Xavier Magazine

Global Reach

James Buchanan has vivid memories of the first time the F.B.I. came calling. It was five years ago, shortly after the U.S. State Department began sending representatives from the Muslim world for visits to Xavier’s Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue. Buchanan, the Center’s director, gave each of the visitors his business card, one of which was later found in the possession of an individual with questionable ties in the Middle East.

“It was a little nerve-wracking,” Buchanan says, “simply because they came in and they knew everywhere I traveled throughout the whole year. ‘When you were here, who did you meet with?’ ”

Times have changed. Buchanan has gotten used to the now-annual event. These days the agents often call instead of stopping by, and those calls serve as regular reminders of how far the Bruegge­man Center has come in just a few short years.

Six years ago, the Center was nothing more than a name and a few shelves in the McDonald Library. Now, through projects like the annual Town Hall Meeting, the Christian/Jewish/Islamic “Artistic Expressions of Faith” series and the landmark “A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People” exhibition—as well as many less-visible-but-no-less-important projects—the Center has emerged as an important cog in interfaith relations locally and beyond. Equally important, the Center’s scope also provides space at the table for other disciplines, the business and governmental communities, and civic society.

When it comes to environmental issues, Ralph Nader and John Pepper appear to be polar opposites. But Nader, the famed consumer-advocate and presidential candidate, and Pepper, the former chairman of Procter & Gamble, discovered unexpected common ground at the 2003 Town Hall Meeting on “Globalization and the Environment.”

“They were disagreeing, but in many ways their goals for humanity were pretty much the same,” Buchanan says. “What was interesting is that they found a kinship in that moment.”

Such is the power of dialogue. The ground rules are simple—the projects must be cutting-edge and the participants must have what Buchanan calls “the will to risk”—that is, they must be open to the possibility of having their views transformed. Finding an answer is secondary to beginning the conversation. “Every project we do I look at as a spark of hope,” Buchanan says. “You don’t know what’s going to come of it.”

Such sparks of hope are a treasured commodity on all fronts these days. Shakila Ahmad, a trustee for the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, says dialogue is critical for real interfaith progress. “If we don’t talk to each other, how are we going to build understanding and learn to work together?”

The Islamic Center and the Brueggeman Center have engaged in a number of joint projects, from the biannual Artistic Expressions of Faith to a recent film screening that included opportunities for audience members to engage in one-to-one dialogue, to the 2006 Town Hall Meeting on “Islam and Global­ization,” which featured Karen Armstrong, an internationally known expert on Islam. Ahmad says those projects neatly illustrate the Center’s multi-level contributions—fostering one-to-one discussion, taking a leadership role to bring in world-renowned experts for dialogue and in the creation of programming that can serve as a regional an national model.

Jonathan Cohen, associate professor in Talmud and Halachic Literature at Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion, has collaborated with Buchanan on a number of programs. He points to “A Blessing to One Another” as a high point that solidified the Center’s place as a leader in interfaith relations. “The Brueggeman Center is unique and crucial to our community,” he says. “We need it to succeed in reaching as many people as possible.”

Building social capital is at the heart of everything the Center takes on, and its reach is long. To date, it has hosted individuals from 44 countries. In the midst of this activity, it has also emerged as a model for the power of collaboration—a particularly important trait in this era of shrinking budgets and programmatic reassessment. With funds limited to a small endowment, the Center has partnered with a broad range of organizations and corporate collaborators in staging a staggering number of events that bring in experts from around the world to dialogue on some of the critical issues of the day.

At 7:36 a.m. on May 5, Buchanan is at his computer, e-mailing the 2009 list of Winter/Cohen Brueggeman Fellows. Six students were chosen for the one-of-a-kind program in which they design and implement their own international research project and, ultimately, travel to places like Haiti, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Jordan and Egypt. Alone. Unlike other study abroad experiences, the Brueggeman Fellows don’t have the support of faculty or other students traveling with them.

For Buchanan, that means another summer of sleepless nights. “We live on the edge when they’re out there doing this,” he says. “I’m on pins and needles. While we would never put them in harm’s way, we are not putting them in easy situations.”

