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Kudos From Michael Novak

Joe’s Excellent Adventure

Light In A Dark Economy

Templeton Prizewinning Author Praises The Abbey

From Abbey Freshman To NASA Flight Surgeon

Superstar Strategist Phil Maisano ‘69 Shines With Helpful Advice

CrOssrOADs the magaZine of BeLmont aBBeY coLLege

Spring 2009


From the Editor

Our Inheritance from the monks: the gift that keeps giving Sacrifice. It’s the word I think of most often when I contemplate the lives of the monks of Belmont Abbey, past and present. The sacrifice of worldly possessions and pleasures they make when they take their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The sacrifice of the Holy Mass, around which their daily lives revolve. The sacrifice each member of this “band of brothers” has made for over 130 years to keep their principal apostolate, Belmont Abbey College, growing and flourishing. How can we ever adequately express our gratitude for such lives of selfless sacrifice, and the rich inheritance the monks have passed on to us through their sacrifices? In a way, this entire edition of Crossroads is a meditation on that theme. The issue begins with a series of essays that examine the monks’ legacy from a variety of angles. (In

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this humble editor’s opinion, the writing in these essays helps take the magazine to a new intellectual level.) The remainder of the magazine might then be looked upon as one illustration after another of the fruits of the monks’ legacy in various people’s lives. For instance, to get a clear idea of the difference a monasticallyinformed Abbey education can make in an individual’s life, I highly recommend “Joe Schmid’s Excellent (And Virtuous) Adventure,” written by NASA Flight Surgeon Schmid ’88 himself as an expression of gratitude to the Abbey. Next, check out our interview with Phil Maisano ’69, and see the profound effect being “coached up” as an undergrad by the monks and other Abbey professors has had on the life and career of one of America’s true superstar investment strategists. (Maisano also offers some heartening perspective on the economic downturn and hard-won wisdom on how to survive in a tough economy.) Following that, read our interview with the incomparable Michael Novak and see the impression the monastic setting and heritage of Belmont Abbey College made on this Templeton Prizewinning author and theologian during his visit here. Then, don’t miss our wideranging conversation with First Things editor Joseph Bottum on the state of Catholic culture in America, how he thinks a college like Belmont Abbey can have more of an impact

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

“May we all find ways to make sacrifices of our own, and give back to the monks who have given so much to us.”

on that culture, and much more. Finally, please take some time to read what our ten new professors, plus our new Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, have to say about what they find so alluring about the Abbey, and why they’re excited about being a part of the unique educational enterprise they’ve discovered here. What a great gift it is be a part of this community, one unlike any other in the world. And of course none of it would have been possible without the monks, who founded and built this magical place, and who continue to act as the heart and soul of it still. May we all find ways to make sacrifices of our own, and give back to the monks who have given so much to us.

Ed Jones

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FEATUrEs

THE MAGAZINE OF BELMONT ABBEY COLLEGE

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HOW WE CAN HONOR, PROTECT AND BUILD ON OUR INHERITANCE FROM THE MONKS Some of the Abbey’s best and brightest weigh in.

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KUDOS FROM MICHAEL NOVAK

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PUTTING FIRST THINGS FIRST

JOE SCHMID’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE

Schmid’s amazing journey from Abbey freshman to NASA flight surgeon illustrates what’s special about an Abbey education.

STAYING UP IN A DOWN ECONOMY

The Templeton Prize-winning author praises the Abbey, shares thoughts on his new book and more. Editor Joseph Bottum delivers an electifying lecture at the Abbey, and then a bracing interview. ent Adventure Joe’s Excell Abbey Freshman

Economy Light In A Dark ‘69 t Phil Maisano Superstar Strategis Advice Shines With Helpful

CROSSROADS

el Novak Kudos FromnMicha Prizewinning Templeto The Abbey Author Praises

From Surgeon To NASA Flight

EGE ABBEY COLL E OF BELMONT THE MAGAZIN

Superstar investment strategist Phil Maisano ’69 offers tips.

Spring 2009

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cover Issue: Honoring, protecting and building on the legacy of the monks.

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dEPArTMENTS

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

Faculty & Staff News Enjoy Our Freshmen Faculty Profiles . . . . . . . . . . . . 42-55 Abbey Announcements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56-57 New Book By Abbey Duo Celebrates An Alum’s Life, Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

Monastic News Meditations by Abbey Professor Already Inspiring Thousands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

Sports News Abbey Honors First Sports Hall Of Famers. . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Sports Roundup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Abbey’s Show of Support Lifts Grieving Coaches Heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62-64 Abbey Brings Back Tennis, Track And Field . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

Alumni News A Homecoming For The Ages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

Crossroads Crossroads is the official publication of Belmont Abbey College. Vice President of College Relations Ken Davison Editor Ed Jones Contributors Joseph Bottum Ken Davison Gayle Dobbs Simon Donoghue Gireesh Gupta Matt Kline Dr. Lucas Lamadrid Jillian Maisano Phil Maisano ’69 Stephen Miss Michael Novak Chris Poore Joe Schmid ’88 Susan Shackelford Abbot Placid Solari Dr. Bill Thierfelder Dr. Ron Thomas Photography Patrick Schneider Photography

Class Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67-74 Design and Production: SPARK Publications www.SPARKpublications.com Printing: Publishers Press 1.800.627.5801

Abbey Mailbag To submit comments about Crossroads, email crossroads@bac.edu or send letters to “Crossroads” Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, NC 28012 Class Notes and Change of Address info should be sent to alumnioff@bac.edu or Office of Alumni and Parent Relations Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, NC 28012

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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The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

All photos submitted must be high resolution at 300 dpi or higher to be used in Crossroads. Copyright © 2009 Belmont Abbey College

Spring 2009


Our inheritance from the monks:

Transforming the world

hOW the BeneDIctInes transfOrmeD the WOrLD, anD cOntInue DOIng sO By dr. Bill Thierfelder

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he Benedictines’ contribution to the world is remarkable. Throughout the darkest times in human history, it was the Benedictine monks who not only built and preserved western civilization, but added to it in the most extraordinary ways. By the beginning of the 14th century, the order had already given the Church 24 popes, 200 cardinals, 7,000 archbishops, 15,000 bishops and 1,500 canonized saints. In addition the Benedictines had

Benedictines helped to build and save western civilization? I believe that, with your support, we will be able to continue this work. If you read our Mission Statement, you will see that we are committed to carrying on the Benedictine tradition of scholarship and sanctity by nurturing students who will be a light to the nations: 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

“today the pagans and barbarians are again storMing the gates of civilization, and for Many… the world seeMs a darker place. fortunately, the benedictines are still lighting the way.” more than 37,000 monasteries and had enrolled twenty emperors, ten empresses, forty-seven kings and fifty queens. (Source: Thomas E. Woods, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (Washington d.C.: regnery Publishing, 2005), p. 28). Today the pagans and barbarians are again storming the gates of civilization, and for many, in these harsh and self-centered times, the world seems a darker place. Fortunately, the Benedictines are still lighting the way. At Belmont Abbey College, we are fortunate to have a Benedictine monastery on

Spring 2009

campus. This is a small liberal arts College where we try to carry on the Benedictine tradition of scholarship and sanctity so we can live up to the College’s motto, “That in all things God may be glorified.” More than ever, the world needs a Belmont Abbey College. And for us to be what the world needs, Belmont Abbey needs you. We offer you the opportunity to join in the work the Benedictines are still doing in building the Church and in preserving Western culture, and in promoting scholarship and holiness. Won’t you help us make the world a brighter place just as the

Crossroads

the Benedictine spirit of prayer and learning. Emphasizing Benedictine hospitality, we welcome a diverse body of students and provide them with an education that will enable them to lead lives of integrity, succeed professionally, become responsible citizens and be a blessing to themselves and others. Imagine a world filled with men and women who lived this way, whose passion was to search for and live in response to the Truth. If we could create such a world, we would see the same radical transformation that St. Benedict and his followers wrought so long ago. Come join us. Help prepare young men and women to transform our culture and to turn the tide.

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Our inheritance from the monks:

Our Catholic, Benedictine identity

a WOrthY mIssIOn: the rIght OrDerIng Of the mInD anD heart By Abbot Placid Solari, o.S.B.

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elmont Abbey and Belmont Abbey College owe their existence to the dream of the rev. dr. Jeremiah o’Connell, who deeded the property to the Benedictines for the establishment of “a religious community and literary institution.” Father o’Connell had himself started Saint Mary’s College, a school for boarding and day students in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1857. That institution, however, flourished only briefly, succumbing to the ravages both of bigotry and of the Civil War. The dream

Belmont Abbey College has been the particular focus of the dedication and generosity of the monks. Lacking a natural base of support and vocations in the least Catholic state in the country, the monastery and college have struggled financially since the beginning. It was

“lacking a natural base of support and vocations in the least catholic state in the country, the Monastery and college have struggled financially since the beginning.” never left him, however, that a school could provide a focal point for the few and scattered Catholic families in the western Carolinas, and a religious community would provide for pastoral care of those same families. His dream began to take concrete form on April 21, 1876, when one monk and two students arrived to take possession of the property, thus beginning the religious community and school intended by Father o’Connell. Since that unobtrusive beginning, the monks have shared generously of themselves and their resources in order “That in all things God may be glorified,” as the college’s motto proclaims. When the monastery became an

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independent abbey in 1884, it was entrusted with the care of the Benedictine missions in the Southeast. The monks subsequently established four other monasteries in Virginia, Georgia and Florida, each of which continues today with its school. Shortly thereafter, Abbot Leo Haid was made Vicar Apostolic of North Carolina, and pastoral responsibility for the Catholic Church in the entire state was added to his already-weighty task of firmly establishing a new monastery and school in a difficult and sometimes hostile environment. The monks continued to exercise their pastoral responsibilities until the Abbey was incorporated into the diocese of Charlotte in 1977.

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

due to the contributed services and the long hours of work by the monks that the monastery’s schools were able to continue. Since the monastery and college were one corporation, the annual deficits in the

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Our inheritance from the monks: college’s operating budget were regularly covered by the monastery’s meager funds. In 1976, realizing that the college’s future could be assured only by engaging the help of the larger community, the monks voted to incorporate the college separately with an independent board of trustees. Since that time, the lay members of the Board of Trustees have given generously of their time, treasure and talent. Without their generosity and expertise, the college would not be in existence today. In establishing the separate corporation, the monks made it unmistakably clear in both the by-laws and the charter of the new corporation that the college was to continue its identity as a Catholic and Benedictine institution, and they reserved certain powers to themselves as the members of the college corporation to insure that the school remained true to the intention of its founders. Since that time, the monastic

Our Catholic, Benedictine identity community has sacrificed to support its college, developing its property and, in very recent years, contributing over seven million dollars, much of it borrowed, so that the college might continue and flourish. The monks have sacrificed significant needs of their own in order to provide for the education of young people, and assure the employment and financial security of the members of the college community and their families. The monks of Belmont Abbey are committed to the support of Belmont Abbey College and to the continuance of this Catholic, Benedictine educational tradition, which has enriched the lives of so many alumni and others. We hope that others will find it possible to join us in this noble endeavor. The reason why the monks have been so ready to make repeated personal and financial sacrifices for the welfare of their college flows from their faith commitment

and their conviction of the value of the tradition of education. What this education is intended to do was expressed beautifully by the famous seventeenth century Benedictine scholar, dom Jean Mabillon. In his Treatise of Monastic Studies, he wrote the following about Benedictine education: “The principal goal that monks should keep in mind in their study is the knowledge of truth, and charity or the love of justice – in a word, the right ordering of the mind and heart. Those are the two chief goals that not only monks but all Christians should keep in sight.” Knowledge of the truth and charity, the right ordering of mind and heart – a mission worthy of great sacrifice, for it prepares students to live well in this world, and in the world to come. Please help us continue this good work.

BeneDIctIne peace The Jubilee Medal of Saint Benedict (1880) is inscribed on the reverse with the motto “PAX” (peace). The Benedictine peace of the Abbey campus is suggested in the setting of the Abbey Church and the dominating figure of Saint Benedict that now stands before it. These drawings (1936) of the Benedictine medal are the work of Father Michael McInerney, o.S.B.

