis isn’t over, says Charlie Currie, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Most expect it will worsen as the bulge of elderly priests prepares to retire. Of the 618 Jesuits in full-time higher education, the average age is 61. A slight up-tick in the last five years in newcomers has been encouraging—60 total entrants in 2004—but they can’t begin to make up for the looming retirements.

“What’s hitting in the next five to 10 years will be a marked decline in the number of Jesuits engaged in full-time active ministries,” Gaunt says. “We don’t have that many in their 50s and 60s to replace them.”

Nonetheless, Klein says Xavier’s Jesuit identity remains strong. “I don’t think it is less Jesuit and Catholic than it’s ever been—indeed, it might be more so,” he says. “We’re working very hard, and I think we’re being very successful at showing our Jesuit, Catholic identity.”

About 15 years ago, George Traub, S.J., was asked to take Xavier’s Jesuit mission to the University’s lay population—not just teach them the mechanics of life as a Jesuit, but to infuse them with the spirituality of St. Ignatius, the order’s founder. Traub invited a group to meet at a nearby spiritual center to discuss their role in the Jesuit mission. The weekends continued for 10 years, developing a core group who knew the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and could help Traub spread the Ignatian vision at Xavier.

From that effort grew several programs, including AFMIX— Assuring the Future of Mission and Identity at Xavier—a two-year program to help the University’s laity pick up where the Jesuits are leaving off. These efforts have made Xavier a leader in the development of Jesuit lay ministry, Currie says.

Klein says it wasn’t easy to accept that lay people could be spiritual leaders. He had to remember that Ignatian spirituality happened to Ignatius when he was a layman. “That’s why I always call them Ignatian programs. We’re not trying to make little Jesuits out of everyone.”

But it’s the direction of the future, and it may include a non-Jesuit president, something that’s happened at Georgetown University and the University of Detroit Mercy. “I think the transition to a non-Jesuit president at Xavier is inevitable, given the demographics in the order in the U.S.,” says President Michael Graham, S.J.

To prepare, Graham says, the University must continue its lay ministry programs and support leadership development of Jesuits and non-Jesuits alike. “Twenty-five years from now,” says Currie, “there may be some campuses with no Jesuits, but that doesn’t mean it’ll stop. They will still be Jesuit-inspired institutions.”

Xavier Magazine

Profile: Anthony Stieritz

Anthony Stieritz
Bachelor of Arts, English, 1999 | Director of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Catholic Social Action Office

A Leading Role | Stieritz was named one of seven finalists for the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award, a national honor celebrating young Catholics who demonstrate leadership in the cause of eliminating poverty in the U.S. “I never really thought of being recognized for some of my efforts,” he says.

Roots of Service | He became interested in social action in high school, drawing inspiration from three major sources—the consistent ethic of life movement, service opportunities for the poor, and Youth in Government.

A Strong Foundation | Xavier’s emphasis on service, peace and justice caught his attention. “Though I couldn’t articulate it at the time, I could tell that Catholic schooling gave me a safe and encouraging environment in which to really think about ‘the other.’ It led me to the discovery that believing in God also meant doing something to help create the kind of world that would make God most present among us.”

Delving Deep | Stieritz experienced a life-changing moment at Xavier when he went on a trip to El Salvador. “That experience opened my eyes to a greater and more complicated world. I understood what it meant to be a Christian in a very new and real way.”

Branching Out | Following graduation, he spent one year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, then returned to Xavier as an intern in the peace and justice programs. He followed that with three years at Working In Neighborhoods.

Finding a Niche | Stieritz joined the Archdiocese and now supports parish efforts to organize and promote peace and justice issues; represents the Archdiocese on some public policy and social issues; trains Catholics to advocate and take action on public policy; administers the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Relief Services locally; and staffs the Catholic Rural Life Conference.

Family Matters | He married alumnae Jessica Ballew at Bellarmine Chapel in April. She’s also dedicated to service, working for the Cooperative for Education, a non-profit group that provides textbooks to Guatemalan children.

Xavier Magazine

Profile: Angela Staubach

Angela Staubach
Bachelor of Science in social work, 2001 | Consultant/Project Coordinator, Habitat for Humanity International, Kingston, Jamaica

Down in Kingston | Staubach has been in Jamaica since 2003, when she went to work for Habitat for Humanity International as a national program developer. She completed that work in December 2004 and intended to leave the island, but in the wake of the damage caused by Hurricane Ivan in September, she took her current position in the disaster response office. “The program I coordinate provides housing solutions for low-income families who would otherwise be unable to repair or rebuild,” she says.

Serving Cincinnati | While at the University, Staubach did practicum/fieldwork at Santa Maria Community Services in Price Hill. There she helped provide support for pregnant women and mothers of young children who are at risk.

Model Student | Staubach graduated with a 4.0 GPA. In 2001 she received the Paul O’Connor Scholarship, based on her academic and extracurricular achievements and contributions to the University. The same year, she was co-recipient of the Charlotte Towle Social Work Award for outstanding seniors in social work. She became a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society, in 1997.

Belize I | In May 2002, Staubach went to Dangriga, Belize, to work for the National Garifuna Council. The Garifuna are a people of African and Carib Indian ancestry indigenous to the Caribbean. “I worked on institutional strengthening initiatives and also with the youth.”

Belize II | In September 2002, Staubach moved to Belize City to work with the Women’s Issues Network of Belize, an umbrella organization involved mostly in advocacy work.