Despite the sleepless nights, Buchanan says the program is his favorite among the Center’s many activities. Previous fellows have visited 17 countries. It’s all part of better preparing students to live and succeed in a globalized world. “It’s transformative,” he says. “They come back changed.”

A glimpse at some of the past Town Hall topics conveys a sense of the Center’s programmatic scope and underscores its focus on globalization. “China and Globalization: Challenges and Oppor­tunities,” “HIV and Globalization,” “Global­ization and Ecology,” “Cincinnati on the Brink: Race, Regionalism and Prospering in a Global Economy” and “The Impacts of Globalization on Women in the U.S. and Globally.” The events featured participants including Nader, Pepper, David Rusk, Mary Robinson, Dr. Paul Farmer and Vandana Shiva.

Buchanan has been studying globalization for years as an extension of his dialogue work. Now that globalization has become mainstream, his work puts the Center ahead of the curve and provides an edge in creative, impactful programming. Along with this programming, the Center is increasingly involved in other types of projects, such as producing books as the outgrowth of programs like last years symposium on religion and mortality, “Confronting Death.” It’s also working to aid refugees and asylees in Greater Cincinnati and trying to help navigate the financial and international regulations that would allow the production of affordable AIDS medication in Ghana. The Center was also one of eight nationally to participate in a new Fulbright visiting scholar program in 2008 and is involved in a long-term project on fundamentalism.

On Feb. 3, Buchanan was delivering the 2009 Harry S. Truman Lecture in Kansas City, an event sponsored by the Truman library and Avila Univer­sity. While there, he floated a new idea to the audience—the need for a cabinet-level position on interfaith relations within the U.S. State Depart­ment, someone who understands the various religions and can effectively engage them diplomatically. If the idea didn’t stick with anyone in the audience, it didn’t matter because it stuck with Buchan­an. And when he gets an idea, it rarely dies. So as he travels—a byproduct of the Center’s success—he’s working to build support for the idea and plans to propose it more formally in the near future.

“The fact is, they don’t have people who really truly understand the religions or how to engage those networks,” Buchanan says. “If you think of how much of the world is being driven negatively by interfaith conflict, the question becomes how can we take that and flip it around so that interfaith relations are something upon which we can build new types of international or global communities to work for common good?” And it isn’t just the greater world. Buchanan also believes interfaith cooperation holds a key role in America’s future. “As America moves into what I think is a genuine crisis with this financial meltdown, with the disintegration of our communities and everything, we need to find new sources of social capital, and I  believe interfaith communities can be a real source of social capital in our communities again.”

To that end, Buchanan follows a dialogic model through all phases of programmatic planning and implementation. “We rarely ever run a program by ourselves,” he says. “One of the ways we’re able to do so many is that we partner, we leverage. That allows us to do more and bigger programs. But the real payoff is that every time we do a program with a different group and involve them from the planning stages all the way through to implementation, we’ve made another friend. We’ve brought somebody to us who, the next time they have an idea for a program, is going to think of us first, come back to us and be out there telling people, ‘Xavier is a good place to partner with.’ ”

For Cohen, this openness for true collaboration is one of the Center’s truly exciting facets. “Not only is the Brueggeman Center a leading center in interfaith relations, but it is also one of the most exciting organizations to partner within a wide range of areas because it has succeeded in collaboration in a meaningful way,” he says. “There are many places that invite you to participate, but there’s a difference between being a guest and being a collaborator.”

This willingness to partner may succeed in building social capital and make it easier to do a variety of programs, but the responsibility for long-range planning still resides in the Center and its staff of two. “The real challenge is trying to figure out what we should be doing a year and a half from now and putting that in motion—and figuring out whether I’ll have the money to do it,” Buchanan says. “If your programs aren’t cutting edge, if you’re not ahead of the curve every time, people quit coming. But that’s what keeps it interesting. There’s no humdrum about this because it’s all creation. The Brueggeman Center gets reinvented every year, every month, with every new program. The primary question is always ‘What’s next?’

