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Channeling Excellence On TV

Two Abbey Alums Make TV A Better Place

Another Record-Setting Year

Enrollment, Three Campuses Expand Rapidly

Motorsports Student Accelerates Abbey Sophomore Impresses NASCAR Legend

CROSSROADS The Magazine Of Belmont Abbey College

fall 2010

Looking deeper into bioethics, Shakespeare, the “mind that is Catholic� and more.

From the Editor

TRAINING OUR EYES ON THE TRUTH How can we flawed human beings who “see through a glass darkly” look deeper into complex subjects and know with any certainty that what we have glimpsed is the truth? One answer is that we can consult trustworthy guides to help us look deeper; wise teachers who have trained their eyes for years on a given subject, and who themselves have been taught how to discern the truth by other trustworthy guides. Having wise, trustworthy teachers like these on our faculty and among our ever-widening circle of friends is just one of the great blessings of being a part of the Abbey community.

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So in this edition of Crossroads, we thought we’d share those blessings by showing some of these “wiser heads” at work – probing, pursuing truth, and in the process helping us see “what is” with fresh eyes. We begin with a penetrating look at the complex field of bioethics through the eyes of Dr. Grattan Brown, assistant professor of theology at Belmont Abbey College (pp 8-15). Having cared for terminally ill patients in a hospice as a graduate student, as well as having taught bioethics to medical students at Georgetown, Dr. Brown is able to view life-and-death bioethics issues through more than just a theoretical lens. Indeed, using the optics of both reason and faith, he is able to bring moral clarity to this sometimes vexing field. Next, we meet two learned gentlemen who are giving us new windows into the seminal mind of Shakespeare, by finding fresh ways to stage his plays: Simon Donoghue, Director of the Abbey Players, and Gene Kusterer, Donoghue’s predecessor in that role (pp 16-17). Donoghue is more than midway through an epic quest: staging all 37 of the Bard’s plays here at the Abbey, and he shares some of what he has learned from the Bard along the way. Then, in a wide-ranging interview (pp 20-27), Father James V. Schall, S.J., gives us an exhilarating look at what it means to have “a mind that is Catholic.” (Father Schall is among our ever-growing circle of friends. He was awarded an

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honorary degree by the College at Commencement last spring.) Of course, these aren’t the only fascinating stories you’ll find in this issue of Crossroads. On pages 2835, you’ll see how two Abbey alums, Dr, Kevin Soden ’67 and Jim Babb ’59, are channeling excellence into a medium that could surely use it: television. There’s also a terrific story on Abbey sophomore Caitlin Shaw, who is showing such promise as a race car driver, NASCAR legend Humpy Wheeler is already very impressed (pp 36-39), and so much more. The Fall 2010 edition of Crossroads: we hope it’ll open your eyes to just some of the good, true and beautiful things that are going on here at the Abbey. And if you aren’t a part of our community yet, we hope it will serve as an invitation to join us.

Ed Jones

Fall 2010










M  ORAL CLARITY IN BIOETHICS: IT’S IN HIS DNA Assistant Professor of Theology Dr. Grattan Brown brings reason and faith to bear on complex bioethics issues.


Fall 2010


Simon Donoghue has a dream: to stage every one of the Bard’s 37 plays.


 ather James V. Schall defines what it F means to have “a mind that is Catholic.”


Wherever he goes, TV executive Jim Babb ’59 has a way of channeling excellence.


 Move over boys, here comes

one smart, motivated competitor.

-Setting Year Rapidly Another Record Campuses Expand

rates AcceleLegend ports StudentNASCAR Motors Sophomore Impresses Abbey

CROSSROADS TV nce OnPlace Channeling Excelle Make TV A Better

Enrollment, Three

Two Abbey Alums

fall 2010

ege aBBey COll e Of BelMOnT The Magazin

Looking deeper into bioethics, Shakespeare, the “mind that is Catholic” and more.


From aspiring monk to Emmy Award-winning TV journalist: Dr. Kevin Soden ’67 has always had a winning prescription for success.

Fall 2010

Cover Issue:

Shakespeare, into bioethics, Looking deeper and more. t is Catholic” the “mind tha


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President’s Column . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 In The Abbot’s Words. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Monastic News Fifth Former Abbey Student in Three Years Ordained a Priest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Abbey makes Room for Room At The Inn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 In Memoriam: Father Raymond Geyer, O.S.B. . . . . . . . . . . . 42 In Memoriam: Father John Oetgen, O.S.B. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

Campus News Enrollment at an All-Time High . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Sacred Heart, Charlotte Campuses Growing, Expanding. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44-45 Abbey’s Fundraising Numbers Rise to Record Highs . . . . . 45

Faculty & Staff News

Crossroads Crossroads is the official publication of Belmont Abbey College.   Vice President of College Relations Ken Davison Editor Ed Jones Contributors Dr. Grattan Brown Gayle Dobbs Gireesh Gupta Renae Heustess Jillian Maisano Amanda Memrick Chris Poore Father James V. Schall, S.J. Susan Shackelford Abbot Placid Solari

Dr. Carson Daly Elected to Prestigious Board. . . . . . . . . 46

Dr. Bill Thierfelder

Entrepreneurship Program Catches Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

Lawrence Toppman

Abbey Prof’s Lenten Meditations Heard Worldwide . . . . . 48

Richard Walker

New Additions To Faculty, Staff Add to Academic Excellence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49-60

Sports News Quin Monahan Appointed Athletic Director . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Four New Abbey Inductees into The Sports Hall of Fame. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62-63 Men’s and Women’s Golf Teams Win Conference Championships. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

Alumni News Five Alumni Honored At Wall Of Fame Ceremony . . . . . . . 65 Class Notes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66-74 In Loving Memory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

Mission Statement of Belmont Abbey College: Our mission is to educate students in the liberal arts and sciences so that in all things God may be glorified. In this endeavor, we are guided by the Catholic intellectual tradition and the Benedictine spirit of prayer and learning. Exemplifying Benedictine hospitality, we welcome a diverse body of students and provide them with an education that will enable them to lead lives of integrity, to succeed professionally, to become responsible citizens, and to be a blessing to themselves and to others.

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Patrick Schneider Photography Design and Production: SPARK Publications Printing: Publishers Press 1.800.627.5801

Abbey Mailbag To submit comments about Crossroads, email or send letters to “Crossroads” Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, NC  28012   Class Notes and Change of Address info should be sent to or Office of Alumni and Parent Relations Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, NC  28012    All photos submitted must be high resolution at 300 dpi or higher to be used in Crossroads.   Copyright © 2010 Belmont Abbey College

Fall 2010



n Crossroads we read about many great people, programs, and events here at the Abbey, but how do we know whether they are relevant to our mission? When I ask students, faculty, staff, and alumni, “What is the mission of Belmont Abbey College?” they often tell me many good things about the College but rarely what its actual purpose or mission statement is. Our mission statement is like True North on the compass. We would

if every member of our College community were to know the mission statement by heart. Imagine if a guest at BAC could ask anyone on campus “What is the mission of Belmont Abbey College?” and without missing a beat, hear: Our mission is to educate students in the liberal arts and sciences so that in all things God may be glorified.  In this endeavor, we are guided by the Catholic intellectual tradition and the Benedictine spirit of prayer and learning.  Exemplifying Benedictine hospitality, we welcome a diverse body of students and provide

“Our mission statement is our lodestar, but it also reminds us of why we are here and gives meaning to our work and sacrifice.” be lost without it. Consequently, I believe it is both important and necessary for each of us to know the College’s mission statement—preferably by heart. We can use it as our guide, our compass, and our safety gauge to be sure that we are always heading in the right direction and to correct our way if we begin to go off course. I think it would be wonderful Fall 2010


them with an education that will enable them to lead lives of integrity, to succeed professionally, to become responsible citizens, and to be a blessing to themselves and to others. Our mission statement is our lodestar, but it also reminds us of why we are here and gives meaning to our work and sacrifice. It is remarkable that the 134 years of work and prayer that created Belmont Abbey College have been captured so eloquently in three short sentences. I hope you will join with me in learning them by heart so that all of us will be ever-ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us. I look forward to seeing you soon. God Bless, Bill The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College




here’s something special about this place.” “I feel such a sense of peace whenever I set foot on this campus.” These are comments heard frequently from guests and from members of the Abbey community alike. Perhaps you have said them yourself. Is there something special? What is it? Part of the answer is, I think, to be found in the unique atmosphere around any college campus. Colleges and universities are different places, special enclaves, places of learning and inquiry, places for

that human beings are made in the divine image and likeness, and thus the study of the world around us, and of human beings, truly leads to a real, albeit partial, knowledge of truth. It is this knowledge of God as Creator and as Truth which gives the solid foundation to all study and intellectual striving. Without this foundation in the existence of Truth, all our academic disciplines and their methods would be so many inventions with no foundation in reality. It is this commitment to Truth and to objective moral

“Since [1876], no day has passed on this site without the divine praises ascending to God. The place has been constantly anointed with prayer.” discerning, places where lifelong friendships begin. Colleges have another culture and atmosphere, and their life follows a different calendar, where time is marked by the succession of semester, exams and graduations, rather than by months, days and years. In a certain way, colleges live at one and the same time both in the past and in the future, examining the wisdom and discoveries of past generations in order to prepare students to apply this wisdom to circumstances not yet come into being. Every college is special to its own alumni. But that leaves open the question about what makes the Abbey special. There are, in my opinion, three things that make the Abbey special. Two of them we share to a large extent with 6 Crossroads

other colleges, though with a special twist of our own, and one is one shared with other Benedictine colleges. Belmont Abbey College, like all colleges, deals with transcendent, intangible values – truth, meaning and purpose, the good and the beautiful. This in itself distinguishes the college community from the usual everyday work world in which we spend much of our time. As a Catholic college, the Abbey adds an important dimension to that search for truth, because, on the basis of the faith commitment which is the Abbey’s foundation, the College proclaims that truth exists as a reality apart from and independent of us, and that we are created to know the truth. This same faith commitment affirms that there is a Creator of the universe, and

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values that is part of what makes the Abbey special. The second thing that makes the Abbey special is the people. Again, like all colleges, Belmont Abbey College has its share of teachers, coaches and staff, who are legendary figures. The College setting provided the right environment for them to flourish, and they have provided through the years a rich array of life and vitality. Perhaps more important, though, are those people who went about their responsibilities with a quiet dedication, committed to the mission. These are the ones who have brought the College through the past one hundred and thirty-four years. They were the mentors, the guides, the confidants, who formed generations of students for life. They are Fall 2010

the ones who made the College truly to be an alma mater, a life-giving mother. The Abbey is a place where lifelong friendships are formed. Finally, there is something Belmont Abbey College shares with her sister Benedictine colleges, which is probably at the heart of its uniqueness. The College had its beginning on April 21, 1876, when Father Herman Wolfe arrived with the first two students, Henry Plageman and Anthony Lauman, and began class the same day. Also, on the same day, monastic life began at what was to become Belmont Abbey. Since

that distant April 21, no day has passed on this site without the divine praises ascending to God. The place has been constantly anointed with prayer. Bishop Leo Haid perhaps expressed it best in his address for the laying of the cornerstone of the abbey basilica: “… to me — a monk before I was either priest or bishop — this church is doubly dear because it will resound with the prayers of men dedicated wholly to God in the monastic state. Day after day, ere the sun guilds our mountain tops, the voice of prayer will be raised to God in this church; day after day when darkness and

The Founding Fathers of Belmont Abbey It was the year 1876 a miracle was in the offing history was in the making God’s loving eyes were on the wilderness in a small town called Garibaldi. In 1876, a gentle, benevolent, Fr. J.J. O’Connell donated 500 acres of farm named Caldwell Plantation for education and God’s service to the St. Vincent’s Abbey of Pennsylvania. On April 21, 1876, Fr. Herman Wolfe, a Benedictine monk serving in St. Vincent’s church in Richmond, Virginia with two boys from Richmond – the first two students, and four days later, four Benedictine lay brothers from St. Vincent’s Abbey in Pennsylvania, arrived at the Caldwell Plantation in the town of Garibaldi with Bible in hands and no possessions but their faith and courage. With their hands, they cleaned the wilderness. Fr. Wolfe and the brothers endured hardships, and because of their faith in God

Fall 2010

silence cover the earth the same voice will praise our good God! Some people only love and value or tolerate monks for what they can do in active life — as tillers of the soil, learned men, artists, teachers and pastors of souls. I love them more for what they do immediately for God — for their quiet lives of prayer and meditation.” This constant presence of the mystery of prayer links the life of Belmont Abbey College to the fundamental Truth underlying the mystery of life, and provides the surest foundation for those true and good friendships that endure.

along with the unyielding will to foster education, they worked tirelessly and selflessly and built the chapel and the school so we could reap the fruits of their labor of love. The school started with four students in September 1876. On September 8, 1877, the school was named St. Mary’s College and the monastery was named St. Mary’s Priory. On December 19, 1884, St. Mary’s Priory became an Abbey and was named Mary Help of Christians Abbey. Leo Haid, the first Abbot of the new Abbey and the first ten pioneer monks of the new Abbey are depicted on the Great Seal of Belmont Abbey as the lion and the ten stars respectively. Abbot Leo Haid, Abbot Vincent Taylor, and Abbot Walter Coggin with their gentle and visionary leadership sustained, cultivated growth, and formed the College into a temple of higher learning renowned worldwide as Belmont Abbey College that inculcates excellence, virtue, and scholarship in the young minds of the globe. By Gireesh Gupta Associate Professor of Computer Information Studies


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The Ability to Bring Moral Clarity to Bioethics Is


In A

t some point in our lives, either we or someone in our family will be touched by a bioethics issue, and difficult questions will almost invariably arise: when someone we love is suffering, how far should medical technology be allowed to go to alleviate the pain? Should embryonic stem cell research be permitted on the basis that it may cure diseases like Parkinson’s and thus alleviate untold suffering…someday? What is the truly “compassionate” thing to do if a person appears to be in a vegetative state? How can we know when human life begins?

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Fall 2010

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And who can we rely on as a trustworthy guide as we think through these and other thorny bioethical issues? Fortunately, Belmont Abbey College has just such a trustworthy guide in the person of Dr. Grattan Brown, assistant professor of theology. As a graduate student, Brown worked in a hospice caring for the dying. He has taught bioethics to medical students at Georgetown and to men studying for the priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. He has also published illuminating lectures on bioethics issues, including “Seeing Through False Arguments for Embryonic Stem Cell Research,” a lecture that people from all across America have ordered from Belmont Abbey College via the Internet. Indeed, of Dr. Brown’s stem cell lecture, Ambassador Kenneth Whitehead has said: “I think this is one of the best summaries of the question that I have seen…It can serve as a solid introduction to this vexed subject for a while to come.” Recently Crossroads had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Brown and asking him a few of the questions we thought

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our readers might want us to ask about bioethics.

Crossroads: How did you first become interested in the field of bioethics? Brown: My high school biology teacher introduced our class to genetics. He could teach us little more than the basic principles of genetics outlined by the Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel, who pioneered the field of genetics by predicting mutations among peas. That demonstration was enough to make me wonder. Later, a theology professor with a knack for striking examples often used bioethics illustrations, and I began to see the connections between theology and bioethics. Crossroads: How would you

describe your approach to the field of bioethics today?

Brown: As a Christian and a theologian, I think the field of bioethics offers a way of gaining wisdom about the human person and society, as well as a set of questions that every member of society must consider. Sure there are controversies, but God calls Christians to gather wisdom about creation and about how to organize society. Scientific and technological advancement are first and foremost an opportunity to discover the mind of God through the observation and cultivation of nature. The account of Creation in the first chapter of Genesis uses the term “dominion” for humanity’s authority over creation. One important Church document on the treatment of the human embryo, Donum Vitae, notes that authentic scientific research is a form of dominion. The discovery and mapping of the human genome is a good example of this type of dominion. This “map” will forever change our understanding of human nature. Here is another example: We can interpret the theory of evolution as a working out of God’s Providence even while atheists interpret it as a merely material account of change among species.

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To be sure, unethical scientific practices obscure whatever wisdom might be gained from scientific experimentation and from ever more sophisticated medical procedures. Embryo-destructive research and euthanasia are two of the most widespread unethical practices. Yet we should draw two conclusions from the fact of these abuses: 1) Assisted by revelation, Christians can patiently expose unethical science and medicine; and 2) uncomfortable as it is, suffering plays a part in attaining wisdom and, yes, ultimate beatitude. God creates each human being for perfection, and every experience can contribute to that path.

Crossroads: You mention the role of suffering in our lives, and your bio reveals that you have witnessed human suffering “up close and personal.” You worked in a hospice in Italy, caring for the dying. How has that experience informed your views on various bioethical issues? Brown: That experience showed

me how God works through illness and through medical professionals. I volunteered in the cancer hospice while working on my doctorate at the Alfonsian Academy in Rome. Once I was asked to sit in the room of a patient suffering from uterine cancer. I thought about her husband and three young children who were soon to be without a wife and mother. Suddenly I had an experience that leads so many people to atheism: sheer anger with God, demanding “How could you let this happen to this person, who is so needed on this earth, and whose absence will be so strongly felt?” Recollecting myself a bit, I began to think more deeply. From the Bible I recalled Job’s insight: God does not explain all His ways. This insight did not take away my sadness for this family. It did not answer all my questions. But it did allow me to continue thinking through bioethics issues with more than mere emotion and with the help of Revelation.

Crossroads: Did you also witness examples at the hospice of how human suffering can be redemptive, perhaps even ennobling? Fall 2010

Brown: Yes. I remember one patient who knew he was dying of cancer. He was sorrowful about leaving his family, but cheerful. He continued writing his poetry … really bad poetry, but kept on writing and sharing it. Everyone who walked into his room got a smile. I have learned a lot from patients like this one. They refuse to lash out against God or anyone else because of their suffering. They neither lose hope nor spin illusions about miracle cures. I also think of my wife’s uncle and godfather in this context. He is a great example of how a person’s weakness can become a strength. Now over 60 years old, he has hemophilia, so his blood does not clot and internal bleeding causes intense pain to the knees and other joints. Nonetheless he has survived several major surgeries and recently retired after a celebrated 41 year career as dean of finance in a Catholic university. If you are a husband and father and aware that you can die simply from falling down, you play those roles with heightened awareness that your family might suddenly have to continue without you. His faith did not take away suffering, but showed him how suffering makes loving personal. Family events are tinged with this awareness, and he becomes an example for the rest of us. Crossroads: So would you say that the Christian view of suffering that you’ve seen in action might have something to teach people in the field of bioethics? Brown: Yes. I think that medicine today relies so much on technology to overcome suffering, we overlook technology’s limitations. When we experience intense suffering, either in ourselves or by seeing others suffer, we are driven to use every possible means to eliminate that suffering. It seems heartless and immoral not to try everything. But when eliminating one person’s suffering causes another to die, there is a contradiction. The drive to eliminate suffering hits an intellectual brick wall. Some people ignore that contradiction. But a well-formed conscience senses and cannot shake

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“[M]edicine today relies so much on technology to overcome suffering, we overlook technology’s limitations.”

that unsettling conclusion: I’m causing someone else to die so that I might live. The heart cannot abide it and cries out for an answer. Jesus Christ answers that question: I will act so that others may live … abundantly in grace here and now and eternally with God. Act so that others may live abundantly and eternally, that is a good definition of love straight from the Bible. I John 4:9 says “In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.” Long before he died on the cross, Jesus acted so that we might have life through him. He preached and healed; he taught real morality and celebrated. But those actions led him to the cross, where he accepted death rather than abandon love. Do you see the parallel? Medical professionals use technology so that patients might have life. But that same Crossroads

technology can lead us down a path in which we must choose to accept suffering and death rather than abandon love, even as an expression of love for others.

Crossroads: As you just mentioned, the common and even natural urge we have when we encounter great suffering is to use whatever means are available to eliminate that suffering. And as you say, it can seem heartless NOT to do so. This is where we come to the cause of many misunderstandings/misperceptions of the Catholic Church’s stance on many bioethical issues, is it not? Indeed, critics of the Church, including some scientists, can get quite emotional with their criticisms of the Church’s positions. For example, some say that since the Church opposes embryonic stem cell research, it is heartlessly depriving suffering, wonderful, even very noble people like The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


the actor Michael J. Fox of any hope of curing their Parkinson’s disease. Thus, these critics charge, “rigid” Catholic doctrines force Catholics to act in ways that “lack compassion.” How do you answer that criticism?

Brown: What is true compassion?

Sometimes people argue, for example, that euthanasia can be compassionate, especially with severe illnesses such as the persistent vegetative state. Some will say that if nothing more can be done to cure a patient, then assisted nutrition and hydration should be withdrawn. More and more doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators are sold on this practice and begin to view any other position as lacking in compassion.

important subject of “compassion”: some critics would say that the Church seems to have a misguided or even distorted sense of compassion – and that this flows from what they would say is a misguided sense of what constitutes human dignity. For instance, here is a somewhat typical criticism leveled by a biology professor from Swarthmore: “Are scientists concerned about human dignity? Yes. It must be remembered, though, that people have always had different ideas as to what constitutes human dignity…[The] notion of human dignity [held by some] can be used to thwart improvements in the human condition. Conservative religious groups (the Catholic Church among them) vehemently opposed vaccination against

“The beginning of personhood does not depend upon how we would like to use the embryo. So we cannot claim that personhood begins 14 days after conception or at implantation simply in order to enable experimentation before that point.” The fact is that our society is engaged in moral debate about a whole range of medical and scientific procedures. Generally, each side in those debates believes it has the most compassionate method. Productive debate proceeds when all sides presume good intentions in their opponents and focus together on the opposing reasons why certain procedures are truly compassionate and others are not. Catholic teaching argues that alleviating suffering at the end of life is a great good and morally obligatory, but argues that euthanasia, that is, using death to end suffering, is the precise opposite of compassion.

Crossroads: Understood. But to press you a little further on this very 12 Crossroads

smallpox, even a hundred years after its first use. Smallpox antiserum came from cows (hence the term “vaccination”), and these groups felt that the injection of serum from a cow into a human was an affront to human dignity. Theologian Cotton Mather’s home was firebombed by Bostonians who felt his support of vaccination blasphemous. Another definition of human dignity is more concrete. Physicians often note that disease not only affects the body but can rob the dignity from a person. Thus, supporters of human stem cell research argue that such study has the potential to restore dignity to the suffering. … Supporters of stem cell research feel that it is more important to restore dignity to adult humans than to accord an abstract

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concept of human dignity to an embryo that has not yet become an individual (it can still form twins) and has no head, heart, arms, or even a distinguishable front or back….” So again, the charge here seems to be that the Church has more compassion for the unborn, the “pre-conscious,” than it has for the living who are suffering from the ravages of Parkinson’s disease and the like. Therefore the Church is acting as a barrier to human progress. Therefore, it’s backward and anti-scientific. How does one answer that critique?