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Our inheritance from the monks:

The idea of a university

restOrIng the OrIgInaL vIsIOn Of the Western unIversItY By dr. ronald Thomas

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any people do not understand the Benedictine influence at Belmont Abbey College because they know nothing of the history of university education, generally, or of the monastic influence on the development of our civilization from the ground up. In a nutshell, education, government, law, and culture were developed in the West because the monasteries acted as little nodes of order, rationality, virtue and grace

that we refer to today as scholastic. Cardinal Newman is famous for the observation that a thousand questions do not produce even one doubt: these religious of the early universities did not doubt the Truth, at all, and they had a great deal more than a thousand questions. Contrast this with the common situation in

“our culture, without the knowledge, faith and ‘synthesis’ of the benedictine way is less than itself – that is, subcultural, deracinated and confused.” across the chaotic landscape of the European continent and the British Isles. After the implosion of the roman Empire, there were simply no other bodies capable of performing this civilizing work. Monasteries would prove the most powerful engines of civilization, far beyond the power of military, economic, and political entities. Monastics introduced order, knowledge, art, and the light of reason and faith into a world that had already lived through its own apocalypse. The rise of the universities around the year 1200 owes everything to the

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establishment of religious houses throughout Europe, whose members were both the first teachers and the first students of these universities. Older universities such as Oxford and Cambridge were still shockingly monastic up until the Second World War. Apparently, the clear but false idea that knowledge had nothing to do with the past, tradition, and the content of revealed faith had not penetrated these precincts. It is the overwhelming confidence in the idea that reason and faith rise together in strength that animated the universities and produced the method

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

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Our inheritance from the monks: our day in which the possibility of Truth is everywhere doubted and real intellectual curiosity is buried under sophomoric skepticism, technologized distraction, and politicized posturing. Scholastic method was a serious uncovering, or discovery, of the Truth to be found in the real. The fresh waters of divine revelation in Christ were always sweetening the well of Reason, and students were invited to draw as much as they could reasonably drink. It is interesting that the students of these early universities did not, in the main, utilize their education

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The idea of a university for anything other than the intrinsic good that it possessed. True, lawyers and clergymen were put to work in the machinery of the society, but most were simply to be the ideal of humanity about which they had studied, argued, and wondered. Nowhere was this truer than with those who repaired to the religious houses of their society. The universities represented the flowering of the Benedictine intellectual labor of the preceding 500 years: the tradition of the scriptoria, cathedral schools, and perhaps most importantly, choir, with its preternaturally beautiful synthesis of text and sound that we call Chant. The almost irresistible power of mind, art, and faith that the monasteries represented puts the whole question of culture in a new light. A culture, a civilization, is what it adores, worships, and supplicates. our culture, without the knowledge, faith and “synthesis” of the Benedictine way is less than itself—that is, sub-cultural, deracinated, and confused. Here we draw back to the point where I started. Modern, deracinated, confused man, who makes, in his ignorance, everything into a sub-culture (this is the inner meaning of the vapid trend called “multiculturalism”), needs what the Benedictines once offered to a barbarous Western Europe after the collapse of the last great civilizational complex: the synthesis of faith and reason, “the beauty of holiness,” and the order and peace that allow these things to flourish. I find that the Benedictine establishment we call Belmont Abbey College is not just “offering the riches of the past for a new day” —

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though this is certainly true — but rather, more radically, it is offering the same, unique and almost irresistible call to Truth, reason, and faith that Benedictines offered in circumstances only slightly more barbarous than our own. Put another way, a peaceful flood of mental, social, and spiritual order flows from the Benedictine foundation of our campus to its edges, offering everyone here at least a chance to approach the world equipped with the increasingly rare gifts of knowledge, faith, and moral sanity. This world, these times, yearn for what this Christian intellectual tradition brings to us here at Belmont Abbey College. Increasingly, I do not see Belmont Abbey College as one educational institution among others, but as of a piece with that primal civilizational creation that the Benedictines have accomplished at other times and in other places, and upon which the entire intellectual tradition of the West depends. Some might say that this elevation of the mission or character of the college is a willful plunging of all the world around us into the dark. How dark the world around us is can be left to reasoned debate—and all debate about contingencies stretches to perpetuity. one thing, however, is very certain: Belmont Abbey College is a part of the Light that never dims. If it, if we, resist the dying of the Light, we will be a continued part of the original vision of the Western university—the only real vision of a university—and we will have leavened our corner of the civilization for the sake of the Truth, in that characteristically Benedictine way.

Dr. Ron Thomas is Assistant Professor of Theology

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Our inheritance from the monks:

Educating the whole person

the raDIcaL meanIng Of “eDucatIng the WhOLe persOn” By dr. Lucas Lamadrid

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rue Wholeness: It has

become common parlance in American higher education, especially among small liberal arts colleges, to refer to the whole student. In general this means that an institution of higher education has some kind of commitment and responsibility to the student’s education and welfare that transcends career and classroom preparation. Thus, one can find counseling centers, health centers, developmental programs, diversity programs, intramural programs, athletic programs, and spiritual programs at virtually every college and university in the United States. This is a particularly American educational phenomenon which is looked at as inefficient and somewhat silly by European universities. Belmont Abbey College also claims to educate the whole student—mind, body, and spirit—but it makes this claim in the Catholic tradition which radicalizes the statement in ways that few understand. To say that an institution of higher education is Catholic means that it is grounded in a particular view of the human person that values the entire person—mind, body, and spirit—as made in the image of God. Now this can sound pretty pious, but that would miss the point. To educate students with a view of the person as made in the image of God is a commitment to create a college community that is devoted to the integration of the whole student. To guide my thoughts in these reflections I rely on the philosophical theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas. I select Saint Thomas for a couple of

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pious students or healthy students, but they do not study, then it has failed as a college.

But How Do We Define The Intellect At A Catholic College?

reasons. First, the late Pope John Paul II referred to Saint Thomas as the Church’s theologian. Second, after many years of study it is my opinion that the metaphysics and theology of Thomas Aquinas is unsurpassed in its overall intellectual synthesis of the human person in community and in relation to the triune God. Thomas provides a Summa—a whole—of Catholic theology but also of the whole person. Mind: The chief reason a student comes to college is to enlarge his or her mind. That’s what separates a Catholic college from a church or even a seminary, which is more geared toward preparation in ministry. In The Idea of a University John Henry Cardinal Newman made it clear that the essence of an institution of higher education is to develop the mind. The “business” of such an institution is “to make this intellectual culture its direct scope, or to employ itself in the education of the intellect… ” This in and of itself reminds us that if a Catholic college has

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

That’s where the thought of Thomas Aquinas shows us a particularly revolutionary way of understanding the person’s intellect. Thomas has two words for reason—ratio and intellectus. Ratio is discursive reason—processing information, learning facts, following formulas the way a computer program moves from one command to another. Ratio is necessary but it is a subsidiary use of the intellect. True reason is intellectus which is best translated as “understanding.” Intellectus is the ability of the mind to understand the purpose and the end of ratio. Intellectus is that “aha” experience where the mind is able to grasp its object in a direct way. Understanding is the whole point of a mind. It is the whole point of education. Understanding is what separates the human person from “brute” animals, as Thomas would say. Zoologists note that chimpanzees apply reason in the use of tools and dolphins and whales communicate in some form. But only the human person is capable of achieving understanding, of asking questions that lead to other questions, of grasping the whole. Body: our culture is obsessed with the body. Fitness equipment, celebrities, plastic surgery all communicate that the quality of our life can be determined to some degree based on how we look and how we feel. I remember once after a workout at a university gym elsewhere in Spring 2009


Our inheritance from the monks: North Carolina seeing a young woman who could not have weighed more than 110 pounds proceed to her SUV after two hours of aerobics. She took out her cell phone and then lit a cigarette. My heart went out to her as she pulled out of the parking lot. At a Catholic college we teach students a simple fact—our bodies, like everything else we are, are not our own. They are gifts from God that carry a particular joy and a particular responsibility. Even more radically our bodies are integral to us as individual human persons. Rene Descartes, the eighteenth century philosopher, discounted the body and elevated the mind as the secret to the human person. But in the Catholic intellectual tradition this makes no sense. We are not floating minds. We are embodied minds. our bodies define not who we are but how we are. So much so that even after death our souls are distinct from the angels, because angels have never had a body whereas human souls have had bodies and in some way this has defined the human person’s soul. So at a Catholic college we have health programs and rules about alcohol use, drug use, etc., but these programs are not conducted because of some cultural norm that says to be healthy is to live well and these rules are not imposed to subscribe to the laws of the land. rather health programs and rules regarding health issues are grounded in a deeper understanding of what it means to be an embodied soul whose physical bodies are true donations to the human person. How we treat our bodies is a measure of our gratitude to the donor. spirit: “I’m a spiritual person, but not really a religious person.” When I hear this common phrase I translate, “I really don’t want to get up on Sunday morning and go to Church.” The word “spirit” and “spiritual” has been drained of any content in our culture. So what Spring 2009

Educating the whole person does it mean to say that a Catholic college educates the student’s spirit? Sometimes we use the words “spirit” and “soul” interchangeably. I do not have a problem with this exchange. In Latin the word for soul is “anima,” that animating principle that defines our movements. Without a soul the human person would be a lump of matter, incapable of activity or definition. For Aquinas the human soul is a rational soul that is incorruptible—it does not die when the body dies. But the problem with the word “soul” in English is that it leads to this image of our soul as an interior lock box which is held captive by our bodies and then only released at death.

spirit of generosity and gratitude. Human souls need each other. We are made for community. Human spirits are inextricably attached to God’s spirit. At a Catholic college that spiritual sense is grounded in the reality that is the Church. And that grounding means that we teach students that their spirit is bound to God in thanksgiving and openness to God’s gracious presence in our lives. We do this educating in campus ministry, but also in the residence halls, in our athletic contests, and in the classrooms. Going to Church and fostering prayer under – girds this communal commitment and nourishes the student’s spirit.

The sum Is Greater Than The Parts: The Mystery Of The Human Person

Our spirit, on the other hand, connotes a fundamental openness to the world at large and to God himself. our spirit is connected to God’s spirit as in Psalm 51: “… renew in me a steadfast spirit. do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.” recently our students wore and distributed T-shirts at a home basketball game which queried on one side, “Got Spirit?” on the other side the T-shirt stated, “our athletes seek victory. our fans support our athletes. No wonder we make the perfect team.” At the conclusion of the game the basketball team went to the Abbey bleachers and shook hands and hugged with their peers. The spirit of community was evident. But even more so this was not just a moment of sportsmanship and fan support, but the connection between college students in a Crossroads

Many colleges and universities claim to educate the whole student. For the mind there are classrooms, labs, library, and faculty. For the body there are workout facilities, health centers, intramurals, sports teams. For the spirit, there’s a campus ministry center usually housing staff from various religious traditions and neighborly theologies. At Belmont Abbey College as a truly and wholly Catholic college the claim is much more audacious. our mission and measure of success resides in our efforts to educate the whole student—mind, body, and spirit—throughout the fabric of the College. This ambition rests upon the belief and outlook that the sum of the human person is greater than the parts. The parts themselves are integrated. To serve one part at the expense of another would demean the person. Ultimately the human person is a mystery grounded in the mystery of God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This simple conviction is the foundation for our claim—we educate the whole student—mind, body, and spirit. Dr. Lucas Lamadrid is Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

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Our inheritance from the monks:

Treating each person as Christ

What unItes us In Our DIversItY: the pursuIt Of truth By Simon donoghue

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n June 24, 1893, Abbot Leo Haid, o.S.B. wrote to the future American saint, Mother Katherine drexel, asking for a bequest to complete the abbey cathedral. It was the beginning of a long, fruitful collaboration between these two striking Church leaders, and it served to inculcate the value of tolerance for diversity into the subsequent history of both the monastery and Belmont Abbey College (then St. Mary’s). In brief,

What began as a humble enterprise in 1876 flourishes in the 21st century as a faculty and staff composed of disparate individuals united by a common purpose. That purpose is the education of the whole man and woman who choose to gift us with their presence. during the past one hundred and thirty years, our students have included men (and latterly women) of all races, creeds, nationalities and economic backgrounds. Each student has brought his or her

“given the context of the place and tiMe, haid’s decision to integrate was reMarkable. and yet tolerance flows froM the heart of the benedictine life.”

drexel specified — and Haid agreed — that the new church was to be open to African-American worshippers. Drexel, the heiress to a large Philadelphia fortune, had founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People in 1891, and was accustomed to using the income from a substantial inheritance to foster integration. Belmont Abbey already ran a separate church for black Catholics, St. Benedict’s. Now Haid agreed to close that facility as a church (it reopened as a school), and to make provision for people of color within the pews of the new cathedral. drexel promptly forwarded $4,000, and the building was completed the following year. It remains the heart

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of the Belmont Abbey College campus. Given the context of the place and time, Haid’s decision to integrate was remarkable. And yet tolerance flows from the heart of the Benedictine life, so perhaps it was not surprising. This tolerance has been a charism since the rule of St. Benedict was written in the sixth century. The rule mandates that all that come to the monastery are to be treated as Christ would be treated. It makes no distinction among the visitors and monks themselves. The command is simple, and fundamental. No monk is exempt from it, and by extension, neither is the apostolate of the monastery. And, of course, the apostolate of Belmont Abbey is the College.

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

contribution to the history of the College, and upon graduation has taken the legacy of an Abbey education to the wider world beyond the grounds. The diversity of interests is united by a common goal: the pursuit of truth. Truth is pursued in varied ways: in the classroom, the laboratory, on the playing fields or courts, within the theatre, or the interactions among monks, faculty, staff and students that take place on a daily basis. And looming over all of these activities is the Abbey basilica, a vivid reminder of the diversity that has been present on campus since the beginning of the College. Simon Donoghue is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Abbey Players

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Our inheritance from the monks:

A love of sport played well

pLaYIng spOrts unDer the InfLuence Of Our “spIrItuaL cOaches” By Stephen Miss

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ince I began coaching at Belmont Abbey College nearly five years ago, I have been invited to attend several hall of fame induction ceremonies. Quite often during these gatherings, former student-athletes who attended and played basketball at rival colleges will share with me their most enduring memories of having competed against the Crusaders in the Wheeler Center. Strikingly, these narratives always contain one common and very vivid image: a snapshot of a group of

extend the analogy, the monks, who have devoted their lives to living closer to God, are our “spiritual coaches,” for in their embodiment of our shared, catholic spiritual heritage they provide us with an example of how to live our lives. So when the question is posed: How do we honor, protect, and build on the legacy of the monastic community here at Belmont Abbey College? The answer is, quite simply, we emulate the men who founded the institution more

“the Monks, who have devoted their lives to living closer to god, are our ‘spiritual coaches’… they provide us with an exaMple of how to live our lives.”

men robed in black who, while looking down from “Father John’s Ledge,” are praying for the failure of those poor souls in opposing uniforms foolhardy enough to step to the free throw line with the outcome of a close game hanging in the balance. Although these accounts have mushroomed with the passage of time to epic proportions in the mind’s eyes of the tellers – much like my recollection of seeing the “Night on Bald Mountain” segment of disney’s Fantasia as a young child – they do, for me, serve to illuminate the “living presence” that is the monastic community of Belmont Abbey College. Irrefutably, the monks make an indelible impression, impacting

Spring 2009

and shaping the perceptions, and recollections, of those who comprise the Abbey community as well as each and every individual who comes into contact with it. According to John Wooden, a coach should be a model and not a critic. Successful coaches (parents, too, for that matter) understand that if they want their players (children) to perform with confidence, then they must exude confidence in themselves and in their players. Similarly, successful coaches (parents, too, for that matter) understand that if they want their players (children) to maintain poise in pressure situations, then they must possess and exhibit poise in such situations themselves. To

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than one hundred and thirty years ago and model our deeds and words on the men called to carry on that legacy today. Granted, walking the walk, so to speak, is far more difficult than talking the talk; nevertheless, we are blessed for we need only to follow the monks’ lead and, then, do the best we are capable of doing to live up to the standard they set. Even though, contrary to the beliefs of a few psychologically scarred individuals, the monks are not praying for the failure of our adversaries during athletic competitions, they are leading, molding, and praying for us all – so, I like our chances.