Xavier Magazine

Message of Hope

Rabbi Abie Ingber can’t hide his discomfort. It’s a breezy, overcast Friday afternoon, and Ingber pauses outside the Gallagher Student Center’s lower level. In several days, he leaves for a humanitarian visit to the refugee camps in the African nation of Chad. There, under the auspices of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), he plans to share a message of hope with some of the 300,000 refugees who escaped the genocide in Darfur. It’s a trip envisioned to be long on heart but short on armed security.

“Am I scared? Yes,” Ingber says, pulling his blue pea coat tighter against the cool March breeze. “But in the end, I couldn’t tell my kids that when the opportunity came to do this, I stayed here and sold T-shirts.”

Ingber, director for Xavier’s Office of Interfaith Community Engage­ment, was invited to Chad by HIAS, an organization founded in 1881 to help Jewish immigrants. Now one of the premiere refugee/immigration humanitarian organizations worldwide, its work in Chad with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees focuses on helping refugees deal with trauma and other psychosocial aspects of displacement.UNHCR

The trip carries special significance for Ingber, a child of Holocaust survivors. His parents met and were married in a refugee camp following World War II and received aid from HIAS. Now more than 70 years later, their son is traveling to Africa to share their story of hope beyond horror with a new generation of genocide survivors in a new generation of refugee camps.

Over the course of the trip, Ingber is speaking in each camp and distributing several digital cameras, asking the refugees to aid him in taking pictures of camp life to document their plight. Combined with his daily journal entries, the tragedy and triumph of those in the camps is brought to life.

[divider]Day Three: The work begins  [/divider]

After two days of travel and meetings, Ingber’s work begins in earnest at 4:30 a.m. when a crowing rooster shatters the silent darkness in the city of N’djamena. A half-hour later, Ingber is preparing for a flight to the town of Abeche. From there, accompanied by armed security vehicles, his group makes a 60-kilometer drive over a lunar-like landscape to Gaga refugee camp.

JOURNAL ENTRY: Thursday, March 12—The drive took almost two full hours. The vista everywhere has cypress trees, low vegetation, boulders of granite and other piles of stones collected by natives to bring to town and sell for construction. Young girls on donkeys transported piles of freshly picked wood; young boys stood watch near assemblies of goats and large cows.

The camp itself is perhaps 5 kilometers past the village … We met with a large assemblage of refugees in the HIAS program hut. We were formally welcomed, and our words were translated into French, then to Masalit, a dialect from Darfur. My message of hope from the refugee camps of the Holocaust was exceptionally and tearfully received. Then one of the refugee leaders spoke for the group with passion and appreciation for HIAS work and the support of the American government and people.

[divider]Day Four: Children’s day  [/divider]

The second day of visits to the Gaga camp is children’s day.

JOURNAL ENTRY: Friday, March 13—When we arrived some 200 children were assembled on the large open field, lined up single file in a perfect square, boys with boys, and girls with girls … The Chad  811 pictures Abie's Camera 3 175children sang in one voice a song “Bilad,i” to their homeland. The second song was about crossing the border from Sudan and being picked up in trucks to be brought to their home, Gaga camp. We shook the hands of every single child in turn. I wished each one “ASalaam Aleikum,” and they responded with “Aleikum Salaam.”

There is no crime in the camp; on the rare occasion that a theft occurs, the police are called in to make an arrest. Hassan [one of the refugees to whom Ingber gave a camera] was all smiles to tell me of all the pictures he had taken. He had been up late at night and rose early to comply with my request to use the camera every moment. What an exceptional young man. We may need him as an ESL student at Xavier.

The camps close to outsiders at about 4:00 p.m. each day, so at 3:00 p.m., the group loads into vehicles for the return drive to Abeche for a weekend of meetings with UNHCR and HIAS staff members.

[divider]Day Seven: Abuses [/divider]

After a three-hour drive From Abeche, the group arrives in Hadjer Hadid to visit the Bredjing refugee camp, home to 33,000 Darfuri refugees.