Brown: Again, the controversy

concerns the methods. The Church is never against science and technology, only certain uses of science and technology. Everyone admits that some methods for solving human problems are off the table. The “Tuskegee Experiment” is a classic example in which researchers denied treatment to syphilis patients in order to study the disease’s progression. Any research team that proposes similar methods can expect unequivocal condemnation today. Some claim that the Church’s opposition to embryonic stem cell research is “anti-science.” But the Church has never opposed stem cell research, only destroying embryos in the process. To promote stem cell research, the Vatican has sponsored two international conferences and has even funded ethical stem cell research to the tune of $2.7 million. The Archdiocese of Sydney made a $100,000 stem cell research grant. So we are talking about the method and not scientific research itself. Similarly, the Church is not opposed to methods of overcoming fertility or of preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases as long as those methods respect the integrity of marriage.

Crossroads: Some scientists and others might ask: “Isn’t opposition to scientific methods, even embryo-destructive ones, an instance of the Church trying to tell scientists what they can and cannot do? Isn’t the Church’s position infringing on scientific freedom?” Fall 2010

Brown: No. It is an instance of the Church recognizing a moral truth—do not kill—and encouraging society to organize itself according to that truth on a particular issue. Opposing embryo-destructive methods is not an infringement on scientific freedom because those particular scientific methods have an important moral as well as scientific dimension. Everyone—not merely scientists—has a responsibility to form a judgment about that moral dimension. Here is a non-scientific example that I think everyone would accept. Suppose I have a plumber repair water pipes in my house. I am not competent to tell the plumber what kind of pipes or joints to use or how to route the pipes for optimum efficiency. But if the plumber proposes to use lead pipes or joints, I should object because the lead would compromise the health of my family and anyone to whom I might sell the house. Moreover, legislators recognize this danger and do not leave plumbers free to install lead pipes regardless of the circumstances. Similarly, one need not be a scientist to speak out about the morality of certain scientific methods. Those who propose embryo-destructive research methods cannot hide behind the privilege of scientific authority when those methods involve the destruction of human life. Crossroads: Well who is to say that the embryo is a human being? There is a persistent line of argument on this very important subject, even among some powerful, influential Catholics, that goes something like this: “The main Catholic argument that allows abortion is that the essence of a human being is our mind or spirit or soul or human intelligence — and a fetus or embryo does not have one of those; therefore, the fetus is certainly not a human being or human person. “That argument is from Psalm 139, as expanded on by St. Thomas Aquinas. The argument in both was that the embryo is not ‘formed’ enough, does not have a body (or later science would specify, a brain), complicated enough to hold a fully human intelligence, spirit, or ‘soul.’ Since the embryo is therefore not Fall 2010

a human being — since it is lacking a mind or soul — therefore, it is no great sin to terminate it. “This is the real core of Catholic tradition… “Ironically, the Pro Life antiabortionism we hear here and from many Catholics elsewhere, is not supported by the Bible, by the Church, or by science; it is in fact simply a wellintentioned, but in the end, extremely destructive new heresy. One that throws countless votes to the Republican party, and causes the gross neglect of other issues like Health Care, and avoiding unnecessary wars; subjects that were far, far more important to the Bible, and to Jesus himself for example.” How do you answer this argument?

Brown: Excellent question! As with

all important questions, we look for the evidence. Biology provides quite a bit of crucial evidence to answer this question, but biology alone cannot determine when an individual human life begins. Why? Biology measures only the body and cannot prove or disprove the presence of anything spiritual, such as the human soul. Crossroads

We also have to interpret the evidence. The beginning of personhood does not depend upon how we would like to use the embryo. So we cannot claim that personhood begins 14 days after conception or at implantation simply in order to enable experimentation before that point. Any respectable answer about when an individual human life begins must be based upon objective criteria, that is, criteria pertaining to the embryo itself. On this question, people disagree even when interpreting the evidence objectively. Some say a life begins at conception; others say 24 hours after conception at “syngamy,” when the genes of the parents combine and cell division begins; others say implantation. The biologist Maureen Condic has made a convincing and readable argument for conception in “When Does Human Life Begin?” (http:// wi_whitepaper_life_print.pdf). Convincing as Condic’s argument is, biology is not enough. Philosophy and theology are necessary. The Church’s view articulated nearly 40 years ago in the Declaration on Procured Abortion The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


argues that an embryo could never become a human person if it were not already in some way human. The moral implication: Even if it were a potential human being, the embryo should be protected. The Church’s most recent document on bioethics, Dignitatis Personae, states even more strongly that the embryo “possesses full anthropological and ethical status” without stating precisely that a human life begins at conception.

Crossroads: In 2009, you published a lecture that has been ordered via the Internet by people all across America entitled “Seeing Through False Arguments for Embryonic Stem Cell Research.” What are the big developments in stem cell research since that time? Brown: There is good news and bad news. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has spent millions on embryonic stem cell research and thus on the destruction of human embryos. In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has produced “ethical” guidelines for couples to donate “spare” embryos from their IVF treatments. These guidelines essentially make the destruction of embryos appear ethical because the parents willingly donated them to science. Now IVF clinics have an incentive to create more embryos. The good news is that one ethical alternative to embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells, has produced a wide range of therapies and that another alternative, induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS cells), has enjoyed great progress in research. First, adult stem cells have led to cures of diseases from head to toe. You can read about them on the Internet, but beware if you are looking for therapy. There are bogus ones out there. Second, IPS cells behave like embryonic stem cells. Scientists create IPS cells by manipulating the genetic structure of skin cells to make them revert to the more general “pluripotent” cell that embryos also produce. Cutting edge IPS research now asks how closely IPS cells 14 Crossroads

actually behave like their embryonic counterparts.

Crossroads: You mentioned bogus

stem cell therapies. What other weird and exploitative uses of biotechnology are out there?

Brown: Did you ever hear of the Raelian Movement? They believe that extraterrestrials created human life and resurrected Jesus by cloning. A more plausible and dangerous example of biotechnology run amok is “Singularity University,” established by a group of technology leaders to “assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address humanity’s grand challenges” ( The problem is not using biotechnology but the attitude that goes along with it. In a video entitled “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself,” one of the founders of Singularity University, Dr. Peter Diamandis, teaches his audience that every human problem can be solved by the right mental attitude, persistence, the right technology, and capital. Every human problem certainly requires these four things but to think that they

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suffice is pure superstition. The root of those human problems is sinfulness. Biotechnology cannot solve that one alone.

Crossroads: Why should laypeople,

ordinary American citizens, care about bioethics? How does this subject or field impact their lives — perhaps without their even being aware of it?

Brown: Consider the influence that technology has over how we live. The invention of the modern automobile in the late 19th century radically changed how we design cities. Over the next century, biotechnology will certainly bring radical changes to how we live and organize societies. Two big issues will certainly be genetic diagnosis and various types of enhancement, including genetic enhancement. Some of these changes will bring great benefit, but we can expect to manage some of the problems, just as we do with our automobiles. It will be difficult to oppose some of the abuses, such as the temptation to practice eugenics that we already see when parents abort children with disabilities. We can take comfort that some aspects of human life do not change. God created the human person with an inquisitive drive to discover truth. Fall 2010

Scientific discoveries will continue to provoke wonder, leading us to greater wisdom about God’s creation and plan of redemption.

Crossroads: How have Abbey students responded to your new course offerings on bioethics? Have any of them startled you with fresh insights or challenged you to look at any issues from a different angle yourself ? Brown: I love teaching at the Abbey because nearly every class has a mix of Catholics, Protestants, and those of no religion at all. The bioethics course draws students from a variety of majors. The psychologists, biologists, philosophers, theologians, and business majors contribute something different and learn from each other. Philosophically, some students tend to a utilitarian view, others adhere closely to principles, others ponder from a natural law perspective. Students see that beneath these different approaches lie different values and priorities, and that in-depth discussion, as if the class formed a real ethics committee, advances everyone’s understanding. Consistently taking a utilitarian approach, in my view, ultimately leaves an emptiness in the soul. Acting always to bring about the best outcomes for the most people systematically eliminates society’s most vulnerable and raises that problem about eliminating suffering by causing it in others. Yet the “utilitarians” are excellent at evaluating outcomes. Anyone who has made a difficult health care decision knows how dangerous it is to ignore the concrete benefits and burdens of any treatment. The benefit/burden analysis still leaves us asking “What is the right thing to do?” That is where the students who are good at using principles really shine. But when their principles conflict, they are at Fall 2010

a loss at how to explain, in the final analysis, why a certain course of action is the best. This problem forces us to ask what makes up human dignity, if there are any intrinsically evil actions that always undermine human dignity, and, among all possible options, which option best brings out that dignity among everyone involved. Reflecting on these foundational questions does not give all the answers, but the students become stronger at thinking through topics and cases.

“[T]he Church has never opposed stem cell research, only destroying embryos in the process. To promote stem cell research, the Vatican has sponsored two international conferences and has even funded ethical stem cell research to the tune of $2.7 million.” Crossroads

Crossroads: So when one of your bioethics courses has run its course, what are, say, the top three ideas you hope you have imparted to your students? Brown: First, there is much to learn, especially from the suffering patient. In the course students hear about the difficult situations in which others find themselves. Sometimes it’s the rare diseases that raise interesting ethical issues, like the Siamese twins sharing internal organs that caused so much controversy a few years ago. I hope that reflecting on those issues encourages compassion with intelligence. Second, you can learn enough science and ethics to form a sound judgment. Students see the effort to understand one week’s assignment pay off the next week and the next week and realize that what they learn can stay with them and enrich their lives. Some students have returned to tell me about cases in which they used what we discussed. Finally, bioethics issues bring us close to the meaning of being human. The “lights go on” when they see some of the great ideas of human history emerge amidst bioethics discussion. For instance, the Christian tradition describes the beginning and end of a human life in terms of the union and separation, respectively, of the soul and the body. By contrast, a materialist perspective denies that any soul exists and thus sees little problem with stopping the function of a body that cannot feel pain, such as an embryo, or cannot enjoy a sufficient quality of life, such as a comatose patient. In sum, I hope they learn about love in a “practical” way. That is, I hope they gain insight, through reason and revelation, into how God loves humanity, enabling us to love intelligently through the millions of actions we perform. The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


Quest A

By Lawrence Toppman, Arts Writer for The Charlotte Observer


Shakespearean Proportions

At Belmont Abbey, Simon Donoghue has this dream: Stage every one of the Bard’s 37 plays, no matter how long it takes.


he first time Simon Donoghue saw Michael Jordan — “whom I swear I did not know, except as a name” — Jordan shot past him, hung in the air for half an eternity, then dropped the ball silently through the net. “I thought, human beings are supposed to be able to do that,” Donoghue recalls. “At our best, that’s what we can be. “That’s how I feel about William Shakespeare. All the things you’d ever want to say, he said so wonderfully. All the things it means to be a human being, he put in his plays.” That’s why Donoghue is producing all 37 of those plays over three decades at Belmont Abbey College, where the 56-year-old director runs the drama program. When the Abbey Players opened The Merry Wives of Windsor last season, Donoghue was 59.5 percent of the way toward achieving his ambitious goal. He didn’t have a 30-year plan when he staged his first Shakespearean play, 16 Crossroads

Simon Donoghue

Richard III, in 1984, with a leading man (Paddy Hanner) who went on to write a thesis about that part. “He was wonderful, but it ran three hours and 20 minutes,” Donoghue says. “A scholar said afterward, “ ‘You know,

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Simon, people do cut these things occasionally.’ ” The series started in earnest six years later, after the Haid Theatre opened. Donoghue gradually realized he could accomplish the task, given time. He had history behind him — Othello was performed at the Abbey decades before he came — and encouragement from theatrical mentors on staff at the Abbey, the Rev. John Oetgen and the Rev. Paschal Baumstein. “Father Paschal was the best amateur actor I’ve seen,” says Donoghue. “His attitude from the beginning was that, even if you do not achieve something, you must reach farther than you think you can, so that your reach will be greater next time. “We had 30 years of fantastic conversations before his death in 2007. I’ve second-guessed this project over the years, but I think if I stopped now, Father Paschal would haunt me!” Fall 2010

Wisely and slow

Because from the student body, he waits to stage plays until someone makes sense in a role. When he had two redheads who could pass for twins, he cast them as the Dromios in The Comedy of Errors. When he had a suitable Olivia, he staged Twelfth Night. Donoghue was able to entrust Romeo to son Christopher, now a working, 27-yearold actor. “You know when they’re about to ripen on the vine,” he says. This approach can create problems: He’s still waiting for someone resilient enough to play the marathon role of King Lear yet aged enough to look like that 80-year-old monarch. “I always hoped Father John would do it, but he just smiled whenever I mentioned it,” says Donoghue. Oetgen died last October, and the play hovers somewhere in the distance. Lear and Othello are the great tragedies left to go. “I’m waiting for an AfricanAmerican actor,” he says. “There are people in the community who can do it, but they’d have to work for free and come to Belmont, which isn’t the (trip to) Tibet that it used to be.” Still ahead are most of the histories; Donoghue would like to do the remaining ones in chronological order, maybe even devote an entire season to them for continuity’s sake. Ultimately, he’ll have to overcome disinterest and do the rarely seen Cymbeline and The Two Noble Kinsmen. (Don’t know the latter? Shakespeare joined Fletcher in adapting the Knight’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales.) The best productions excite discussions at rehearsals and performances: The Merchant of Venice got people talking about anti-Semitism, and a Henry V provoked parallels between that king’s war with France and our own Iraq War.

Good lessons kept

No matter how shows turn out, there’s something to learn. Merry Wives is a bawdy farce, written because Queen Elizabeth asked for a comedy about fat Jack Falstaff after his supporting role in Henry IV. (Think of

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it as the first stage prequel.) Yet even this bauble holds a few quotable gems. Says Donoghue, “(The character of) Pistol is bragging, ‘Why, then the

world’s mine oyster/Which I with sword will open.’ And I thought, ‘That’s where it comes from.’ There’s always something like that with Shakespeare.”

Same Bard, But Softer When the Bard speaks, Gene Kusterer makes a few tweaks to suit his audience

Hard. Bard. They go together, don’t they? They rhyme, which Bill Shakespeare liked to do. And his arcane dialogue sends us scurrying for footnotes, if thou know’st what I’m parleying (and methinks thou dost). But the words don’t go together for Gene Gene Kusterer Kusterer, except in the phrase “Not So Hard Bard.” That’s the informal name of his series of adaptations of eight Shakespearean plays. His revision of The Merry Wives of Windsor was on display last season at Belmont Abbey College, where he was once a student, a monk and director of the Abbey Players. “All eight are comedies,” he says. “There’s so much sacred territory in the tragedies. Hamlet’s ‘To be or not to be’ - what can you do with that? The comedies have a lot of material that is lost on us, street language and references from his time.” Kusterer made his first adaptation (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) 25 years ago for Piedmont Middle School. When he went to teach at Providence High, he did Twelfth Night. He soon had a hobby that may someday be a published series. “I didn’t want to cut parts of these plays because they were difficult,” he says. “I thought that was a cop-out.” Yet he kept target audiences in mind. He hasn’t dumbed “Windsor” down or eliminated all double entendres, “but when it’s being done at a Catholic school...I tried to elucidate and obfuscate a little at the same time.” He prepares by reading the original text, studying the footnotes and the book “A Shakespeare Glossary.” Sometimes he has to sacrifice a pun to make humor more apparent. Sometimes, when he knows Shakespeare wanted to give a scene finality with a rhymed couplet, he makes sure that the couplet actually does rhyme. “When you pull a couple of words out of blank verse, things start to unravel,” says Kusterer. “Then you have to change whole blocks of it to keep the meter and rhyme. “I’ve sometimes cooked and cooked it, and it got too long. As brevity is the soul of wit, I’ve realized I ruined the thing and worked to recover brevity. “I get (off) on tangents, and I have taken liberties. But I have all the meaning right there.” Crossroads

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Book by Peter Stone; Lyrics and Music by Sherman Edwards November 11-13 and 18-20 8:00 P.M. American history blazes to vivid life in this unconventional Broadway hit. It’s the summer of 1776 and the nation is ready to declare independence...if only the founding fathers can agree! 1776 follows John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Richard Henry Lee, and Thomas Jefferson as they attempt to convince the members of the second Continental Congress to vote to free their fledgling nation from the shackles of the British monarchy by signing the Declaration of Independence. 1776 is a funny, insightful and compelling drama that puts a human face on the pages of history!

ROCK ’N’ ROLL By Tom Stoppard


February 24, 25, 26 and March 3, 4, 5 8:00 P.M.

December 1 8:00 P.M.

Rock ’n’ Roll is an electrifying collision of the romantic and the revolutionary. It is 1968 and the world is ablaze with rebellion, accompanied by a sound track of the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Clutching his prized collection of rock albums, Jan, a Cambridge graduate student, returns to his homeland of Czechoslovakia just as Soviet tanks roll into Prague. When security forces tighten their grip on artistic expression, Jan is inexorably drawn toward a dangerous act of dissent. Back in England, Jan’s volcanic mentor, Max, faces a war of his own as his free-spirited daughter and his cancer-stricken wife attempt to break through his walls of academic and emotional obstinacy. Over the next twenty years of love, espionage, chance, and loss, the extraordinary lives of Jan and Max spin and intersect until an unexpected reunion forces them to see what is truly worth the fight.

Jill Bloede and a talented team of writers and actors have put together a series of dramatic monologues that showcase Benedictine men and women from the rich history of the order that founded Belmont Abbey College. Throughout the past 1500 years, countless men and women who have followed The Rule of St. Benedict have achieved sainthood. Come and find out how they did it!

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Fall 2010

THEATre AT THE ABBeY CHRISTMAS AT THE ABBEY December 4 8:00 P.M. An Abbey Players tradition, an evening of music and festive readings to celebrate the season! For many of our patrons, this has become the official start of their holidays. Join us again, or for the very first time.



By Moliere

(A Musical By Sandy Wilson)

January 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 8:00 P.M.

April 14, 15, 16, 28, 29, 30 8:00 P.M.

The funniest study of pathological greed where obsession is close to madness in this French comedy. Harpagon (the title character) confuses love and money throughout the play, providing fun with language and innuendo. Outrageous insults, physical abuses, devious double-crossings combine for a fastpaced play.

The Jazz Age lives on in this light romantic spoof of the 1920’s Musical comedy. In the carefree world set in the French Riviera, this sparkling musical follows Polly and Tony as they find true love. Long-lost connections, a sunny day at the beach, and a costume party finale all help make The Boy Friend delicious — the dessert course of our Season!

For ticket information, please call the Abbey Box Office at (704) 461-6787. Fall 2010


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20 Crossroads

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Fall 2010


Father James V. Schall, S.J., Defines What It Means To Have

Mind That Is Catholic F

ather James V. Schall, S.J., is one of the most respected and prolific thought leaders in the American Catholic world. Of him no less an authority than George Weigel recently wrote: He is “one of the

greatest of American Jesuits and the living embodiment of Catholic liberal learning at Georgetown… He is a deeply learned man, yet he wears his learning lightly…He is a marvelous teacher and a great spiritual director; and he is both because he is a man at peace with the absurdities of the world, which he knows to be part of a divine plan he doesn’t presume to grasp fully. Yet he is no ambiguist: he would rather thrust his hand into the fire than put a thought not congruent with the truths of Catholic faith on paper…

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“He is the author of many books: some, exercises in political philosophy of the highest caliber; others of a more popular sort. His scholarly work is finely balanced between Jerusalem and Athens, embracing both revelation and reason. And while he has written on just about everything, from Plato to American sports, he brings to whatever engages his attention that sense of wonder with which all true thinking starts.” In a review of Father Schall’s book The Order of Things, Kenneth Baker, S.J., Editor of Homiletic & Pastoral Review, wrote this: “Father James V. Schall is one of the few renaissance men still among us. His knowledge of various areas of reality and human endeavor is encyclopedic. Dealing with important abstract ideas, he is able to put flesh on them so that the ordinary reader can grasp easily what he is getting at. Schall is the apostle of truth and reality, since he is always reminding the reader to consult that which is.”

the Lindsley family in Charlotte; their daughter is now a sophomore at Belmont Abbey College. The second time was last September in which I was invited to give a Saturday morning lecture at which students actually showed up at a relatively early hour! They were a very good audience. The third time was to receive an honorary degree from the College.

The first lesson is that religion and politics do not very often really “meet.” The second is that every day modern politics looks more and more like a pseudo-religion. The third is that, as I like to put it, the Catholic Church, for its part, has never been intellectually stronger or culturally weaker. The people who do not know this are mainly themselves academics.

Crossroads: You’ve visited many other

Crossroads: Your Saturday morning lecture here at the Abbey, entitled “Books That Are ‘Great’ – Books That Are ‘True,’” was very thoughtprovoking, and we’d love to further explore with you a few of the salient points you made. If we may, let’s begin with this: “It has long been my contention that someone could go to the best (or worst) of the universities, read the ‘greatest’ of books assigned there, listen to the most famous professors, either on-line or in person, and still never come close to inciting that drive to know what is that lies at the heart of our personal existence.” Are you saying here that there are certain inherent flaws in the whole Great Books approach?

colleges during your career. What can Belmont Abbey learn from them and them from us?

Schall: The first thing would be not to worry too much about what others think if you are doing what you want to do and you have your own distinctive approach and character. Academia is full of “comparisons,” usually odious, and “rankings” that tend to obscure the importance of distinctiveness. If survey after survey tells us that most people learn very little in college, the only lesson to be

“We cannot avoid facing the fact that an irregular moral life, personal life, will make us unable to see the truth. Why? Because we will spend ouR mind’s energy looking for reasons to justify what we do.”

For these great qualities and accomplishments and more, Belmont Abbey College bestowed upon Father Schall its most prestigious honorary degree at Commencement this year. And Father Schall was kind enough to bestow upon Crossroads the honor of interviewing him. We hope you enjoy our exchange.

Crossroads: How often have you visited Belmont Abbey College? Father Schall: I have been to the

College three times. The first time was a couple of years ago when Roger Scruton spoke. I had the pleasure of staying in the monastery, and later of visiting with

22 Crossroads

learned is not to do what everyone else is doing. But that takes courage. One seldom thinks of courage as an “intellectual” virtue, but it certainly is the most needed one today if truth is ever again to become central to academia’s purpose.

Crossroads: In a way, you have lived and worked at a “dangerous crossroads” for decades now: the intersection where politics and religion meet. What are, say, the top 3-5 life lessons you’ve learned from living and working at this crossroads? Schall: Actually, ever since I finished my studies I have lived in the middle of Rome, San Francisco, or Washington.

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Schall: Some institutions have “Great Books” programs. It is a sort of uppity criterion. The Catholic tradition is not, as such, a “Great Books” tradition but a “pursuit of truth” tradition. The varying “Great Books” as such usually end up contradicting each other and confusing the readers, especially young readers, though not them alone! This fact does not mean that they need not be read. It means that you have to have some philosophic insight or intelligence as you read them. It is not only truth and good that have moved the world, but also falsity and evil, though these latter never unless they were also seen as somehow good. That is a good doctrine of Aquinas. Crossroads: The phrase what is that you use in your statement above [“... that drive to know what is that lies at the heart of our personal existence”] seems to be fraught with meaning. It is Fall 2010

one that recurs in many places in your work. Could you describe what comes to your mind when you use this phrase— and what perhaps should come to our readers’ minds?

