Xavier Magazine

Iowa Great for Love on Wheels

Shirley Love knows Iowa. For most, that wouldn’t be too exciting. But the visiting assistant professor of finance loves it because her knowledge doesn’t come from a travel book or atlas, but rather from the seat of her 27-speed bicycle.

Last summer, she rode through the state as part of the “[Des Moines] Register Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa,” in which 11,000 riders pedal through cornfields and small towns, giving them a taste of Americana.

“I got a recipe for rhubarb pie, I saw the site of Jesse James’ first train robbery, and I rode an old-fashioned tricycle that was in a World’s Fair,” says Love. “I’m so sad that I had no idea this was going on, or I would have been doing this all my life.”

Love’s biggest thrill wasn’t the ride itself, but the people. “I met story after story,” she says. “By the time I’d finished talking with other riders, I felt like I left behind old friends. I met people from all 50 states. I can’t wait to send Christmas cards.”

Xavier Magazine

From Russia with His Love

For associate professor of philosophy Michael Sweeney, the reminders are all around him–his 3-year-old son Mikhail’s lingering accent, the books on medieval philosophy he’s writing for the Slavonic-Greco-Latin Academy in Moscow, his wife’s longings for her homeland. Everywhere he looks are constant reminders of the nearly three years his family was stuck in Russia, struggling with U.S. immigration officials over visa rules and unable to come home.

The ordeal started when Sweeney met Natalia Zimina, a Russian student who came to the U.S. to study in 1992. Shortly after they married in 1996, they discovered an error made by a U.S. state department official on her visa that required her to return home for two years before applying for permanent U.S. residency. Having no choice, they packed for Moscow.

It took two years and seven months before she finally got her green card and was allowed to return to the states with their son. Last March, she rejoined her husband, who came back a year earlier. During their time together in Moscow, the family endured a bittersweet experience. They were forced to live in what, for Sweeney, was a frightening land, surrounded by political and economic instability, while simultaneously enjoying the security of Zimina’s loving and protective family.

Though he had a one-year Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the Slavonic-Greco-Latin Academy and the Russian Academy of Science, Sweeney couldn’t wait to get home.

“I wanted to get it over with,” he says. “I didn’t have a very good impression of Russia, and I was worried about my son. It was an adventure, but there were troubling moments. I was just amazed how people could carry on during all this crisis. The students said this was nothing. During the attempted coup, when there were tanks in the streets, they just carried on.”

Xavier Magazine

Emails from Sept. 11

J. Hunter Brown to a friend, Sept. 11, 2001, 11:12 p.m.:
I spent all day in the Wall Street area and just got home. Couldn’t get out. It was like a volcano eruption. Ash covered most of lower Manhattan, as deep as two inches far from the blast. Empty shoes and baby carriages in the streets. People wearing face masks to ward off the smoke. An eerie scene of cars trapped in a large parking lot on the FDR. Camaraderie: a pack of cigarettes passed to and returned from a neighboring car. Cops covered in gray dust of ash. Cop cadets directing traffic to anywhere but here. According to a cop I spoke with Afghani students at Pace University, immediately adjacent to City Hall, were celebrating the news of the destruction.

The fireman responded to the scene in 3 minutes and tried to evacuate the buildings only to be buried by the collapse. Massive inflows of earth moving and construction equipment coming down the West Side Highway. F-15’s circling NYC airspace, now a no fly zone. Choppers running to and from the naval ships in the harbor. the police and fireman have been exemplary and heroic in all respects.

So far I know of none of my friends missing, but its too early to tell. As of 10:50 pm the medical personnel are waiting for the injured to show up in size, but my guess is that there will be few survivors beyond those that are already out. There is just nothing left.

From Katherine Bergman to friends, Sept. 12, 2001, 9:30 a.m.:
I was typing a short paper for class when the phone rang. I wasn’t going to answer it, but it was Elizabeth, my boss. I was to wake the other proctors for an evacuation: the World Trade Center was collapsing and the Pentagon had been hit. I called Erin’s room: her uncle works at the Pentagon. I called Joseph, who can sleep through much, and he didn’t answer. I went to beat on his door, but could hardly speak when he opened it. Already, there were so many people dead in New York and D.C., but crying doesn’t help when 31 16-year-olds need you to be the one with composure.