JOURNAL ENTRY: Monday, March 16—The major issues are gender/spousal abuse, infanticide, abortions, forced young marriages, domestic conflicts, adultery, etc. Some of the community mobilizers [specially trained members of the refugee population] spoke of running out of medicine for epilepsy and young people being chained because of their mental diseases. Much of the mental illness can be attributed to the shock of the genocide that the people saw in Darfur. I pushed hard to see if HIAS might open the door to the medical services in charge of the camp (IFC-Red Cross) to see if Xavier could provide some nursing students to serve for a month or two to help with women who have been raped or encountered other sexual issues.

In Hadjer Hadid, Ingber’s party also visits the Chadian deputy prefect for the region. The prefect, a Muslim, handles all the Chadian affairs for the local camps of refugees.

At the end of our meeting, our eyes met and the prefect asked if I was an Arab. “No,” I responded, “a Jew, but I work a great deal with Arab students at my university.”

[divider]Day Eight: Hopelessness comes easy  [/divider]

On the final day of camp visits, the HIAS group drives to the Tregiune refugee camp, home to 16,500 Darfuri refugees. On Tuesdays, the community mobilizers bring the psychosocial staff to families with pressing needs.

JOURNAL ENTRY: Tuesday, March 17—The first family we visited had a 19-year-old son with epilepsy. In the camps he had received medical treatment, but the pills were not available anymore. When he suffered he would wander and fall, injuring himself terribly. The boy’s father kept him chained. It was difficult to hear the story, but the family acted out of love and out of fear for his significant injury.

Our second home visit was almost unbearable. As I entered I saw a crudely fashioned gate of Chad  811 pictures Abie's Camera 3 118twigs. Behind the door was an elderly woman with severe mental problems. The family members said she not only would hurt herself, but would bite children. Her bony fingers extended from behind the twig door. I responded in traditional fashion and took her fingers in mine and kissed them.

As we exited, I needed some comfort. It came as the Psalmist foretold. I looked ahead, and an Imam was sitting beneath a makeshift hut, copying Koranic verses onto a wooden tablet for his students. I asked for his permission to photograph and for him to recite some verses from the tablet on which he was writing. His chant began, and I quickly pulled out my audio recorder to capture the moment.

The day’s visits end with a 15-year old-boy who received a head injury as a young child and, as a result, suffers seizures and mental problems.

There is little or no medication, and hopelessness comes easily.

Later that evening, as he prepares to return home, Ingber reflects.

We had come to Chad to see the 250,000 refugees from the tragedy in Darfur. We did not see everyone but we saw thousands and physically touched hundreds. Each one was a shining star in the tapestry of humanity. Every star is unique. Every star has its place in the heavens. Every star shines its unique light on our earth. Sometimes you have to travel to an unfamiliar sky to see the uniqueness of each star. I will never forget the Chadian sky. I will never forget the stars shining from Darfur.

The prophet Abraham was told to look to the heavens to number his blessings. This too is our prayer. Insha’Allah. Keyn yehi ratzon. May it be God’s will.

[divider]One month later:  Back at home [/divider]

On an overcast April afternoon, Ingber sits in his office in the Gallagher Student Center. His framed humanitarian visa from the Republic of Chad leans against the window, positioned to provide a tangible reminder of the trip each time Ingber looks out across the campus. He’s been home about four weeks, but the feelings he experienced in Chad have not dimmed—nor do they show signs of doing so. Ingber’s initial trepidation is replaced with glowing possibilities: He now sees opportunities for the University and its students to become involved, whether through education or service, and ways of sharing the numerous exceptional photos taken by the refugees. It is clear that, in many ways, he found more than expected in Africa.

“Before I left, I could have given expression to why I went,” he says. “But I never realized that the opportunity to tell the story of the Holocaust, and my parents experiences in a refugee camp and the 60 years of hope and life and celebration that followed, could really bring hope and life and celebration to refugees from a place as far away as Darfur. But that’s exactly what happened.”