Schall: I suppose if you read Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas enough, you will find yourself using this phrase. Everything that we encounter is a “what” that “is.” There are a lot of “what’s” that are not immediately before us. We even can imagine “what’s” that do not exist except in the mind. But we cannot think “nothing” or “what does not exist” unless we first encounter then think what is. So this is the great defense of the world that is before us but one we did not make. We keep reminding ourselves that, as Aquinas said, “Truth is the conformity of the mind with what is.” We are but small creatures, and we pursue truth and goodness through our encounters with what is, particularly with other persons of our kind who are. Behind this are the flashing words of Exodus, the “I Am” words that define the Godhead. The world is not an illusion. There is it, right before us, standing outside of nothing. We can only be astonished at its being there before us. That, I think, is what should also come before any reader’s mind, namely, that things really are. We did not make them. We know that we did not. Crossroads: Here’s another fascinating statement from your lecture: “I think the country and the world are full of people who realize that they really did not learn many of the important things as a result of their formal education. I do not think that knowing, or better, learning to know, is painless. What I do think, however, is that once we realize that ‘things exist and we can know them,’ to use Gilson’s memorable phrase, we are on our way.” Could you comment a little further on what you meant by this statement or remark?

Schall: There are two parts of that

remark. The first has to do with the growing recognition that we sense in our souls that what we were formally Fall 2010

“The Catholic Church, for its part, has never been intellectually stronger or culturally weaker. The people who do not know this are mainly themselves academics.”

taught did not even begin to account for reality that is actually there before us. So many things were left out, deliberately so, usually. Most modern education does not allow us really to read and confront those human and divine lessons that will explain what we really are and what is our actual purpose and destiny. What I have sought to do is to address this sense that anyone can suddenly realize about what he knows and does not know. My many book lists are designed precisely for such souls. The second part has to do with whether learning is “painless.” The basic things generally require struggle and determination. I am not free to use grammar or Chinese until I have gone through the pains of learning them enough to use them without having to worry about how I am using them. I cited Gilson’s phrase because we can suddenly see this principle operating in our own souls. That is, we realize that we can know a truth, that some things really are wrong or false. Knowing this, we can begin. If we begin by thinking that nothing is true, or can be true, that it is true that nothing is true; then, we not only begin contradicting ourselves, but we have to admit that on such a basis nothing is worth knowing anyhow. If nothing it true, it makes no difference what we do.

Crossroads: The word “things” also

appears to be packed with meaning as it is used in Gilson’s passage above, as well as elsewhere in your work. Could you unpack what you mean by that word a little for our readers as well? That is, are you touching on what your brother Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins was hinting at when he wrote: “There is the dearest freshness deep down things”? “Dappled things”?

Schall: Hopkins was said to have had Scotist leanings, but yes, things. All that is, is one, true, good, beautiful, and a not that. Technically, the word “thing” refers to the whatness of something. This thing is a rabbit. That thing is a chair. The what is issue has to do with whether the chair or the rabbit exists or not. The thing question has to do with what it is. Joseph Pieper says that each existing thing has a two-way street about it. On the one hand, it need not be. On the other hand, it is. All things but God have existences limited by their what, their form. They act in the way their form limits them. A dog acts in a dog way. The great mystery is not why are there so few things, but why so many. Our God is a God of superabundance. Each thing is of itself a nothing. It did not call itself into existence. On the other hand it is a something whose existence and whatness can never be exhausted since its very being is rooted in the Godhead. This is why there is nothing that is not fascinating. Crossroads: In your talk, you zeroed in on what some would say is the central problem of modern higher education, Catholic or otherwise: the seeming inability to teach/impart/inculcate wisdom, eloquence, judgment about what is good, true and beautiful versus what is not. As you’ve put it elsewhere, students graduate knowing the names of “thinkers,” but they do not know themselves how to think. Why do you think so many students graduate without knowing how to think? Schall: Much of this has to do with the level of virtuous (in the Aristotelian sense) or moral life among students and those just out of school. We cannot avoid facing the fact that an irregular moral


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life, personal life, will make us unable to see the truth. Why? Because we will spend out mind’s energy looking for reasons to justify what we do. Jennifer Roback Morse’s book Smart Sex is very good on this issue, as is Aristotle himself. This does not necessarily mean that if we live a good life we will be “smart,” but it does mean that if we do not, we will not use our minds on the proper object of what is. Knowing who said what is quite a useful and important talent. But it is not itself thinking. Thinking always means deciding, judging about the truth of what someone maintains. That capacity is the result of actually philosophizing and not just reading and analyzing a text.

“Catholicism has never despaired if it could reach a few souls who turned around to what is. This is why Belmont Abbey is important.”

Crossroads: At “Schall’s ideal

college,” how would the problem be solved? Or, if you prefer, what would “Schall’s ideal college” be like?

Schall: First, it would not be run by Schall. Ralph McInerny recently remarked on the notion of making “research” the focus of university life. The “undergraduate research institution” is perhaps the greatest monstrosity ever concocted by the academic mind. You cannot “re-search” until you have searched. The research concept is based on the idea that everything that we must know is in the future, on the idea that all that is studied today will be obsolete tomorrow. I constantly admonish my students not to “major” in current events. What was apparently important when one enters college, in that view, will be unimportant four years later. The sheer amount of things that can be known is simply overwhelming. I suppose it always was and always will be. One hates to think that perhaps the world should have fewer things in it than it has just so we could feel less overwhelmed. Of. course, if the world had fewer things in it, it is possible that we would be one of them! The very essence of Socratic philosophy is to know that we do not know everything about anything. But this is not an admonition of despair. It rather suggests a transcendent purpose to our being. 24 Crossroads

Professor Thomas Martin at the University of Nebraska at Kearney has remarked that “A good university can be known only by her students who have gone into the world.” I presume a bad university can be learned in the same way. Rather like Plato’s “city in speech,” my ideal university does not exist except in the minds of those who have attended it. It really is no existing institution. It is rather some books and some essays and lectures that suddenly wake us up. We can present really important material to students and they remain uninterested and clueless. What counts is the Platonic “turning” around, and seeing in their own souls that there is something to know and that they would like to know it. Until this happens, it does not much matter what sort of university we choose to attend.

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Crossroads: Toward the end of your lecture, you cited some interesting assertions Frederick Wilhelmsen made in his essay “Great Books: Enemies of Wisdom?” You introduced these assertions this way: “the superior system of education that existed in Catholic schools … was not ‘taken’ away from them by some totalitarian government or some overzealous department of education. It was given up voluntarily in the name of imitating the ‘elite’ schools. Wilhelmsen is quite blunt about this: ‘Philosophy is not the reading of books; philosophy is not the contemplation of nature; philosophy is not the phenomenology of personal experience; philosophy is not its history. These are indispensable tools aiding a man to come to know the things that are. But that knowing is precisely knowing and nothing else. We once were given this, not too long ago, in the American Catholic academy. With a few honorable exceptions, we are given it no longer. This is why philosophy is no longer talked into existence. It is no longer talked into existence because it is no longer thought into existence.’” There is much to explore in that passage, but let’s start with this question: In your estimation, what made the Catholic education system—as Wilhelmsen described it— superior? Schall: Simply because the Catholic education system was based on the fact that there were things that could be known by philosophic teaching and reflection that were available to anyone with a reason. The history of philosophy is not philosophy, but, as Strauss once said, a collection of “brilliant errors.” I have always been someone to take students to books, but to books that themselves teach one to think, even without a professor present. Good teachers and good students ponder the same things. Professors do not own truth. It is free. And the shock of our existence is that anyone can find it, even someone living in the midst of much error. There is a current in the Aristotelian tradition, taken up by John Paul II in Fides et Ratio and Benedict in Spe Salvi, to the effect that anyone can come to a knowledge of the truth. Fall 2010

Also within the Christian tradition from Paul there is a sense that the “learned” are the ones who are most distant from truth. The conformism that we see in modern universities often make me think of Paul on this score, the foolishness of the wise. Benedict remarked that the philosophy professor is not necessarily some who actually pursues wisdom. I think that Wilhelmsen thought that philosophy could be learned by dialectic and reflection. It was not convertible with knowing its history, however valuable that was. The question is not what did Kant think of evil but Aquinas’ question “Quid sit malum?” A university is where the basic questions are asked and answered. We have surprisingly few around. But not a few smaller Catholic and other institutions are getting the point.

Crossroads: Given the rich inheritance

Catholic colleges had/have to offer, why do you think they watered down or abandoned what made them unique in order to imitate the “elite” schools? (Joseph Bottum, the editor of First Things, said in an interview in our last issue it was because Catholic colleges had an “inferiority complex” – i.e. to put it somewhat crassly, a case of “W.A.S.P. envy.”)

Schall: I was just reading an Aquinas

commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle where he brought up the issue of envy. I have always remarked that envy is the most spiritual, and therefore, most dangerous of the normal vices. “Envy is sadness at someone’s prosperity, which can only happen if the one who envies regards the good of the other as a diminution of his own good,” is how Aquinas put it. Over the years, I have visited a fair number of Catholic colleges, old and new. They often have amazing plants in their own local area. They have become service schools and job training centers. This is partly the question of whether everyone should go to college or whether we should call every academic institution a “university,” as we are now bent on doing. Aristotle in a famous passage from book ten of his Ethics told us not to listen to those who tell us, being mortal, to think of mortal things or being human

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to think of human things. He suggested that to keep mortal and human things in place we needed first to attend to the divine things, however little of them we could know by the power of finite reason. No doubt, much of human life is taken up with human things, economic and political. Attending to such things is what we are. Christians in general have been stung ever since Marx claimed that they deflected man’s interest to the next world and neglected this one. From Rerum Novarum on, we have been working to prove we knew just as much about the world as anyone else. But what we have missed is something Benedict pointed out in Spe Salvi, namely that modern culture is itself shot through with an inner-worldly eschatology that is designed precisely to domesticate Christianity in this world. The older reaches of philosophy always ended up in a sense that this world could not and did not explain the essence of what we are ultimately intended to be. So, it was not just envy that was the problem. It was primarily theologians and philosophers who lost their faith in the real end of man. The schools simply provided fora for them. The recovery of the university involves the recovery of mind. That is something of the soul. “Inferiority complex is a psychological word. I would tend to say that when we lose our faith we quickly lose our reason, but we retain a “ratiocination” that justifies this loss as if it were a good.

Crossroads: At schools like Catholic

University of America, Belmont Abbey College and others, something that might be described as a “Great Reclamation Project” is going on – there’s a conscious attempt to bring back the glories of Catholic higher education, and to thus strengthen and renew our Catholic identity. However, the polarization between “liberal” and “conservative” Catholics and others in academia and elsewhere can make this difficult. How do we in Catholic higher education—liberal, conservative or otherwise— transcend the current contentious environment and effect positive change?

Schall: I congratulate you for asking me simple and easy to answer questions!

One thing to do is pray that Benedict XVI lives as long as Leo XIII. He is the best mind of our time. Much can be done from the top. Indeed, the structure of the Church often seems providentially ordered that this might happen. The reason that the “Great Reclamation Project” has not proceeded further, I think, is no longer mainly a Roman issue, except perhaps in the sense of good judgment on hierarchical appointees. The agenda is out there in public papal documents that are far ahead of anything coming out of the schools, more penetrating, more scholarly even. I no longer think we can speak as if “liberal, conservative, and others” are neutral terms that indicate no fundamental difference in their conception of what Catholicism is. We cannot ask these groups just to stop bickering and get along. They do not agree on fundamentals. And there is always a datur tertium, something that is neither liberal nor conservative. Modern culture, as Tracey Rowland points out, is not neutral. Imitating it is not an indifferent act. It is putting oneself in frame of mind and action that deviates from what is right or true in basic issues. The crucial area is, of course, the life area. Of all areas that are not neutral, this is tops. We are witnessing a concerted effort, legally and culturally, to make the practice of basic Christianity impossible. We are shooting for a Christianity that will conform. And many of our leading and most publicly known “leaders,” are on the side of the culture, not the truth of the faith. We are blind if we do not see that. Actually, I do not think traditional Catholic or religious institutions that have allowed themselves to be dominated by the culture can ever reform themselves. The most obvious thing is to begin new institutions, perhaps the on-line things of Father Spitzer or of Professor Peter Redpath is the way to go. The computer and the cell phone may be the next university campus, though I am not enthusiastic about it. But I can see that it might work for many. But bishops need to be bishops in the area of the academic life in their areas. Unlike other countries, we have had a largely canon law episcopate and not a philosophic or theological one. But


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bishops need to be men of action. It is no accident that Benedict is an admirer of Augustine, not to mention Bonaventure.

Crossroads: How do we continue to strengthen our Catholic identity in an uncompromising yet welcoming way (i.e., so that people from different faith backgrounds are not made to feel like “the other”)? Schall: If I go to a Hindu or Muslim university will their prime concern be about my “feelings”? I think that we should be what we are. If anyone wants to attend our institution, they do so on our, not their, terms. Why would a non-Catholic want to come to what is supposed to be a Catholic University and find that it is just like every place else? The word “welcoming” has come to be too often a substitute for “relativism.” At what point do we stop “welcoming” everyone? If all the commandments and the essentials of the natural law are in practice or explicitly denied, do we still “welcome” everyone? It strikes me that such tolerance theory has come to mean that there are no standards. No one wants to go to a place with no standards unless that is what they are looking for. Crossroads: Is part of the answer bringing a kind of Chestertonian playfulness to our work in education? [If we Catholics have the “fullness of the Truth,” why do we often seem to exude “the halfness of the joy,” both in the liturgy and in too many places in the academy? “Catholics don’t celebrate their religion, they mourn it,” as one wag put it.] Or perhaps cultivating the “madness” of Christian intelligence that you describe at the beginning of your new book, The Mind That Is Catholic? Schall: It is often said that the one thing that a liberal cannot do is laugh at himself. I think Chesterton is the sanest man ever. But his playfulness requires a certain contentment with reality that is often lacking. Our problem is not only or principally ourselves. We cannot often enough grasp the fact that there are people, many people, who do not want 26 Crossroads

to know the truth. We cover this over by suspecting that it is our fault. Catholics do not “celebrate” their religion; they celebrate the Mass. Religion is a natural thing; the Mass is from the Lord. Christian intelligence appears mad because it is sane. It is the middle. It is the measure of how we ought to live and act and believe. The suspicion that such a position is true forces people not to accept it in advance since they know that it requires assent in the honest man.

an abiding intellectual search.” What does the Catholic mind have to be unsettled about?

Schall: The Catholic mind is the least closed of any mind. It is a defect in the Catholic mind to neglect anything that is. It is more properly “Catholic” to question everything. Not to question at all is specifically un-Catholic. The whole structure of Aquinas is to teach us to question, but also to answer. The

“The Catholic mind is the least closed of any mind. It is a defect in the Catholic mind to neglect anything that is. It is more properly ‘Catholic’ to question everything. Not to question at all is specifically un-Catholic.” For the Greeks, it was not possible in a democracy to tell the difference between a fool and a wise man because they could not tell the difference. Christian madness is like this. To those who have disordered souls, it will appear as mad. It will also be the measure of truth.

Crossroads: Some seem to have the perception that the Catholic mind is a closed mind; that to be faithfully Catholic is to be unquestioningly, submissively accepting of many “settled truths.” “To be Catholic, you have to check your brain at the door,” is a frequently leveled charge. “But we outside of your faith,” some say, “are free to think for ourselves.” However, in The Mind That Is Catholic, you write: “[Reason] at its best…leaves us with a certain longing, a certain unsettlement,

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modern mind wants questions, but not answers. This latter is the root of its opposition to Catholicism. No Catholic has ever, to use your expression, checked his brains and remained a Catholic. The very proposition that we should do so is a denial of the essence of the Catholic mind. When I say that reason leaves us with a certain longing, this refers to the basic truth that our minds are finite. We can never exhaust anything we know, however tiny or insignificant. All loves lead us to what is beyond our love. All knowledge leads us to what is beyond what we know from what is before us. “What does the Catholic mind have to be unsettled about?” The most famous line in all of Catholicism is probably that of Augustine, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” This is what we Fall 2010

are unsettled about. We have yet arrived in the City of God and we know it with every move of our being.

Crossroads: You also write in your new book that “the Catholic mind is open to all things.” Is it also “tolerant” of all things? Schall: It is open to all that is. To be tolerant of all things is to abdicate one’s mind. To be tolerant of all things is a denial of any objective difference between good and evil. We may “tolerate” the sinner, provided that does not involve us in the affirmation that his sin is really a virtue. This is what the modern mind is often about, to affirm that what is wrong is right. We tolerated slavery for a long time. We no longer do so. We tolerated smoking for a long time. We no longer do so. We did not tolerate sodomy or divorce for a long time. We now do so. Toleration theory can be a practical or a theoretical thing. As a theoretical thing, it is little less than relativism that says that nothing is true. As a practical thing, we allow certain things lest we get something worse. That things can get worse while they seemingly are getting better is the definition of the modern age. Crossroads: There seems to be a certain restlessness or unsettlement among some educators at elite schools about their current model. Witness recent books like Harvard professor Harry Lewis’s Excellence Without a Soul: How a Great University Forgot Education, or Anthony Kronman of Yale’s Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life. Is a basic lack of purpose the cause of the unsettlement? Schall: Another cause is their cost. Universities routinely up their tuition. They all are bloated bureaucracies matched only by the federal and state governments. Actually, the real fear may be coming from the University of Phoenix and other on-line universities. But there is no doubt that universities all vote 90% the same way. There is really very little intellectual diversity Fall 2010

in universities. They are closed shops, to borrow a union phrase. If you do not hire the right faculty from the right places, who publish in the right journals and presses, with the right recommendations, you are not a serious scholar. In the meantime, the pursuit of truth goes by the wayside. The meaning of life is indeed about the last thing you will find really discussed in universities. And “excellence without a soul” is a pretty good way to put it. Allan Bloom said that our students have “flat souls.” That is right. Nothing moves because nothing is true or serious. Lives are lived because there is no truth to measure them. The real mystery is not that some universities are restless, but why they all are not. The Catholic universities should be at the top of this list. But they are waiting to see what the mainliners do. ’Tis a pity, really.

No college like Belmont Abbey will fill the vacuum in American education. What it can do is to teach the truth to those who present themselves there. They will need to be charmed and directed. Catholicism has never despaired if it could reach a few souls who turned around to what is. This is why Belmont Abbey is important.

Crossroads: So might this not

Jesuit was designed to give a man time and opportunity. He was left free to pursue what was true, if he would. This demanded a structure of religious life that encouraged large amounts of time and an atmosphere of scholarship and reflection. But it was also based on the idea that truth is to be communicated, presented. I have had the good fortune to live in the very heart of three great cities for much of my academic life—Rome, San Francisco, and Washington. My earlier studies were in rather out of the way places, but they were actually well designed to give a man the freedom he needed to figure things out, if he would. Yes, I do think that there is a sense of delight and playfulness in reality. We are created for and in joy, no doubt of it. Chesterton, for whom I have the greatest admiration, was once accused of not being taken seriously because he was funny. He responded that the opposite of funny was not serious but “not funny.” He saw no reason why truth was less truthful if it were presented in an amusing way than if it is presented in a solemn way. I would like to be as delightful as Chesterton or Boswell or Wodehouse. But I do find delight in things and I hope that comes across. We are created in and destined for joy, even the Cross.

represent an opportune moment for colleges like Belmont Abbey to, in our own humble Benedictine way, fill a vacuum in American education? In short, shouldn’t this be a time of great hope for a college like ours?

Schall: The Benedictine monks have been around for a long time. They go back to the very foundation of the West. They were, as I think Christopher Dawson said, the inheritors of the classic Greek city-state. No college will have a future unless it has a present. That present has to do with who is hired, what is taught, what is learned. Most universities have disordered curricula because their administrators and faculty have disordered souls. We should not forget that what is disordered can be immensely attractive. We can pine for the fleshpots of Egypt, but also for those of Harvard and Berkeley and Cambridge and the Sorbonne. I do not think that if a school is really teaching the truth that it will be “recognized.” Truth is a lonely road. I am fond of saying that Catholicism has never been intellectually stronger but culturally weaker. But this weakness is selfimposed. There is nothing so difficult as intellectual courage. Crossroads

Crossroads: Your remarkable output of books and essays shows a very fertile mind at work and a great work ethic; but also a terrific spirit of bonhomie. To what do you attribute your creativity, your productivity, and your sense of playfulness? Might it have something to do with the fact that you have always lived at the crossroads where reason and revelation intersect and that is a very potent “power source”? Schall: Well, the religious life of a

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From aspiring monk to star student-athlete to M.D to Emmy Award-winning TV journalist – Dr. Kevin Soden ’67 has always had

Winning PREscription For Success A

By Susan Shackelford

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r. Kevin Soden writes books and travels around the country as a corporate medical director and host of two award-winning television shows on health. Previously, he was a longtime emergency room physician, director of student health services at UNC-Charlotte and the founder of the oldest and largest physician-owned managed care practice in Charlotte. His busy family life involves keeping up with three grown daughters as well as being active in the lives of his wife Meg and their two daughters, ages 11 and 12.