Stephen Miss is the head coach of the men’s basketball team

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Our inheritance from the monks:

Wise and generous stewardship

the mOnks have Been carrYIng the cOLLege fInancIaLLY fOr Over 130 Years Here’s how we can do more to relieve their burden By Ken davison

O

ver the last few years, my interactions with alumni, trustees, and other benefactors of the Abbey have made a couple of things very clear: First, we have some of the most loyal and enthusiastic supporters I have ever met. Second, many of these same supporters seem to share several interesting perceptions about the need for their ongoing financial generosity. If you’ll kindly indulge me, I’ve created a “pop quiz” below to help address these perceptions. Which ones do you think are true and which ones false? Have you ever had any of these thoughts yourself ?

True or false: Perception #1:

“The monks provide all the financial support the College needs.”

Answer: False.

Yes, the monks have been very wise and good stewards of the land they’ve inherited, building the beautiful facilities that house our College. And they have been the largest supporters of the College historically, not just through welcoming us onto the land they call “home,” but also by being the largest contributors of cash to fund the operations of the College, the upkeep of our buildings, and many of the scholarships we offer students. over the past 10 years, the monks have provided over $7 million in support of the

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for the College comes from donations from people like you.

True or false: Perception #2:

“Student tuition provides all the financial support the College needs.”

Answer: False.

College, much of this money borrowed in the name of the monastery to make it immediately available to the school to support our doubling in student population, the hiring of new faculty, and the expansion of our scope of offerings and programs. The monks have taken on this debt for the benefit of our College community rather than addressing their own pressing needs, because of their belief in the unique need for a College such as ours. For this reason, however, during the past two years, the monastery has understandably been able to provide very little cash support for our operations. Although the monks remain our leading benefactors due to their sponsorship, visible presence and active support of the College’s mission, at this point virtually all of the cash support

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The typical college or university covers only about 70-80% of its operating needs from student tuition, fees, and the like, so the remaining 20-30% must come from either donations or earnings from their endowment. The same is true here at the Abbey. our endowment is very small, less than $14 million—and the current financial environment means that this year we have very little “earnings” to work with. So, we need to rely for even more of our needs on…your donations. The good news is: we have seen a growing number of people step up to help us, as the chart at the bottom of the next page shows:

True or false: Perception #3: “If I make only a small contribution, it really has no impact.”

Answer: False (and please read

on—I’m not offering “every gift counts” platitudes here, but instead talking about how we can really leverage every gift to raise even more money). Remember that Father Jeremiah

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Our inheritance from the monks:

Wise and generous stewardship

o’Connell purchased the land the monastery owns back in 1876 with only $10— and the value of that $10 investment has multiplied through lots of hard work. Your gift multiplies with a whole lot less work on your part. For example, were you aware that foundations and corporations take a close look at a college’s “alumni participation rate” when they are deliberating grants? Since 2006, when we began to really feel the impact of our strategic plan reinvigorating the college, we’ve seen the Abbey’s “alumni participation” rate (the percentage of alumni who donate annually to the college) leap 32%. However, it is still about half the national average and well below many other Catholic liberal arts colleges. We may graduate small classes— around 100 or so every year—but if dozens of Abbey alums decided today to make just a $10 donation (in a way, following Fr Jeremiah o’Connell’s example), we could really move our alumni participation rate in a significant way, putting the Abbey pretty quickly on the “radar screens” of more of America’s top grant-making organizations and corporations. And more and bigger grants could do some wondrous things for us.

fiscal Year 2006

fiscal Year 2007

1,473 donors

2,117 donors

It may also surprise you to know that U.S. News & World Report considers participation a key indicator of alumni satisfaction with their educational experience, and they use alumni participation as a metric in their annual rankings of colleges and universities. And publicity on those rankings encourages more students to come here and more non-alumni to donate. So again, just a small gift from a higher percentage of the Abbey’s alumni could have a direct effect on our national rankings, helping us attract even more top students and professors. Finally, high participation levels are, in effect, contagious. As more people hear about the College and the monastery, and more people give, the momentum starts to build, and pretty soon it’s a “movement” almost everyone wants to be a part of.

True or false: Perception #4: “If I am not an alum of Belmont Abbey College, then my gift isn’t necessary.” Answer: False, again.

First, we have many outreach efforts which survive on charitable donations, from the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College, to the Bradley Institute (which the Vatican declared a “Seat of

Ken Davison is Vice President of College Relations

fiscal Year 2008

fiscal Year 2008

3,066 donors

1,630 new donors

Total Donors Spring 2009

Christian Culture”), to “The one-Minute Monk” which you may hear on Catholic and Christian radio stations, to many other programs we offer to serve those who aren’t students here. Here’s something worth remembering: it is not just alumni giving which can multiply. When we are applying for loans, banks look at the depth and breadth of the fundraising base to determine their risk—so the more people who “vote” for us with a gift of any amount increases our bargaining power for borrowing, both in how much money we can obtain and the interest rate we have to pay. That, of course, could help us significantly in our future construction projects to provide the home base we need for all our work, inside the College and out. And it could all start with your seemingly “small” gift. So, please, if you share our mission, and our belief that now more than ever, the world needs a College like Belmont Abbey College, then please share with us some of the blessings God has bestowed on you with a tax-deductible gift of any amount. And as always, please pray for us.

fiscal Year 2006

fiscal Year 2007

466 new donors

777 new donors

First-time Donors Crossroads

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Joe Schmid’s

Excellent Adventure (and Virtuous)

Schmid’s Amazing Journey From Abbey Freshman To NASA Flight Surgeon Illustrates All That’s Special About An Abbey Education

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Spring 2009


Schmid (bottom row, right) pictured with future mentor Dr. Betty Baker (right, plaid shirt) on a field trip.

Joe Schmid (’88) was inducted into the Abbey’s “Wall of Fame” this past October 2008. Since he was on assignment in Star City, Russia at the time, he couldn’t make it to the induction ceremony. So he sent along the following speech to express his gratitude. My mother and father suggested that I have a look at Belmont Abbey College in the spring of 1983. “It’s so close to Charlotte (my hometown), and it will only take us a few minutes,” they said. Making this suggestion was a rare move on their part. Normally, they neither overtly encouraged nor discouraged any of my career or other decisions, but instead simply lent an understanding ear as I worked myself through my thoughts on a subject. How important their “little” suggestion proved to be in my life, however! I had been thinking of going to UNC-Chapel Hill. But the Abbey accepted me first and then actually sweetened the deal with a $1000 scholarship for the first semester, plus tuition disSpring 2009

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count because I was from a local county. “OK, so I’ll go to the Abbey for a couple of years,” I thought to myself. “And then I’ll transfer to a big school like Chapel Hill or Notre Dame.” That latter decision was the best one I never made. I had no idea at the time how transformative getting a classic liberal arts education like the one the Abbey has to offer would be. A key part of that education is the opportunity the Abbey gives one to work and flourish among very small groups of students (the value of which I’ll come back to later) . I also had absolutely no idea on that cold March day when my parents and I first visited the campus of how many life-changing opportunities the Abbey was going to present me with, nor of the subsequent opportunities life would bring my way later, thanks to the kind of education I received at the Abbey.

A Chance Encounter? Or Providence At Work?

In the second semester of freshmen year, I had a chance encounter with Dr. Thuot [Director of the Abbey’s Honors The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

17


Teaching CPR in Rowanda.

Institute] in the parking lot below Stowe Hall. Dr. Thuot happened to know that my good friend Jon Milligan, an incredible photographer and human being, was going to have to drop out from the Abbey due to health reasons. Jon had an absolutely wonderful and powerful mind, but eventually succumbed to a lung disease that had afflicted him since he was a small boy. Dr. Thuot encouraged me to think about competing for the Anne Home Little Scholarship that Jon had to give up. A full ride! It even included some travel money that could be used for a year abroad. I had very mixed feelings about the matter, since Jon was a dear friend of mine. My high school grades and my background also paled in comparison to Jon’s stellar performance. But Dr. Thuot said, “Well, just apply.” As he turned and walked away, he also said, “And if you can get good grades again this semester, that would help as well!” I never worked so hard, nor have I worked that hard since, as I racked up straight A’s again that second semester of Freshmen year at the Abbey to reach the goal given to me by Dr. Thuot.

One Question Changes Everything.

“Have you thought about majoring in Biology?” Dr. Mike McLeod [chair of the Abbey’s Biology department] asked me in his office, as he twirled a set of test scores in a mobius strip in his hands. I was skeptical at first. I had had a tough time in Biology 18 Crossroads

class in high school. I am terrible at memorization. Again, I really had to burn the midnight oil to try to make something of the test. “Well you should,” he said. “You had the top score for the semester on the exams.” How was that possible? Actually, I had wanted to be a computer science major at the Abbey. That was another “best decision I never made.” Through the lectures of Dr. McLeod, Dr. Baker, Dr. Cronin and Dr. Reilly I was shown the wondrous world of cell biology and physiology. Chemistry was another tough subject for me, however. But Father Arthur [Pennington – a monk and now Professor Emeritus of Chemistry] somehow pulled some good work out of me in that subject as well. (Probably like pulling teeth!) Along the way, Dr. Thuot also opened up for me the inspiring world of the Great Books, classical and modern thought, and the value of critical thinking. And Dr. Mike Hood [chair of the Abbey’s English department] patiently showed me how to actually write a coherent paper. How were these professors able to do that?

A Pamphlet On A Door Opens Other Doors.

“Just apply,” Dr. Betty Baker [Professor of Biology at the Abbey] told me. She was referring to a pamphlet on her office door from the Kennedy Space Center I was eyeing. What a huge door her little pamphlet was to open for me: it was for a sponsored summer program at NASA, studying

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space physiology down in Florida. What a dream! I didn’t get into the program the first year. “Apply again, Joe,” Dr. Baker helpfully suggested. “Improve your application and go for it.” In fact, I wouldn’t have gotten in the second time I applied, had my mother not received a surprise phone call from Kennedy Space Center. “He needs to fix a few things in his application. Have him SAY in his essay that he wants to work for NASA,” the voice on the telephone said. I was in Japan at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, and thanks to Dr. Baker and that still unknown woman, I walked through the door to my dream. “What do you think my chances are of getting into medical school and that Air Force Scholarship?” I asked the Colonel at the military recruiting station. He held up recommendation letters from the Abbey, from Drs. Thuot, Baker, McLeod, Cronin, Reilly, and one from NASA. “With these, and your grades, I’d say they are pretty good.” “I think your college experience lends itself well to the problem-based curriculum,” the medical school counselor told me. Instead of lecture after lecture in medical school, I was able to pursue small group learning, learning in context, and seeing patients from day one. Medical school turned out to be a lot of fun! My Abbey education had prepared me so beautifully for all of that, you see. Spring 2009


celebrating our strengths as we achieve new resources and exploration that we can all share. Living and working for 12 days on a mission called NEEMO in an undersea outpost named Aquarius off the coast of Florida... I have been able to do this all with the tools, the opportunities, and the amazing individual care that I was provided by the wonderful professors and mentors at the Abbey. This award is not about me. It is about the Abbey.

How Can I Ever Thank The Abbey Enough?

Other Ways My Abbey Education Opened Up New Worlds And Adventures.