He pauses. “If you open yourself to see God in all people, and you allow yourself to experience the gentle hand of God in the direction of your life, it’s amazing how powerful those two things can be together. I cannot wait to go back.”

Xavier Magazine

Mack Attack

The more things change, the more, it seems, they stay the same.

In May, men’s basketball coach Sean Miller announced he was leaving to take the head coaching job at the University of Arizona, leaving Xavier to search for its fifth head coach in the last 15 years. And, after searching the country for a replacement, the University once again turned inward for the answer. Like Skip Prosser and Miller who were groomed as Xavier assistant coaches, the University promoted assistant coach and former Musketeer guard Chris Mack to the head coach’s slot.

“He won the job,” says director for athletics Mike Bobinski. “It wasn’t given to him. It was not by default. He flat earned it. Why was he the right guy? Total belief and commitment to Xavier. He’s smart, energetic, incredibly competitive, confident, his own man. He believes in what he believes in. He has a long history of winning and being successful, and that’s a habit that’s hard to get away from. And there’s no one better prepared to lead Xavier basketball in years to come as we continue on our road to success.”

“I’ve seen Xavier from every perspective,” Mack says. “Fan, camper, recruit, opponent, player, administrator, coach, now head coach. I think I’m going to like this vantage point the best. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I always believed that if I stood on my own two feet, did my job and just let the chips fall, everything would be fine. I was raised that way—if you do the right things, right things happen.”

Mack’s new challenge is to continue the streak of success that has elevated Xavier into the upper echelon of college basketball, but he already has one big factor pointing toward success: infrastructure.

From the moment Miller announced he was leaving, Bobinski began making the point: Xavier isn’t as dependant as other universities on who sits in the head coach’s office. Xavier basketball is more than its coach. It’s bigger than its coach. What’s really been the key to the success of the program is the program itself. The “infrastructure” that the program is built upon is firmly in place—the facilities such as the Cintas Center, locker rooms and weight rooms; the academic structure and discipline so the players and their parents know they’re going to graduate; the
intangibles such as charter flights, adequate recruiting budgets and scouting technologies.

These are the fundamental elements that allow a coach to step in and do what he’s supposed to do—recruit and coach. If he doesn’t have to worry about who’s academically eligible or about the team missing a commercial flight or being able to afford to fly out to recruit a player, that should translate into wins. It has in the past. And it’s one of the reasons Bobinski had far more options—and could be more selective, focusing not just on someone who knew the game but fit into the Xavier mold—on whom to hire than before. From the moment the rumors about Miller leaving started flying, Bobinski’s phone started ringing.

“Without a doubt, the level of interest is completely different with this phase,” he says. “Now, there are agents and reps who call pushing coaches, which is understandable because the coaches all want to protect themselves. But if you look at how we went about the process of hiring, it’s very similar. That didn’t change because the goal is exactly the same: get the right answer. And we did that.”

Xavier Magazine

Profile: Dennis Eckart

Bachelor of Arts in political science, 1971
Former Congressman; Founder of North Shore Associates

Welcome to Washington | Dennis Eckart still has his college government textbook with a chapter titled “How a Bill Becomes Law.” “Any relationship to what my textbook told me and what I saw in Washington is purely coincidental,” the former Congressman says with a chuckle. “There are government textbooks and then there is Washington politics. What the textbook doesn’t teach you is that it’s a complicated world, there are conflicting ideas and ideologies. The best idea for Ohio may not be the best idea for Oklahoma.”

Young Man in a Hurry | The 59-year-old native of Cleveland graduated in three years. “I was a classic young man in a hurry,” he says. Then, “at the ripe old age of 23,” he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives. Six years later, he was elected to Congress at the age of 29. The Democrat served a dozen years, and even though his freshman year in Washington was 28 years ago, he still vividly recalls a rite of passage. “When you’re a freshman, you may think you have the best ideas in the world, but what other people aren’t quite so sure about is you. What you know to be certain, other people have doubts about. So you have to spend some time proving yourself. You come early, stay late, work hard, show up at committee meetings and ask the right questions.”