To the U.N. | January 2003 found Staubach in Geneva, Switzerland, working on human rights with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She represented the organization at various United Nations meetings and followed the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

Lessons Learned | “I’ve learned it’s necessary to take initiative and use creativity to make things as you would have them, rather than sit around and wait for things to happen or change. I have also seen firsthand that people are fundamentally the same everywhere, that our lives and problems are interconnected, and that while the need and the problems are vast, the power of even one individual is huge.”

Xavier Magazine

Profile: Linda Capano Dolan

Linda Capano Dolan
Bachelor of Science in physics, 1976; Master of Business Administration, 1986 | Lawyer, nuclear safety expert, Orlando, Fla.

The Graduate | Dolan was the first woman to graduate from Xavier with a degree in physics. She waffled between pursuing law or science, but department of physics chairman Ray Miller told her, “Try it. You’ll like it.” She did.

All in the Family | “It was like having 20 brothers,” she says. “There were no other women in the program. I just kind of fit right in. They were very helpful, and I was not treated differently. I was the first woman graduate, and I was very proud of it.”

Reactionary | Fascinated by nuclear physics, she earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Cincinnati, which led to a job with General Electric’s nuclear energy group in San Jose, Calif. Longing for home, she returned to Cincinnati and became a nuclear safety engineer at the Fernald uranium processing facility, making sure the depleted uranium stayed safely secured. In short: “Keep one container away from another.”

Continuing Ed | After moving back home, she returned to Xavier and earned her M.B.A.

Nightmare | In 1986, the U.S. Department of Energy fired the facility’s contractor, and what was a good job became a nightmare. “Nothing we ever did was right. The EPA was always complaining, the DOE was always complaining. We’d think we were getting it right and the DOE would be satisfied, and then something would happen in another part of the plant and it would be our fault. After a couple years of that, I decided to leave.”

No Regrets | Dolan took her family and skills to Oak Ridge, Tenn., to work as a safety analyst for the government. Most of her work is still classified.

Everything Disney | Her husband landed a job in Orlando, Fla., where she was hired at a government missile production plant. Unhappy with that, she tapped into the legal yearnings she’d felt in high school and decided, at 46, to enroll at the University of Florida law school—two hours away.

Starting Over | “I would drive at 5:00 a.m. from Orlando to Gainesville and drive home at the end of the day. I wound up having my family intact, though I didn’t make honors.”

The Rest of the Story | She was hired by an Orlando law firm but misses government and environmental work and hints she may take her new skills back to the federal sector. “I’ve learned that you never have to stay grounded in any one thing if you don’t want to. You’re never too old to change.”

Xavier Magazine

Profile: Sister Margaret Stallmeyer, C.D.P.

Sister Margaret Stallmeyer, C.D.P.
Master’s in Education, 1972 | President, Thomas More College, Crestview Hills, Ky.

Sweet 16 | Educated by the sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence in Northern Kentucky, Stallmeyer felt the call as a young girl. “I felt a pull that I didn’t think I could resist. I was 16 at the time and the oldest at home, but I left high school and went to the convent. It was difficult to leave home at that age, but typical then for people to enter after the eighth grade. It was 1962. Now you rarely see anyone come in until after college.”

Teach Me | She entered Thomas More College expecting to become a teacher. And she did, returning to her own high school, Our Lady of Providence Academy in Newport, Ky.

School Days | While teaching math there for nearly 20 years and earning a master’s degree in education, she also gained administrative experience as assistant principal and principal.

Continuing Education | In the late 1980s, she went back to school for a juris in canon law from the Catholic University of America. With that, she joined the Lexington (Ky.) Diocese as director of the marriage tribunal.

Judge Margaret | “I was the judge granting annulments,” she says. “A canon lawyer is someone whose role is to uphold the law of the church, including marriage. In some ways it was very difficult, but in other ways it was very rewarding. For many, going through an annulment frees them up to move on, and so it’s rewarding to help a person do that.”

A Step Up | While serving five years as judge and 10 years as treasurer of her community, she also served as a Thomas More trustee. When the college’s president’s position became vacant, the trustees asked her to fill in as interim president.

Presidential Material | “I was rather shocked. I had not seen myself as the president, but as we talked about it and reflected on my strengths, it gave me energy. I had a knowledge of the college. I wasn’t coming in cold, and I decided to say yes.”

In Office | Six months later, the trustees asked her to stay, and she gladly accepted. Under her leadership, the liberal arts college of 1,400 students is moving forward with plans to expand enrollment, raise the endowment and improve the buildings. She believes she’s at Thomas More because it was meant to be. “This is a wonderful fit for me. I believe God moves us to the places that are best for us at the time.”

Xavier Magazine

The Clothesline

Perusing the racks of finer collegiate clothing is an exercise in futility for most women. It’s a man’s world. Polos, jackets and button-downs aren’t designed for women. Until now. Enter Vesi Inc. The Cincinnati-based company is creating a line of collegiate clothing just for women called Lady Vesi. Its first garment is a soft, woven, 100-percent cotton, long-sleeved shirt in navy blue with handsome stone-colored pinstripes. It’s tailored at the waist and has “Xavier University” in script on the left side.

Best of all, Xavier alumni get first crack at owning one, and the University benefits. Vesi is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the shirts to the All For One club, says Dan Cloran, director for the annual fund.

“This is to support Xavier athletics, build goodwill for all the partners, get the product out and have the alumni of Xavier have the chance to be the first to wear it,” says Michelle Pitlinsky, merchandise manager for Vesi. Each year, she says, Vesi plans to partner with another university to promote the new ladies’ line. Xavier was the first they approached, which makes sense since Vesi President Greg Visconti is a 1977 graduate and avid men’s basketball fan. The shirts cost $50. You can order by e-mail at