Yet, there’s a ribbon of influence that runs through Soden’s life, dating back to when he attended high school in Richmond, Va. On a recent day at Charlotte’s Olde Providence Racquet Club, the ribbon was in full view, so to speak. Soden, who turned 65 in July, ambled onto the tennis court wearing a gray T-shirt with blocky red letters saying, “Belmont Abbey Baseball.” If you ask, he’ll tell you the shirt reflects the great experience he had playing baseball at the College — but that the overall education had the most leavening effect on his life. Here is his story. Soden moved from Long Island, N.Y. to Richmond with his family when he was three. By the time he was a teenager he wanted to be a monk. The same group of Benedictine monks who run Belmont Abbey ran his Catholic high school. Soden was so impressed by how the monks helped others that he chose Belmont Abbey to follow in their tradition, turning down scholarship offers from Duke and Virginia. But after a year or so at the College, Soden realized he wasn’t well suited to the monastic life. He was interested in playing Fall 2010

sports, dating women and wasn’t emotionally ready. “It was my level of maturity; I had some growing up to do,” he says. So Soden focused on majoring in history and participating in athletics. He was an all-district pitcher on the baseball team and played first base and outfield as well. He played for the Crusaders in the mid-1960s when Coach Ted Crunkleton built the team into a national force on the smallcollege level, an experience Soden still savors. “It was great to be a part of it,” he says. Crunkleton ranks Soden among the top pitchers in his 12 years at the Abbey. “He was very similar to (former pro pitcher) Greg Maddux — he could place the ball and change the speed of the ball,” Crunkleton says. “And he was a tremendous leader and competitor.” Teammate Bob Healy remembers Soden’s zeal for winning and personal improvement. “He was relentless,” recalls Healy, who was Belmont Abbey’s Alumnus of the Year in 2006. “There was never a point where he thought you’d lost until the game was over. He’s a very competitive person and a compelling athlete. He always worked hard, literally constantly; even though, he already had good skills.” Crossroads

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In basketball, Soden played guard for one season under Coach Al McGuire. Leg injuries ended his playing days and led him to help with the jayvee team. Soden also joined the fledgling soccer program as a junior and became an All-American goalkeeper on the school’s national championship team. “Father Bertrand, an English monk, turned me into a goalie,” Soden remembers. The education at the Abbey also made a big impression on him. “There were so many good people to talk to about leading a good life and doing the right thing by people,” Soden says. “It was the little things. People would talk to each other. It was the personal touch. That has made the Abbey great.” When Soden graduated from the Abbey in 1967, it was evident that he believed in the education he had received. He worked two years as a recruiter for the college. During that time, he also earned a master’s degree in personnel administration from Florida State and began to think long term about his career. Friends in medical school encouraged him to become a doctor, but not until he took some science courses and earned A’s did he seriously consider it. “I gained confidence in my ability,” he says. Soden’s decision to go into medicine didn’t surprise his friend Healy. “He had the moral compass, was academically gifted and had the spiritual values, including compassion,” Healy says. Soden took his medical-school prerequisites over one year at the Abbey and worked in the Dean of Students office in charge of residence halls. In 1970, he headed to the University of Florida, where later he would be among the inaugural inductees into the medical school’s Wall of Fame. He chose to come to Charlotte for his residency in the family medicine program at Carolinas Medical Center (CMC), considered one of the top three such programs in the country at the time, Soden says. “That’s where I learned to how to care for people day to day,” he says. But after his residency, he decided to become an emergencyroom physician at CMC rather than go into private practice. “The idea of being in an office nine to five didn’t appeal to me,” he says. “The excitement of never knowing what is going to come through door did. It’s like athletics. You’re constantly adjusting. One minute you may be handling a heart-attack victim, the next minute delivering a baby.” Though Soden would go on to work in emergency medicine for 23 years, his medical horizons were always wider. He served as director of student health at UNC Charlotte from 1978 to 1982; became medical director for manufacturer Celanese in 1982; founded the physician-owned preferred provider organization, Health Care Savings, in 1984; and obtained a master’s degree in public health from the University of Wisconsin in 2001. Today he is the worldwide corporate medical director for Texas Instruments and Cardinal Health. But many people in the Charlotte region — and nationally — know Soden from television. In 1982, he responded to a newspaper ad looking for someone to do health stories at the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, WBTV. “I thought it would be fun to do something new and different,” says Soden, who went on to do spots three times a week over nearly eight years. Audiences liked him. He later did similar reports in the 1990s for the NBC News Channel and appeared regularly on NBC’s Today Show. Today he hosts two health-related shows targeted at seniors and aging Baby Boomers, pro30 Crossroads

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duced by the Retirement Living Television (RLTV). The shows can be seen in Comcast cable markets as well as on Verizon FIOS television. In 2009, he won an International Freddie Award, Cine Award and a regional Emmy award for “Whole Body Health,” a spin-off of the main show he hosts, “Healthline.” In 2008, he won another regional Emmy for “best host” for “Whole Body Health” and three Tellys for “Heathline.” An hour-long documentary he hosted as part of the Healthline series, “Polio Revisited,” also won recognition in 2008 — a regional Emmy for best historical documentary and the Award in Excellence in Health Care Journalism from the Association of Health Care Journalists. Currently, Soden is in promising talks with Reuters to do health features and a Public Broadcasting System show that would begin airing in early 2011. David Wasser, executive producer for “Heathline” and “Whole Body Health,” notes Soden impressed him from the get-go. He stood out at the audition to host Healthline. The sample script “was purposely written to trip you up a bit if you’re not careful,” Wasser recalls. “I knew we were going to crank out a lot of episodes, and I needed someone who was going to empathize with the audience. Kevin not only did that, but he ad-libbed at one point when the script mentioned knee issues. He said, ‘So if you have bad knees like I do…’ He immediately personalized the story and drew you in. No one else did that.” On the shows, Soden is deft at interviewing guest doctors. “If the doctor gets too technical, Kevin can get them to reframe their argument in layman’s term,” he says. He also excels on the set. “Kevin is very gracious,” Wasser continues. “The tone he sets is one of humor, humility and grace under pressure. You feel like you’re working with a class act and that you’re going to work hard and play hard.” Apart from TV, Soden has authored or been a major contributor to four books, two with strong consumer components: “Special Treatment: How to Get the Same High-Quality Health Care Your Doctor Gets” and “The Art of Medicine: What Every Doctor & Patient Should Know.” As of late April, he was seeking a publisher for his most recent book, “Women, Stress and Happiness: 10 Steps to Having it All and Saving Your Life.” The book features individual chapters on famous, successful women — such as author Mary Higgins Clark, Fall 2010

former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala and TV personality Paula Zahn, to name a few — and how they have handled the many roles in their lives. Soden says he wrote the book primarily for his youngest daughters so they would understand the importance of taking charge of their lives and happiness. “Women are the caretakers of the world, especially in families,” he explains. “But they often really neglect themselves in the process, which creates illness and stress. I wanted to talk to some of the heroes, women who have done this well.” At Belmont Abbey, Soden is on the alumni Wall of Fame and serves on the school’s Board of Trustees. He also helps the College in many ways. Within the last six months alone, he appeared in a College-sponsored video as well as wrote an article for the school’s electronic newsletter on the H1N1 swine flu. He says he gives back to the school because it made such a difference in his life and he wants to help continue that tradition. Furthermore, he adds, “It’s the right thing to do.” “We all need to give back to our communities and to organizations that make a difference in people’s lives — Belmont Abbey does this,” he says. “Educating young people and providing them a strong set of ethics and values in the process is the key to the future of this country. The Abbey has done this for years as you can tell by looking at its graduates and all they have accomplished in so many different professions. The College does it with integrity and with a compassion for people. That’s why I’m proud to be part of the Abbey family.” Crossroads

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Wherever he goes, TV executive Jim Babb ’59

Channels 32 Crossroads

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Excellence By Susan Shackelford

Fall 2010


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ames G. “Jim” Babb just wanted to finish his college degree when he enrolled at Belmont Abbey in the late 1950s. But the experience turned out to forever shape the life of a man who would become a top Charlotte civic leader and successful television executive. Babb chose Belmont Abbey as much for convenience as anything else. Only a short time out of the Army, he was working at WBTV writing press releases to promote the television station and its programs. The College’s schedule allowed him to attend classes in the morning and then work eight hours at WBTV. “It was a perfect opportunity, but it was a real grind,” he says. Nonetheless, he fondly remembers his time on campus. He volunteered to write press releases on sports teams and enjoyed his professors. “I owe a lot to Father Matthew, one of my English teachers, and to Father John Oetgen. He was an amazing man; he brought learning alive,” Babb says. Babb also recalls evening strolls with Father Cuthbert E. Allen, the school’s president. “Since I was Catholic, I had to have a theology course to graduate, so Father Cuthbert set up a special oneperson class for me,” Babb says. “He taught me late in the afternoons after his dinner when we walked the campus. It was a special ‘class’ for me.” Babb learned “that a life that wasn’t spiritually centered was merely an existence and not a complete life,” he recalls. All the monks but especially Father Cuthbert “enlarged my thinking in this regard and sharpened my focus on the fact that ‘life’ was not simply about making a living but about how you lived — service to others, respect for others, a focus on others.” He also realized “that getting a degree was not in and of itself an education, but a step in the process of becoming educated — and that hard work in and of itself was rewarding,” Babb continues. “The monks were perfect role models for this way of thinking.” Babb has never been a stranger to hard work. Today, at age 78, he is still going strong as executive vice president of Bahakel Communications in Charlotte. The company owns the Fox affiliate in Charlotte, WCCB (Channel

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“Jim is one of the most successful people in the fullest meaning of the term. He does good work and he makes good things happen.” – Jack Claiborne

18), and a host of other radio and TV stations, primarily in the South and Midwest. Babb’s main concession to slowing down is taking Fridays off whenever possible. He and his wife Mary Lou, who celebrate their 51st anniversary in October, enjoy spending time with their five grown children and six grandchildren. They also savor getaways to their home in Linville, N.C., where Jim’s likes walking, golfing and fishing. Growing up, though, his life was a far cry from casting in a cool mountain stream. It’s when he first learned about hard work and perseverance. Born in New York City, Babb moved to Charlotte with his family when he was fouryears old. The move came when his dad’s employer, the Associated Press, transferred him to Charlotte. The family attended St. Peter’s Catholic Church, started by the same monks who founded Belmont Abbey. “My mother was Catholic, and we always went to Mass,” Babb recalls. An enterprising youngster, he earned money delivering milk for the father of future evangelist Billy Graham. At old Central High School, he dabbled in journalism as a sports correspondent and

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played quarterback and linebacker on the football team. “Jim was small and slight, but he was one of those guys who hung in there like a terrier,” says friend Jack Claiborne. “There was something about him as a high school boy, a football player and a boy sitting on the back of a milk truck that said, ‘This guy is indomitable — he’s not going to be overwhelmed by anything,’” Claiborne adds. “He’s a got a reserve of energy and goodwill that’s deep, a deep resilience.” When his father came down with lung cancer and the family finances became shaky, Babb deliberately failed a course his senior year to get another shot at landing a college scholarship to play football. “Actually, I didn’t have to work too very hard to fail geometry,” says Babb, who had two younger siblings. The tactic worked. He won a football scholarship to Newberry College, where he played quarterback and safety until injuring his back and giving up the game after one season. “The treatment, other than very crude and dangerous surgery, was wearing a ‘corset’ and sleeping with a board under a very thin mattress,” Babb recalls. He transferred to UNC Chapel Hill, where he worked a 40-hour-a-week Fall 2010

job in the school’s public information office while attending school full time. With his father still ill, his money ran out after two years. He enlisted in the Army during the Korean War and went to the Fort Jackson induction center in South Carolina. His ability to type landed him a job preparing documents for a colonel. A chance meeting with another officer got him an even better job, handling sports information for Fort Jackson. “Someone said to me, ‘Your dad must have a lot of influence,’” Babb remembers with a laugh. “It was pure luck.” After two years in the service, Babb returned to Charlotte in 1955 with his eye on getting a sports-writing job at The Charlotte Observer. “I was downtown on my way to the Observer when I ran into my friend Julian Massie, who worked for WBTV. He said, ‘Hey, Jim, there is a job at WBTV; you need to call them right now,’” Babb remembers. And he did. He found out that the position was writing press releases and that it paid $10 a week more than the one at The Observer ($65 a week vs. $55 a week). He took it. Babb soon used his GI educational benefit to take a few courses at Charlotte College (now UNC Charlotte) and then enrolled at Belmont Abbey. He majored in business and minored in English, graduating eight years after he finished high school. “I tell kids today that it’s never too late to earn a degree,” Babb says. Not long before graduating from the Abbey in 1959, Babb still thought sports writing would be his career. But the general manager of WBT Radio stopped him one day and asked him about selling advertising for the radio station, something he’d never considered. “I liked the idea of making a little more money, and I could see if I did it well, I would have an even bigger paycheck,” Babb says. So he took the job and rose through the sales side of the operation, first with the radio station and then with the TV station starting in 1966. At WBTV, he was general sales manager, vice president for television and general manager and executive vice president. In 1988, Jefferson-Pilot Communications, the parent company, named him president and CEO of its television and radio operations. Fall 2010

His gift for sales and leadership like I walked into the room with a rock drove his rise. “He is the best positive star. Everyone wants to talk to Jim. He is a motivator I have ever known,” says statesman and a star.” John Hutchinson, who has worked with Babb is also well known in civic affairs. Babb since the late 1960s and is senior He’s served in such high-profile positions vice president of television for Bahakel as the trustee boards of the UNC Board Communications. “It was never coercive. of Governors, UNC Charlotte and the He loved to catch somebody doing right Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts & Science. and reward them. Jim would provide But he also takes on less glamorous roles. what a person needed and prove he knew “Jim does so many things that people don’t you personally.” know about,” says Claiborne, a retired When Hutchinson got married, editor at The Charlotte Observer. “Whenever Babb surprised him and his bride with Charlotte wanted to have a bond issue a bouquet of red roses in their hotel for schools, roads, parks or other public room. Recently, on their 35th wedding projects, Jim would always serve on, or anniversary, he and his wife went to lead, the committee to raise the money for a special dinner, asked for the check the chamber (of commerce) to lead the and heard, “Oh, sir, this has already campaign. He did it over and over again.” been taken care of by Jim Babb.” Such generosity also extends to those down on their luck. “If someone is out of work, Jim is like an employment agency,” says Hutchinson, also noting that he’s seen Babb pay bills for a person in need. “That goes on all the time,” Hutchinson says. By 1991, Babb left Jefferson-Pilot to run a struggling broadcast operation based in Providence, R.I., Outlet Communications. The stock was $2 ½ per share when he took over and $43 ¼ when he sold Outlet and its three television stations to NBC five years later. He commuted from Charlotte while running Outlet and after its sale, opened Babb Communications. He worked as a consultant to Bahakel Communications before the company Babb as an Abbey senior, 1959 hired him in the early 2000s. As of May 2010, Bahakel owned 10 radio stations across three markets (Waterloo, Babb has also been a major supporter Iowa; Colorado Springs, Colo. and of Belmont Abbey. He’s served on the Chattanooga, Tenn.) and five television trustee board on two occasions and is a stations, one each in Jackson, Tenn., recipient of the school’s “Distinguished Montgomery, Ala., Columbia, S.C., Alumnus Award.” He and wife Mary Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Charlotte. Lou are also co-recipients of college’s Not surprising, perhaps, Babb has “Grace Award” for community service. been an industry leader. A former In 1991, he was the first recipient of chairman of the television board and a the Col. Francis J. Beatty Distinguished member of the board of the National Layman Award, given by the Catholic Association of Broadcasters, Babb serves Diocese of Charlotte. on the CBS affiliate board and chairs its “I once told Jim this and I would still government relations committee. “When say this to him now,” Claiborne says. “He I go to these national industry meetings is one of the most successful people in the with him, there might be several hundred fullest meaning of the term. He makes broadcast owners and managers in a friends, he does good things, he does good room,” Hutchinson says. “It’s sometimes work and he makes good things happen.” a little disarming to accompany Jim. It’s Father Cuthbert would be proud. Crossroads

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Move over boys, here comes one smart, determined competitor

Heck on

Wheels By Susan Shackelford

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The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Fall 2010

Fall 2010


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aitlin Shaw, a sophomore in the Abbey’s motorsports program, doesn’t like just studying the ins and outs of racing. She likes living it. One day she hopes to drive in stock-car racing’s premier series, the Sprint Cup. “I would love it,” she says. Driving fast cars is nothing new to Shaw, who turned 21 in August. As a youngster, she excelled in driving small open-wheel cars. When she got her first taste of big-league racing last year in the NASCAR truck series, she did well there, too. Her goal was to merely complete the AAA Insurance 200 near Indianapolis — which she easily did. Driving the #1 Toyota Tundra for Red Horse Racing, she started 32nd out of 33 cars but finished a respectable 24th. “It was a great learning experience,” she says. “I wanted to be conservative and just finish — to get used to the truck and build my confidence.” Shaw now hopes to secure sponsorships for several 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts and eventually make her way to the Sprint Cup circuit. Does she have a reasonable chance of reaching the top level? Sure, says Humpy Wheeler, chairman of The Wheeler Group, retired president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway and a mover and shaker in establishing Belmont Abbey’s motorsports program. “Caitlin certainly is a member of the ‘No Fear’ group,” he says. “Not only because she is taking on NASCAR’s tough truck series, but a female at that. Can you imagine a female trying to make the (Carolina) Panthers at wide receiver? “Winning is almost everything,” Wheeler continues. “A lot of female drivers are, like they say in Caitlin’s native New Mexico, ‘All hat and no boots.’ NASCAR is an interesting sport. On the outside it looks all ‘smile, friendly and pat you on the back.’ But when that green flag falls, it turns into a vicious competition between 3,400-pound beasts (truck series) who give no quarter and have but one goal, and this is to win. If you get in the way of these 200-mileper-hour Clydesdales, they will show no mercy nor ask your gender.

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“She has been racing a long time, and she has proven she can win on short tracks. She has a good personality and looks...and she shows a lot of natural ability.” – NASCAR legend Humpy Wheeler

“Can she take on all this testosterone?” Wheeler asks. He’s been impressed so far. “She has been racing a long time, and she has proven she can win on the short tracks. She has a good personality and looks, which will help with a sponsor; and she shows a lot of natural ability. And last but not least, she is from the home of perhaps the greatest family in racing: the Unser brothers, who combined to win over 10 Indy races and races in

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literally every other sanctioning body in America…” Shaw also has an even temperament and a highly competitive nature, a great combination for racing. “She is very level headed and doesn’t really get angry or excited,” says her mother Leslie. “If someone pushes her around on the track, she will just push back.” Born and reared in Albuquerque, N.M., Shaw began racing quarter midget cars at age nine. While restoring Fall 2010

a 1950s quarter midget with her dad, she asked what it was like to race. “It would be more fun to drive than to work on cars,” she concluded. Quarter midgets are where many youngsters start racing. The cars look like fancy go-carts with safety bars running over the top. They have engines of approximately four horsepower and get their name from being about a quarter of the size of a midget race car. Initially Caitlin’s mother Leslie feared for her safety, but soon relented when she saw her daughter’s desire. “‘Caitie, you don’t want to do this, do you?’” Leslie recalls saying the first time she accompanied her daughter in a quarter midget. “‘No, I want to do it, but you scared me,’ Caitie said. I was giving her the fear of driving; she really liked it.” Her father Kelly was OK. A retired auto parts manager, he had raced open-wheeled cars at dirt tracks until Caitlin was three. Caitlin practiced driving among pylons in a parking lot at the University of New Mexico and then showed promise in her first quarter-midget race, in Phoenix. “She led almost every lap and came in second — we were ecstatic,” her dad says. “She was so upset she didn’t win; she was so competitive. We had never seen that in her before.” She won her next race in Colorado, stunning many at the track. “Nobody could believe that little girl was running that strong that young,” her dad says. Early on, she understood a race car and its limitations. “She was struggling one time in a Phoenix race, and as her dad and the guy who worked on the car, I felt I had done my job,” Kelly remembers. “‘You just need to drive that thing harder,’” I said, but she said, ‘No, I don’t think so.’” So he asked another youngster to drive the car and give him feedback. “He was 3/10 (of a second) slower, and told me the car was junk. That told me I needed to start listening to her, and she had only been racing less than six months.” After rolling up wins in quarter midgets for over four years, she progressed to what are essentially bigger versions of the same vehicles. She Fall 2010

began running mini-sprints (about 120 horsepower) when she was 14 and midgets (400 horsepower) when she was 15. Her last three summers in high school, she and her dad drove to tracks all over the country in a 24-foot motor home, pulling her midget race car on a trailer. They spent the night in Wal-Mart parking lots and at racetracks, rest areas and truck stops. “We ate a lot of frozen dinners, and I slept on a bed above the driver’s seat,” she recalls, “but the racing was great.”

“She is very level headed. If someone pushes her around on the track, she will just push back.” – Leslie Shaw

The first summer she ran more than 30 races in eight or more states and had 15 finishes in the Top 10. “She worked on the car with me and learned tons about it — we were the pit crew,” Kelly says. “I was amazed that she was never wishing she was doing something else.” She even gave up club soccer, which she played as a wing forward or wing defender and could have played in college. “I decided to focus on racing because I felt I had a better chance at a career,” Shaw says. Beyond college, women’s soccer consists of Olympic-related play and a small pro league. Crossroads

At a California race the August before her senior year, Shaw heard about the Belmont Abbey motorsports program from a fellow midget-car driver, Jace Maier. She was happy to find a college where she could study the field she was interested in and pursue racing opportunities in the heart of NASCAR country. But her mom Leslie was shocked her daughter wanted to go move across the country to go to school. “It broke my heart and I didn’t believe her,” says Leslie, who sells commercial insurance in Albuquerque. Leslie also wondered how they were going to pay for it. Caitlin could go to the University of New Mexico at little-to-no cost because of the state education lottery. Neither Caitlin nor her parents visited the Abbey campus, but Caitlin cobbled together loans and money from her parents and the Abbey to make it work. “She was determined; there wasn’t much I could do to stop her,” Leslie recalls. “I’m amazed. I’m not sure where all that (determination) comes from.” Plus, the more Leslie heard about the Abbey, the more satisfied she became. “It’s a small Catholic school, and I really loved it,” she says. Both she and Caitlin are Catholic. Currently Caitlin is working toward a concentration in motorsports marketing. She chose that over motorsports management after taking Pat Wood’s motorsports marketing class in the fall of 2009. “He brought in a lot of guest speakers and has helped in attaining internships,” she says. “We had ‘The Power of Who’ as our textbook, and I still refer back to it often. It was a book not so much about motorsports but about life.” She is also interning at Michael Waltrip Racing in its marketing department and is a co-host on Race2Win radio ( She also writes occasionally for London-based online magazine, girlracer ( Motorsports marketing will be her fallback if driving doesn’t pan out, but she sure hopes it does. “Competing in a race car is such an adrenaline rush — it’s intense,” she says. “The competition and strategy that goes into each pass on the track is what makes me love the sport.” The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College



Fifth Former Abbey Student In Three Years Ordained A Priest


ather Richard Sutter, L.C., Class of 1991, was ordained a priest this past December 12 at the Basilica of Saint Paul in Rome. On January 12, 2010, he returned to Belmont Abbey to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Abbey Basilica, in gratitude for the encouragement and nurturing he received for his vocation while he was a student at the Abbey. Sutter’s father, Deacon Lloyd Sutter (pictured at right), assisted his son in the celebration, and the Basilica was packed with well-wishers from the Abbey community. Father Sutter is the fifth former Abbey student to be ordained a priest in the last three years. The other four are Father Richard DeClue ’02, Father Patrick Toole, Father Patrick Cahill, and Father Robert Williams, O.F.M. Cap., ’05.

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Fall 2010


Abbey Makes Room For Room At The Inn


he nation’s first maternity and aftercare facility exclusively for college students could break ground next year. Room at the Inn, a Charlotte-based Catholic nonprofit that helps pregnant women in need, has raised $2 million of the $3 million needed to build the home and run the operations when it starts up, said Executive Director Jeannie Wray. The facility will be housed on four acres of land donated by the Benedictine monks at Belmont Abbey, said Abbot Placid Solari. The group hopes to raise the needed funds by the end of the year and start construction at the first of 2011, Wray said. “We will not break ground until we have the funds to do the project,” Wray said. “We know that this is an important project, and we are working hard to make it happen.” The building will be located on the northern end of Abbey property, near the cemetery and the dorms at Belmont Abbey College, Solari said. The Abbey opted to get involved in the project to “make a concrete step” in helping women when they face an unexpected pregnancy. “It’s trying to make single mothers successful,” Solari said. The 10,000-square-foot home will have space for both pregnant women and new mothers, Wray said. The plan calls for two residential wings that will

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accommodate 15 mothers, 15 infants and 8 toddlers; a private bedroom and bathroom for each mother and common areas like a kitchen, dining room and laundry room. Administrative and counseling offices, and residential managers’ quarters also will be on site. “There is not a facility currently in existence that focuses on college women and their specific needs,” Wray said. “Studies show that college women are most likely to feel that they have to have an abortion.” Studies also showed that women didn’t feel they had adequate resources to be able to finish their education. Room at the Inn leaders believed they could serve those women. “Just because they’re in college doesn’t mean they’re not in need,” Wray said. “They do need support, and they do need our help.” Room at the Inn would continue to have its business office, prenatal counseling and extended aftercare and outreach programs at its Charlotte location. (The drawing below depicts how Room at the Inn, a Charlotte-based Catholic nonprofit that helps pregnant women in need, may look after the project is completed. The land for the facility was donated by the Benedictine monks at Belmont Abbey.) Permission to reprint this story granted by the author, Amanda Memrick, staff writer with The Gaston Gazette. www.