Tumultuous Times | “I am a classic child of the 1960s,” he says. “It was a very tumultuous time in American history. I was at Xavier when the shootings took place at Kent State. I have vivid memories of being very active in student government. I was on the first Student Senate that was elected. One of the first books I read in a biology class was a book by Rachel Carson, ‘The Silent Spring.’ She exposed us to the world stories of what we were doing to our own environment. And remember, I came from Cleveland where the Cuyahoga River once caught on fire.”

Plato Pays Off | After Congress, Eckart practiced law and chaired the United States delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. It was a critical time, when countries from the crumbled Soviet Union were struggling to find their way. “I went to countries and helped them write constitutions and supervised elections,” says Eckart. “I told them that a free press is important and they said, ‘Yes, but not if it criticizes the government.’ I said, ‘You don’t understand. Government needs criticism.’ I recalled taking a class on the principles of democracy at Xavier where we read Plato and Aristotle, and I thought, ‘What am I ever going to do with this?’ Well, transport me from Xavier in 1969 to Krakow in 1994 and the principles of democracy are the same—the right to thought, the right to speech, the right to associate.”

What Matters Most | Eckart served as president of America’s largest chamber of commerce, the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, from 2000-2003. “For a Democrat, running a chamber of commerce can be a challenge sometimes,” he says. “The things that matter most to people are: Do they have a job and does their job have a future?” Through his chamber of commerce work, he discovered he liked economic development and job creation, so he launched North Shore Associates, a consulting and real estate development firm. “Right now, I work on real estate projects in California, Florida and Ohio, and I do consulting for some Fortune 200 companies,” he says. And, Eckart still enjoys talking politics. “I have a TV show in Cleveland, and I get to pontificate,” he says. “It’s been a fun 59 years for me.”

Xavier Magazine

Profile: Ned Hertzenburg

Bachelor of Arts in communication and public relations, 1973
President, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Establishing Priorities | Responsibility called on Ned Hertzen-berg early in life. “My father died when I was 15,” he says. “I had a 6-year-old brother, and I assumed the responsibility of raising him. Right after Dad died, I started working at a pharmacy, and I worked there through my junior year of college.”

Priorities | College, work and family responsibility filled his life. “I went to school in the morning, worked all afternoon and, because public relations courses were only offered at night, I went back to school at night,” he says. “It was just a matter of getting my priorities straight.”

Different Planet | After graduating in 1973, Hertzenberg worked nights directing a supermarket crew. After getting married, he began six years with Cincinnati Area Senior Services and became director of a senior center in Over-the-Rhine, a high-crime neighborhood. “A different planet,” Hertzenberg says. “It was quite a change from my somewhat sheltered life in the suburbs. There were times I’d get called at 3 or 4 in the morning because somebody broke into the building. The center was open 365 days a year, so I spent Easters, Christmases, all kinds of holidays down there.”

College Pays Off | The Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation was looking for a new president and, thanks in large part to search committee member Jim Wyler, Hertzenberg won the position. “One of the things Jim saw in me was my background in public relations and my ability to speak and sell things,” says Hertzenberg. “They felt the foundation was flying under the radar and wanted somebody with a communications background to make it much more known.”

Foundation Facts | The foundation is a clearing house that administers high school and college scholarships established by businesses, organizations, individuals and other foundations. When Hertzenberg took over 25 years ago, the foundation was distributing $80,000 a year through a dozen funds. Today, it distributes nearly $2 million a year via more than 100 funds.

Green Companions | One of Hertzenberg’s hobbies is collecting frog-related items—T-shirts, ties, photos, knickknacks. “You name it, I’ve got it,” he says. “I have a 24-carat gold frog ring with emerald eyes that my wife gave me as a wedding present. I have a 5-foot-tall Kermit the Frog. When I put the top down on my Mustang, I’ll sometimes seatbelt Kermit into the passenger seat and drive around.” He even has two live frogs at home. It all got started when he and a friend took a cross-country car trip. The car’s glove compartment was broken and Hertzenberg’s mother gave him a beanbag frog to drape over the opening. “Ever since then, frog items are what I get for birthdays, Father’s Days, Christmas.”

