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Xavier Magazine

Healing Wounded Hearts

For 30 years, Thomas Murray carried the wounds of thousands of soldiers in his heart—those who died on Vietnam’s killing fields, and those who came home to an angry public seething over the ill-fated war. So when the chance came for him to do something new with his life, the 1969 ROTC graduate and Vietnam vet realized he could do a lot of healing by bringing the vets together with another group of wounded people—troubled teens. Last year, his first dropout prevention class of at-risk high school students at the Pinellas Technical Education Center in Clearwater, Fla., produced a book of interviews with 27 veterans, many of whom had never spoken of their Vietnam experiences.

“This allows the veterans to tell their stories and find healing in that, and it allows my kids to find healing in their own lives by relating to someone else,” Murray says. “Being a teen is a hard job. These kids have all these problems, and they think they’re the only ones going through them. But when they relate to these veterans, they realize these people went through far more serious problems—life- and-death problems—yet are successful human beings 30 years later.”

The book, “The Heart of a Warrior,” is a supplement to his History of the Vietnam War class. A second volume, produced by this year’s class is also being published.

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Xavier Magazine

Getting Carded

The national alumni association is creating its own version of the Xavier ALL Card, which is used by students for identification and as an ATM/ debit card. Among the benefits included with the alumni ALL Card are:

• Use as a cash card at ATMs (for U.S. Bank account holders).

• A 10 percent discount at the University bookstore on non-textbook items.

• A 10 percent discount on the already reduced alumni membership rate at the O’Connor Sports Center for one year.

• Access and services at the McDonald Library on campus.

• Discounts at campus vending machines.

• Discounts on tickets to Xavier home athletic events, excluding men’s basketball and all season ticket packages.

• A 10 percent discount at the Gallagher Student Center food court and Ryan’s Pub when “petty cash” funds that are placed on the ALL Card are used.

• Official Xavier alumni identification.

Many more national benefits for the card are in the planning stages. The alumni ALL Card will be made available to alumni in 2003.

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Xavier Magazine

For the Record

Steve Smith is in tune with what’s going on in the music world. By day, he sits around listening to CDs from the latest groups. By night, he prowls around different clubs, catching the acts of up-and-coming bands. And he gets paid to do it.

That’s the life the 1998 graduate’s carved for himself as vice president of artist and repertoire for Aware Records in Chicago.

“I seek out new bands for our roster,” Smith says. “When we sign them, I work with them on the records and make sure we have good recordings. Managing artists means taking care of the day-to-day aspects of their careers.”

Groups that Smith has signed include rock bands Five for Fighting, Bleu and Wheat. The label promotes them along with other rising stars like John Mayer and Train through its joint venture agreement with powerhouse label Columbia.

“Every band we sign goes through us and Columbia,” Smith says. “It allows them to get the attention of a small label with the resources of a big label.”

Recently he was assigned to manage Glen Phillips, the lead singer of the now defunct band Toad the Wet Sprocket.

“It’s surreal to be in charge of somebody that I was a fan of growing up,” he says. “But it’s great to be in the process of making a record.”

If there is a downside to immersing oneself in the world of clubs and bands, Smith hasn’t found it yet.

“What’s not to like about my job? There’s a lot of freedom and responsibility for myself. I manage myself and have the opportunity to learn new things working in an industry that I’m passionate about and love. It’s not often you get to work in a business where you don’t mind coming to work every day.”

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Xavier Magazine

Extra Credit: Geraldo de Sousa

As the University’s Shakespearean expert, Geraldo de Sousa helps students discover what kind of scholars they are to be or not to be. The native of Brazil came to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship (“I identify myself so completely with the U.S. I admire American culture,” he says.) and joined the University in 1989. In the last 14 years, he’s garnered a reputation among students for tough courses.

Students say you’re the toughest professor on campus. True? “The material is difficult at first, and they have to work hard. And I have high expectations. I think they are capable of accomplishing a great deal. I think if you challenge them, they will respond. If they put an effort into Shakespeare, it’s extremely rewarding.”

What drew you to Shakespeare? “In the eighth grade, I had a good teacher who introduced me to Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, and then I rediscovered Shakespeare in graduate school. I had a wonderful teacher. I took one class and switched from American to English literature. The most powerful element in Shakespeare for me is his representation of the different dimensions of human nature. He covers a whole range of human experience in terms of the big questions we have to deal with in life: ‘What are we doing here?’ ‘What is the meaning of our lives?’ He always goes back to those questions.”

You also like sports literature. Isn’t that a strange mix with Shakespeare? “I’m interested in the relationship between sports and life in terms of ethics and working in teams. I like the way there is a relationship between sports and the community, the construction of civic responsibility and the idea of the community coming together for essentially a celebration. I’ve designed a course to teach next fall or spring.”

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Authored two books: Shakespeare: A Study and Research Guide, and Shakespeare’s Cross-Cultural Encounters …also teaches Spenser, Milton, Renaissance drama and literary theory… fluent in English, French and Spanish …taught at Iowa State and Kansas before coming to Xavier in 1989.

EDUCATION

University Center of Brazilia, B.A. in English and Portuguese

University of Kansas, M.A. and Ph.D. in English

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Xavier Magazine

Chapter Spotlight

When Michael J. Graham, S.J., was inaugurated as the University’s president in 2001, Southeast Florida alumni chapter president Beth Keller thought it was also a fitting moment to make a big change in her chapter as well.