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In Memoriam: Father Raymond Geyer, O.S.B. 1923-2009 By Anthony De Cristofaro ’79

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Laybrother of the Society of Jesus By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Honour is flashed off exploit, so we say; And those strokes once that gashed flesh or galled shield Should tongue that time now, trumpet now that field, And, on the fighter, forge his glorious day. On Christ they do and on the martyr may; But be the war within, the brand we wield Unseen, the heroic breast not outward-steeled,


e’ve lost an important gardener. Fr. Raymond Geyer, O.S.B. has passed away. He was a priest for more than six decades and celebrated the 65th anniversary of his monastic profession to Belmont Abbey in November 2008. When I met Fr. Raymond in 1975, he was director of admissions for Belmont Abbey College. Of all the schools to which I had applied, Belmont Abbey College was the farthest from home. So my father and I drove 12 hours south from New Jersey to see the campus and get a feel for the school and its people. Arriving after 6 p.m., we knocked on the door of the Administration Building and the smiling Fr. Raymond greeted us and welcomed us to campus with signature Benedictine hospitality rivaling that immortalized by Hopkins in the poetic tribute to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez. For all the years I knew Fr. Raymond since that first encounter, rarely did I ever encounter the man when that ever-present smile was not on his face. The sight of the next person he would meet would always cause his eyes to dance with delight. Fr. Raymond invited us to dinner at the monastery but we told him that we had already eaten. So he got us some fresh bed linens and drove us over to a dorm where a vacant room was provided to us at no charge. After Fr. Raymond made us comfortable, he went back to whatever business we had pulled him away from until the next morning when we got the campus tour. Back then, little did I realize the psychology of the campus tour at Belmont Abbey. From the Admissions Office, we were ducked out the back door to the Admin Building, across a brick 42 Crossroads

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Earth hears no hurtle then from fiercest fray. Yet God (that hews mountain and continent, Earth, all, out; who, with trickling increment, Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more) Could crowd career with conquest while there went Those years and years by of world without event That in Majorca Alfonso watched the door. walkway. Fr. Raymond, of course, interjected that the bricks were hand-made by the original monks. My father thought I could use a few lessons in brick making and walkway paving I am sure. Then we were only steps away from the Abbey Cathedral – yes, it was a full cathedral at the time. In we went to see the famous stained glass windows and the baptismal font in the place that would become every student’s holy ground. Between the Benedictine hospitality and the tour, Dad was hooked. No state university stood a chance in trying to compete with the personal attention that Fr. Raymond delivered and symbolized in everyone we met at the Abbey. Fr. Raymond set in motion the wheels which would convince my father to part with his son and his money and neither I (nor Belmont Abbey) were probably ever the same. That August, Belmont, North Carolina became my dwelling place. In his lifetime, Fr. Ray probably made room in the branches of this bush for hundreds of students. Tonight, we remember how he added the yeast to our lives and opened up a path so we would find and follow the true God, not some false idol that we might erect in a fraternity house, corner pub, or athletic field. There is probably some heavenly Admission Committee and today I am smiling at the thought of my father returning the favor of such hospitality as Fr. Raymond settles in to his new dwelling place. Thank you, Fr. Ray. May your soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of the God, rest in the peace of the Christ you followed with humility, stability and obedience. Fall 2010


In Memoriam: Father John Oetgen, O.S.B. 1924-2009 Father John Oetgen ’45, O.S.B., was a Benedictine monk at Belmont Abbey for more than 60 years. Father John played many key roles at the College and in the monastic community: distinguished English professor; President of the College (1960-64); Director of the Abbey Players; accomplished actor and poet; beloved priest, confessor, and mentor to countless Abbey alums, as well as to the younger monks. The following is an edited version of the homily Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B., delivered at Father John’s Mass of Christian Burial in honor of his confrere:


o prefer nothing whatsoever to Christ – that is, of course, simply a statement of the ultimate goal of any Christian life, of which monastic life is simply one form. As we all know, that preference for Christ takes diverse shapes and forms for each of us, and for the varying times and seasons of our lives… “For those called to monastic life, however, for Father John, that preferring nothing whatsoever to Christ takes on a compelling and unique expression. In some way, perhaps for just a moment, one is pierced and caught up by the beauty of the Savior, is astonished by the clarity of that great splendor, is drawn by the surpassing sweetness of his love. Though such graces inevitably fade, and may indeed seem to disappear, the impression of so great a grace lingers and allures so that it becomes urgent to give one’s all to recover and to hold fast to the beauty which has captured the heart… “The beauty which attracts us almost inevitably to God is the immensity and power of unshakeable love… This great love imparts to the life it fills a certain, settled tranquility and peace; a patience both with one’s own weakness and with the foibles of others… It leads the monk indeed to prefer nothing to the Work of God, to that prayer with his brothers, where we come again and again to be reassured of God’s inexhaustible favors and boundless mercies. Even in the very last weeks of his life, Father John struggled to take his place in choir, to listen with us, his confreres, to the divine voice daily speaking to us and to join in the praises of God. “It is, in the end, the surpassing beauty of Jesus, transforming our lives so gradually that comes to full flower in that faith, that trust, whereby we can respond to that most exquisite of invitations: Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. It is an invitation offered to each of us on countless occasions

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through our lives, and we are free to accept it, or to turn away. It is offered again to us in our loss today. Father John appears to have accepted that invitation again and again through his life. It seems to me that it was the acceptance of this invitation, to take on the gentle yoke of Jesus and therein to find rest, which was the source of the settled tranquility, the breadth of interests and relationships, the happiness and sense of humor, in short, the joy, which marked his life, especially in later years. Just two short weeks ago – which somehow seems like ages – when it was time to tell Father John that the time had come for treatment to end and for him to pass over to the Lord – something which I believe he already knew – he once again took up that yoke and found the rest that sustained him until the early hours of Saturday, when amidst that prayer so often uttered, ‘Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death,’ that “now” and “the hour of our death” finally merged into one, and we trust that the Mother of God and Help of Christians, in whose abbey Father John so faithfully served, answered that prayer, and took Father John to see that full beauty of Jesus, glimpsed heretofore in fleeting and passing ways. “And even more, No one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him. We trust that the Son, the perfect reflection of the Father’s splendor, has fulfilled his promise and conducted our dear confrere to know the Father, to enter into the radiance of that uncreated beauty, the fulfillment of all those pale reflections which nevertheless drew and held Father John entranced all his life.” Crossroads

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Campus news

It may be fall in America, but here at the Abbey, we’re experiencing a new springtime of hope and promise. In fact, impressive results are blossoming in all kinds of places, thanks to the support of generous people like you.


Enrollment At An All-Time High

his fall, the Abbey’s total enrollment has reached yet another all-time high of 1,741 students. That is a healthy increase over our previous recordsetting year, 2009. And last year’s total represented a 9.49% increase in enrollment (142 more Total Enrollment

students) over our previous recordsetting year, 2008. And the enrollment total we reached in 2008 (1,496) was an 11.8% increase over 2007, the record-setting year before that. From 2005 to 2009, the Abbey’s total enrollment has increased by an

astonishing 84.6%. The average SAT scores of first-year traditional students have also risen by 25 points since 2005. Today, students from 40 states and 25 countries are benefiting from the kind of liberal arts education that only the Abbey can provide.

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Sacred Heart Campus Expanding


o accommodate our growing number of students and faculty, our new campus on the grounds of the former Sacred Heart College has undergone significant renovations and expansions — and more expansions are planned. So far, 15 classrooms and 16 offices have been renovated. The Mary Alice Maisano Computer Classroom, featuring 22 computers and multimedia presentation equipment, also recently opened its doors. The student lounge is now open and a Student Learning Commons, outfitted with two computer stations and study carrels, will be available to students this fall. Major landscaping improvements have been made, including the installation of a new statue called Guiding Grace, which depicts Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. Plans are also in the works to expand the parking lot, as well as to resurface the tennis courts, so that the Abbey’s tennis teams will have an adequate practice facility.

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Fall 2010

Campus news

New Charlotte Campus Taking Off


he Abbey opened its new Charlotte campus on August 25, 2009, with 77 new adult students. Since then, enrollment has doubled. The Charlotte campus offers adult degrees in Business Management, Elementary Education and Educational Studies. We also recently added Liberal Studies and Criminal Justice to our growing list of majors.


Abbey’s Fundraising Numbers Rise To Record Highs, Despite National Trends

hile charitable giving, especially to educational institutions, declined this year nationally, Belmont Abbey College’s supporters helped us meet or exceed many previous fundraising records, led by our alumni stepping up with an increase in the size of their average gift, as well as more and more non-alumni supporters joining us in faith as we continue to grow, grow, grow. Here are just a few highlights of our remarkable year, all thanks to the inspiring support of generous people like you: n The number of donors to the Abbey Family Fund (our annual fund) reached a record high: 1,710.  n Alumni giving to the Abbey’s annual fund reached the highest dollar amount per gift in five years (even excluding the $250,000 challenge gift), as the average alumni gift set a record: $529 (up 81% from two years ago, before the economic recession). n Overall, the Abbey Family Fund raised 43% more this past fiscal year than the year before (finishing with a total just $12,000 less than our record year!), while charitable giving reports showed donations down nationally 10-20% or more.

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Our Growing Number of Benefactors 1800







1200 1000 954 800 600 400 200 0

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Faculty & Staff

Dr. Carson Daly Elected To Prestigious Board


r. Anne Carson Daly, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at the Abbey, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, a group of Catholic Scholars that seeks to advance knowledge and serve the Church through scholarship in many different disciplines. Since its inception more than thirty years ago, the Fellowship has counted among its members such leading intellectuals as novelist and philosopher Ralph McInerny, theologian Ronald Lawler, philosopher Germaine Grisez, and many more.  “We are delighted to have someone with Dr. Daly’s stellar intellectual reputation and character join our Board,” said Father Joseph Koterski, S.J., President of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and former Chair of the Philosophy Department at Fordham University. “Carson is a well-known Catholic intellectual who has published and spoken on many different topics, and all of us at the Fellowship admire the caliber of the academics whom Belmont Abbey College has attracted under her leadership.”

Education Department Chair’s New Book Getting Rave Reviews


r. Sara Davis Powell, the highly regarded Chair of the Abbey’s Education Department, has published her third book, Wayside Teaching: Connecting With Students to Support Learning. The reviews have been exceptional: “At last! A book that pushes past the idea that students should be test-taking machines by emphasizing relationship building and providing practical advice to teachers,” writes one representative reviewer. Powell’s other two books, An Introduction to Education: Choosing Your Teaching Path (paperback, 2008), and Introduction to Middle School (2005), have been received with equal enthusiasm and praise.

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Fall 2010

Faculty & Staff

Entrepreneurship Program Led By Harvard Law School Grad Catches Fire



parking student entrepreneurs” is the mantra of the Abbey’s new Entrepreneurship Program, led by teaching dynamo and Harvard Law grad Jeff Thomas. Thomas’s courses are living up to that mantra. In fact, they’re catching on like wildfire, with their fascinating mix of theory and practice. Through innovative course offerings and learning-by-doing opportunities, Abbey students are learning about many aspects of entrepreneurship, including: Evaluating and pitching ideas for new ventures; planning new ventures; franchising; developing ideas into actual products being sold on store shelves; raising capital; forming and running nonprofits; and more. Last semester, highly successful entrepreneur and inventor Louis Foreman, the creator of PBS’s Emmy Award-winning series, “Everyday Edisons,” also taught in the Program alongside Thomas. So keep your eye on the Abbey’s Entrepreneurship Program. Who knows? Maybe the next Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos will be coming out of it.


hope for the future is to offer two sections of Latin, two of Greek, and one of German both semesters,”

Fall 2010

Latin, Greek, German Classes Making A Comeback


hen the Abbey’s new First-Year Symposium Director, Dr. Gerald Malsbary, arrived at the Abbey in the summer of 2008, we were offering no Latin, Greek or German classes at the College. So he decided to start modestly, offering one Latin course that fall. Eight students enrolled.  Heartened by that experience, Malsbary, who taught Latin and Greek at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and who also translates documents for the Vatican, then decided to offer two Latin classes, one Greek class, and one German class at the Abbey in the spring of 2009.  Eleven students enrolled in the Latin classes, ten (mostly graduating seniors) enrolled in the Greek class and two enrolled in the German class.  Last fall (2009), a total of 27 students enrolled in his two Latin classes, and he directed two Greek independent studies.  In the spring semester, 20 students enrolled in Malsbary’s Latin classes, 13 in his German class and 8 students in his Greek classes. This fall Latin and Greek are both setting new records.  “My hope for the future is to offer two sections of Latin, two of Greek, and one of German both semesters,” says the popular teacher. “After that gets going, I will need some help!” Crossroads

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Faculty & Staff

The Honors Institute of Belmont Abbey College Launches New Website


ositioning itself as “a great school within a great school,” the Honors Institute of Belmont Abbey College, directed by Dr. Gene Thuot, recently launched its own new website, collaborating with the College’s marketing team on the design: In the opening section of the website, entitled “What we are and what we do,” the Honors Institute describes itself to prospective students this way: “‘Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.’ – John Paul II, Fides et Ratio. “Inspired by John Paul II and great Catholic educators, The Honors Institute is a four-year educational program which provides a truly liberal education through close analysis, clear exposition, and friendly discussion of great texts (Christian, classical, and modern). Prominent in this


endeavor are the works of great theologians, spiritual writers, philosophers, poets, scientists, and master scholars. In a unique series of courses, seminars, and guided independent study, students learn to listen to authors, teachers and each other with what The Rule of St. Benedict calls ‘the ear of your heart.’” High school seniors with a grade point average of 3.7 or higher and an SAT score (math and verbal) of at least 1200 (including a minimum verbal score of 600) are eligible for admission to the Honors Institute. Students admitted to the Honors Institute are generally awarded an Honors Fellowship. Recipients of this prestigious award receive up to $20,000 in financial assistance annually. Check out the Honors Institute’s new website today. And if you know some promising prospective students who meet the requirements above, please send them Dr. Thuot’s way!

Abbey Professor’s Lenten Meditations Heard Worldwide On EWTN Radio

new 28-minute audio recording of “Meditations on the Stations of the Cross,” written by Belmont Abbey College theology professor Dr. Ronald Thomas, and recorded in the Abbey Basilica by the author and several Belmont Abbey students, was aired on EWTN’s worldwide radio network several times during Holy Week this year. EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.  Two regional Catholic radio stations (Radio Maria and Guadalupe Radio) also aired Dr. Thomas’s “Meditations on the Stations of the Cross” every day during Lent. All of which means that thousands of lives were touched by the superb writing of one of the College’s distinguished faculty members, and by the beauty of the Abbey which inspired him. 48 Crossroads

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Fall 2010

Faculty & Staff


New Additions to Faculty, Staff Continue to Add to Abbey’s Academic Excellence

n our last issue of Crossroads, we began what we hope will become an Abbey tradition: giving the Abbey community and our readers a brief glimpse of the kind of talented and dedicated people

who are coming to join our already outstanding faculty and staff. Here are profiles of just five of our new additions (since we published our last issue of the magazine):

Dr. Al Benthall Assistant Professor of English Ph.D., English, UNC-Chapel Hill M.A., English, UNC-Chapel Hill B.A., English and Philosophy, UNC-Chapel Hill

What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise?

I have some expertise in what makes English poetry tick. My dissertation on Coleridge deals with rhythm and meter in poetry, and I enjoy showing students how a poem’s music figures into its meaning. Goethe once said that a poet must comprehend all philosophy but keep it out of his poetry. The same goes for a poetry professor. I’m also interested in the Catholic liberal arts tradition.

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

If I can help students become eagleeyed readers of great texts, I’ve done half my job. I also aspire to teach students to write a grammatical sentence in English. You have to attempt the impossible to achieve the possible.

Family info:

What do you most wish to impart in your classes? What drew you to teaching at the Abbey? (What did you find most attractive about the place?)

The Abbey’s deep roots were definitely a draw. Plus I’m indigenous to North Carolina. It’s good to be back in my home state.

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music, mint juleps, porches, tennis, coffee shops, old films, mountains, beaches (especially the Outer Banks of NC).

What are your passions outside of the classroom?

In no particular order: friends, food, Crossroads

Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Blake, Coleridge, Hopkins, George MacDonald, C. S. Peirce, G. K. Chesterton, Ernest Hemingway, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Muriel Spark, Richard Wilbur.

My parents and one brother live in Raleigh, NC.

What have you discovered about the Abbey that surprises or pleases you most? Holy Grounds Coffee Shop. I’m pleased to have them here on campus, and surprised at how early they close. The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


Faculty & Staff

I hear rumors of their staying open for late night hours this coming year. That too would be a pleasure to hear.

Quirky Facts:

What was the most recent book you read?

The Symposium, by Muriel Spark. A Platonic murder mystery.

Who would you consider an inspiration to you? George MacDonald, the poet, novelist, preacher, mystic, and children’s author who inspired Chesterton, Lewis, Auden, L’Engle, and Tolkien. MacDonald was father to eleven children, one named “Ronald.”

If you could be in any profession, what would it be and why?

Old-time guitar picker. Woody Guthrie once said, “If you play more than two chords, you’re showing off.” Playing two chords is a good fit for me.

Dr. Laurence Reardon Assistant Professor of Political Science – Department of Political Science Ph.D., Politics (Political Theory), The Catholic University of America M.A., Politics, The Catholic University of America M.T.S., The John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family B.S., Computer Science, University College Dublin

What drew you to teaching at the Abbey? (What did you find most attractive about the place?)

For quite a while I have wanted to teach at a Catholic liberal arts college which actively encourages students to engage the many questions and challenges posed by the modern world by making use of the great resources of the classical and religious intellectual tradition. When I was offered the opportunity to teach here, I really didn’t hesitate to accept it. I thoroughly enjoy teaching (and learning from) students who are genuinely interested in the search for truth. The campus itself is a very attractive location in which to work. The tranquil Monastery courtyard, the majestic Basilica, and many of the buildings, are reminders that the college is built firmly on, and is proud of, its Catholic and Benedictine foundations. I’m also fond of the beautiful tree-lined walk leading from the Science Building up to Stowe Hall (a great place to walk and think) and, of course, the Holy Grounds (which provides the coffee which stimulates the thinking).  

What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise? 50 Crossroads

My academic trajectory has been a somewhat unusual one. I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and a Masters Degree in Theological Studies before deciding that I was most interested in pursuing Political Theory at the doctoral level. My dissertation looks at the crucial role played by the family in society throughout history. As the community into which we all are born and through which we have our first experience of life, the family is often overlooked in the field of political studies. This is unfortunate, as so many of our biggest political questions concern the conflict between the individual and the collective power of the state, and a realistic understanding of the family can do much to help us address these questions. I am intrigued also by the philosophy of totalitarianism and how seemingly developed societies sometimes fall prey to ideologies which seem to be antithetical to their own foundational principles. My minor doctoral field is American Government, and I am fascinated by the events, personalities and philosophies which built this great nation. Having grown up in Ireland, I retain a deep interest in the history of that country, especially the 19th and 20th century period of independence and political upheaval.

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

What do you most wish to impart in your classes?

In considering the big political and social questions of our time, we often forget that our ancestors were not so different from us and that many of the problems they confronted were similar to those we face today. History is a great teacher, and I would like for students to be aware of how many wonderful intellectual and philosophical resources are available to us in the great works of the past. Most importantly, I would like students to have some sense of how the search for truth in this world is not obstructed by the life of faith, but is rather complemented and enhanced Fall 2010

Faculty & Staff

by it: “Faith sharpens the inner eye, opening the mind to discover in the flux of events the workings of Providence.” (Fides et Ratio, 16)

What are your passions outside of the classroom?

I enjoy going for walks. I’ve been enjoying exploring some stretches along the Catawba River since I arrived. I also love a good game of tennis, although I haven’t had much opportunity to play in a while.

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

I love the systematic thinking of Aristotle, Edmund Burke’s cleareyed defense of order and tradition, and the humorous perceptiveness of G.K. Chesterton. The thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, though often shocking and sometimes contradictory, is an indispensable lens through which to examine many features of the modern world and the assumptions which it has enshrined. I’m also partial to historical novels or well-written accounts of historical events, such as Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels or

A.A. Hoehling’s The Last Voyage of the Lusitania.

Family Info:

I have a wonderful family: My parents live in Dublin, Ireland and I have an older sister who lives in Arlington, Virginia.

What have you discovered about the Abbey that surprises or pleases you most?

Not surprising, but certainly pleasing: How friendly the people are here. I arrived in town a few short days before the Fall semester of 2009 began, so I truly appreciate how so many people in the administration, faculty and Abbey community made me feel very much at home. The Southern welcome is very real!

What was the most recent book you read?

The Silent People by Walter Macken.

Who would you consider an inspiration to you? I admire figures in history who have adhered to principle and

followed their conscience in the face of incredible pressure to conform to what is expedient and popular. Saint Thomas More and two great Poles, Lech Walesa and the late Pope John Paul II, come to mind. A philosophy professor of mine from graduate school, Dr. Kenneth Schmitz, taught me to never underestimate the capacity of ideas to transform the world, and his joyous curiosity about all aspects of learning is a great example to follow. My family remain a great inspiration to me always.

If you could be in any profession, what would it be and why?

I love teaching political science at BAC so that’s a hard one to answer. Once upon a time, like so many other kids, I wanted to join the space program. I enjoy astronomy, looking at the heavens through my Dad’s huge telescope and I still love following the space shuttle missions on television. I don’t know, maybe they’ll need political science teachers on Mars someday…which would give the International Studies Program a whole new meaning!

Patricia Stevenson Director of Campus Ministry M.A., Rivier College B.A., William & Mary

What drew you to joining the Abbey as Director of Campus Ministry?

The environment of small Catholic College was very appealing to me; I was looking for a position where I could openly and enthusiastically integrate my own Catholic faith with the work I would do. The reputation of BAC – a college aiming to deepen and grow intellectually and spiritually – seemed the perfect fit for me.

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What do you most wish to impart to Abbey students in your role as Director?

