For every 2,000 people living in Ashland, Wis., a tiny coastal city on chilly Lake Superior, there is a Xavier student. Why the direct link? The ROTC program and a guy named Jim Evans.
Evans, the former activities director at Ashland High School, discovered Xavier when his daughter, Jocelyn, received an ROTC scholarship five years ago. Since then, Evans has encouraged other top students to take the ROTC route, and most have chosen Xavier.
“We have an interesting little anomaly, and we are succeeding phenomenally in the ROTC program,” says Bill Leakey, father of 2002 graduate Sara Leakey. “What sold me on Xavier was [director of student retention services] Adrian Shiess. Unlike any other school we talked to, I was convinced that Xavier gave a damn about my kid.”
The legacy of Leakey, Evans and 2002 graduate Luke Fischer is continuing. Fischer’s sister, Lindsey, is a freshman this year. Leakey’s sister, Christy, is a high school sophomore and is considering Xavier as well.