So instead of holding the annual breakfast and Mass with the University’s president at a country club, as the chapter had done for many years, Keller decided to host the event at a place a little different. Her choice: Covenant House, a faith-based center serving runaway, homeless and at-risk youth.

For the past five years, the chapter has been a project partner with the center, holding clothing drives and doing other volunteer work. It certainly wasn’t a swanky country club, but it was a fitting location considering Graham’s emphasis on community service.

“It was the right step for us,” says Keller, a 1976 graduate. “Father Graham loved it. It really speaks to the mission we’re about.”

The chapter also donated 50 bags of clothes that day and took up a collection of more than $1,000.

“I made a really big change, but I felt we needed to try this because it gave our alumni a chance to see where our outreach support was going. And a lot of new people came to this event.”

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Xavier Magazine

Canine Care

Nancy Schulte was in the middle of giving one of her clients a massage when she realized he had fallen asleep. She tried rolling him over, but he just wouldn’t budge. “He was so relaxed after I did one side that he was a deadweight,” says Schulte. “It was like trying to push a couch by yourself. I needed a massage afterwards.”

The snoozing client, though, could easily be seen as a testament to her relaxation skills, since it’s not easy to pacify a 100-pound English mastiff.

A lifelong animal lover, Schulte’s client list is all dogs. After working for years rescuing dogs from shelters and finding them homes, Schulte found herself fascinated with the idea of dog massage after she saw coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks that showed rescue dogs at Ground Zero getting massages to help them recover from their jobs. She began training, and now the 1993 graduate splits her days working as a part-time English instructor at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and a part-time canine masseuse. Her clients are mostly show dogs.

“Dogs travel in carriers to get to a show so a massage helps them prior to the event,” says Schulte. “Then, after the event, a massage helps their muscles to relax and calms them down. It also removes buildup of lactic acid, which can cause muscle tightness.”

While she enjoys working with all kinds of dogs, Schulte hopes to take her skills back to the animal shelters.

“My goal is to find an organization to sponsor my work so I can go to shelters and massage dogs that really need it,” she says. “These dogs are frightened and abandoned. Rescue groups can’t really afford massages, but these dogs are the ones who need it most.”

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Xavier Magazine

Business Plan

For Bob Lenhart, the roots of rock ’n’ roll weave their way through Xavier’s executive M.B.A. program, specifically Sherrie Human’s entrepreneurial class.

The Cincinnati businessman and 1999 graduate took the business plan he and a group of fellow students created for their class and turned it into a reality this summer.

“We came up with the idea of a nightclub that would be an incubator for up-and-coming bands,” he says. “It was just an idea, a faux business.”

The faux business is now The Cavern, named in honor of the famed Liverpool nightspot that helped give birth to The Beatles. Located in Cincinnati’s trendy Main Street entertainment district, Lenhart brought in an experienced manager and gave the club’s two-floor interior a radical facelift that he hopes will hit home with an upscale, young adult demographic.

“It’s a nice-looking place,” he says. “It’s not a grungy, your-feet-stick-to-the-floor place at all.”

Of course, The Cavern could easily have gone the way of many class projects once Lenhart graduated. But it’s not like Lenhart to forget a good idea. A longtime entrepreneur, he founded Cincinnati Temporary Labor at age 19 and then dropped out of college to run it. As his business interests expanded over the years, he accumulated numerous downtown properties—including the building that now houses The Cavern. Initial plans call for the nightclub to be open Thursday through Saturday, and available for private parties at other times.

“It’s primarily an investment for me,” he says, “but I’m having a ball with it.”

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Xavier Magazine

Backstage Life

It’s five minutes until the curtain rises for 42nd Street and Pam Mattei hasn’t taken a seat yet. She’s stuck in traffic: backstage traffic that is. The junior fine arts major is busy helping fix last-minute costume and prop problems before the cast makes its way on stage.

The costume challenges, though, are all in a night’s work for Mattei, who works backstage as a dresser for various Broadway Series productions when they travel through Cincinnati. “We make sure the actors have everything they need so they can go out on stage,” she says. “They may have only 20 seconds to change, and some outfits are so complicated that it’s hard for them to put them on by themselves. So we zip zippers or tie shoes. Sometimes we run to find a prop. Sometimes we just hold a flashlight so they can see.”

Mattei discovered her love of the theater back in high school when a friend encouraged her to join the school play. She didn’t like being on stage. “But I got backstage and I loved the electricity and the family atmosphere of the cast and crew,” she says.

While helping out with a Xavier Players production on one of the smaller stages at the Aronoff Center for Performing Arts in downtown Cincinnati, Mattei introduced herself to the theater’s wardrobe master. Through that connection, she’s since worked backstage on Phantom of the Opera and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes.

“It’s incredible,” she says. “You get to meet all the people and be a part of the show: the lights, the sounds, the feelings that can’t be experienced in the front of the house.”

She’s even getting the cast and crew of the touring productions familiar with Xavier by inviting them to campus after some of their performances for, of all things, late-night kickball games against members of the Xavier Players inside Schmidt Fieldhouse.

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