The Benedictine Tradition with a lot of modern tools thrown in is what you get at the Abbey. Critical thinking, logical reasoning, scientific concepts and a large knowledge base foundation, computer programming, adult learning, time management, classic thought, being able to write, problem solving, understanding true human motivations, systems thinking, quickly arriving at the heart of a matter... finding the good in another person, what makes them unique. Enjoying lifelong learning. This is what we learn at the Abbey. The Abbey also taught me to make a list of goals, devise a plan and then go for it. Anne Horne Little’s gift to the Abbey (and it came as a surprise legacy, I understand, because she was always impressed with the students from the Abbey) allowed me to live in a foreign country (Japan) for a year as an exchange student, truly understanding what it is like to be a stranger in a strange land. It also gave me the chance to examine my own country from a distance, to see how the rest of the world looks at the U.S., our good qualities and our bad. Being allowed to care for the sick and injured. Getting taught how to teach others to prevent disease. Being provided a manner of thinking to diagnose and treat 90% of what is seen in Family Practice. These were all other parts of the foundation that the Abbey provided for me. Spring 2009

Ah, the adventures my Abbey family has sent me out on. Adventures like being allowed to turn slow, gentle rolls in a NASA T-38 jet trainer in a beautiful turquoise blue and red sky over Florida, with the kind instructor pilot an actual Top Gun! Sitting in an Air Force medivac C-130 cargo plane on an empty tarmac in Marrakesh, Morocco at an emergency landing site right out of the 1950s... waiting in case the space shuttle had to land there. Twice! Meeting and regularly taking care of my childhood heroes, actual honest to goodness Moon-Walking Apollo Astronauts. Delivering 99 babies in residency. Providing medical care to those defending our Nation and laying their lives on the line to stabilize Kosovo. Taking care of their family members and of military retirees that fought for freedom long before I was born. Teaching emergency surgical techniques to medics in war-tom Nepal and Rwanda. Teaching medical students and resident physicians concepts in Family Practice and Aerospace Medicine. Working on new medical techniques and equipment that are being used on the International Space Station. Speaking some Japanese and German with my International Partner physician colleagues as we provide medical care to an outpost in space that has had humans off the planet for nearly a decade. Following my highest childhood dream of working in the Space Program, focusing human efforts beyond the politics of individual countries and

I am deeply humbled by the wonderful opportunities presented carte blanche to me. This is not about my effort, though I have worked hard. This is about the wonderful education and Grace that we are provided by the Abbey. The classic thinking, the drive to improve what we have been given, the desire to celebrate God in everything we do.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all you provided me in 1983-1988 and thank you for this awesome honor. My only hope is that I can find some way to repay your kindness in bestowing this honor on me. I don’t think I am worthy to appear on the Abbey’s Wall of Fame, but I will do all I can to celebrate the Abbey, its wonderful mentors, and educators and to encourage and enable others to share in all its glory. Thank you. Josef Schmid MD, MPH Expedition 18 Deputy Crew Surgeon Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Star City, Russia October 4, 2008

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Superstar Investment Strategist

Phil Maisano (’69) Offers Wisdom, Tips On How To Stay Up In A Down Economy

20 Crossroads

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Spring 2009


T

o borrow a famous advertising slogan from a now-defunct Wall Street investment firm, “When Phil Maisano talks, people listen.” Indeed, these days, some of America’s most prestigious clients, as well as top financial news outlets like Bloomberg TV, Barron’s and Investment Age, are listening more intently than ever to what Maisano ’69 has to say. And for good reason. As the Chief Investment Strategist for BNY Mellon Asset Management and Vice Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of the Dreyfus Corporation, both headquartered in Manhattan, Maisano oversees investment portfolios that, in the aggregate, total in the hundreds of billions of dollars. During his more than 30 years in the investment business in New York, he has also seen some of the worst recessions in American history come and go. So he has some hard-won wisdom to impart to anyone wise enough to listen. Recently, Maisano was kind enough to take time out of his jam-packed schedule to share with fellow Abbey alums and friends of the College some of the same valuable insights he’s offering to his multimillion dollar clients. We began our interview by asking Maisano to help us put the current economic crisis into some kind of historical perspective: Have you ever seen anything resembling the current economic conditions, or is this a whole new ball game? When I started in the investment management business in 1972 and ’73, things were certainly bad, and remained so throughout most of the decade of the ’70s. People forget that. The ’70s was a lost decade for securities. Inflation was roaring at double digits. Now, we don’t have that problem right now. We have the opposite problem – i.e. a deflation potential. Additionally unemployment was over 10% in the ’70s. People also tend to forget that. And so far, we haven’t come close to breaching that number. It’s possible that at the bottom of this downturn, we’ll get very close to that Spring 2009

number, but I doubt that we will exceed it. For your readers who are as old as I am, you may remember something called the Misery Index, which was the aggregation of inflation and unemployment. And at one point during the late ’70s the Misery Index was in the mid-20s.

“We have seen an economy this bad. In fact, many would assert that the economy [of the 1970s] was worse, because we had runaway inflation at the same time.” So the answer is that we have seen an economy this bad. In fact, many would assert that that economy was worse, because we had runaway inflation at the same time. Now, the runaway inflation was a product of the Vietnam War and massive deficit spending. So yes, we have indeed seen the economy in this poor a state, but the current crisis does have the potential to be as difficult – if not more so. The reason we had so much inflation was we had so much stimulus in the ’70s because of the war. Sure we have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now, but it’s nothing near the magnitude we had in Vietnam. So we don’t have inflation per se at this point. Of course, some of the spending ideas in Congress might get us there before three or four years have gone by. Some seem bent on drawing parallels to the Great Depression. Are such parallels useful or accurate in any way, at least in terms of putting things in perspective, or are they unnecessarily panic-inducing, causing thousands of otherwise smart people to in effect suffer from self-inflicted financial wounds? The press has been irresponsible in drawing parallels to the Depression –

absolutely, totally irresponsible. However, they’ve been successful in creating enough panic that their dire predictions may well come true. This is as much a crisis of confidence as it is a credit crisis. We do have banks that are in really difficult condition, and investors are concerned…in fact, for the first time since the Depression, they’re concerned that their financial institutions – i.e. the banks, the insurance companies – aren’t solvent. And when they feel that way, they retrench. If they’re not confident in their financial institutions, it’s very difficult for them to be confident enough to spend on anything, so they save – i.e. they put their money in their mattress. And there are various forms of mattresses available, money market funds or buying treasuries and the like. We have seen a flight to safety unlike anything I’ve seen in my career. So yes, we’ve managed to induce a panic. I believe – and I don’t want to get too political here – that not having an incumbent running in the recent election really added to this crisis. Because we had both candidates trashing the existing order, and as a consequence of that, people have less and less confidence, they start withdrawing from their financial institutions, that causes a runs on banks, and it all becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. People start believing the world is going to come to an end. And then on the 6 o’clock news Chicken Little comes on and convinces you that the sky is falling. So the confidence level is lower than we’ve ever seen, causing consumers to retrench, when consumers retrench, that means that retailers suffer, if retailers suffer, the manufacturers ultimately suffer because the retailers aren’t selling the inventory – they don’t need to restock. It’s the opposite of a virtuous circle; it’s a vicious circle. Is there a way to follow the whole unfortunate series of events back to one or two major causes of the meltdown? Or is it all too complex to do that? Yes. At the genesis of the problem is the irresponsible granting of credit to less than credit-worthy borrowers. It started with

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Maisano, second from left, pictured with fellow members of the Student Government Judicial Branch.

sub-prime mortgages. But it didn’t start in 2007. You can trace this thing back to the late ’70s, early ’80s, when there was a concerted effort – which, by the way, was a good one from a social standpoint – to get home ownership up to the 70% level over a period of time. Politicians were frustrated by the fact that home ownership post-World War II kind of settled into a pattern where 60 % of families owned their own home, they wanted to increase the percentage of homeowners to at least 70%. They believed that doing so would certainly enhance the status of people in the lower middle class by owning their own homes; it would improve the cultivation of properties, because if you own something, you’re much more likely to take better care of it, etc. But in order to get that extra 10% of the family population into homes, you had to change credit standards some or you had to come up with much more affordable housing. Well, here’s the rub. If you make it easier to get credit, you put pressure on home prices. So home prices skyrocket. And people have to borrow more to buy those homes, which makes the credit quality even lower. So what we had was another unvirtuous cycle where home values were being pushed up by the artificial demand we created by making credit too easy. And, by the way, it was all forms of credit. You have examples of that right there on your own campus. When the freshmen 22 Crossroads

“At the genesis of the problem is the irresponsible granting of credit to less than credit-worthy borrowers. it started with sub-prime mortgages. But it didn’t start in 2007. You can trace this thing back to the late ’70s, early ’80s, when there was a concerted effort… to get home ownership up to the 70% level.”

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come in, they’re assaulted by credit card companies who are willing to give them a credit card, knowing they don’t have a the means to pay off the balances, they are totally dependent on their parents’ largesse to pay the bills. Oh by the way, after four years – or five or six, depending on the student – you have a pretty good credit rating because your parents have paid the bills for all of those years. And they’re apt to increase your credit line pretty dramatically. And you can see how that cycle can get ahead of you, enabling irresponsible habits. And what we need, maybe, is a little bit of a reversion to what we had 35 years ago, if you wanted to buy a house, you had to put 10% down, you had to have a job, and you had to be able to pay for that house with no more than 25% of your income. Somehow those common sense rules got suspended. Look, I think the public purpose here was well taken. It is better to have people in homes they own. But you can’t let the public purpose override the basic financial facts. And we did that. Who were the enablers here? The same people who are now vilifying Wall Street are the guys who passed the Community Redevelopment Act in the early ’80s. Then refused to rein in Freddie Mac and failed? So I think there were a lot of enablers here. It is not just a Wall Street thing – and I am not trying to be overly defensive about this – but this is not just a Wall Street thing. Spring 2009


Again, we took what could have been a good, twisted it enough so that it became a rip-off. It was well intentioned social policy– but lousy economics. Do you think we’re close to bottoming out yet, or could it get worse for 6-9-12 or more months before it gets better? What are the brightest signs of hope, in your estimation? I.e. are there any silver linings to be seen in all of this? I was asked a similar question by a reporter on Bloomberg TV recently, and here’s the analogy I used. If you’ve ever been to a home that has an artificial pond, usually they have some black plastic at the bottom of the pond to seal it. That makes it very difficult to perceive the depth of the pond – because of the black bottom. Assume the same thing, except it’s a pool that is all black at the bottom and the sides. If you look down from the side of that pool, you have no idea how deep it is. I think we’re in that situation with the current economy. And a major problem is if people can’t perceive the depth…that is, if they don’t know where the bottom is, they’re afraid to jump in the water. They don’t know if it’s 10 feet deep or two feet deep. If it’s two feet and you dive in, you crack your skull; if it’s 10 and you can’t swim, you could drown. So you don’t want to take the risk. And I think that’s the situation we’re in right now. It’s hard to discern the bottom. And it doesn’t look like we have clear signals on what that bottom might be. So my answer is: I’m not sure we’re near the bottom. I do think we are beginning to recognize more and more of the bad loans. I think it may be important for us going forward to have some place to dispose of those loans – whether it’s a new resolution trust or whatever they come up with in the TARP program, or it’s simply a clearing house for these assets… they really don’t know what the value of them is because they won’t trade…and until they begin to trade and somebody discerns a bottom, we’re going to be stuck standing beside the pool and looking Spring 2009

down, and we won’t be finished with this until that discernment is clear. Are there signs of hope? There are always signs of hope. We have the most adaptable and dynamic economy in the world – in spite of what the Europeans would want to think about us. I do think you’ll see some innovation come out of this which will create…some form of new energy technology – similar to the way broadband did in the late ‘90s, the same way cellular technology did it in the early ‘90s – if you get some new technology like that – I think President Obama hopes that it is energy-related – you create new industry, and if you can do that, you start ramping up new jobs very rapidly. That would be the sign that I am looking to see. I know there are things in this justifiably-criticized stimulus package that is coming out of Washington that are related specifically to that area, so it is the one bright spot that I would hope might come out of this. I don’t think it’s hybrid cars, but rather an alternative to hybrid cars like hydrogen cars – or some kind of technology that we can begin to mass produce pretty quickly that will be technology-based. Most major shifts in the economy are technology-based. People are working on it, trust me, because there is a whole lot of money to be made, and if you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t have to worry about the limits on what you can be paid. So that’s the silver lining. We are going to drive innovation. And we could come up with something, and everything could change pretty quickly. You’ve almost certainly had to field phone calls from anxious clients, some of whom have tens of millions in the portfolio they’ve entrusted to you. What are, say, the top three pieces of advice you’ve used to quell/ ease their anxieties? I certainly have had plenty of calls from anxious clients. My top three pieces of advice? Number one, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Investing is for the long term

– unless you’re 78 years old, and then you have to shorten your horizon a bit. In which case you probably shouldn’t have been full-out invested in variable securities anyway. There’s an old rule of thumb that if you take 100 minus your age, that’s how much equity exposure you should have. It may sound simplistic, but sometimes simple rules like that work pretty well. In the long run, you are going to be better off owning the equity of a company than you are owning a bond of the same company, however, over particular periods of time that’s not always true, and we’re in one of those periods now. Today I would balance my portfolio more towards high-quality debt – i.e. not government debt, but high quality corporate debt – and have a little less stock exposure than I would normally have. That is, if my normal equity exposure is 50%. I might be at 40% today. Again, using the theory that this is a longer-range project…when you invest, it’s a much longer-range horizon than next week, and that is true of your 401k, your IRA, your 403b, that whole alphabet soup of savings products. When we talk to the mutual fund clients, who are at a more modest level of wealth, I say you ought to have six months pay in the bank in cash. Of course, make sure it’s in a bank you think will be there in six months! But those are old rules. A lot of people seem to have forgotten them during the go-go days. But those are old rules that still work. The conventional wisdom is that there’s no better time to invest in stocks than when the market is down. One obviously needs to be very careful with such advice, given all of the ongoing volatility, but is there anything remotely resembling a “sure bet” – companies, industries, investment vehicles of any kind in which investors can have rock-solid faith under the current circumstances? Just because the market is down doesn’t mean it’s cheap. It means it’s down. And when you evaluate where you are in a market, you have to evaluate

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a number of things. You don’t buy a company because it’s cheap. You buy a company because it’s well-managed, strongly capitalized and can weather the storm. So when you’re looking at stocks today, you would be looking at strong companies with good balance sheets who can generate enough cash from their own operations to fund themselves – i.e. they’re not dependent on credit to stay alive. Because no matter how successful a company looks, if they are currently dependent on credit they might get shut out of the markets pretty quickly. So again, don’t buy because people are saying that stocks are cheap. A) they can stay cheap a long time and B) you’re not sure what cheap means yet. If earnings continue to go down, then something that was selling at 10 times earnings will be selling at 20 times earnings if earnings are cut in half at which point it goes from cheap to expensive. So you’ve got to pay attention to what the metrics are in an individual company before you decide whether it’s cheap or expensive, and whether or not that company has a survivability factor in going forward. I hate using examples of companies, because people then run out and buy them, and if they don’t work out, they blame me. [Chuckles.] But look at a company like Proctor & Gamble. They’re in very basic industries – like razor blades, soap…we all know what they make… You’re going to give up a lot of things as a consumer before you give up your soap and your razor blades, and your floor cleaners, etc. So Proctor is in basic consumer consumables. They have very good cash flow. They don’t owe people money. They’re a very conservatively managed company. They tend to do pretty well in this kind of environment on a relative basis. So what does that mean? Well, their stock is down 20% and everyone else’s stock is down 40%. What about companies like Amazon and Costco? Those are very different animals, but with a model that maybe makes sense. Costco is essentially a wholesale to 24 Crossroads

retail company – you know, you buy big quantities of stuff and you get a discount. That’s most attractive when things aren’t so good – and you don’t want to go to Harris Teeter or Lowe’s or wherever to pay the highest price. And you’re certainly not going to go to Whole Foods, because it’s too expensive. Amazon, because they have a model that has very low distribution costs, in an environment where you need to cut prices, they’re going to fare better than a company like Macy’s that can’t.