1] That this time – when they are semi-independent from their parents/ family – is when they can really invest in their faith and make it their own. Here, away at college, no one is around to “force” them to get up and go to Mass or go to a youth group meeting. Now they are in charge of living out their faith. Seize this moment! Own what you believe in. Grow in your The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


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relationship with Jesus Christ so that He becomes an indispensable part of your life. 2] Learn to live an integrated life.  Our society sends the message that one’s public and private life are separate entities, and that one’s faith is kept in a small back corner of said private life.  To live such a bifurcated life is to be, by definition, an inauthentic Christian. If we truly believe in what our faith is it must touch and influence all aspects of our lives. Come to understand that and then live it!  

edit it for the sake of space: G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Fr. Raymond de Souza, Erma Bombeck, Taylor Caldwell, John Cardinal O’Connor, William F. Buckley Jr., and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Yo Gabba Gabba – Party in My Tummy (these are favs. of my six-year-old niece Abby and my 2 ½ -year-old nephew Luke)… I read Anne Perry’s latest Inspector Monk book, Execution Dock. My parents have always been role models for me! Others who have inspired me and have been heroes to me include: JPII, Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ, Ronald Reagan, and Karen Killilea.  

My niece and nephews; political awareness/opinion-sharing; making my own greeting cards; antique hunting; gardening; reading; cooking/ baking; listening to music; and using my ridiculous memory of trivia to try out for game shows.

Oldest of 4 children (3 girls, 1 boy). We moved around a lot growing up – 11 times over 13 years before my family stayed put in New Hampshire for over 20 years. All 4 of us were born in different states: me – TX, the other three in NY, OH, and GA.

What have you discovered about the Abbey that surprises or pleases you most?

What are your passions outside of work?

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

This could be a long list, so I will

Family info:

Because it is a smaller school, it turns out that everyone really does know everyone else!

What was the most recent book you read?

Ummm, not counting Fancy Nancy or

Who would you consider an inspiration to you?

If you could be in any profession, what would it be and why?

A dream job for me would be to run a quaint country inn, complete with inn dogs (golden retrievers of course!), nearby forest with a lake, gardens, an ultimately equipped kitchen, and a parish within walking distance. I think this would allow me to indulge all that is beautiful and attractive to me and allow me to get paid for enjoying myself.

Thomas Turner Director of Academic Assistance M.S., Minnesota State University B.S., Northern Michigan University A.S., Northeast State

What drew you to joining the Abbey learning community? (What did you find most attractive about the place?)

The potential growth of the college attracted me the most. I have worked at several colleges and Universities that had programs to ensure student success. The Academic Assistance office at Belmont Abbey College did not have many programs to assist students with their academic success and I could envision potential and growth with the right programs in place. I saw this as a challenge.

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What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise?

American Expansion History, Criminal Psychology, Performing Arts and Sociology all fare very well on my scale of interests and importance. However, I would have to say that topics of Geographic nature interest me the most. Whether it be Geo-archaeology (mapping ancient societies), Geographic Information Systems (G.I.S.), or the Geography of disease, advertising, Religion, sports, or crime, I find these all to be important in the understanding of globalization, culture, politics, and basic intellectual growth as a citizen. Today, many

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Faculty & Staff

school systems have lost Geography (spatial analysis, human-environment interaction, climate, etc.) to other subjects, and we are starting to realize the effects it is having on the capacity of broad intellect on our children (we have become so specialized in many disciplines). I am also interested in anything military. I advise the newlyformed Military Science and Leadership Organization. My areas of expertise would have to be Student Support Services, motivation and group dynamics. Other than Geography, I enjoy teaching the Adult Transitions course, Learning Essentials courses and Cultural/Physical Geography.

What do you most wish to impart to the students who come to you?

Think outside the box! Make choices that you can live with tomorrow. If you are 18, then be 18; not 21. Express yourself! Say what you mean and mean what you say. Your life is your life not anyone else’s. In other words, I value allowing the students the freedom of choices and to accept the consequences of their choices. I always have to remember that many of the students are away from home for the very first time, living in a small room with a total stranger (or two), and sharing a bathroom with many others for the first time as well. When they get the flu, mom is not there, they are making choices as an adult and trying to fit in and make friends and find themselves and balance out their schedules between social, academic, and athletic life. I think that many times we forget these facts and expect perfection, intellect and proper decision-making the first semester they are here. I try to help them understand what is happening in their lives and to better make decisions. I have been told that I am very frank and to-the-point when a student is in trouble or struggling. I don’t believe in sugar-coating anything; besides, sugar is said to be healthy, but only in moderation.

What are your passions outside of work?

Because I just recently moved to North Carolina, I have not developed any regional passions as of yet. Once I feel ownership to the Belmont community I will venture out and start finding interests and invest in this community. For now, however, I work, read Fall 2010

and work out. I do offer an Educational Tour each year to both traditional and adult students. This past summer we explored Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento, Delphi, and Athens. Next summer will be an Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and London tour.

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

I have always admired the American (Colonist) thinkers and writers from the early to late 1700s. They were the movers and shakers of their time and really opened the eyes of those who were blind to the style of life (and subjection) they were living.

Family info:

My mother passed right before I accepted this position, and my father has retired (Air Force) to Tennessee. I have two sisters who also live in Johnson City, Tennessee and a sister who lives across the river from St. Louis in Illinois. I have three cats; one, of which is a Pure-Bred Maine Coon Longhair. He was a show cat in his younger days winning many awards and accolades. The other two are strays that I rescued when they were young.

What have you discovered about the Abbey that surprises or pleases you most?

I am surprised that we do not have more technologically-equipped classrooms or online instructions, and that space is at a premium on campus. Mostly, I am surprised that Physical Education classes are not offered. I am, however, pleased with the overall sense of worth that the staff tries to instill into each student as an individual. I am pleased that the classrooms are small and intimate and am honored to work with the current Administration team.

Quirky Facts:

Many coworkers and friends call me “Monk.” Not in the vocational sense, but rather affectionately in reference to the TV character. I have a keen sense of projecting outcomes before I work on a program, project, or venture, Crossroads

and I tend to subject myself to bouts of perfection when managing certain areas of my life and work.

What was the most recent book you read?

I recently reread “A Treasury of Royal Scandals” by Michael Farquhar, and I am currently reading “Lost States,” by Michael J. Trinklein. I prefer books that shed light on events that are not necessarily known to the majority of the population; mostly Geographic, Sociological or Historical in nature. I read a book in college about barely known roadside attractions and how the American highway system changed the landscape and culture of Americana. Since then, I have always looked for not-immediate problems or situations, but for the root or cause(s) of such challenges. I guess I am a “why,” rather than a “how,” kind of thinker.

Who would you consider an inspiration to you?

My family provides the greatest inspiration for me in terms of my personal life and goals. Alexander the Great is an inspiration to me as an example of perseverance, dedication and loyalty. Also, I am inspired by many of the great leaders this country has had throughout history. Finally, I am inspired by students with strong spirits and who are not afraid to pursue their own paths in life and not those of their peers; through pressure.

If you could be in any profession, what would it be and why?

I have always wanted to be an Ambassador to either Belgium or Luxembourg. Belgium appeals to me because I am familiar with the culture and I lived there until I was a pre-teen. Also, Brussels is home to the EU, UN, and other multi-national organizations (I am attracted by multi-cultural settings). I would like Luxembourg because it is the country with the highest per capita income and second highest “happiness” rating; according to several census studies. The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


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Marisa Quinn

Director of International Studies M.A. (Higher Education), Geneva College B.A. (English Education), St. Ambrose University

What drew you to joining the Abbey learning community? (What did you find most attractive about the place?)

I wanted to work in a place where the integration of faith and reason is a way of life, not a just a mere concept.  

What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise?

My intellectual interests include literature, theology, music, art, history, and student development.  Intellectual areas of expertise – I hold a B.A. in English Education and music minor from St. Ambrose University in IA and an M.A. in Higher Education with a concentration in Student Affairs Administration from Geneva College in PA. My Master’s capstone project examined women’s faith development and small faith communities within a college-setting.  

What do you most wish to impart to the students who come to you about studying abroad?

Go! It will be one of the best experiences in your life. Then once you get the travel bug, you will have to go abroad every couple of years. While studying abroad, delve into the adventure, be willing to explore and relish the experience. And don’t forget to come back with lots of stories and pictures; I want to hear all about it!  

What are your passions outside of work?

Music (I play piano, organ, and sing in

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my parish choir), cooking/baking, art (calligraphy, watercolor, cross-stitch), working with youth/young adults, enjoying nature, watching movies, playing Frisbee, visiting museums, and of course, traveling the world.

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

Jane Austen, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Archbishop Sheen, C.S. Lewis

Family info:

Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, oldest of four (3 girls, 1 boy)

What have you discovered about the Abbey that surprises or pleases you most?

I really appreciate the history and beauty of the Abbey. I’m honored to be a part of its rich history.  

Quirky Facts:

What was the most recent book you read?

Good question. Honestly, I can’t recall as I am typically in the midst of a few at a time. Currently, I am reading The Devout Life by St. Francis De Sales and A Man of the Beatitudes: Pier Giorgio Frassti by his sister Luciana Frassati.

Who would you consider an inspiration to you?

My late father as he was a man of integrity, faith, strong character and intellect. I would also include Our Lady and JPII.

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

If you could be in any profession, what would it be and why?

The one that I am in. Working in Catholic higher education is a calling. You have to want to work with the young adults of today and realize that college is a formative time in their lives. This is the time when the students become the person they are going to be, not just intellectually or deciding on a career, but as a man or woman of integrity and character. For us, it is planting seeds and cultivating their development during their time at the Abbey, so that they will go forth to be salt and light to the world. It is a joy to watch the students come become who they are called to be.

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Faculty & Staff

Even Newer Additions To Faculty


rossroads received the following exciting news about even more great additions to our outstanding faculty at press time. We hope to do a more complete profile of each new person below in our next edition. Until then, here is an edited version of a letter Dr. Carson Daly, V.P. of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, sent the Abbey community about our “newest new additions”: “We are delighted to welcome seven new, full-time faculty members who are joining us on campus this fall. They are a diverse, talented, energetic group, and I think that you will enjoy getting to know them. In alphabetical order, our new full-time faculty members are:   “Patrick N. Cain, Assistant Professor of Political Science: Dr. Cain earned his doctorate in Political Science from Baylor University, his M. A. in the same field from Brock University, and his B. A. in the same discipline from Lakehead University. He has taught courses ranging from American Constitutional Law and the Politics of Canada to Plato on Courage and Shakespeare and Politics. His specialties are American political thought; Constitutional law; American Government; the history of political thought; and politics and literature. Dr. Cain, who has written for publication on Shakespeare and Machiavelli, has given invited lectures at numerous conferences, including those at the Southern Political Science Association, the Annual Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture, the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, the Canadian Political Science Association’s Annual Conference, and the Lone Star Conference for the Study of Political Thought. Dr. Cain is also a student of Ancient Greek.   “Laura J. Campbell, Director of  Teacher Education at the Charlotte Campus: Ms. Campbell, who comes to us from Naples, Florida, has had a great deal of experience as a teacher and administrator. She has served as principal in both elementary and secondary schools. Most recently from 1999 until 2008, she served as the principal of St. John Neumann High School in Naples. Ms. Campbell received her B. S. in Education from St.Thomas Aquinas College, her M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from the University of South Florida, and her Ed.S. from Barry University’s School of Education. She expects to earn her Ph.D. this year in Educational Leadership from Barry University. Ms. Campbell’s research interests lie in the areas of organizational learning; organizational behavior in education; the

Fall 2010

effect of leadership styles on teachers’ commitment; Catholic identity and traditions in schools; qualitative research methods; and trends in elementary education. She has given numerous invited lectures on education throughout Florida and has also frequently given talks on the role of student support services. One of Ms. Campbell’s chief responsibilities will be directing our teacher education program at Charlotte Catholic.   “Diana M. Elliott, Lecturer in Psychology: Dr. Elliott earned her B. S. in Child Development from the University of New Hampshire, her M.Ed. from the University of Houston in Educational Psychology, and her M. A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Biola University. In the 1990’s, Dr. Elliott served as a Fellow in Clinical Psychology at Harvard University. She has been an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA’s School of Medicine and an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the USC Keck School of Medicine. Since fall of 2008, students at the Abbey have been very fortunate to be able to study under her tutelage. Serving as a guest reviewer for numerous professional journals in her field, Dr. Elliott has also published widely in many venues, including Journal of Traumatic Stress, Child Abuse and Neglect, The APSAC handbook of child maltreatment, Deinstitutionalization: Promise & Problems, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Psychiatric Services, Future of Children, Journal of Pediatric Health Care, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and Psychotherapy. Dr. Elliott has also been extremely active in delivering scholarly papers across the length and breadth of the United States, as well as in Canada and Australia.   “Julie Kohlbrenner, Lecturer in Education: Ms. Kohlbrenner, who has been teaching at the Abbey since fall of 2009 in our program at Charlotte Catholic, earned both her B. A. and M.Ed. in Elementary Education at the University of Florida at Gainesville. In addition to having taught Reading, she has served as a kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade teacher. In 2003-2004, she was selected as Teacher of the Year at Marvin Elementary School in Marvin, North Carolina.    “Joseph S. Pizza, Assistant Professor of English: Dr. Pizza, who has taught at Villanova University, Rider University, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Ocean County College, Ohio University, and Oxford University, is a specialist in 19th-century British Literature and Culture. He earned his B. A. from Rider University, his M. A. in English Literature from Ohio University, and his MSt. in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture from Oxford University. He anticipates receiving his DPhil. in English Language and Literature from Oxford later this year. In addition


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to having published work on the great Victorian poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and on the poetry of John Henry Cardinal Newman, Mr. Pizza has given numerous scholarly presentations at Oxford, as well as at Gonzaga University, Regis University, and the University of Central Lancashire. He has spoken at the Modern Language Association convention, and has served as an editor for both Venture Magazine and Quarter after Eight: A Literary Journal. Mr. Pizza also enjoys the distinction of having served for three years as an assistant to the editors of the forthcoming third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. In 2008, he acted as the assistant to the editor of Oxford University Press’ soon-tobe-released Volume VII of the Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Dublin Notebook.   “William L. Woody, Jr., Lecturer in Accounting: Mr. Woody, who owns and operates a full-service firm of Certified Public Accountants specializing in financial reporting, taxes, and assurance services for individuals, small businesses, and non-profit organizations, has had a long-standing association with Belmont Abbey College. He first served as an adjunct faculty member in Accounting and Finance from 1992-2006. He returned to the Abbey as an adjunct professor in 2008. Before coming to the College, Mr. Woody served as a Revenue Agent for the IRS, as an Operations Manager of Dickinson-South, Inc., as a Production Control Manager for Ingersoll-Rand, as a Production Control Supervisor for Homelite, Inc., and as a CPA for Brown, Kellar and McKinney. Mr. Woody earned his B. S. in Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and received his M.B.A. and a second B. S. (in Accounting) from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has been a North Carolina CPA since 1992 and has been certified in Production and Inventory Management since 1985.   “Joseph Francis Wysocki, Assistant Professor of Political Science: Joseph Francis Wysocki graduated from Belmont Abbey College in 2004, with majors in Political Science and Economics. He earned his M. A. in the same field from Baylor, and is currently a candidate there for a doctorate in Political Science—which he hopes to complete by the end of this academic year.  Mr. Wysocki’s specialties are American Politics, Political Theory, and Religion and Politics. In addition to having given several invited lectures at Baylor—on the works of Joseph Pieper, G. K. Chesterton, and Alasdair MacIntyre, respectively—Mr.Wysocki has served as an editorial assistant for the journal Rhetoric and Public Affairs. He has given papers at Gonzaga and Baylor Universities, as well as at the Southwest Political Science Association.  Before going to graduate school, Mr. Wysocki served in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for a year. I am sure that those of you who taught Joe as a student here will be especially happy to welcome him back to the Abbey as one of our colleagues! 56 Crossroads

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“As you can see, our new, full-time faculty members are a distinguished group who will strengthen our programs and our departments with their wealth of experience, abilities, and accomplishments. Please give them a warm Abbey welcome!”

Noteworthy News Dr. Janette Blandford, Chair of the Philosophy

Department and Associate Professor of Philosophy, was appointed to serve on the Gaston County Parish Nurse Ministry Committee at Gaston Memorial Hospital and has been invited to be an ethics consultant for the Hospital Ethics Committee at the Carolinas Medical Center. Dr. Blandford recently completed an M. A. in Bioethics and Health Policy from the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University at Chicago.  s. Jill Bloede, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts, M initiated and supervised the Benedictine Monologues Project. The first of these monologues, based on the research and scripts created by student writers from the Creative Writing class of Dr. Ellen Weir, the Chair of the English Department, were performed by student actors on April 20 in the Haid. This project, which will continue and involve additional faculty members and students, will result in the performance of numerous dramatic monologues based on the lives of important Benedictine saints.  r. Grattan Brown’s essay entitled “The Public D Argument of Conscientious Objection” was published on the website of First Things, one of the world’s leading intellectual journals. Dr. Brown’s First Things essay is a revised version of a paper he presented at the conference “Summons to Freedom: Virtue, Sacrifice, and the Common Good,” held at the University of Notre Dame in November of 2009. It addresses issues of conscience in health care. Dr. Brown, Assistant Professor of Theology at the Abbey, also served as an adjunct faculty member for the National Catholic Bioethics Center Certification Case Study Day in Philadelphia.  r. Swetlana Corwin, Assistant D Professor of English was the recipient of the 2009-2010 Adrian Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Adrian Award, established in 1984 by Mr. and Mrs. Herbert M. Adrian, Jr., was created to recognize and reward outstanding performance by faculty members at the Abbey. The intent of the award is to recognize those teachers who have greatly benefited their students—teachers who inspire their students to reach their full potential. Fall 2010

Faculty & Staff

 r. Nathalie Coté, Associate Professor and Chair of D the Psychology Department, helped to organize and lead the inaugural conference for the Charlotte Area Network for the Teaching of Psychology (CANTOP), which was held at the Abbey. Dr. Leighton Stamps, Professor of Psychology, served as one of the panelists, sharing stories about teaching and testing students for information literacy skills. Dr. Carol Brooks, the recently-retired Director of Stewardship and Strategic Development at the Abbey, played a key role in securing a grant for the conference. By the end of the afternoon, teachers from Gaston College, Gardner-Webb University, Queens University of Charlotte, Winthrop University, Belmont Abbey College, Davidson College, Catawba College, UNC-Charlotte, and Wingate University had constructed the foundations for a network of bridges among the psychology departments of local colleges. Plans are already underway for next year’s conference.  r. Carson Daly, V.P of Academic Affairs and Dean D of Faculty, was elected to the board of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. (See accompanying story.)  r. Simon Donoghue, Coordinator of BAC’s M Theatre Arts minor and Associate Professor of English, edited Anna Andersen by Greg King and Penny Wilson (Fate of the Romanovs, At the Court of the Last Tsar), to be published by Viking Press, Fall, 2010. Mr. Donoghue also starred in “Damien,” a one-man play based on the life of Saint Damien of Molokai, which was performed at the Haid Theatre, and guest-directed The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at The Little Theatre of Gastonia.  r. Travis Feezell, Associate Professor of Business, D published an article in the ASHE series on Higher Education and gave a presentation at the North Carolina AAPHERD conference. He is also working on two current research projects that should both yield publications and presentations (“Athletics Mission Statements at Catholic Colleges and Universities” and “Faculty Attitudes Towards Athletics”). In March, as part of Sport Management 370, a course that examines globalization and nationalism in sport, Dr. Feezell took nine Sport Management majors to Dublin, Belfast, and County Donegal. The students spent four days in Bundoran (County Donegal) examining issues of tourism and recreational sport. Dr. Feezell also served as the Abbey’s interim Athletic Director last year.  isa Marzano, Lecturer in English, presented a paper L at The National Popular Culture and American Culture Association’s annual conference in St. Louis, MO, on April 3, 2010, entitled “Daddy’s Little Girl: Fathers and Daughters in Southern Literature.” Fall 2010

 r. Judith McDonald, Assistant Professor of Education, D participated in Expanding Your Horizons, a career conference designed to increase seventh-grade girls’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. She also conducted a workshop on teaching ecology for thirdthrough fifth-grade Charlotte-Mecklenburg public school teachers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dr. McDonald was featured in an article in the Gaston Gazette lauding her efforts to attract more young girls into the fields of math and science.  r. Mike McLeod has helped form an education group D in a consortium of colleges, including Queens and North Carolina University at Charlotte, to use the Redlair conservancy property for research and education.  r. Angela Miss, who was promoted to Associate D Professor of English with tenure, presented (by proxy) a paper on equivocation at the Rhetoric Society of America conference in Minneapolis.  r. Sara Powell, Professor of Education and Chair of D the Education Department, keynoted the South Carolina Middle School Association’s annual conference, speaking on “Wayside Teaching: A Middle Grades Imperative.” She also chaired the Southeast Regional Professors of Middle Level Education biannual symposium at Appalachian State University. Pearson recently published the 2nd edition of Dr. Powell’s text, Introduction to Middle School. The first edition, which sold over 13,000 copies, is currently used in more college, middle-grades teacher preparation programs than any other single introductory middle school book in the United States. (See accompanying story on Dr. Powell’s latest book.)  r. Melinda Ratchford, Associate Professor of D Education, presented a week-long symposium on the Titanic to 22 teachers at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) on Ocracoke Island. She has been invited by the organizers of the commemorative 100th Anniversary Titanic Cruise to be a guest speaker during the voyage. The cruise will host an international population of Titanic enthusiasts and will journey to the site where the ship sank…  r. Sheila Reilly has negotiated an affiliation D agreement for the Natural Sciences Division with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Dr. McLeod has negotiated one with the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.  hanks to Dr. Tracy Rishel, Director of BAC’s T Motorsports Program, MS201 (Motorsports Fundamentals) students received tickets to zMAX Dragway and Carolina Speedway. Their assignment Crossroads

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Faculty & Staff

while there was to observe sponsorship applications and the condition of the facility. Afterwards, the students took a take-home final based on their visits to both tracks. MSM students also took field trips to NASCAR R&D, SPEED Network, Crawford Composites, and Childress-Howard Motorsports—which gave students the opportunity to interact with members of the industry. In appreciation of all the more than fifty Motorsports organizations that have given BAC students internships, the College sponsored the annual MSM Employer Recognition event on May 4 in the Haid. M  r. Robert Tompkins, Associate Professor of Biology, published two journal articles: “A newly documented and significant Piedmont prairie site with a Helinathus schweinitzii Torrey & A. Gray (Schweinitz’s sunflower) population” in The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society; and “Suther Prairie: Vascular Flora, Species Richness, and Edaphic Factors” in Castanea: The Journal of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society. D  r. William Van Lear, Professor of Economics, published two journal articles: one comparing Finance Capitalism with today’s Money Manager Capitalism in the Journal of Economic Issues and the other one on the financial crisis in the Journal of International Political Economy.