There was a plane flying over the Capitol, where our kids work as Senate pages. Staff there told them to run, just run, and if they dropped anything not to stop. The Pentagon was in flames right across the Potomac and the Capitol would be a high profile second hit for terrorists. They ran home to us. We’d sent a few hurried e-mails, thrown apples and Pop Tarts into garbage bags for the trip, and packed our vans with adolescents. After committing not a few traffic violations, driving on the sidewalk and getting into a minor fender bender in a government van, we headed east on Pennsylvania Avenue toward Maryland. Neither Erin, nor Joe nor I had slept, but we had no trouble staying awake. The radio kept us updated on rescue efforts in New York. We drove to the water, a beach, and some of the pages lamented their attire: navy blue suits didn’t seem quite appropriate for our location. But there was something strangely fitting about them. It would have been all wrong if we’d had time to gather swimsuits and towels and pack a picnic lunch. Navy blue matched the somber reports from the radio. Navy blue, dark enough to be mourning.

A gull perched on the dock. The girls had stopped crying. A duck tucked his head under his wing and slept in the sun. Parents had been called, a mayor, a governor, a president offered assurances to the American people. And the blessing of food and transportation out of the city finally dawned on me. Praise God.

It’s early morning and my coworkers–that is my friends with whom I work–and I have just returned with 31 tired teenagers. Traffic is horrendous, and Joseph and I had to battle our way back to the Senate garage to return the vans we absconded with yesterday. Thirty-one teenagers amble off to prepare themselves for another day on the Senate floor. Thirty-one sets of parents will be able to rest tonight–the children they entrusted us with have been safely returned.

People are still finding out if their loved ones were killed. Many thousands of sets of parents, of families, of children will have no rest of consulation tonight. We all are still wondering why. Why death? Why suffering? There is something about our deepest parts that ache at these things because we know, somehow we just know, that this is not how it’s supposed to be. And yet, we have a God who died, we have a God who suffered–not because death and suffering are good, but to pass through them. As so, we will pass through this. Praise God who is Emmanuel, God with Us. He was with us on the beach in Maryland, with us in the dust and ash as we searched for our loved ones, with us as we said our last prayers as our planes were crashing, with us in the Midwest waiting for a phone call, with us in the Middle East where terrorism doesn’t make big news. With us always and everywhere to the ends of the Earth.

Pray hard, my dear ones. Do exactly what it is you do, right where you are, for the glory of God. And pray, and never forget that is your source. The well of your soul alone could never be deep enough, and it doesn’t have to be. And if there was ever anything left unsaid, let it not be “I love you.”

I love you.

From Julie (Burridge) Haviland to family and friends:

(Editor’s Note: Haviland is a second-year emergency medicine resident at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, and was sent to Ground Zero on Oct. 28, 2001, by the National Disaster Medical Service as part of the ongoing effort to treat the firefighters, police, construction workers and others still working at the site.)

I arrived in NYC on the day of the memorial in which friends and family of the victims were given urns with ash from the WTC. In the hotel lobby, I met a young woman’s father who was handing out pins with her picture and birth date. She was my age. He saw my uniform and started hugging and crying and thanking me. I explained that I had not yet done anything, but he said, “You will.”

The next morning my team arrived at the WTC site. After we passed through the security checkpoints, we saw what the pictures and news can’t portray–10 acres of devastation. Much of the rubble had already been cleared away, but there were still buildings split in half, buildings allowed to burn because 347 of New York’s firefighters has already sacrificed their lives. There were buildings down the block with pieces gouged out of them from the falling towers. After our eyes had their fill, we got down to business. When I arrived, there were only two clinics; initially there were six.

Much of my work down at the “pile”–the term the veterans of the WTC disaster call the rubble where the twin towers stood–was psychological. We saw our share of respiratory complaints (the sub-basements of the towers are still burning), eye problems (the pile is right next to the Hudson River and the wind really whips up all the debris and ash), and burns, but everyone had a story to tell and they needed to tell it. It was easier to tell a stranger than to tell their spouse or friend, who already has much grief to bear. One of the paramedics told us about his partner, whose wife worked on the 82nd floor of the second tower. After the first plane hit, she called him and told him to stay put and she would make it out. However, he went in after her. She got out; he did not. The stories like that go on and on. Each one as heartbreaking as the last.

The volunteers at the site from the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church were wonderful. They have been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to try to keep people comfortable. They fed us hot meals, gave new boots, socks and rain jackets to whoever needed them. There were massage therapists, chiropractors and podiatrist volunteers doing their trade for free to the workers. There was a group of massage therapists from Toledo, Ohio, who were staying in a homeless shelter so they could afford to be in NYC. St. Paul’s Church was the epitome of what religion should be. They opened their doors to all the rescue workers, let them rest in the pews, relax and fed them hot food. Twenty-four hours a day, there was someone singing or playing the harp, piano or guitar. In addition, they continued to have services at noon every day. I have truly never felt closer to God or my community than I did while eating homemade lentil soup while listening to a classical guitarist play “Amazing Grace.”