Big Needs | “We give out close to $2 million a year, but the need of the students who apply to us is about $7 million a year,” he says. “My biggest concern is that as the costs of education increase, we have more and more students who we’re simply unable to help.” He’s trying to close the hefty gap by urging estate planners, financial planners and attorneys to persuade their clients that scholarships can be put in wills. “It’s a nice way for families to keep the name of a loved one in the public’s eye and not be forgotten.”

Xavier Magazine

Best of Benefits: Career Services

Xavier alumni affected by the economy may find help back on campus. The Career Services Center and the Williams College of Business’ professional development center are scheduling career-advising appointments with alumni. The office reports an increase in alumni coming in for career advice.

Also, the National Alumni Association offers monthly networking breakfasts that include a presenter who speaks on various career topics. The Career Services Center’s staff is providing resumé critiques for alumni who pre-register for the August breakfast.

Finally, Xavier’s Office of Discovery Services invites alumni to attend technology training workshops to help them maintain or enhance their computing skills. To view the workshop schedule, visit

To learn about advising or to schedule a counseling appointment, go to

Xavier Magazine

Profile: Deborah Hayes

Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 1994
Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, The Christ Hospital

Calling Dr. Gannon | When Deborah Hayes was a little girl, she begged her father to let her stay up late on Wednesday nights to watch “Medical Center” on television. Sure, handsome actor Chad Everett who portrayed Dr. Joe Gannon may have been part of the reason, but there was a lot more. “I’ve been interested in health care since I was a child, and I was fascinated by that show,” says Hayes. “I’ve been working in health care in some capacity since I was 16 years old.” While in high school, Hayes worked part-time at the Mt. Notre Dame convent infirmary. She also was a nurse’s aide at a nursing home. “I just loved being with the patients,” she says.

Commitment | Hayes received a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree in biology from the University of Cincinnati, and followed that with a diploma from The Christ Hospital School of Nursing and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Xavier. The 46-year-old registered nurse began her professional career at The Christ Hospital in 1987 and has risen steadily through the ranks of the hospital, becoming chief nursing officer in 2003.

Bedside Technology | In 2007, Hayes took on additional duties of chief information officer when the hospital shed membership in a health group and had to convert all its information technology systems. Acquiring such expertise led to another role—teaching advanced informatics to students pursuing a master’s degree in Xavier’s clinical nurse leader program. “You never know where the path may lead you in your career,” she says. “What a wonderful opportunity. Bringing technology to the bedside to help nurses and others in health care do their job better is a passion of mine.”

Cutting Health Care Costs | President Obama’s push to convert paper medical records to a universal electronic system has Hayes’ full support. “I believe that we as a society have a responsibility to change the outcomes for our patients and their families,” she says. “I don’t mean that disparagingly because health care in the United States is fabulous. However, it can be better. And I believe that bringing technology to bear on health care will help us do that. It will help improve safety and reduce costs. In improving the information exchange among health care providers, it will improve the efficiencies of staffs. The opportunity to assist in the transformation, from an educational standpoint and an implementation standpoint, is something I believe in very strongly.”

Distance Learning | Hayes is also using advanced technology in her teaching. Besides her classroom students, she also has students more than 100 miles away in a conference room at Fairview Hospital in Lancaster, Ohio, linked via a two-way video and audio system. “What a fabulous way to bring the technological expertise and educational resources to a group of individuals who would probably never have the opportunity to pursue a degree at Xavier unless they picked up and moved to Cincinnati,” says Hayes.

Terrific Tandem | The combination of supervising nurses and teaching delights Hayes. “I have a fabulous job,” she says. “Every day I get to help make a difference in patients’ lives in their most vulnerable moments. I get to help them have an experience that exceeds their expectations. And that’s hard to do when patients don’t feel good and they’re worried and concerned. Every day I’m involved in the extraordinary things that people do to make sure patients and their families are well served.”