“There are always signs of hope. We have the most adaptable and dynamic economy in the world–in spite of what the Europeans would want to think about us.” Right now, you have to look at things this way: if the economy gets worse, who survives? Because the survivors are going to be big winners coming out the other end, when they’ll have fewer competitors. So they’ll either be driven out of business – e.g. Circuit City vs. Best Buy: Circuit City is out of business, which is a terrible thing for its employees, but it’s a wonderful thing for Best Buy. Their major competitor is dead. But Best Buy now has to survive. Because if they do, they are a big winner. So you try to pick the survivors… who have solid balance sheets and can finance themselves without depending on someone giving them a handout to get by, or borrowing from banks that are generally not anxious to lend. I don’t accept strategies like buy when other people don’t. That’s baloney. You

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have to do a thorough analysis as to where a company sits, and hopefully you can get professional money managers who are good at it – but they’re understanding that they’re buying the intrinsic value of a company, not just because the market is down and it’s going to rally. It just doesn’t work that way. Any counter-intuitive investment tips you’d like to give our readers – just between us? Yes! Given what I just said, you’re going to think this is a little crazy, but if you want to take some risk – if you’ve got a risk appetite – and let’s put that at 5% of your assets, you can buy something like high-yield debt today. It’s yielding, 15-20%. If they just pay the interest it takes about 5 years to get all your money back. If you look at these – which, by the way, used to be called “junk bonds” – there are some pretty decent companies that are having difficulties raising money, but at 15+% interest they’re not going to stay around forever – as long as they carry that coupon. So there is a kind of a risk, because it’s backed by the assets of the company, it’s not the common stock. But even if they do go belly-up, the assets back the securities. So they might sell their factories and what not and get enough to pay off the bondholders. So there are some places that sound really risky, but they’re not quite as risky if you do the analysis. If you could sit down with President Obama, Paul Volcker and Lawrence Summers and tell them three key things they should be doing right away to improve market/investment conditions for the broadest range of investors, what would they be? I’ve met two of the three.. But if I could sit down with the three of them I’d say to them that the single most important thing you can do is restore the confidence of the consumer. The consumer needs to be confident enough to believe that he or she will have a job. They’re not going to spend unless they believe that, and that’s why they’ve pulled their horns in so much. Additionally, the Spring 2009


banks have to know that the securities they’re holding in their portfolios can be traded at some reasonable value. And right now, it’s not happening. It’s why I think we need something like a Resolution Trust II, and we clearly need the bully pulpit being used to convince consumers that the world isn’t coming to an end. And quite frankly, the daily press conferences that tell you how bad things are really should be stopped. In the Age of Obama, do you think certain industries will be hurt by the new government philosophy, while others will be helped, or is it too early to tell? Ergo, are there any specific stocks or bonds or other investment vehicles to keep an eye on in that light? Well, it’s pretty clear to me that Wall Street is not going to fare well in the Age of Obama, although for those of us who work in the field know if you don’t have a vibrant financial intermediary system, you’re not going to have much of an economy. So we really ought to stop bashing Wall Street and say, “Things could have been done better, but here is the function of Wall Street. Here’s why we need financial intermediaries.” These are not handouts….because if the banks don’t have the ability to obtain money from Richie Rich and lend it to Joe the Plumber, you’re in big trouble. We need financial intermediaries to make the system work. I would at some point stop beating them up, because somebody needs to be out there selling stocks, selling bonds so that we can have a vibrant economy. Now what is going to prosper under Obama? Clearly clean technology. We just launched a Global Sustainability Fund at Dreyfus. We certainly support environmental sustainability, but the investment opportunity is going to be very attractive. Companies that are more environmentally aware are going to do better than companies that aren’t. Companies that produce products that help sustain a clean environment are going to do better than companies who produce products that move in the other direction. So I think it’s a theme that’s pretty easy to follow. Spring 2009

What are the top 3-5 lessons you learned in your economics courses here at the Abbey that have stood you in get stead during your career – through the good times and the bad? What did I learn at the Abbey? You know the very most basic of the economics courses gave me principles that I go back to almost every day: Supply and demand. Price curves. Sort of the old Stan Dudko stuff [laughs appreciatively] …I also had a professor there named Isabelle Hart, who was then the head of the economics department. The best information I came away with was the stuff I learned in the preliminary economics courses I took when I was a sophomore. And supply and demand absolutely works 100% all of the time! It’s an irrefutable law of economics. And if you didn’t believe it, the so-called energy crisis proved it to you. When the price of energy got too high, people stopped using it, or they used it a lot less. And when they use it a lot less, guess what happens to the price. So people ought to pay attention to the fundamentals. The nice thing about a good liberal arts college like the Abbey is that it forces you to learn some of those fundamentals. Economics is a social science – and I’d like to see everyone take at least one good economics course, because I believe it would change the nature of the way many people think. In fact, I wish those dunderheads in Washington had taken a good economics course, because they clearly don’t understand it. [Chuckles.] They think creating more demand is the right thing to do. That’s not it. You’ve got to have equilibrium between supply and demand. For me, going on to graduate school and into the MBA program – that was the trade school. That’s where I learned how to do securities analysis and the like. But I learned how to sort of compartmentalize my thinking in my undergraduate days at the Abbey, so that I could understand the context in which companies operate in an economy. Now some of my other grades at the Abbey I wouldn’t want exposed! But the economics courses that I absolutely fell for – even though Dudko claims he never

gave me anything but an A…that’s a lie: he gave me plenty of Bs! [Laughs – again, appreciatively] But that’s where I got the building blocks that helped me think the way I’m able to think about the economic and investment world. And as I say, grad school gave me the tradesmen’s tools – how to buy a stock, how to buy a bond, how to understand cap structure…all of that. You don’t get some of that in undergrad school. Although I will say my accounting courses at the Abbey helped a lot. Because it’s fundamental to learning finance. Has your grounding in the liberal arts while you were a student here at the Abbey helped you navigate the potentially treacherous professional and moral waters of working at huge investment firms in New York City in any way? (Have you ever heard anyone actually say something like “Greed is good” – and you’ve felt compelled to correct them?) Yes, I’ve heard people here say that “greed is good” – but only when they were parroting the movie it comes from, “Wall Street.” Actually, I’ve seen people live that. I’ve seen people who allow their sense of morality to be corrupted by their sense of achievement. And it’s a pretty ugly picture. One of the nice things about all of that Catholic schooling I received [chuckles] is that there’s enough guilt that is laid on you somewhere – whether it’s called guilt or values, it almost doesn’t make any difference, but you somehow sense that if you are taking advantage of someone else to advantage yourself, and that’s your consistency in life, it’s hard for you to live with that. I won’t tell you that it’s impossible, because some people have figured out ways around it, but it’s hard. I’m very fond of the whole idea of a Benedictine education, because there is a real balance that is emphasized in how you treat others…that it isn’t okay to do anything it takes to succeed. And if you do succeed, you should reach back to help the person behind you. So yes, that kind of education matters. And listen. Although we’re getting

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trashed in the press and on the TV news every night, Wall Street people are generally very, very generous. I’m afraid charities in New York are going to get clobbered as Wall Street people try to get back on their feet. But I think you’ll find there are more generous people here than there are people like…Bernie Madoff… I think we need a balance of fiscal and monetary policy to get out of this. And there’s going to have to be some trial and error that goes on here. How much do you stimulate, how easy do you make money…after all easy money got us into this mess. So the monetarists are going to have to pay attention to that, and at some point they’re going to have to remove the punch bowl. So next time we’ll go right back to the same thing… but next time we’ll have the same thing: no growth, high unemployment AND inflation, which is the worst trifecta. And we don’t want that. Would you say there is a moral grounding in the investment advice you give your clients? I try to be honest with my clients. I always explain what risks they’re taking, trying to get them comfortable with the risk, and if they’re not, I don’t overwhelm them with a lot of statistical baloney. Because if they’re not comfortable, I’m not comfortable. So I try to get them sort of the furthest out on the risk curve I can get them, but still stay in their comfort zone. I educate them all along the way, I give them more and more information, I try to cushion all of the blows where I can, but I think you need to get people to sort of maximize their risk quotient within their comfort zone. And if I get a client who’s comfortable taking a 100% risk, I have to back them off that ledge. Because that’s not practical. If you look at an average client that I advise, you’d see a third of the assets in something very safe – it might be municipal bonds, it might be treasuries…something that is probably not going to be very volatile. You’d see another third of the assets in something that kind of swings – it might be an 26 Crossroads

account that can either go to stocks or bonds or cash, and I can make those decisions for you. And then another third of the assets that are supposed to generate large capital gains – because

“I came to the Abbey as—hopefully— someone with good potential, who hadn’t displayed a lot of it…but it allowed me to realize that.” even if you lose a half of this third, that’s only 16% of your total! [laughs gently]. And I think you can live with that. And it’s not overly scientific but it works. You’re a member of the Board of Trustees here at the Abbey. Are you impressed with the investment strategies being followed here? Since I created a lot of the strategies for the Abbey’s endowment, I’m impressed with all of them! [Laughs.] So you can’t ask me this question! We’ve tried to manage around the way the College is situated at a given time. And for many, many years, we were much more equity-oriented than we are today, because we had virtually no endowment and we needed to grow it, and in many cases we then took the money out to support the school. So that equation has fortunately changed some. And I think we’re in a slightly less risky mode right now. But that’s as much of a comment I’d like to make on the matter [since I’m so close to it]. What can various donors – particularly large donors – do to most effectively help Belmont Abbey College reach its intellectual,

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spiritual, financial and physical plant goals in the next 5-10 years? (Planned giving?) They can give their money!! [Laughs.] And remember that as you do your estate planning, it’s a pretty painless way to give money after you’re gone – when you don’t need it. So I think you ought to try to figure out a way to make the Abbey part of your bequest. I think planned giving does really work. If you look at the great endowments, that’s how they got great. What do you like most about what you see going on at the Abbey these days? Besides Jillian, my daughter-in-law, you mean? (Laughs.) [Jillian Maisano is the Abbey’s Assistant Director of Marketing.] I like that basketball coach Stephen Miss a lot. He lives the Benedictine values as a coach. And that’s not a common thing these days… he’s an impressive young man. When I was there, it was before the campus was as great-looking as it is today. There was a lot of crimson sod back then. But the campus is idyllic today. And I think it’s a great learning environment. I like the closeness of the faculty and staff with the students. You know, you can’t apply your own needs to others. But I came to the Abbey as probably – hopefully – someone with good potential, who hadn’t displayed a lot of it – certainly with respect to academics – but it allowed me to realize that. It didn’t assume that – oh well, here’s just another guy who’s kind of average… One of the things I often say about the school is that it takes the seemingly average sort of student and allows him or her to aspire to, and actually achieve, great things. The Benedictine inspiration is there. You know, think larger than you actually are. But because you’re in a small place, you have an opportunity to display your talents. The Abbey is good at “coaching people up,” if you will. Spring 2009


Are there any current or past “Abbey heroes” of yours that you’d like to mention? I’m not mentioning Dudko, because he’ll want me to mention him.[Laughs heartily.] There are definitely people I’d like to mention who had an influence on me. Certainly Father Kenneth [Geyer]…and only because I was such a lousy French student, and he figured out a way to get me through it! He was our fraternity counselor and was able to take kind of a raucous bunch and to get us to start thinking right – without moralizing to us. On the academic side, Mrs. Hart and Stanley Dudko – both – they were darned good teachers of basic economics. So they gave me a nice foundation – which certainly helped me in graduate school. I had better grades in grad school than in undergraduate school. And there was also a political science professor – Father Edmund McCaffrey - who had a big influence on me. He eventually became the abbot, I believe. Most importantly, my wife of over 40 years (Mary-Alice) who I met on my Maisano pictured as an Abbey junior. first day of Freshman orientation! She has always inspired me. I do manage to stumble into church How do you keep your balance in on Sundays, and I try to play golf life during such stressful times? periodically, but as Jillian will tell you, Is there a prayer regimen or not nearly enough. something of that sort that helps But it’s hard. I’m very fortunate you retain your equanimity – and that I have an understanding wife who even joy –during the toughest of has dealt with it gracefully for many days? A saint you pray to? years, and our children have grown up, How do I keep my balance? I don’t. so they don’t require nearly as much [Laughs sheepishly.] When it’s high attention as they used to. Although stress time, your balance has got to be having said that, they still require some! found in what you’re doing day-toIt’s really important, and one of the day. For example, when the Lehman things I did during my career – I did Brothers crisis hit – when they went forcefully carve out time to coach my bankrupt that weekend – we spent boys in one sport or another. Football several weekends in a row, working and baseball for both of them. But it through Saturday and Sunday trying to was a great way to spend time with figure out how we were going to handle my kids – and to get to know my kids’ the default of their securities, what friends, which is very important. But it was going to mean to our over one you have to carve the time out, and you trillion dollars worth of accounts…and have to have a really understanding in that kind of situation, it’s very hard wife, because the stuff you do with the to keep a balance. kids takes away from her, too. Spring 2009

You have to be smart about scheduling your time. But I traveled a lot – and still travel a lot – and a lot of the burden falls on the wife when you’re gone. So we tried. Was I as successful as I would have wanted to be in that dimension in my life? Not as successful as I should have been, but they got to go to the schools they wanted to attend, and they didn’t have any student loans. Whatever you decide to do for a career, though, if you don’t have passion for it, you won’t be successful. And if you do have passion for it, it will make up for a lot of your lack of certain skills. And I really have loved my career. This job is like facing a big puzzle every day that has sort of multiple ways it can all fit together. And you don’t always get it right, but if you get it close to right, it all ends up looking pretty good in the end.