It was an honor to serve those workers who are still trying to find their brothers in the pile. The people of New York have really come together after this tragedy and have been able to do some wonderful works of philanthropy and humanitarianism. I am truly grateful for this experience.

Xavier Magazine

X Files

The World Discovers Our X Appeal The world seems to be discovering what we always knew—X is really cool. Since the turn of the millennium, a wide array of products are now attaching themselves to the X factor—Xterra sports utility vehicle, for instance, or the Xtreme III shaver from Schick, or the X Games sporting events.

There’s also “The X-Files” and “Murder in Small Town X” television shows, 7-11’s X-treme Gulp drink and Microsoft’s X-Box game system.

Why the sudden interest in X? It started with the X Games, which push typical sports to extreme limits, says Tom Hayes, a professor of marketing. They created a thought pattern that X means taking things to the brink, and that’s where people want to be.

One New York advertising executive even described X as now being “hip, edgy, independent.” Of course, we always knew X was that way.


An Accounting for Taste After visiting Paris, Kim Phillips returned with more than a Mona Lisa T-shirt and an Eiffel Tower keychain. She came back with the culinary inspiration to fulfill a dream.

“When I was in Paris, I saw great menus and I thought, ‘We have to have that in America,’ ” she says.

So the 1992 graduate and her husband, Gary, a 1988 graduate, modified them into American dishes and opened Daybreak, an eatery in Cincinn-ati’s Hyde Park neighborhood that serves breakfast, brunch and lunch.

Although both of the Phillips are certified public accountants with no restaurant experience, Kim’s no stranger to the kitchen. “I grew up cooking for my family,” she says, “and I thought that this was the time for me to get out and do something I’ve been dreaming of doing.”


French Connection Vive la France—and LaJeunesse. True Francophiles, the LaJeunesse family is living the French connection at Xavier. Since 1965, the University has sent 118 students to study in France as part of the Fredin scholarship program, including three generations of the LaJeunesse family.

It started in the 1960s with Joseph Bourgeois, father of adjunct French professor Madeleine LaJeunesse. Then, she and her husband, Richard, made the yearlong trip in 1973. Finally, their oldest daughter, Christine, completed a year of study abroad and is wrapping up her last semester on campus, with a double major in biology and, of course, French.

The scholarship competition is open every fall, with the winners spending a full year, half year or a single quarter at the Sorbonne, living in a residence hall or Parisian home.

Psyched for New Jobs For Nicole Falvo, the payoff was worth the work. After spending 11 years in undergraduate and graduate school, she’s doing a post-doctoral internship at Children’s Hospital Medical Center helping children suffering from chronic pain handle it better through bio-feedback relaxation therapy.

“We’re trying to get them back into school,” Falvo says. “For the most part, they have to live with it day in and day out and our job is to help them cope.”

Falvo is a member of the first class of clinical psychology doctoral graduates, all of whom are working in paid internships this year before sitting for Ohio’s licensing exam. Their jobs range from counseling college students to working with criminal defendants.

“They’ve all got good skills, good ethics and a real dedication to service, which is important because our program is very mission-driven,” says Janet Schultz, director of clinical training.

Other graduates include: Janet Castellini, who works at Central Clinic, part of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and is doing some independent research; Rosemarie Wetterau, who works at the UC Health and Counseling Center; Jennifer O’Donnell, who works with Hamilton County defendants; Kara Marciani, who does similar forensic work for Montgomery County; and Shealynne Baus, who works with children at an agency near Sandusky, Ohio.


Aplying Yourself The days of trying to line up the admission application in the typewriter and painting the page with correction fluid are going, going… well, not quite gone. But they are definitely on their way out. Last year, in the first full year the University posted its admission form on the web, the number of web applications more than doubled, accounting for 16 percent of the 3,500 total applications. And that number should increase to more than 20 percent this year, says Marc Camille, dean of admission.

Whether it will ever reach the point where paper applications are a thing of the past is questionable, Camille says, because there’s still some worry that the electronic versions will get lost in cyberspace.

Plus, there’s also trepidation among some guidance counselors because electronic applications restrict their ability to oversee the process.

Still, he says, it’s how students are now applying themselves.