Even More New Arrivals To The Abbey Community  enée Agner became the Abbey’s new Dean of Residential R Life on June 1. Renee was most recently the Dean of Student Success & Retention at Brenau University in Gainesville, GA, and prior to that she was Dean of Students for five years at Brenau. Before her tenure at Brenau, she was Director of Residence Life at Winthrop University. Renée holds a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration from Appalachian State and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology – Vertebrate Zoology from East Tennessee.  ova Annison ’10 has made the transition from Abbey grad C to Abbey employee as an Admissions Counselor. Tony Barrett, a 2001 graduate of Cabrini College, is the Abbey’s new Area Coordinator for Community Development. Before coming to the Abbey, Tony was a Residence Education Coordinator at University Center Chicago, and a performer at Second City and Improv Olympic in Chicago. B  rian Bistreich is in his first year as assistant volleyball coach. Brian graduated from UNCC in 2003 with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. He has coached Junior Olympics Volleyball for eight years as personal trainer, evaluator, head coach and 58 Crossroads

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assistant coach. In addition, he has coached with USA High Performance and North Carolina High Performance for five years and is CAP II certified.  cott Brickman became the S Abbey’s new head baseball coach in July of 2009. He joined the Abbey after two successful seasons as assistant coach/pitching coach at the University of Northern Iowa. Scott, who graduated from North Iowa, returned to his alma mater after spending five seasons as an assistant coach at Wofford College, where he helped the Terriers win the 2007 Southern Conference Championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament. Laura Campbell joins the Abbey as the new Director of Education of the Charlotte Campus. She will oversee the ADP education students, assist in the field experience and licensure of students, and will also teach for the Education Department. Before coming to the Abbey, Campbell was a high school principal at St. John Neumann High School in Naples, Florida and an adjunct professor at Barry University. She holds an Ed.S degree from Barry University in Varying Exceptionalities, an M.Ed in Administration and Supervision from University of South Florida, and a B.S. in Education from St. Thomas Aquinas College. She is currently finishing her dissertation to complete her Ph.D. from Barry University. N  an Coulter came to the Abbey on January 5, 2010 as Human Resources Generalist, and was previously Assistant General Manager/Human Resources Generalist at Metro One Telecommunications in Charlotte for 15 years. Nan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from Idaho State University. E  rin Craig has joined the Adult Degree Program Staff at the Sacred Heart Campus of Belmont Abbey. Erin is managing all incoming data as well as answering phone calls and assisting counselors in making appointments. She also facilitates all ADP special events at both the Belmont and Charlotte Campuses. She comes to the Abbey from Citizens South Bank where she worked as a teller in customer service. Erin graduated from Lee University (cum laude) with a B.A. in Christian Education. M  ary DeJute was named the Abbey’s new head volleyball coach in August of 2009. Mary began her head coaching career at Mercer University, and was also head coach at Northwestern State University and at Heidelberg College. She’s a 1986 graduate of Bluffton College with a B.A. in Education and Art. She also holds an M.A. in Education from Northwestern State. Fall 2010

Faculty & Staff

Erica Hicks Elliott ’06 has joined the Adult Degree Program as a Records Specialist. She will oversee the new student application flow for the Adult Degree Program. Before coming to the Abbey, Elliott was an ABE/GED Instructor and Counselor in the Life Skills department at Gaston College. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies (magna cum laude) from Belmont Abbey and an A.A. Degree from Gaston College.  atrick Ford has joined the Campus Ministry team as P our new Director of Catholic Student Leadership and Formation. Patrick will oversee the Felix Hintemeyer Catholic Leadership Program, RCIA, Student Retreats, and other co-curricular programs. Before coming to the Abbey, Patrick was Managing Director, Higher Education Research & Outreach, at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). He holds a B.A. in History and Political Science (magna cum laude) from Hillsdale College and an M.A. in Theology from Villanova.  yle Geswein is the Abbey’s new head JV baseball K coach and assistant varsity baseball coach. He joins us after spending four seasons as the assistant hitting coach and infield/outfield coach at Wright State University, where the Raiders won more than 30 games in each of his four seasons. Kyle graduated from Michigan State in 2003 with a degree in horticulture.  llie Hanover was named head E softball coach in August of 2009. She came to the Abbey after four seasons as head coach at Florida Tech, where she fashioned a 94-67 record, which included a schoolrecord 42 wins in one season, and a national ranking. Prior to her stint at Florida Tech, Ellie was head coach at D’Youville College. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Canisius College (1998) and an M.S. in Education from D’Youville College.  aron Harper has joined the Abbey community as our A new Associate Director, Strategic Development & Grants. Prior to coming to the Abbey, Aaron was Veterans Affairs Apprenticeship Coordinator, North Carolina Department of Labor. Aaron holds a dual B.S. in Math & Science Education from N.C. State.  atie Lambeth begins her first year as assistant athletic K trainer at Belmont Abbey. She comes to the Abbey most recently from the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she worked from 2008-2010 covering men’s and women’s rugby. Prior to that she completed her Masters of Science in Sports Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh and her Bachelors of Science in Athletic Training from UNC-Charlotte. She will be responsible for covering Men’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball, Baseball, and Tennis. Fall 2010

 obert Lane became head coach R of the Abbey women’s soccer team in August of 2009. Before coming to the Abbey, Robert served as head coach of Coker College’s men’s soccer team. Prior to that, he was assistant coach and head JV coach at Montreat College; and assistant coach at Barton College. Robert is a 2005 graduate of East Carolina University, where he earned a B.S. in Political Science.  obert Marchetti has been appointed the Abbey’s R new assistant track & field/cross country coach. Robert comes to us from Columbia University in New York, where he worked with the team’s pole vaulters. He also served as assistant track & field coach at the Shore Athletic Club of New Jersey. Robert is an alumnus of the University of New Mexico, where he was a WAC conference champion in the high jump in 1993. He has also served as an assistant coach at Rider University and at Murray State University.  regory McIlhenney started at BAC on August 1, G 2009 as Area Coordinator and was promoted on July 1, 2010 to Assistant Director of Residential Life. Prior to coming to the Abbey, he was the Associate Director of the Catholic Campus Ministry Center at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey for two years, and was a substitute teacher and student government advisor at Cape May County Technical High School in Cape May, New Jersey for one year. He also served as the Community Advisor in the Office of Residential Life at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Gregory has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and has a pending Master of Arts in Theology/Master of Divinity from St.Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore and Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University.  tephannie Miles has joined the ADP team as S an Adult Admission Specialist. Stephannie shares her time between the Belmont campus and our new Charlotte Catholic High School campus. She is also working as an academic advisor for Charlotte students who have not declared a major. Prior to joining the Abbey, Stephannie worked as an academic advisor working with adult students. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration (summa cum laude) from Pfeiffer University and an M.B.A. also from Pfeiffer.  aron Miller ’06 has been appointed head A tennis coach. Crossroads

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 atherine “Cat” Mobley has joined the C Admissions Office as their Social Media Coordinator and Data Entry Specialist. Cat is in charge of the Admissions and Sports Facebook and Flickr accounts for Belmont Abbey College. Cat graduated from Belmont Abbey College in 2007 with a B.A. in Psychology.

 iz Ramsey was appointed head women’s lacrosse L coach in November of 2009. She comes to the Abbey after serving as the Director of Lacrosse Camps at Rutgers Sports Incorporated in Philadelphia. Her experience as a head coach includes stints at Randolph College and at her alma mater, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Liz earned her bachelor’s degree at IUP in Health and Education with a concentration in Sports Administration.  isa Ritchie has joined the Academic Assistance Office as L the Coordinator of Student Success. Lisa’s responsibilities

include Student Disabilities, Academic Alerts, Academic Coaching and Community Testing. Before joining Belmont Abbey, Lisa was an Instructor of Business Communications for the University of North Carolina Charlotte. She holds an MBA from Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Florida State University. S  tephanie Schwartz, a 2009 Abbey graduate, has been promoted to Admissions Counselor after working for a year as an intern in the Admissions Office. K  elly Williams ’10 has joined the Admissions Office as an Admissions Counselor.  

Want to read more current news about the abbey on a regular basis? Sign up for our free e-newsletter BACRoads and receive updates via email! To sign up, visit, then click on the link labeled “Email,” which you’ll see on the far right side of the page underneath the aerial photo of the campus. Then, simply enter your email address in the box and you are on your way. You will need to activate the account. An activation email will be sent to the email address you provide. If you have any questions, please contact Jillian Maisano at or (704) 461-6869.

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Fall 2010

Sports News

Abbey Appoints Quin Monahan Athletic Director Quin Monahan joined the Abbey as athletic director on July 15. Monahan most recently served as athletic director at Savannah College of Art and Design, which has campuses in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, and an enrollment of over 9,500 students. During Monahan’s tenure as athletic director (July 2008-June 2010), more than 100 student-athletes were named to allacademic teams. From the time Monahan was appointed associate director of athletics (July 2003) until the end of the 2009-2010 school year, the college sent 109 intercollegiate teams to post-season competition (out of 119 opportunities). He also implemented academic enhancement initiatives that led to a department-wide cumulative GPA averaging 3.19 (on a 4.0 scale) from 2004-2010. During the past year, the college amassed its best-ever season as its teams compiled a .638 winning percentage (156-88-3). Eight programs had teams compete at their respective national championship and three others had individuals compete at theirs. Savannah College of Art and Design received its second-ever NAIA team title when the Bees won the NAIA Women’s Swimming and Diving National Championship for a second consecutive season.  “As we move into a future in Abbey Athletics that will be intentionally mission-inspired, I believe Quin will be a fantastic leader for the athletics department,” said interim athletic director Dr. Travis Feezell, who led the Abbey’s search committee. “Two things in particular stood out in the interview process about Quin. First, there was a ‘spirit’ and ‘energy’ in his comments about wanting to work in faith-based higher education, that there is something particularly special in working at a place like Belmont Abbey. Second, his approach to college athletics stood out; he talked about an ‘education-based’ and ‘studentcentered’ athletics program, that is, one where sport is a means to develop the entire person in mind, body, and spirit. In this he talked about working with both students and coaches and administrators and faculty members - all of the constituents on this campus - to make the development and experience of student-athletes our primary focus. I believe Quin will make this his focus through programming, but more importantly he will be Fall 2010

a wonderful communicator and role model for all those involved in Abbey Athletics. “He’s 180 degrees from being an ‘aloof administrator.’ Rather, he’s a terrific mentor, a coach’s coach who rolls up his sleeves, goes to many, many practices and games, and develops close relationships with coaches and student-athletes. I think everyone in the Abbey community will find it a joy to work with him.” Prior to serving in Savannah College of Art and Design’s athletic department, Monahan managed the college’s office of Academic Advising, overseeing a staff of thirteen full-time employees, and helping to train faculty and staff on effective advising techniques and procedures. Monahan earned an M.A. in Counseling from Asbury Theological Seminary and a B.S. in Behavioral Science from Oklahoma Wesleyan University. “I am thrilled with this opportunity to run a program so committed to restoring character in athletics,” said Monahan. “The Abbey’s commitment to returning virtue into athletic competition and to thus ‘Reclaim the Game’ genuinely excites me. “I am very competitive. While I am driven to win, I consistently stress that ‘Winning is not the bottom line.’ Competing with character while respecting the game and all players involved, win or lose, is most important. Winning in the face of poor sportsmanship, irresponsible behavior or negative attitudes is not victory. I look forward to this opportunity at Belmont Abbey based on the belief that this is a place that will be equally committed to reinstating virtue and excellence in sport and would support an athletics program with such a mission –without losing the focus or will to win.” “Abbot Placid and I discussed the appointment of Quin Monahan as athletic director, and we both agreed that Quin possesses the strong leadership qualities needed for Abbey Athletics, and that he will be a great addition to the Abbey community in general,” said Dr. William Thierfelder, president. “Quin clearly understands the value of ‘Sport Properly Directed,’ and that understanding will be very valuable in helping Belmont Abbey College achieve our mission.” Crossroads

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Sports News

Abbey Athletics Celebrates Four New Inductees into the

Sports Hall of Fame 1938 football team (John Golden, second from left above, accepted) Team – Football Coached by Humpy Wheeler, Sr., the 1938 football team claimed the Junior College National Championship, capping a season in which it went undefeated, untied and unscored upon. During their magical season, the Crusaders outscored their opponents 273-0, including a 90-0 win over Presbyterian Junior College. Three members of that team are still alive today, including John Kabas, the student body President; Martin Gass, Sr., the student body Vice President; and John Golden. Larry Hartsell ’70 (pictured at far right) Player – Baseball A native of Mount Holly who attended Mount Holly High School, Larry Hartsell was a key leader of the Abbey’s first team to reach the NCAA Baseball Regionals in 1968. During his career, he played catcher, third base and first base. A career .368 hitter, Hartsell batted .372 as a freshman, ranking him 62 Crossroads

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17th nationally, and later earned the Marty Thomas Award. As a sophomore, he led the Abbey to the nation’s longest winning streak, recording a .310 batting average. One year later, he hit .368 in leading the Crusaders to the NCAA Regional tournament. Capping off a stellar career, he batted .398 as a senior and earned the Michael A. Nalls Athlete of the Year award. Harstell was a Dean’s List student during all of his eight semesters at the Abbey and was a member of the Epsilon Sigma Honor Society. After graduating magna cum laude and second in his class in 1970 with a degree in Accounting, Hartsell earned a law degree from Emory University in Atlanta. Showing a love for his alma mater that has never wavered, Hartsell has generously given back to Belmont Abbey College in many ways. He has initiated several scholarships, including the J.P. Smith Scholarship. He also hosts every Abbey athletic team that travels to the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area. He served on the Alumni Board from 1985-1992 and was subsequently named the Belmont Abbey Alumnus of the Year. Today, he is retired after running his own accounting firm for 30 years and lives in Myrtle Beach. Fall 2010

Sports News

Cassandra “Cissy” Little-Buie, ’84 (pictured above) Player – Basketball A 1980 Asheboro High School graduate, Cissy was “Miss Basketball” for the Blue Comets women’s basketball team. Her accomplishments as a high school player were many – AllConference three years in a row, All-Randolph County, All-State, a recipient of the Mary Garber Award, and MVP of the EastWest All-Star team. So it was fitting that Cissy became the first female basketball player to sign with Belmont Abbey College. As a freshman, she averaged 28.9 points per game and helped the Lady Crusaders become a nationally-ranked team for the first time. She was named an All-American in 1983, and to this day, she holds the Abbey’s all-time scoring record of 2,385 points (tops for both men and women). She also garnered honorable mention recognition for the 1984 U.S. Olympic Basketball team. Cissy opted not to pursue an offer to play professional women’s basketball overseas and has resided in Gaston County, North Carolina ever since. She is married and has four children (two sons and two girls). She currently works as an auditor of Key Benefit Administrators and has been in the insurance field for over 20 Fall 2010

years. Raising her family has been her passion and her youngest (twin girls) are in their second year of college. Brother Paul Shanley, O.S.B., ’73 (pictured at far left) Coach – Cross Country Brother Paul Shanley has been a respected member of the Belmont Abbey College community for more than three decades – as a monk, a teacher, Head Cross Country Coach, Sports Information Director and as a valued counselor to countless students, faculty and staff. He has also earned Coach of the Year honors six times as the Abbey’s cross country coach. A native of upstate New York, Brother Paul is a 1973 graduate of the Abbey with a B.A. degree in English. He later earned an advanced certificate in film history and criticism. At the 2002 Athletic Banquet, Brother Paul was honored for his contributions to the Athletic Department and to the Cross Country Program when the Abbey Trail was renamed “The Brother Paul Trail.” At the conclusion of the 2009 Cross Country season, Brother Paul retired from coaching and will continue to serve in the athletic department as its archivist. Crossroads

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Sports News

Abbey Men’s And Women’s Golf Win Conference Carolinas Championships The Belmont Abbey men’s and women’s golf teams were crowned the 2010 Conference Carolinas champions after three days of competition at Tanglewood Park (Championship Course) in Clemmons, North Carolina, hosted by Belmont Abbey College. In the women’s tournament, the Abbey led wire-to-wire as four of the five Crusader players finished one through four. Belmont Abbey led by 26 shots after the first day, 41 shots after the second day, and won by a margin of 55 strokes over Pfeiffer and Queens, which finished in a tie for second. Melissa Siviter,

the Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year, won by three shots over teammate Liz Cortez and six over Carley Warrington. The men’s tournament turned into a two-team race, as the Abbey entered the final round leading Barton by seven strokes. The Barton Bulldogs rallied to take a two-shot lead with the final group still on the course, but Joe Campbell ’s even par 70 proved to be the difference as the Abbey won by a razor-thin margin of three shots. Campbell won the individual title by nine strokes as he carded rounds of 73-68-70.

Eighteen Abbey Student-Athletes Named Academic All-Stars Eighteen Abbey student-athletes were recently honored as Conference Carolinas All-Conference academic honorees. The winners are juniors and seniors who have attended their respective schools for at least one year while recording a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or higher (on a 4.0 scale). The Crusaders’ academic all-stars were baseball players Evan Jonas, Joseph Kopp and Tyler Powell, men’s basketball players Patrick Kuhlman and Ian Perry, women’s basketball player Courtney Naquin, men’s cross country runners Thomas Hoxie and Joe Lanser, women’s cross country

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runner Emily Boggs, women’s golfer Carley Warrington, men’s golfer Karan Singh, women’s lacrosse players Briana Dignan, Amanda Jones and Lauren Kelly, men’s soccer players Louis Liberatore and Adrian Mendoza and women’s soccer players Amanda Maddock and Kristin Voirin. Emily Boggs is also one of 286 student-athletes named this year to be an academic All-American by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Permission to reprint story granted by the author, Richard Walker, sportswriter with The Gaston Gazette.

Fall 2010


Five alumni honored at wall of fame ceremony By Amanda Memrick


he faces of four Belmont Abbey College alumni now grace the College’s Wall of Fame after they were inducted during Homecoming. The fifth annual Distinguished Alumni Wall of Fame recognized Antonio M. Palomo Sr., class of 1950 at Abbey prep school, Robert W. Kelly, class of 1970, the Rev. J. Houston Matthews III, class of 1974, and Mrs. F. Jo Singleton, class of 1977 at Sacred Heart Campus. L-R: Houston Matthews, Bob Kelly, Jo Singleton, Gene Miller. Not pictured: Antonio Palomo Gene Miller, class of 1965, F. Jo Singleton received the Distinguished Longtime Gaston County resident Jo Singleton was Alumnus of the Year Award. instrumental in establishing the Adult Degree program at the “The purpose of the Distinguished Alumni Wall of Abbey. She has held positions at the College and at Holy Angels. Fame is to show current and future students what can be She was administrator for the Belmont Peninsula Project Plan accomplished with a Belmont Abbey College education,” that created policies that have protected natural environments, said Gayle Dobbs, associate director of stewardship at neighborhoods and water use. Belmont Abbey. “We’re honoring a wide range of alumni – spanning the Class of 1950 Abbey prep school to the Antonio Palomo Class of 1977 Sacred Heart College. The honorees, which Palomo worked as a journalist and assistant managing editor of represent communities from all over the country, are proven leaders and have been extremely successful in their careers.” the Guam Daily News from 1943 to 1963 after graduating from the Abbey. He served as a senator in the Guam legislature and worked Here’s what the College had to say about those alumni: for the U.S. Department of the Interior for 12 years. He was the Gene Miller presiding officer of the First Constitutional Convention of Guam Miller is a Gaston County native and a past chairperson in 1969 and 1970. Palomo’s historical publications tell of the people of the Gaston County commissioners. He is a principal in of Guam during their World War II occupation. the Miller Sherrill Blake Eagle CPA firm that has branches Bob Kelly in Charlotte, Shelby, Lincolnton and Forest City. Kelly is a founder and managing partner of CenTauri The Rev. Houston Matthews Solutions, LLC, and served as vice president and General Counsel Matthews is a native of Gastonia. He became an for ManTech-Gray Hawk Systems Inc. Episcopalian minister after graduating from the Abbey. He Kelly served as deputy assistant Secretary of Defense (Drug has received numerous awards including the Paul Harris Enforcement) and as deputy chairman of the U.S. Border Award from the Gastonia East Rotary, Gaston County Interdiction Committee. He also served as a part of the White Family Advocate Award, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity House staff as General Counsel, Office of Administration, Award and the Interfaith Hospitality Award for Outstanding Executive Office of the President. He is also the recipient of the Board Member. Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Civilian Service. Fall 2010


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Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs Class Notes are based on information gathered through August 2010.They reflect information from alums and friends of Belmont Abbey College.


Joseph Perry ’57 and his wife recently renewed their wedding vows on their 50th wedding anniversary. Their son, LTC Joseph Perry, Jr., is serving in Iraq as a doctor with the 14th Medical Support Hospital.


Edward J. Quigley ’57 published a book entitled Fly Fishing Advice From an Old Timer: A Practical Guide to the Sport and its Language. A recent book review stated that, “Reading it, you come away with really ingenious ways to stay comfortable in cold/hot/windy weather … get the right equipment and flies … make a cast, land a fish, and more. It’s the kind of book you browse cover to cover then keep handy forever!” Ed’s book can be found on


Jeb Ladouceur ’59 held a book signing and reading at Borders book store in Stony Brook, Long Island, NY in August. The former English major and Abbey Players member addressed a standing-room-only crowd at the store, reading from and discussing his newest thriller Calamity Hook. It was the novelist’s third engagement in as many years at Borders. He has made fifteen appearances at New York area venues since Frisco, the first book of his trilogy, published in 2007. Completing the acclaimed sequence is The Palindrome Plot (2008). Notable among Mr. Ladouceur’s achievements at Belmont Abbey was his portrayal of Iago in Othello under the direction of Father John Oetgen, O.S.B. in ’56. The Smithtown, NY author credits Father Matthew McSorley, O.S.B. for nurturing his interest in fiction writing. “At the end of the school year,” says Ladouceur, “Father Matthew gave me a cherished gift, as was his custom with each of his students; mine was a 1956 New York Times Book Review supplement. I recall thinking Father optimistic in the extreme in suggesting that such a gift might possibly be appropriate for me … but how secretly thrilled I was to get it!”


Fr. Paschal Morlino ’62, of Baltimore, MD, was recently elected Vice President of the North American Association of Benedictine Oblate Directors.


Bob Siebert ’63 of Jamaica, NY, was in Norway for a Hurtigruten cruise aboard the Nordkapp. The highlight of his trip was an excursion to the North Cape, which is said to be the northernmost point in continental Europe.

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Getting the word out all the way to Fairbanks, Alaska! While on their vacation, Elaine (Powell ’67) Baer and husband Neil were stopped by many people to read and comment on her Got Monks sweatshirt.


After 41 years, John Farr ’68 retired from his career in public education. In his recent 11 years he served as Superintendent of the Flemington-Raritan Regional School District in Flemington, NJ. Over the years, he taught elementary school Social Studies, was a Social Studies Supervisor, and served as elementary school principal and assistant superintendent. He reminisced that his education at Belmont Abbey College served him very well and he has never forgotten the years spent in class with Father Anselm Biggs, O.S.B.


Chuck Collins ’69, of Jacksonville, NC, retired from his second career December 31, 2009. He retired as Executive VP of a $670M Marine Federal Credit Union in Jacksonville, NC. This follows his first retirement from the USMC. Chuck was presented North Carolina’s prestigious “Order of the Long Leaf Pine” by Maj. Gen (Ret) Bob Dickerson on behalf of Governor Beverly Perdue. This was in recognition for his work both in the Marine Corps and with Marine Federal in creating civilian jobs in eastern NC and for his local civic and charitable work. Chuck’s wife, Pat (Rafferty, SHC ’71) Collins, entered retirement January 31, 2010. She worked over 25 years teaching in various North Carolina schools, finishing her career as the Media Specialist with Carolina Forest Elementary School in Jacksonville, N.C. After obtaining her Masters in Library Science from ECU, she spent her final teaching years in the Library/Media field. In early February 2010, they took a five week celebratory vacation to Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.