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Michael Novak

Speaks About Faith, Reason, The Darkness That Unbelievers And Believers Share – And His Impressions Of Belmont Abbey College

Templeton Prize-winning author and theologian Michael Novak visited Belmont Abbey College to share his thoughts on the central thesis of his new book “No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers.” The Abbey Basilica was packed for his lecture, and afterwards, Mr. Novak signed copies of his book at Holy Grounds, the College’s coffee shop. Crossroads later had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Novak on a range of subjects.

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Here is our exchange.

Crossroads: Were you at all familiar with Belmont Abbey College prior to your visit here? If so, what had you heard about it? Mr. Novak: I heard of Belmont Abbey College by word of mouth, read about it several times in magazine articles, and had seen some of the new advertising for the college, which I like a lot. An old friend of mine, Carson Daly, came down to a position here that made her very happy (if a bit too busy to keep up the old correspondence), and a brilliant young former assistant of mine, Grattan Brown, recently came down to teach here. Crossroads: What was your impression of the College during your visit here? Mr. Novak: I had a very favorable impression – the beauty of the place, its quietness. I have always loved a monastic setting for a university. It gives a sense both of learning and of contemplation, both of prayer and of action I was very impressed with the Deans I met, and with the energetic president Dr. William Thierfelder. I am very grateful to him, in fact, for sending along to me afterwards a framed Sports Illustrated cover showing George Blanda kicking another one of his miracle field goals. The president knows I love the George Blanda story, and now his framed picture hangs right behind my desk.

in Massachusetts, which was only getting started when I went there in the 1950s, and now is about 2200 students or a bit more. And presently I am on the Board of Directors at Ave Maria College (600 students) near Naples, Florida. I consider Belmont as part of this intellectual family.

Crossroads: In 2001, you published On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding. How was that book – and in particular its assertion that religion played a central role in the lives of, and in the documents written by, the founders of the American republic - received by scholars at elite universities?

music. There was no ACLU to tell him he shouldn’t.

Crossroads: What do you think the Founders would have thought of a college like Belmont Abbey – where faith and reason are seen as complementary, rather than somehow mutually exclusive? Mr. Novak: The American

Mr. Novak: Professor David Gelernter of Yale called On Two Wings “One of the five best books about America.” Gordon Wood, Chairman of the National Historical Society Board of Advisors, now at Brown, found historical inaccuracies in it

Founders tended to be rather antiCatholic, a little curious about it (John Adams, for instance), but very suspicious. Nonetheless, the Roman Catholic tradition of seeing faith and reason as complementary is not so far from the Anglican Catholic tradition, which informed so many of our early universities. And even the Congregationalists and Presbyterians who were instrumental in founding these major universities maintained a remarkable continuity with the

(he is a topmost professional historian, and I am only a serious amateur) but nonetheless agreed with the main thesis; namely, that the American founders were far more religious than our current generation seems to grasp. For instance, during the Jefferson administration, the largest church service in the U.S. was held Sunday mornings in the U.S. Capitol building – and President Jefferson had the Marine Band perform the

intellectual traditions of the late Middle Ages and the early fathers of the Church. The rise of denominational religion (after about 1820) changed this atmosphere, and brought into being a notably stronger suspicion of reason and a new eagerness to separate faith from reason by a considerable degree. So the founding itself was a special time of celebrating the harmony of faith and reason. Many

Crossroads: How does the Abbey compare or contrast to other Catholic colleges you’ve visited in recent years? Mr. Novak: It is really hard to compare the smaller Catholic colleges. Each has a personality all its own. I think Belmont Abbey College has rather distinctive characteristics. The presence of the monks and the monastic life, the physical setting, and the freshness of the students with a sense of their awakening to the world of knowledge – all of these things caught my imagination. I graduated from Stonehill College 30 Crossroads

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sermons at the time made arguments first from reason, then from Scriptures, and rejoiced in their convergence.

Crossroads: America is such a Protestant creation in so many ways. So what unique role do you think a Catholic college like Belmont Abbey should play in American culture? Mr. Novak: In this region of the country

particularly, Catholic culture has not been very well-known – although of course there have been serious pockets of Catholic life here and there. So I imagine that the combined influence of the monastic life and learning with the eagerness of youth will radiate through your surroundings, and across state lines as well.

Crossroads: Let’s pivot and move

now to your marvelous new book, about which you spoke so eloquently here at the Abbey: No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers. ThenCardinal Ratzinger used the theme of the darkness that atheists/secular humanists and believers share very powerfully in his famous debate with the German atheist and philosopher Jurgen Habermas to attempt to build a bridge or find common ground. However, you adumbrated this same theme in two of your early books, Belief and Unbelief (1965) and The Experience of Nothingness (1970). Did now-Pope Benedict by chance borrow insights from your work? Have you cross-pollinated your thinking on the subject with his – or vice versa?

Mr. Novak: I am certain that Pope Benedict has no need to learn anything from me. His own writings are far more erudite, and better stocked with profound ideas and precise distinctions. But the two early books of mine you mention did in fact stress the importance of the dialogue between theists and atheists. So I feel great sympathy for the dialogue between then-Cardinal Ratzinger and Jurgen Habermas, and deeply admire the way in which the two of them advanced the argument considerably. Spring 2009

“I had a very favorable impression of the [Abbey]–the beauty of the place, its quietness. I have always loved a monastic setting for a university.”

Crossroads: What do you think

is new about the “New Atheists”? Is there something more insidious about their arguments than those of their predecessors that we need to guard against? If so, did that give the publication of your book extra urgency?

Mr. Novak: There is something quite “new” about them. They are far less positivist than their predecessors of the past two or three generations. That is, they all, or nearly all, confess a remarkable sense of the sacred and the transcendent. They all have a deep appreciation for altruism, brotherly love, justice, compassion and solidarity. The unbelievers think that you do not need religion in order to share in such qualities. Since they are creatures of the same Creator as believers, this is what we would expect. Crossroads: Atheism certainly seems to be on the march in certain

nooks and crannies of academia. At Harvard, for instance, the 2008 Phi Beta Kappa Oration was called “Without God,” a paean to the superior beauties of atheism delivered by physicist Steven Weinberg. Published recently in The New York Review of Books, the speech ends on this rather morose note: “Living without God isn’t easy. But its very difficulty offers one other consolation – that there is a certain honor, or perhaps just a grim satisfaction, in facing up to our condition without despair and without wishful thinking – with good humor, but without God.” Weinberg’s dismissal of religious belief as “wishful thinking” doesn’t seem to leave much room for dialogue. However, one of the things you say in your book is that civil dialogue between believers and atheists can benefit both parties. Can atheists be seen as a kind of godsend to help believers think more and defend the Faith better?

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“A few atheists scattered throughout society is a kind of salt that gives savor to the whole… [they] stir believers to think much more deeply about what they believe and why.” Mr. Novak: Is atheism on the march in sections of American society? You bet it is. But, only about 8% of Americans describe themselves as agnostic or atheistic. Of these, only one out of four is atheist. Most tend to be concentrated in influential places such as the universities, Hollywood, and the media. Their strategic location magnifies their influence far beyond their numbers. When Professor Weinburg wrote of religious belief as “wishful thinking,” one wonders if he has no wishes of his own. Are there not powerful motives for unbelief ? I say this only to show that dismissing one’s opponents so off-handedly gets one nowhere. What I hope is gained from current debate among atheists and theists is a much deeper sort of mutual respect.

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Crossroads: On the other hand, is

a certain horror of atheism a healthy impulse for Catholic educators to have? E.g. could a serious embrace of atheism or secular humanism by a critical mass of people at a college be devastatingly destructive to the entire educational enterprise? (If we’re all just random collections of carbon molecules or our brains are no more than “cognitive meat” as someone charmingly put it, what meaning do standards of any kind have? Why regard much of Western literature and art as anything more than silly, naïve fairy tales or wishful thinking, and thus why study it?)

Mr. Novak: The way I see it, a few atheists scattered throughout society is a kind of salt that gives savor to the whole.

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The denials laid down by atheists stir believers to think much more deeply about what they believe and why. This is on the whole a very fruitful activity. On the other hand, if a society develops a critical mass of atheists, then I have many of the same fears as about the deleterious consequences for morality as did George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Rush, and many others in the founding generation. There were virtually no atheists back then. Even Tom Paine had a very powerful sense of God, although clearly not the God of Judaism or Christianity. Atheism, historically, has been a very rare phenomenon. Only in our own time has it grown to significant numbers. And the record of the selfdeclared atheist countries of the 20th century is one of the morally ugliest records in history. Our own good, kind, humanist atheists in America have not yet given an adequate account of the horror that recently occurred in officially atheist societies.

Crossroads: Dostoyevsky’s character Ivan Karamazov contends that if there is no God, everything is permitted. Does it follow that belief in God is the lynchpin of the educational enterprise, and of Western civilization? Mr. Novak: I hesitate to say that God is the lynchpin of anything, because that would seem to make a means or instrument of God. It is plain from the historical record, however, that even “pagans” such as Aristotle, Plato, Plotinus, Seneca and many others had a rather profound sense of God, even though it is not exactly the Jewish or Christian God that they knew. This sense of God’s presence affected everything they thought or tried to do. It would be a very difficult task to try to tell the story of western history, even of contemporary America, without paying a great deal of attention to the enormous influence of the presence of God in the minds of human beings then and now.

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Crossroads: Your real-life encounters with existential darkness give your writing about subjects like the via negativa and “dark knowing” such extraordinary power. Do you think a good Catholic college should purposely try to acquaint its students with the darkness you write about in order to prepare them to dialogue with unbelievers better? Mr. Novak: It is not necessary to

positively introduce students into nihilism who have not yet experienced a taste of the experience of nothingness, of nihilism, or even of the via negativa. Years ago, I had to face this question often when I taught courses on Belief and Unbelief and The Experience of Nothingness. If you have never had any darkness in your faith, Beati Voi! as the Italians say: Lucky you! It is not necessary to disturb people in their peace and joy. On the other hand, there is a significant proportion of students who have already known the experience of nothingness, the swirling storm of inner-relativism and nihilism in their own hearts, and that dark night of the senses and the imagination, in which one does not see God. There is also a middle group, who lack both the positive experience of God of the first group, and the emptiness of the second group, but who are very glad to learn more about these subjects. In particular it is useful for them to know that one need not be afraid of the experience of nothingness.

Crossroads: Should a college like Belmont Abbey take care to inculcate rock-solid virtues in our students to help them deal with the devastation or darkness that will come into their lives? (Or is this more the job of the family, or a good catechism class?) Mr. Novak: Great good can be derived from renewing certain rock solid virtues. There is a long and vast argument about whether virtue can be taught in schools or universities. Of course, teaching about virtue is far easier when students come to the campus exercising a good number of the most important virtues. In that case,

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to help them identify what is good about these exercises, and how to strengthen them and develop them further, can be very helpful to them. The purpose of studying ethics is to live better; it is not just to memorize certain propositions and arguments. You should always check your knowledge of ethics by how you live.

Crossroads: We thank you for the infectious grace, wisdom, eloquence and catholicity (i.e. universality) of your work. Mr. Novak: It was a great joy to be

at Belmont Abbey. You are fortunate to have such a beautiful campus, and one so deeply steeped in one of the richest traditions of the Catholic faith, that of the

Benedictines. They are the only religious Order that can comfortably say (as I heard one old Benedictine put it): “That’s the trouble with the Catholic Church, we run into these problems every four or five centuries.” Talk about historical perspective! “Every four or five centuries!”

More about Michael Novak: Mr.

Novak received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion (a million-dollar purse awarded at Buckingham Palace) in 1994, an award that has also gone to

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Mother Teresa. Among his other many honors are the International Prize by the Institution for World Capitalism (which he received with Milton Friedman and Vaclav Klaus) and the Antony Fisher Prize for his book, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, which was presented by Margaret Thatcher. This masterpiece has been reprinted often in Latin America, and was published underground in Poland in 1984. One reviewer called it, “one of those rare books that actually changed the world.” Mr. Novak served as Ambassador for the US Delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva (1981-82) and the head of the US Delegation to the

Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (1986). He has served the United States in various governmental capacities during both Democratic and Republican administrations since 1974. He has taught at Harvard and Stanford and has held academic chairs at Syracuse University and Notre Dame. Mr. Novak currently holds the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., where he is Director of Social and Political Studies .

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34 Crossroads

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Spring 2009


Putting

FirstThingsFirst First things magazine’s editor joseph bottum delivers A Stirring Lecture At The Abbey On “Death And Politics.” Then, in an exclusive interview, he delivers bracing advice on how small Catholic colleges can get better, he talks about his late, great mentor Father Richard John Neuhaus, and much more.