Good Grief When Mary Ann Emswiler married James Emswiler in 1991, she got more than a husband. She inherited a widower and three grieving children. “On our honeymoon, he was bemoaning that there weren’t any services for grieving families,” she says. “I said, ‘So let’s do something about it.’ ”

They did. The couple started the New England Center for Loss and Transition, which provides training for professionals, and The Cove, a peer support program for kids and families. They also wrote Guiding Your Child Through Grief, one of the only books on dealing with grieving children through the long term.

“Lots of books deal with grief in the short-term,” says Mary Ann, who has one degree from Edgecliff and two from Xavier, “but as kids grow up and understand more, they continue grieving.”

The couple also started the National Symposium of Children’s Grief Groups and the National Conference on Loss and Transition. However, their dedication for the field remains at home. “Our kids are doing great now,” she says, “but it was a long struggle for them, and for us, to put the pieces back together.”

High-tech Move:In November, Carol Rankin became the University’s seventh vice president, heading the newly created division of information resources. The division was created to lead the University further into the high-tech world. From telephones to teleports, she’s overseeing all of the University’s communications and information services. We asked her about the new division.

Why was this new division created? “In planning for the University’s future, we not only wanted to symbolize the importance of technology, but also determine how to effectively use this technology as a skill to teach students, and use the tools we have available to us to allow them to make sense of the different technologies and communicate in different ways. Father Graham wanted someone whose job it was to think about those things. By doing this, he’s saying that the University is going to put increasing emphasis on technology, and that we recognize the importance of it in terms of the strategic plan.”

What services are you responsible for? “The libraries, instructional technology services, information system and services, web development and the office of strategic information resources.”

How will students, faculty and staff be affected? “I hope the most significant impact is bringing together a number of units that will allow us to plan more strategically, whereas before we were more separate entities. This is a new position we hope will be much more proactive to the University than reactive. I hope students leave here being very facile with the use of technology. For faculty, there will be better service training. And for staff, we are reviewing the administrative systems to see what changes need to be made.”

Xavier Magazine

Writing a Symphony for Different Drummers

Roll Over Beethoven—-and Bob Marley.

Hot, steamy calypso rhythms and the formal strains of a classical symphony are being intertwined by a pair of Xavier musicians. Associate professor of music Kaleel Skeirik and Bruce Weil, who earned a teaching certificate in Montessori education in 1996 and is the steel band director at nearby Clark Montessori High School, are collaborating on an original symphony to be performed in March by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Clark’s student-led steel drum band.

“We’re making a statement,” Skeirik says. “We’re bringing steel drums and injecting them with a really heavy dose of Western classical tradition. It’s very exciting because the steel drums are just so amplified by the orchestra and the orchestra is so enriched by the steel drum sound.”

The 10-minute score, which requires 30 parts for 140 musicians, is called “Caribbean Voyage: Suite for Pan and Orchestra.” The $9,500 project, partially funded by a grant from 1955 graduate John Grissmer, began when CSO directors asked Weil to audition the band for its children’s Lollipop series. He brainstormed with Skeirik, whose daughter attended Clark, about mixing the two genres. Because so little music exists combining steel drums and orchestra instruments, an original score was created.

The combination, though, allows the steel drum to demonstrate its full potential, says Weil. “It’s the only new instrument created in the 20th century,” he says, “and it’s still an instrument of the people.”

Xavier Magazine

Walk of Life

Erin Toghill has three close friends whose mothers each have breast cancer. She saw the emotional and physical toll it was taking on them, so the 1998 graduate decided to go for a little stroll.

Her path: along the streets, through the woods, and up and down hills in 95-degree heat until she worked her way from Frederick, Md., 60 miles south to Washington, D.C. Her journey was part of the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk in which she and more than 3,000 others raised $6.4 million to fight the disease.

“When I did get hot or tired or cranky I just thought of my friends’ mothers and kept going,” says Toghill, who raised $5,000 with her effort. “In my short 25 years, this was the most important thing I’ve done in my life. I saw children with signs that said, ‘Every step is for you, mom.’ ”

Xavier Magazine

Time and Talent

Somewhere—maybe Chicago or Billings, Mont., or some one-stoplight town in Mississippi—there’s an 8-year-old child in a Sunday School class who’s benefiting from the work of Betty Porter. Somewhere—maybe New York or Sugarland, Texas, or some rural farming community in Kansas—there’s a 48-year-old adult who’s benefiting from Porter’s work as well.