James Smith ’71 retired in July 2009 after 37 years with Cape May County, NJ. For the past 17 years, he served in the position of Director of Planning.


Joe Murphy ’72 retired in January 2004 and moved to Atlantic Beach, NC. Joe and his wife Cindy recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. They have two children, Michelle and Joseph, who reside in Florida. Most of Joe’s time is spent sailing or working on his boat, the SEAFROG. Fall 2010

Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs


Gerry Sheeran ’76 = “Auditor Hero”! When a mild-mannered auditor walked into the Wachovia bank in Alexandria on October 3, 2009, little did he realize he would witness a robbery and be called to an act of heroism. When the robber leaped over the teller’s gate, Gerry seized the moment to exit the bank, warned others from entering, and called 911, staying on the phone at the request of the police. He then followed the suspect as he left the bank enabling a helpful description and location. Thanks to Gerry’s calm, quick thinking, and willingness to serve, a person of interest was soon apprehended. Please join us in applauding Gerry’s heroic effort!!


Darryl Warren ’85 of Belmont, NC, recently published his book,“How To Live To 48,” which he says is about goofy stuff we all think about, but never say out loud.


Mary Cheaney ’77 was named the National President of the American Women’s Society of Certified Public Accountants for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.


Celeste Rousseau ’79, of Charlotte, NC, won the Lash Group Values Award for 2009! “Throughout her 15+ years experience at Lash Group, Celeste has demonstrated her commitment to our values as well as to countless patients and healthcare providers that she has supported through various operational programs. Her written nomination mentioned any number of Celeste’s accomplishments but this one stood out: ‘Patients are privileged to have Celeste as their advocate’. This is a tremendous honor for Celeste that also includes a financial award as well as a trip to ABSG University (AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group; Lash Group is one of the components of ABSG) where she will be honored again.”


Martin Barker ’82 and wife Robin are happy to announce that their son Brendan (16) achieved the rank of Eagle Scout with Troop 393 in Glendale, WI on August 15, 2009. The “Eagle Scout” is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scout program of the Boy Scouts of America and is held for life, thus giving rise to the phrase “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.” Requirements include earning a number of merit badges and demonstrating Scout spirit, service, and leadership. It also includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and a badge that visibly recognizes the accomplishments of the Scout. Congratulations on this high honor!


Dr. Kevin L. Burke ’82, of Springfield, IL, has recently been named the Director of School of Kinesiology and Recreation at Illinois State University.


Dennis Noble ’82 heads up Gaston county athletics. Gaston County Schools’ new Athletics and Driver Education Director has worked in the county for 24 years and is long on administrative experience. Noble’s duties include overseeing the county’s middle school and high school athletic directors. Dennis Noble, an assistant principal at North Gaston High School since 2005, was approved for the vacant position that began in August, 2009.

Fall 2010


Theresa M. (Harting ’85) and Shiraz Kapadia ’85, of Stow, OH, have a daughter and two sons. Rachel (21) is studying Speech Pathology at Kent State. Daniel (19), also at Kent State, is majoring in Aeronautics and Traffic Control. And Joseph (17) is a junior in high school.


Lieutenant Colonel Tim Russell ’87 completed a tour in Iraq with the Partnership Strategy Group-Iraq where he played an integral role in writing the Iraq Strategy. He returned to Germany serving as military strategist for United States Army Europe and NATO and is pending assignment to the Northern, VA/ Washington, DC area. “I want to thank the Abbey for supporting our troops and their families and kindly ask that you continue to keep them in your prayers.” Crossroads

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs


Christy (Simcox ’93) Dooley, of Charlotte, NC, was on campus for a visit and spent time catching up with former history professor Dr. Frank Murray. She has begun the process toward her Masters program at UNCC (library science). She and husband Ryan have three children: Christian (9), and the twins Payton (6) and Logan (6).


Marty Hutchins ’88, of Gastonia, NC, painted “hometown heroes” to honor six of his church members who served in the U.S. military during World War II and the Korean War. Their family members submitted photos of the veterans, which Hutchins integrated into his creative work. He was inspired by these noble men and sought a way to recognize veterans from his church community. As an Art teacher at Highland School of Technology, the idea of honoring those who protected the freedoms of our hometowns and around the world through the strokes of his paintbrush came naturally to Hutchins. After an unveiling ceremony with the families and church members of the soldiers (one of whom is still living), the painting hangs prominently in the church parlor. Hutchins hopes this painting will be the first in a series to recognize homegrown heroes for their service, noting that one canvas isn’t enough to do justice to these men.


Father Richard Sutter, L.C., an alumnus of the Class of ’91, was ordained to the priesthood in December 2009. Because of the influence Belmont Abbey College had on his religious vocation, Father Richard asked to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Abbey and was the principal celebrant at the Conventual Mass in the basilica. There was an informal reception for Father Richard in the Lowry Alumni House following Mass.


Michael Donahue ’92, of Hickory, NC, graduated from the Hickory Fire Department rookie school on November 18, 2009.

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The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


Reena Khubchandani ’93, of Hong Kong, along with her husband and three children were in the states visiting family in the Charlotte area. Reena hosted a lovely lunch at a local restaurant in celebration of her youngest son’s first birthday. Many close friends and Abbey alumni were present, including Lucy (Khubchandani ’93) Nizinski and husband Eric; Bob Healy ’68 and Bernice; Diane (Witkowski ’84) Sullivan; Fr. Kieran Neilson ’54; Stanley Dudko ’60, Jasia Dudko ’63 and BAC staff Peggy McGlohon and Gayle Dobbs.


Jay Sargeant ’93 of Charlotte, NC spearheaded a reunion for the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon who attended the Abbey from 1989-1994. Approximately 15 brothers and their families were in attendance on a beautiful afternoon on the Abbey campus. The event was held picnic style on the lawn behind The Haid and was catered with BBQ, chicken and all the trimmings. The kids were entertained by an inflated bouncy castle on the lawn while the parents enjoyed seeing each other again and reminiscing about their good-time years at the Abbey.

Fall 2010

Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs


Kim (Brogdon ’94) Laudner and husband Mike announce the birth of their twins, Stiles Vincent and Emma Kathryn, born on May 17, 2009. The children were baptized at Belmont Abbey on July 26. Kim, Mike and the twins live in Clover, SC.


Cristi Mauney ’94 was named Teacher of the Year at Carr Elementary in Dallas, NC. In her 15 years of teaching she has enjoyed working with her students and helping them learn, grow and overcome challenges. Along with teaching, she enjoys being a sponsor of Carr’s Student Council Club and working with the children to help those in need in the community. Cristi loves teaching because every day is a new and an exciting one where she can make a difference in many children’s lives.


Christophere Skinkle ’94 and Alessandra (Tona ’95) announce the birth of their daughter, Emma Leigh, born on June 10, 2009. Emma was baptized at Belmont Abbey on August 1, 2009.


Will ’95 and Katie Esser announce the birth of their third child, Matthew James, born on November 3, 2009. More good news, in June 2009 Will was featured in the 2009 Charlotte Business Journal “40 under 40” – a list that highlights those making a difference in business and in the community. Will’s most valued mentor is his grandfather, a quiet man who taught more with his example of faithfulness, joy and love than with words. This life-lesson has served Will in one of his most cherished civic accomplishments of the past year, which was working with Room at the Inn (RATI), a safe haven for pregnant women and their children. As President of RATI organization, he has helped develop their capital campaign in building the nation’s first college-based maternity and after-care residential facility. Will also volunteers his time on the Mecklenburg County Communications Committee and the Belmont Abbey College National alumni board. Will is a partner with Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein and his practice includes commercial litigation, bankruptcies and foreclosures.


It is with great joy that Maria (Ferguson ’97) and Dave Buerkle ’96 announce the birth of their seventh child, Matthias Stephan, born January 11, 2010, weighing in at 8 lbs. 8 oz. and 22 inches long. Maria explained that he was her first water birth which made the delivery very fast and less laborious. Congratulations Maria and Dave!!


Billy Schiffiano (’96) and Kelly (Gallagher) Schiffiano (’98) of Charlotte, NC, announce the birth of their fifth son, James John Bosco Schiffiano, born November 21, 2009, weighing in at 9 lbs, 8 oz. James joins big brothers Vincent (10), Joey (7), Oliver (5) and Tommy (3). Billy is a manager with Good Will Publishers, Inc. and Kelly is a stay-at-home mom, home schooling their children, busing them around to gymnastics, karate, and all other activities.


“Hello from Rome!” In April 2009, Aaron Condon ’99, his parents John ’69 and Toni Condon and family friends, Darrel ’69 and Joan Doré spent 10 days in Italy. While at the Vatican, they were able to meet with then-Deacon Richard Sutter, LC ’91 for a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. Aaron is also engaged to his love, Mary Shaw. Their wedding is set for January, 2011.


Professor Dr. Francis Murray recently had the pleasure of visiting with former history major Chris Goodson ’95. Chris and wife Charlene have two children, Jason (10) and Katie (9), and make their home in Rock Hill, SC. Chris is general manager of six branches of Woodie’s Enterprises.

Fall 2010


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs


Billy Miller (’99) and Judy Miller, of North Olmsted, OH, announce the birth of their third child, Natalie Elise, on September 15, 2009. Natalie joins older sisters Kaitlyn and Alexis.


Joseph W. Jackson ’99 and Lynette Grypp were married on July 18, 2009 at Christ the King Catholic Church in Cincinnati, OH. Fellow classmate, Aaron Condon ‘99, was a Groomsman. Joe and Lynette will spend the next two years teaching at the Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan.


Brandi Burke-Hicks ’00 received an M.Ed. in Humane Education from Cambridge College in June. Brandi and her husband Gregory make their home in Maryland.


After completing her B.A. degree in Psychology from Belmont Abbey College, Angela (Dalba ‘00) Campbell earned a BFA degree in Studio Art and is currently working on her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science.


After graduating from the Abbey, Carl R. Wilander ’01, of Loxahatchee, FL, earned his J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento in 2007. During law school, Mr. Wilander was a member of both the Mock Trial and Moot Court teams, as well as the Anthony M. Kennedy Inn of Court. Prior to joining Wilkes & McHugh, P.A., Mr. Wilander served as an Assistant State Attorney in the State Attorney’s Office in Tampa. His other previous experience includes certified legal internships at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and the Felony and Misdemeanor Bureau of the State Attorney’s Office of the 13th Judicial Circuit. Mr. Wilander is licensed to practice law in the state of Florida and is a member of the Florida Bar and Tampa Bay American Inn of Court.


Catherine (Rumore ’02) Hahn and her husband Jeff have been blessed with their fourth child, Blaise Augustine Hahn. Blaise was born June 30, 2009 at 7lbs 6oz and 20in. long. She joins big brothers and sister, John Paul, Joseph and Ann Marie.


Tiffany Murph ’01, of Concord, NC, writes, “It is with great pleasure that I am able to proclaim: ‘Graduate School is over!’” Tiffany finished her Masters degree in Library Science at East Carolina University in December 2009. It was a hectic 4 1/2 years juggling family, school and work, but she has no regrets. The MLS degree will open many doors in the future and she is thankful she took the opportunity to complete the degree when she did. Her future plans are to get some much-needed rest and to concentrate on the two most important roles in her life as wife and mother. She will continue working parttime in the evening as an LRC assistant with RowanCabarrus Community College LRC South until she (hopefully) transitions to librarian status and continues working part-time in the evenings. Tiffany is pictured with her husband, Philip ’01, and son, Samuel (4). 70 Crossroads

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Fall 2010

Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs


Nicholas Ferris ’02 and his wife, Angie, are proud parents of Nicholas Connor Ferris, born May 1, 2009. Nick and Angie currently reside in Savannah, GA. Connor is also the grandson of Edward ’73 and Annamarie (SHC ’68) Ferris of Pawley’s Island, SC.


Michele (Sander ’02) Richardson and husband Steve have a daughter, Karstyn (1 yr) and live in Phoenix, AZ.


Rob Rodite ’02 and Christina (Turner ’04) Rodite announce the birth of their daughter, Reese Caroline Rodite, born on February 10, 2010.

02 02

John ’02 and Kate (Matthews ’03) McCune announce the birth of their third child, Aidan Thomas, born March 11, 2010. Aiden joins big brothers John Paul and Patrick. Pictured on the left are Godparents Jay and Carrie (Perrine ’03) Sorgi.

Fall 2010

Bill Steigerwald ’02 and wife Ashley of Roanoke, VA, have been blessed with their second child, also a boy, John David, born on May 25, 2010, weighing in at 9lbs. He joins big brother Trip who is 5 years old.


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs


Matthew Newey ’04 has been promoted to Operations Manager at Pro-Ed, Inc., an educational publishing company in Austin, TX. Matt recently completed his MBA at St. Edward’s University in Austin.


Matt ’04 and Lori (Woody ’04) Tortorich announce the birth of their third child, a son, William Michael, born March 2, 2010. William joins his older brother and sister, Matthew and Catherine.


Rachel (Hoffman ’05) Bielefeld and husband Ben of Charlotte, NC announce the birth of their first child, Charlie. He was born April 12, 2009 and weighed in at 8 lbs. 4 oz. Congratulations!

05 03

Joe Klinker ’03 and wife Colleen live in Durham, NC with their two children Gracie (2) and Justin (1). Joe is a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard and is currently earning a graduate degree from the University of North Carolina.


Alexandra Larsen ’03 was received as a novice by the sisters of St. Benedict at Immaculate Conception Monastery in Ferdinand, Indiana, on April 24, 2010.


John Plecnik ’03 has accepted a tenure track position in the law school at Cleveland State University.


Carrie (Perrine ’03) Sorgi was on campus and dropped by the alumni office for a visit. She and her husband Jay are the proud parents of a 10-month-old son. They were blessed with their first child, Anthony Gianpaolo Sorgi, on November 23, 2009. He weighed in at 7 lbs.10 oz, and was 19 inches long. The Sorgis currently reside in Milwaukee, WI. Her job as a professional nanny will resume soon and the good news is that she can bring her son with her to work!

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The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Joseph Firmin ’05 and Saray del Prado Palos were married on August 1, 2009 at the Sanctuary of San José in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. He and his wife wanted to let everyone know that their son Joseph Rafael was born April 23, 2010 at 6:06 pm. He is 7lbs. 14 oz. (3.5kg) and 19.5 inches (49cm). Saray and the baby are healthy and doing great! “Love you all, God bless!”


Ben Safranski ’05 and Christina Maher were married on a snowy January 2, 2010 in Auburn, Maine. Members of the wedding party included Sean Sabo ’06, Sean Dunne ’05 and Jonathan Gareis ’10. The Pressimone family provided music for the ceremony. Ben and Chrissy make their home in Latrobe, PA.


Brother Robert Williams, O.F.M. Cap., ’05 was ordained to the priesthood on May 16, 2009 at Immaculate Conception Church in the Bronx.


J. Zaworski ’02 and wife Katie (James ’05) were married by Abbot Placid in August 2007 at the Belmont Abbey Basilica. After a couple of years of being married without children, they are now the proud parents of Hannah Grace, born August 14, 2009, weighing in at 6 lbs., 13 oz. and measuring 20 in. long. CJ, Katie and Hannah Grace make their happy home in Pensacola, FL.


Meagan Petterson ’06 was married on March 27, 2009. Belmont Abbey alumnae Erica Lewend ’98 was a bridesmaid and in attendance was Erin O’Rourke ’07. Fall 2010

Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs

07 07

Danielle Hess ’07 of Alexandria, VA was married to Jim Erwin on June 19, 2010.

Debi (Jacobs ’07) and Chris Cone ’07 were married April 4, 2009 on Tybee Island in Savannah, GA. It was a beautiful wedding and many Abbey classmates were on hand to witness this special event. Catherine Mobley ’07 was a bridesmaid and other Abbey graduates in attendance were Meredith Maher ’07, Jessica Taylor ’07, Tom McGraw ’08, and Nadine Ntumba ’10. The newlyweds spent their honeymoon in Jamaica and reside in Savannah, GA.


Jennifer D. Stritch ’07 has been accepted into Lenoir-Rhyne’s Masters in Counseling program.


Brenda (Arroyo ’08) Bernal dropped by the alumni office for a visit and to update her information. Brenda was married March 14, 2010 to Eduardo Bernal who is with the Diocese of Charlotte. They live on the Cherokee reservation in Waynesville, NC and she is employed with Carolina West in Waynesville.


Tyler Loftis ’09 and his wife Sarah announce the birth of their son, Robert Mason Loftis, born January 9, 2009.

10 10

Kristie L. Hammer ’10 has been accepted into Winthrop’s MSW program.

Miriam Stella ’10 will be attending the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, studying in the Catholic Studies Graduate Program.

Arts at the Abbey Free concerts of surpassing beauty performed in the Abbey Basilica: Carolina Pro Musica – November 8 - 8:00 P.M. Hits from the Past (1400 and 1500s). Songs so popular they became inspiration for both sacred and secular works. The D’Amore Duo – November 22 - 8:00 P.M. The D’Amore Duo brings together Turkish oboist, Fatma Daglar and American guitarist William Feasley. Described as a “Perfect Partnership of sound” by the Washington Post, they have toured widely in the U.S., and performed in London, and Australia. The Abbey Chorus – December 3 - 8:00 P.M. The Abbey Chorus and other music students present the Annual Holiday Concert with carols for all to sing! The Placilla/Rice Viola and Piano Duo – January 31 - 8:00 P.M. The Placilla/Rice Viola and Piano Duo, both faculty members at Winston-Salem State University, present rarely heard music including works by Beethoven for viola and piano.

Fall 2010

Carolina Pro Musica: Music along the Mediterranean – February 21 - 8:00 P.M. Music along the Mediterranean from18th c. Italy, France and Spain. Performed on period instrument copies including the Abbey’s French double harpsichord, 18th c. flute and viola da gamba. New Century Saxophone Quartet – March 25 - 8:00 P.M. New Century Saxophone Quartet, the only ensemble of its kind to ever win First Prize of the Concert Artists Guild Competition, is a pioneering and versatile group, winning newfound enthusiasm for the saxophone quartet. On this visit, the ensemble presents “Folk music from around the World.” Salute to Spring – May 1 - 3:00 P.M. The Abbey Chorus and instrumental students in the final concert of the college year. Donations are gratefully accepted. Karen Hite Jacob, series coordinator For more information call 704.461.6813


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs

In Loving Memory

1957 – SHJC – Sr. Pauline Mary Clifford, Belmont, NC – December 12, 2009

1930 – Emily Lowe, Hurst, TX – October 12, 2009

1958 – Eugene Kincaid, Pineville, NC – May 26, 2009

1934 – John Gettemans, Oak Brook, IL – May 29, 2009

1959 – F. Joseph Mullally, Mooresville, NC – July 24, 2010

1937 – Harold Thomas, Greenville, NC – February 28, 2010

1960 –Ted Costner, Gastonia, NC – July 6, 2009

1939 – Doris Jenkins, Belmont, NC – April 19, 2009

1961 – Joseph Muzenrider, Warner Robins, GA – November 22, 2009

1939 – Raymond “Pat” Patterson, Hilton Head Island, SC – November 24, 2009

1961 – Kevin J. Walsh, Gainesville, VA – February 27, 2010

1940 – Mary A. Shahid, Charleston, SC – May 22, 2010

1961 – John J. Bender, Red Springs, NC – August 4, 2010

1941 – Joseph S. Jacobs, Gastonia, NC – June 2, 2010

1963 – Charles A. Adcock, Monroe, NC – June 17, 2010

1941 – S  HJC – Willie C. Harrelson, Charlotte, NC – January 14, 2010

1963 – Thomas J. Huckaby, Gastonia, NC – May 11, 2010

1942 – Rev. Raymond J. Geyer, O.S.B., Belmont Abbey Monastery, NC – July 26, 2009

1963 – Joseph B. McDermott, Montville, NJ – July 5, 2010

1942 – John Brison, Gastonia, NC – July 31, 2009

1963 – John Pillion, The Villages, FL – July 20, 2009

1943 – Kenneth T. Tate, Belmont, NC – July 28, 2010

1965 – Lenny Brown, Boynton Beach, FL – July 27, 3009

1945 – Rev. John Oetgen, O.S.B., Belmont, NC – October 10, 2009

1965 – George F. Proudfoot III, Cary, NC – November 25, 2010

1946 – James Heracklis, Gastonia, NC – March 16, 2009

1966 – Alan Main, Dallas, NC – July 11, 2009

1946 – Therese Dennis, Mount Holly, NC – September 27, 2009

1966 – Charles Sailliez, Deltona, FL – July 17, 2009

1948 – Robert P. Asbury, Charlotte, NC – April 2, 2010

1969 – Charles A. Hoffmeister, Houston, TX – March 20, 2010

1949 – Girard Angelo, Hazleton, PA – June 20, 2009

1968 – Paul Nicorvo, Green Valley Lake, CA – July 31, 2009

1949 – S  HA – Bridget Scholl Beck, Cleveland, GA – April 15, 2010

1970 – Stephen Laughey, Alpharetta, GA – March 15, 2009

1950 – F  . Vernon McCracken, Richmond, VA – September 16, 2009

1971 – Robert Cranford, Flat Rock, NC – February 25, 2010

1970 – Roger Niosi, New Hyde Park, NY – January 24, 2009

1952 – Walter Lucas, Charlotte, NC – February 29, 2010

1973 – Spencer U. Deaton, Gastonia, NC – August 2, 2010

1952 – Charles Sparks, Belmont, NC – October 7, 2009

1973 – Kevin J. Murphy, Holmes, NY – December 30, 2009

1954 – Manuel V. Blas, Burbank, CA – April 19, 2010

1984 – Gerry L. Bailey, Cheraw, SC – May 9, 2010

1955 – Robert R. Rankin , Lexington, NC – April 1, 2010

1986 – Ann Marie Bridges, Grover, NC – October 1, 2009

1955 – Clyde Rice, Trent Woods, NC – March 30, 2010

1992 – Rina (Agriss) Blair, Johns Island, SC – September 20, 2009

1957 – J ames Francis Devine, Sr., Raleigh, NC – July 12, 2010

1997 – Thomas Rozycki, Denver, NC – December 4, 2008

1954 – James Cole, Gastonia, NC – January 31, 2010

74 Crossroads

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Fall 2010

PRAYER SUPPORT MINISTRY The Belmont Abbey Community has a team of volunteer alumni and friends all over the country who are committed to regular prayer. Prayer requests are circulated weekly by email. If you would like to volunteer to become part of our Abbey prayer circle or if you have a prayer request, please contact us at: Also, if you are interested in our Prayer Warrior project, matching you with our troops on active duty, please inquire at the above email address.

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Belmont Abbey College - Crossroads Fall 2010  

The magazine of Belmont Abbey College