Xavier Magazine

Campaign Notebook

Gilligan Scholars | The Institute for Politics and Public Life established an endowed student scholarship in honor of former Ohio Governor John J. Gilligan. The scholarships, which are intended for those interested in public service, are initially being awarded to existing Xavier students with the intent to later expand them to high school seniors as well. The first scholarships are being awarded for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Gov. Gilligan is leading a selection committee to delineate the specific requirements for Gilligan Scholars. These are to include a commitment to public service and written submission articulating the student’s public vision and goals.

This endowment additionally funds a guest lecturer program, bringing renowned national instructors to the Xavier campus. Gov. Gilligan taught English at Xavier after leaving public office. His grandfather was the first basketball coach at Xavier and his father was the first lay person on the board of trustees. To learn more or to contribute to the endowment, go

Nursing Grants | Xavier University received the largest federal grant in its 180-year history this summer, an award of almost $1.5 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) designated for the School of Nursing. The grant was awarded through HRSA’s Nurse Education, Practice and Retention (NEPR) program, which addresses the nursing shortage by funding projects that strengthen and enhance the capacity for educating and retaining nurses.

The grant is being used to fund a three-year project to provide master’s-level education and continuing education credits to nurses working in rural areas through the use of high-definition video conferencing. This high-tech method enables nurses at rural sites to participate in real-time courses with nursing students and faculty on Xavier’s campus, thus strengthening the nursing workforce throughout the state and improving nurse retention and quality of patient care.

Up to seven rural health care organizations are scheduled to be part of the video-conferencing project, with at least 20 students each year from organizations and surrounding areas taking part beginning this fall. Nurses participating in the program earn a Master of Science in Nursing and are trained in the new emerging health care role of clinical nurse leader.

Also, two continuing education events are being offered through distance learning each year to nurses in rural areas as part of the grant.
The grant from HRSA, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, came just ahead of two other grants received by the School of Nursing, both from the Ohio Board of Nursing for nearly $400,000.

One of the state grants enables the school to increase its capacity to prepare pre-licensure nursing students, including traditional undergraduates and students in the MIDAS program, which awards Master of Science in Nursing degrees to students with bachelor’s degrees in other disciplines. This grant helps Xavier address the dramatic growth in its nursing programs by creating additional practicum sites through partnerships with two hospitals—TriHealth and Shriners Hospital for Children—and a nursing home—Victoria Retirement Community.

The second grant increases Xavier’s enrollment capacity to prepare graduate level nurses to serve as nurse educators. To direct more nurses into faculty careers, Xavier’s project partners with Good Samaritan College of Nursing and Health Science and the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and Health to create a pipeline of continuing education from an associate degree program to Xavier’s master’s program to a doctoral program.

Xavier Magazine

Worldly Studies

Add Korea to the growing list of international destinations Xavier students can consider for study abroad. This year, 19 MBA students in the entrepreneurship program traveled to Korea and Japan to learn about global business and gain cross-cultural awareness. It was the second such trip for Xavier.

The two Asian countries were chosen because Japan has the second largest economy in the world and South Korea is an important trading partner with the U.S., says Daewoo Park, a professor in the Xavier Entrepreneurship Center who coordinated the trip.The students visited Korea’s Demilitarized Zone as well as several corporations in Japan and Korea including Hyundai Motor, ACNielsen, Samsung Tesco, Costco Korea, Sony and Toyota.

Alumni chapters in Korea and Japan hosted events  for the group, which helped make both the inaugural and second trips a success, Park says. Next year, the Williams College of Business is offering to send 20 undergraduate students to Korea and Japan on a two-week summer study abroad trip. Park says the Entrepreneurship Center will offer the trip to Xavier alumni and members of the business community as well.

Xavier Magazine

Teacher of the Year

Assistant professor of history Kathleen Smythe is the Bishop Fenwick Teacher of the Year. The award is given by the Xavier chapter of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society, to a professor who has a profound impact on a wide range of students. Smythe has been at Xavier since 1997. Her areas of expertise are African history and colonial history. Smythe also codirects the Ethics/Religion and Society program and cochairs the sustainability committee on campus.