Porter is the librarian of the University’s Lodge Learning Lab, and for the last 10 years has been writing adult and children’s Sunday school curriculum for the Presbyterian Church nationally. She’s compiled a half dozen study guides and instructor’s manuals on different Christian-based topics, using the knowledge she’s garnered from her years as a teacher and the master of theology degree she earned from the University in 1998.

The curriculum is distributed to Presbyterian churches nationwide, and is the kind of work that prompted the department of theology to honor Porter this year with its outstanding alumni award. The Anna E. and William F. Madges Alumni Award is presented to a theology graduate who makes outstanding contributions to church and society. Porter is the second person to receive the award, following Sister Alice Gerdeman, the Cincinnati activist from the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center who was honored in 2000.

Porter received the award at a dinner on Friday, Jan. 25, following a talk by renowned theologian David Tracy. Tracy is the distinguished service professor of Catholic studies and professor of contemporary trends in theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

In addition to writing the Sunday school books, Porter was selected because of her heavy involvement in literacy issues, says department of theology chair Bill Madges. She started the University’s adult literacy program, which teaches and tutors a range of people on campus and at nearby schools. She’s also a member of the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati and the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana Children’s Literacy Conference.

The literacy effort is a natural fit with her work at the Lodge Learning Lab, Porter says, as well as with her background in education. She earned bachelor’s degrees in English and education from Calvin College, and followed that up with a degree in library science from the University of Michigan. Then, while teaching high school English, she added to her list of credentials a master’s of English from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and the theology degree while working at Xavier.

Since earning her theology degree, she’s become actively involved in theological programs at the University, including the newly created programs in which lay employees of the University are trained to help maintain many of the University’s Jesuit traditions.

The Catholic issues presented through such programs are different for Porter, whose background is Protestant and whose husband, Hal, is a retired Presbyterian minister at Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati. The church, where Betty served as director of the church’s Christian education, also provided Porter with another service avenue—the Interfaith Hospitality for the Homeless in which churches house homeless people for a week at a time.

“I also teach classes on and off,” she says, “and write and publish stories for children, although I haven’t done much of that lately. I guess I’ve just been too busy.”

Xavier Magazine

The Uniqueness of Jesus

When opportunity knocked last December, Paul Knitter answered. He was one of two foreign theologians invited to participate in a symposium in Pune, India. Not only did it give the theology professor a chance to speak on the topic “The Church in Mission: Universal Mandate and Local Concerns,” it was an opportunity for Knitter to reconnect with his former order, the Society of the Divine Word.


To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Ishvani Kendra, a Christian research center run by the Society of the Divine Word, held a Silver Jubilee conference. “They invited me, and I felt very privileged to be involved because this was a meeting of almost all Indian Catholics—priests, nuns, lay people—who are involved in some way in teaching with the Church in India,” says Knitter.


The symposium’s topic was “What is the role of Christian churches in India?” Knitter’s response came in his presentation “The Abiding Task of the Church in Mission: To Proclaim the Uniqueness of Jesus,” in which he talked about how churches traditionally preach that Jesus is the only savior, but how their mission ought to focus on what Jesus preached: love of others and love of the poor.


“What makes Jesus unique and special is his particular concern of the marginalized,” says Knitter. “Jesus preaches of a God who has a special love of the poor and oppressed. Christians, when they meet with the poor of other religions, should not only talk of him as a savior, but of his special love of the poor. That’s what we have to preach.


“The other things that distinguishes Jesus are his self-giving love for everyone, and his call for us to love even our enemies and not to hate. So when followers of Jesus follow his example, they will have to challenge the wealthy and the powerful. Love of the poor and nonviolence: That is what Christians should announce, not that God saves only through Jesus.”


Knitter feared he might upset others with his ideas. He soon discovered, however, the opposite was true. “I was overwhelmed and surprised how well it was received. They incorporated the content of my paper into the conclusion of the conference. They took to the ideas of Christian mission and how, if Christians want to preach the uniqueness of Jesus, they have to prophesize the love of the poor, the use of nonviolence and the love of everyone.”


The other foreign theologian was Elisabeth Schuessler-Fiorenza, a professor at Harvard and well-known feminist Christian theologian, who talked about the equality of disciples and how Jesus preached that no one—regardless of status, income, skin color or gender—is better than anyone else. “There were 150 people at the conference with an openness and eagerness to dialogue,” says Knitter. “It was encouraging to see this example of the Catholic church in India. I was so inspired and encouraged at what I experienced.”