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Crossroads: Your lecture at Belmont

Abbey on “Death and Politics” centered on a very thought-provoking formulation that can roughly be worded this way: The way we treat the living is obviously an important gauge of our culture’s general health and welfare. But the ultimate

and many other projects. And, for those of he left behind, this legacy is probably impossible to carry on. No one has the energy—setting aside the question of whether we have the talent—to carry on. The two projects he was most concerned with, at the end, and which he asked his friends and colleagues to continue, were the magazine First Things and the project of Evangelicals and Catholics Together. out of all of the things

are you?” [Laughter.] And we exchanged letters and I kept writing for the magazine, and then about a year after I started writing for them, Midge Decter announced she was retiring. Midge was associate editor there at the time, one of the great neo-conservative figures, and at the end of her active career, she was helping Father Neuhaus. So she let me know First Things was looking for somebody younger to come in, and recommended me for the job. And I took it and worked there almost two years.

“i was an assistant professor of Medieval philosophy… starving… after i’d written a couple of pieces in first things, father neuhaus sent Me a note that said, ‘who the hell are you?’ [laughter]”

measure of a society’s intellectual, moral and spiritual health may actually be the way it treats its dead. So if American society could somehow re-learn how to honor the dead, might this in turn help us to vastly improve the lot of the living? Keeping that very interesting train of thought in mind, how do we people of faith—Catholic or otherwise—best honor the life and work of your great friend and mentor, Father richard John Neuhaus?

bottuM: Father Neuhaus did so much. He was the pastor of a parish. He was a man who was consulted by presidents— by every U.S. president since Jimmy Carter. He was at the same time a brilliant writer and the founder of First Things

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he could have thought of as his legacy, those were the two that he thought needed shepherding to go on. His books now stand or fall on their own. But those projects must continue. I think it is in those projects that we can carry on his work, and certainly I intend to do so.

Crossroads: How did your professional relationship with Father Neuhaus begin?

bottuM: I was an assistant professor of medieval philosophy at a small Catholic college, and I was starving to death on the salary they were paying, and I started writing for all the upper-middlebrow, public-intellectual journals, not realizing at the time how little they paid. But this was a point in my life when a check for $100 was really important. And so I wrote for Crisis, Commentary, First Things . . . that sort of magazine. And after I’d written a couple of pieces in First Things, Father Neuhaus sent me a note that said, “Who the hell

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

At the same time I was working at First Things, I also began to do some writing for the Weekly Standard, rupert Murdoch’s political magazine in Washington, edited by Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes. For some reason, I was productive in those days, and I poured out literary reviews for the magazine, as they were starting out. After a year or so, they offered me the literary editorship of the magazine for a good deal more money than I was making in New York. So I told Father Neuhaus I was going. And . . . oh . . . about a year and a half later, he forgave me [Laughs], and then he made me poetry editor of First Things at the same time I was literary editor of the Weekly Standard. So I was back on the masthead at First Things, which was a way of showing we had patched up the rough spot. But richard always did think of working for First Things as a vocation rather than a job. And the nice thing about people with a vocation is that you don’t have to pay very much. [Laughs.]

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But then three years ago, he called me up and said he wanted to arrange the future of First Things, and he offered me the overall editorship of the magazine. We had been close friends and close collaborators through the years. But it was good to work with him again day-to-day for a while before he died. Oh, how I miss the man, now.

Crossroads: What were the top two

or three things you learned from Father Neuhaus intellectually?

Bottum: From Richard John Neuhaus the thing I learned—the thing I hadn’t gotten before—is to be concerned about the idea of America: its history and its place in God’s providential purposes. This is not something that I had ever considered before. It’s not that I was anti-American. It’s not that I was proAmerican. America was just a fact. One was patriotic because one grew up here. But I had sat down to consider what the American experiment actually means in the course of Christian history. It was simply a thought that had never occurred to me until Richard John Neuhaus forced it into the forefront, for me and for many others, and made us think about what it means. We didn’t all come to the same answers that he did. But he was the one who, as the successor of Reinhold Niebuhr, and the successor of John Courtney Murray, forced us to consider that question. Crossroads: What was it like to work with Father Neuhaus on a day-to-day basis? Was it fun to bandy ideas about with him? Bottum: Everyone who knew him tells stories about Father Neuhaus—about his cigar smoking and his holding forth and the dinners he used to have. The funny thing about those stories is they’re all from the evening. Father Richard John Neuhaus had a work ethic that was extraordinary. During the day he workd. From the time he got up in the morning at 6:00 and said the Divine Office and read the newspaper and said Mass and

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began work at the magazine, he would work without cessation . . . with just an incredible sense of energy and dedication . . . until at least 6:00 p.m., every day— which is how he got so much done. So our good conversations were mostly at night.

Crossroads: So when on earth did he have the time to get such a prodigious amount of reading done? His “The Public Square” column was always replete with the mention of what seemed like 20 new books that he had read that month.

Bottum: He was the fastest reader I’ve ever seen . . . he could read at a lightning pace and remember it all, sort the arguments into the right order. He could pick up an article and just turn the pages, and have read it, understood the argument, put the argument in the right order, and come away with the two key quotations from the article and his own reaction to it—all at the speed of turning the pages. He was just an unbelievably good reader. And when we were trying to come up with ideas for articles, we would just talk: “We should get somebody to do something on this issue or that one,” we’d say. The young people at the office found that Richard and I would speak in a sort of shorthand, which annoyed them no end. He’d say, “We should get, uh, what’shis-name, out in Indiana, to do this,” and I’d say, “No, remember he just started work in Washington,” and Richard would say, “Oh, right. Well, then, let’s get the guy who wrote that book,” and I’d say, “Good,” and the younger people would look at us as though we were speaking Yiddish. But that’s what happens when you’ve known someone worked with them for 15 years. It produces this sort of shorthand. It was fun. It was a great time. Crossroads: Here was this man of great gentleness and holiness, irrepressible bonhomie . . . someone who relished dialoguing with “the other” with great civility . . . always longing to find

common ground. Yet he seemed to be so misunderstood, even by fellow Catholics . . . Why do you suppose this is so? Was it because some people thought what he was proposing was somehow “unAmerican” . . . too threatening to the “separation of church and state”?

Bottum: I really don’t know what to say

about that. Richard was personable and courtly and everybody liked him. But there was an idea that he stood for things. I think it was Richard’s symbolic value that people reacted strongly to. I should qualify that. Almost everyone I knew who actually met Richard liked him. When he preached they thought he was a good preacher, and when he talked they thought he was a good lecturer. They might have disagreed with some of the things he was saying, but they liked him. The first instance where they had a visceral reaction against him—if they did—came from the fact that he occupied a certain symbolic place in American public discourse, and so there was sometimes a rejection of the symbol, not the man. The second instance, for those who were looking for a locus for their dislike, was that he could be very sharp-tongued in his writing. And there were occasions in “The Public Square” where with relish he would say the clever, funny thing about somebody, rather than the full pastoral attempt. He would zing them, in other words. And he was a master of zingers, and couldn’t have stopped himself for the world.

Crossroads: But some seemed to

think he was almost trying to establish an American theocracy of sorts . . .

Bottum: Which is so insane that I’ve never bothered to address it in print.

Crossroads: Fair enough. Father Neuhaus made it pretty clear that he was underwhelmed with the pope’s address to Catholic educators at Catholic University this past year. What do you suppose he would have wanted the pope to say to those educators instead?

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bottuM: Catholic education is such a strange thing in this country, although in many ways its strangeness is represented in the strangeness of the Church in this country. The range that one finds in the Church one also finds in Catholic education—sometimes all at one school! Notre Dame would be a good example— where you can find everything from the nuttiest old “Call to Action Meeting in Detroit” types, to the nuttiest Latin Mass heretics on the right. You can find all of these types in the Church. And generally I think Father Neuhaus found this range and difference healthy and good. There were parts that he agreed with. There were parts that he disagreed with. There were people who he wanted to argue with. There were people he wanted to befriend and embrace. But generally what he thought was that over the years, particularly after World War II, American Catholic education had far too often felt embarrassed by the private, secular schools—especially the Ivy League schools. The schools had made

schools in the United States continue to follow this pattern. And so, for many serious Catholics who graduated from these schools, to think of Catholic higher education is to be constantly angry. richard’s view, which I think is the correct one, was that Catholic schools suffered from an inferiority complex that they thought they could cure by jettisoning much of what made Catholic education distinctive. In response, a number of schools have arisen that consider themselves, oddly, in an adversarial position to Catholic education by being more faithful to the Magisterium. Which gives them a kind of frisson of being rebels—even while they declare they are fully traditional and nonrebellious. It’s a nice role, if you can play it: you get to be the dangerous rebel and you get to be the affirmer of tradition. These are schools we all know, and some of them have done it quite successfully. The question with this economic downturn is how many of them are going to survive, because lots of them

the road that they’ve been traveling since World War II. And this is why we were disappointed. We wanted Pope Benedict to say, “This far and no further.” We wanted him to say, “return to the Magisterium.” We wanted him to say stronger things— because of what actually happened in response: the administrators at some of the schools came home from the speech and grandly announced in their newsletters and magazines that they had been affirmed by the pope. The pope wouldn’t have thought of it that way, nobody should have thought about it that way, but they were able to think that he did, because of the tone of the talk, which was very irenic, very calm, and not really addressed to the crisis of the situation here in the United States.

Crossroads: So why do you think Pope

Benedict took that approach? do you think he might have been trying to get away from the unfair image some have painted of him of being “the German rottweiler”?

“aMerican catholic education had far too often felt eMbarrassed by the private, secular schools—especially the ivy league schools. the schools had Made this Mad rush to try to becoMe ersatz ivy league schools, in the course of which their catholicisM and their spirituality becaMe Merely sell-words.” this mad rush to try to become ersatz Ivy League schools, in the course of which their Catholicism and their spirituality became merely sell-words used by their business-plan people. Catholicism had something to do with alumni giving, and something to do with parents sending their kids to the school, but Catholicism often had little to do with the day-to-day life of the education. A large number of the mostdistinguished, best-known Catholic

38 Crossroads

are start-up schools. Getting back to the pope’s talk, though, I was disappointed not with the actual content of it, but with the tone, which many of us thought needed to be sterner. There was a moment there at which the Catholic universities and colleges of America needed a wake-up call. They needed to be told that they had to come home. To affirm them with where they are now, in any sense, is to encourage them to move further down

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bottuM: I took a vow a while back that I would never try to psychoanalyze popes or guess their interior motivations. Crossroads: Probably a very good

idea! In an award-winning essay you wrote entitled “When the Swallows Return to Capistrano,” you created a wonderful metaphorical barometer of the health of Catholic culture in America. And though the picture you painted of the present

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state of that culture wasn’t unreservedly positive, you did seem to see some encouraging signs in small pockets of America. Since that essay was published, have you observed any more encouraging

But actually, the signs that I observed in that essay were not all that encouraging: just one or two swallows swirling around the ruins of what was once the Great Stone Church at

neighborhoods, the political power, and the rest of it—is not alive in this country. Not at all. It collapsed through the 1970s. And it has not recovered from that collapse. There are some signs of a new culture. I have become fascinated by home schooling, and not just because my wife and I do it. One of the things I’ve noticed, among many of the people I call the swallows, is that home-schooling is serving in their minds a bigger purpose than merely education. It’s serving some kind of cultural purpose, I think. These young people who are raising their children in this way are defining the new Catholic culture. The home-schooled kids are going to recognize each other the way that Catholic graduates of Catholic colleges used to be able to recognize each other— you know, they all said AuGUStine instead of AUGusteen the way the Protestants all did. [laughter] There were certain signs Catholic kids could use to identify each another. Those signals and shared knowledge were all lost, and signals and shared knowledge are part of what we mean by a culture. We lost an identity. But I think home schooling is being used in a symbolic way by the swallows. Not just because they are dissatisfied with Catholic schools and public schools, but they are building a symbolic culture. I just find it to be sociologically fascinating to watch.

Crossroads: There was a recent article

signs that the health of Catholic culture is strengthening?

Bottum: You know who I was referring to as “swallows” in that essay, right? It’s a generation of people, and it’s quite big, and it’s everybody who was basically formed by John Paul II as pope—which extends from people in their 40s down to kids who are in their teens.

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Capistrano. That was the metaphor. The swallows haven’t all come back to Capistrano. Catholic culture in this country, particularly when we think of the high point that it reached in the late 1940s and ’50s, until even ’61 and ’62, with the Catholic literary figures who were really dominant in this country. That Catholic culture—the ethnic churches, the strong

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in the National Catholic Reporter about Garry Wills which said that in America, there are basically two types of Catholics: the George Weigel Catholics and the Garry Wills Catholics. (Others have said that the divide has become the home schooled Catholics who prefer the traditional Latin Mass and adhere to everything the Magisterium says vs. the liberal types who go to Mass every other week or so and pick and choose what they want to believe.) It’s almost as if American Catholics are self-segregating into little ghettoes. Is it thus up to the “swallows” to not just stay in their comfortable circles,

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but to venture out to try to evangelize other Catholics to join them?

Bottum: Yes, but what they’ve understood is that they’ve had to have a circle to start with, a safe place from which to go out and evangelize. You know, Garry Wills is a Catholic. He’s in the Church. We are in communion with him, and it’s important that we not lose sight of this. I understand the distinction that was being expressed in that article, but I also understand that we are in the same Church with all these people. That said, in the long run, the Wills group is doomed. First of all, they’re not capturing the immigrant Catholics. Secondly, they’re not having any children. And the other group is having eight children. I meet them all of the time, these homeschooling families that have 8, 10, 12 children. They’re simply going to outbreed the others! The others are just going to die off, which of course has happened to some of the mainline protestant churches. And that’s just demographically. Thinking even more broadly, any system that sets itself in a kind of nostalgic mode and doesn’t breed will die in a generation. It has to. Crossroads: One doesn’t see liberal Catholic colleges really taking off these days, does one? The energy seems to be with the more traditional ones—or not? Bottum: We’ll see. We’re entering a changed environment. The war in Iraq changed the political landscape of America sufficiently that we could have a good, solid left. Anything is possible. And then there’s the new economic situation. But typically in Catholic circles, the mainstream of Catholic institutions outside of the Church—the hospitals, the colleges, the universities, the orphanages, all of which were built by our Irish grandmothers’ nickels and dimes—are where the bulk of Catholic donations to charity go. And those colleges and hospitals and school systems are mainline, fairly stable, and slightly liberal—middle left, as it were. They represent such a bulk of endowment and

40 Crossroads

stability, that it’s hard to imagine many of them are going to go under. But they also don’t have any energy. And there is no energy to the left. There are no start-up radical Catholic colleges, while there are plenty of startup conservative Catholic colleges. I’m terrified that this new economic situation is going to destroy these new schools, because they are relying on endowments that are often inflated by stock prices and real estate prices. Nonetheless, it is indicative that for the last 25 years all of the energy in the Catholic world has been over on that [the conservative] side of the spectrum.