Since Christians in India are a minority, it provided Knitter with a different perspective on Christianity. “Some of the most exciting thoughts going on in the Catholic church are in Asia. They have to ask themselves how to be good Christians with Hindu and Muslim neighbors.”


This wasn’t Knitter’s first trip to Asia, previously spending a six-month sabbatical there. “I was glad for the opportunity to return to India,” he says. “India is a place where all kind of new discoveries are being made. I needed to return to be nourished. It also gave me a chance to reconnect with my Society of the Divine Word family. As I get older I realize how much I owe to that family. I may have moved to another part of town, but my family bonds still remain.”

Xavier Magazine

Saintly Statue

In the waning days of the first semester, when only a few stragglers remained on campus prior to Christmas break, a seven-foot bronze statue of St. Ignatius appeared on a four-foot pedestal in front of Logan Hall.

The replica of the founder of the Jesuits glints golden as it faces the morning sun. He towers above his landscaped surroundings, leaning slightly forward with a stride that seems full of purpose. Cloaked in a robe with a sign of the cross on his collar, his left hand holding a book, he holds his right hand aloft, commanding attention to something important he’s about to say. His bearded face is serious, wise and kind.

The statue, donated by Bernard Downey, class of 1949, and his wife, Jean Ann, was cast by the Demetz Art Studio of Ortisei, Italy. The Downeys ordered it at the same time they ordered the St. Francis of Assisi statue that now stands behind the McDonald Library.

Mrs. Downey says that during the dedication of the Dance of Tears sculpture in the library sculpture garden, they decided a St. Francis statue would look good there, too. She says President Michael J. Graham asked if they had ever seen a statue of St. Ignatius.

“We said, ‘Would you like one?’ and he said it would be nice,” says Mrs. Downey. “Demetz did the research.”

St. Ignatius and St. Francis arrived together in November 2000, but St. Ignatius waited in storage for a decision by the art committee as to where it would be located, says Jim Jackson, director of development. Construction of the Gallagher Student Center and other renovations held up the decision for awhile, but on Dec.19, the statue was placed on the brick base in a very visible area of the academic mall.

A plaque will be added that will identify the statue’s namesake. Mrs. Downey says her family jokingly calls it, “St. Ignatius on the Move.” It is valued at about $23,000, she says.

The statue is an original casting, called a full-round bronze, Jackson says. The Demetz studio, which has been a family business for several generations, specializes in the art of crafting religious figures, mostly in wood but also marble and bronze. Its web site highlights the recent completion of the largest ‘Risen Jesus’ ever made at 27 feet tall.

“The Downey’s are blessed with great financial resources and are very generous people,” Jackson says. “They also renovated the Mary statue in front of Edgecliff hall on the hill. There was no sitting area and it was in bad condition, and they paid for getting it all renovated. We put in cement steps and leveled it out and put in semi-circular brick pavers and benches.

“They love the spiritual part of having those things on campus and they continue to do things for us. They’re very good people.”

Mrs. Downey says her family likes to donate Demetz statues to Xavier because of their beauty. “They do such beautiful work. We give most of them away. We give them to Xavier because Xavier was very good to us and we would just like to return something.”

All 12 of the Downey children attended Xavier, and all but two of them graduated from here. The Downeys live in Chicago.

Xavier Magazine

Oldest Grad Still Going at 98

Mildred Hull had more than three years of classes at Ohio State when she left in the early 1920s to get married and start a family. But when she decided to complete her degree 40 years later, the time gap almost kept her from that goal.

“I went to UC first and the man in charge of admissions there was very tough on me,” says Hull. “He said, ‘You can’t remember anything you learned at Ohio State.’ ” She was told she needed to start from the beginning again.

“I couldn’t afford to do that,” she says. “Plus, I was very busy. I was a teacher and had two daughters. All I needed were a few classes. After hearing that, I gave up until my husband came home one day.”

Her husband worked for Burrough’s Adding Machine Company and repaired a machine at Our Lady of Cincinnati College (later Edgecliff College) that day. He talked to Sister Mary Rose Agnes, who encouraged his wife to enroll. She did, taking classes evenings, Saturdays and in the summer, graduating in 1962.

Even though it’s been another 40 years since she was last in school, Hull hasn’t forgotten what she learned and whom she learned it from—or where she learned it. The 98-year-old graduate is still active, volunteering to make calls to help set up the Class of 1962’s reunion this summer.

When asked if she knew whether or not she was the oldest living alumni, she says, “I’m the oldest everything I think. I still like to be a part of things, though. I think I’m still here because I’m supposed to be doing something and I just haven’t done it yet.”