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Crossroads: What role can a Catholic

college like Belmont Abbey play in helping to “bring the swallows back”—i.e. to help strengthen Catholic culture in America? How can a school like ours act more boldly as “salt and light” in the wider culture?

Bottum: By being more intellectual. The usual answer here is greater service, more soup kitchens, more faith-andpeace-and-justice initiatives. The Lord knows, I don’t put those down. Belmont Abbey College, I understand, just sent a couple of buses up to the March for Life. And God bless the school for that: It’s a

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witness to the Lord against the murder of the unborn. But a college doesn’t have that primarily as its purpose. For years I complained about these faith-and-justice initiatives at Catholic colleges, in which I said I see a whole lot of demand for justice, but I don’t see a lot of demand for faith. I was once on a committee when I was teaching, and I remember suggesting credit for perpetual-adoration societies. After all, if we’re going to embrace good works, prayer societies and sodalities ought to be counted as works. And it would shock people when I would say this, because, of course, what they meant by good works were not involved in any traditional Catholic definition. Yes, there are the corporal works of mercy, but there

Not when we tell our students—and the parents of our students who are going to get to pay for all of this—that we will be teaching them to spend lots of time out in the practical world.

Crossroads: Father Hesburgh, the

former president of Notre Dame, once said that “Piety is no substitute for competent scholarship.” Is that sort of what you’re getting at?

bottuM: Yes, in a way I agree with

that. I want prayer and I want the piety—and I want the scholarship. What I’m concerned about is something that I have seen emerging lately in Catholic colleges—in many American colleges, but in Catholic colleges in particular—in

college serves, and a college is a light in the darkness because of that.

Crossroads: It’s such a delicate

balance, though, isn’t it ? At Harvard, Stephen Pinker wrote a fairly famous essay calling for “Less faith, more reason.” That isn’t necessarily what we want either, though, is it?

bottuM: Striking a balance between

faith and reason is a struggle. Good Catholic colleges walk a tightrope act with it. But that’s got to be the tightrope that they really try to walk. otherwise there’s a temptation constantly to drop out reason . . . and maybe to drop out piety too, and have it all be justice stuff—all works righteousness, all the

“striking a balance between faith and reason is a struggle. good catholic colleges walk a tightrope act with it. the catholic college is called to balance piety not with the corporeal works of Mercy but with the life of the Mind.”

are also the acts of active prayer. We do service for the dead when we pray for the souls in Purgatory. The others on the committee weren’t buying this at all. They wanted kids at the soup kitchens. They wanted kids at the AIdS hospices. They wanted kids at the half-way houses. Which are all good things—don’t get me wrong. But there is an insufficiency in those sorts of agendas of a place for prayer. Colleges also have special purposes. They are called to particular functions, and they have unique charisms. And those functions and charisms are intellectual ones. We do greater service in the world in our colleges when we demand that our colleges act on a high intellectual level.

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which your education is going to give you practical skills for living in the world. They say in their ads: “Come to Georgetown or come to duke . . . ” I just watched the Georgetown vs. duke basketball disaster a couple of Sundays ago on TV, by the way. [Laughs] Each college ran an ad during halftime. And for both duke and Georgetown, the ad was about “all that our kids are doing outside of the college”—“We’re out there working soup kitchens. We’re out there working legislation. We’re interns in businesses . . . ” And I thought, amen to Hesburgh’s pairing of piety and scholarship—if only that were what they were talking about! The role of the college used to be intellectual. It is the purpose that a

time. The Catholic college is called to balance piety not with the corporeal works of mercy but with the life of the mind.

Crossroads: This is a year in which Catholic culture has lost giants like Cardinal Avery dulles, William F. Buckley and now, Father Neuhaus. They seem irreplaceable, but is that necessarily so? do you see other, younger figures on the rise who are capable of taking up their torches— present company excluded?

bottuM: Present company included. The answer is no. These men are irreplaceable.

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Faculty & Staff

10 new professors add to

abbey’s academic excellence

O

ne has a J. D. from Harvard Law School, another a Ph.D. from Cambridge, still another a doctorate from the University of Toronto, and yet another a Ph.D. in Sacred Theology from the Alfonsiana in Rome. Many of them are experts in at least two fields. That’s just a quick snapshot of the group of ten new professors who joined the Abbey’s already strong faculty this fall. And when one looks closer at the talents of these remarkable individuals, the picture becomes even more inspiring. For example, the Abbey’s new English Professor, Svetlana Corwin, holds a doctorate from Emory in Comparative Literature, speaks Russian, English, and German, and did her original collegiate studies in St. Petersburg. One of our new Theology Professors, Dr. Grattan Brown, holds both a Master’s degree in English and a Ph.D. in Sacred Theology, has written on death and dying, done hospice work

in Italy, specializes in bioethics and is an expert on medical policy. Perhaps Travis Feezell, a new professor in our Business Department, has one of the most unexpected combinations of talent. He is teaching Sports Management (he has a doctorate in Education), but earned an M. A. in Medieval British Studies from the University of Wales. These talented professors and their equally gifted colleagues have added to the Abbey’s academic strength in the following Departments: Business, Education, English, Mathematics, Political Science, Sociology, Theology, and the First-Year Symposium. “I think they are an impressive group—the kind of individuals that any school anywhere would be fortunate to have recruited,” said Dr. Anne Carson Daly, Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs. What follows is a fascinating glimpse into the personalities of this accomplished group of teachers.

Dr. Steven Arxer Assistant Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology Ph.D., Sociology from University of Florida M.A., Sociology from University of Miami B.A., Sociology, Barry University

What drew you to teaching at the Abbey?

My own undergraduate experience was based on close relationships with faculty, staff, and administration. It was this environment that created a highquality, fulfilling and unforgettable college experience for me. Belmont Abbey is one of those rare cases where such an environment is possible for employees to foster and students to enjoy.

What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise?

The use of theory to explore many of the realities that individuals confront on a daily basis, such as social institutions and social interaction. What do you most wish to

impart in your classes?

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I attempt to have my students gain an understanding of the “sociological imagination.” This is the capacity to see their everyday life as connected to larger social processes of society. Hopefully this capacity leads to a sense of place and self-empowerment by knowing what is needed to change one’s social conditions.

What are your passions outside of the classroom?

My two passions are walking my Shar-Pei dog and reading books by Erich Fromm (the prominent socialpsychologist).

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

Quite honestly, my favorite thinkers must be my mentors from Spring 2009


Faculty & Staff

my undergraduate and graduate studies—Dr. Jung Ming Choi and Dr. John Murphy. Both showed an extraordinary competence of sociology as a complete field and an incredible knack of communicating this knowledge in an accessible manner.

Family info:

I share a life with Kelly. We met in graduate school, and have been enjoying growing and learning together ever since.

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

The tranquility and peace that it offers you while you walk its grounds.

Quirky Facts:

What was the most recent book you read?

Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving

Who would you consider

an inspiration to you?

Former students whose life decisions and commitments reinvigorate my sense of service to my current and future students.

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

Lucky for me, as a sociologist, I get to learn about any dimension of social life and participate in it in some capacity through research.

Dr. Grattan Brown

Assistant Professor of Theology—Department of Theology Ph.D., Sacred Theology, Accademia Alfonsiana, Rome, Italy M.A., English, University of Memphis Bachelor of Sacred Theology, University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, Italy License in Sacred Theology, Accademia Alfonsiana, Rome, Italy B.A., English, Washington and Lee University

What drew you to teaching at the Abbey?

I thought that teaching theology in the college of a Benedicine community would be great! The Benedictine tradition fosters contemplation, so essential for a rich human life, never mind theology. I want to do theology in a place where intellect and spirituality can meet and work together. My own undergraduate experience at a small liberal arts college in Virginia led me here as well. There I gained an abiding drive to learn and the intellectual skills to make the effort worthwhile. I remember an international politics professor discussing how North-South tensions would replace the Cold War East-West polarity, a reading of Dracula that opened my eyes to the problem of faith and reason, a biology professor explaining genetics, and a toothless geology teacher who must have bitten the rocks to identify them. Also the mundane reasons for coming back to my homeland, the South: barbeque, family, etc.

What are your strongest intellectual interests? My field is moral theology, which

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studies life in light of the Gospel. I have taught courses in the virtues, bioethics, Catholic social teaching, sexuality and marriage, and introduction to moral theology. At the College I will most likely teach upper level moral theology courses, in addition to the core theology courses. The core courses allow me to discuss scripture and other areas of theology with people of varied religious backgrounds, which I enjoy very much. Some students know very little about religion, others know quite a bit, others fall somewhere in between. I try to teach the course so that anyone can understand Christianity and understand it by way of theology, faith seeking understanding … of God. So I guess you could say that I have an intellectual interest in what people of faith, of no faith, or whatever have to say about Christianity. A Dominican priest-professor with a knack for striking examples first interested me in bioethics. He taught a theology course on the virtue of justice and must have had an interest in bioethics because he often used bioethics illustrations. I also love philosophy, which I have studied quite Crossroads

a bit, and science, less so. Both are also necessary for bioethics. I am also interested in social ethics and especially how small organizations contribute to society. Small business is a good example, churches another, the YMCA for recreation, Toastmasters International for public speaking and leadership, community hospitals for health. Participating in these organizations helps people form moral judgments about how to contribute to the common good in a particular area of social life. So I guess you could say I’m interested in the connection between faith and Christian life.

What do you hope your students take away from your theology classes? The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

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Faculty & Staff

An understanding of Christianity. For a Catholic, greater understanding of Christian faith and love of the Catholic Church. For non-Catholic Christians, greater understanding of Christian faith and an appreciation of the Catholic Church. For members of other religions, an understanding of Christian faith. For atheists and agnostics, a serious engagement with what you do not believe (and a reciprocal engagement for believers with atheists).

What are your passions outside of the classroom? Before we had kids and I had time for such things, I played my guitar quite a bit. I just bought a bike, though the Gastonia roads are not ideal for bikers. My wife and I like hiking and promise ourselves to do another canoe trip in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota. Now we make mostly kidfriendly outings, not bad.

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

I like gothic novels. Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, … I couldn’t

put them down. Poetry too, especially spoken well, which is even better than reading poetry. Thinkers I admire are St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas for obvious reasons. Among more recent authors, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, recently deceased, is tops for style and clarity of thought, whether you agree with him or not. I read Wendell Berry for alternatives to what has become ordinary urban/ suburban life. Blogs contain some of the best thinking today, but you have to pick them carefully.

What is your family like?

My wife and I have three daughters, Sophia, Renee, and Delia. I grew up in Memphis, TN and my wife in Plattsburgh, NY. We met in Rome, Italy and lived in Vienna, VA and Philadelphia, PA before coming to Charlotte.

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

“Texas Creek” is really “Tex’s Creek,” with a funny story behind it. Ask

one of the old timers.

What was the most recent book you read?

Not really reading, but I like to listen to Teaching Company courses on my IPod.

Who would you consider an inspiration to you?

Anyone who has suffered years of harsh imprisonment unjustly, for example, Cardinal Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan (1928-2002). He was made Archbishop of Saigon a week before the city fell to the Vietnamese Communist Army. He then lived in a “reeducation camp” for 13 years, 9 of them in solitary confinement. Such people make me grateful for the freedom I enjoy and less apt to abuse it. They also show how some sacrifices make an impact.

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

I like mine, but if I had to pick another, I’d be a businessman or a scientist, good ways of learning about the world.

Mr. Travis Cook

Assistant Professor of Political Science—Department of Political Science ABD, Political Science, Loyola University Chicago M.A., Political Science, Boston College B.A., Political Science, University of Maine

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

I was drawn to Belmont Abbey College because as a professor I cannot imagine intellectual life away from a rooted moral community. While it is my primary responsibility to help students develop their minds, it is important to see that young people are not freefloating brains -- they are persons whose growth requires the moral and spiritual support of an active learning community. A good liberal education takes into account the development 44 Crossroads

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

of the whole student, and Belmont Abbey College is a place where this is happening. Benedictine spirituality makes an essential contribution to this by providing a stable example of prayer and work. The Abbey itself has been providing a liberal education for many years, and you can see the extent of that commitment in the rigorous and extensive core we require. This is exactly this sort of community I wanted for myself, too. While my Catholic faith has always shaped the way I approach the academic life, I wanted to be at a college that nourished my own soul and provided a joyful environment for thinking and learning. Spring 2009


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What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise?

While my training is in political philosophy, I am interested in just about everything. At the moment I am writing a book on liberal education. I am trying to draw practical lessons for today from the great books of the classical and medieval tradition. I would say that central to my own thinking on this is John Henry Newman’s The Idea of a University. I want to show that the wisdom of the Church has something important – even urgent – to tell us about education today. Ancient mathematics is another interest of mine (although certainly not an expertise).

What do you most wish to impart in your classes?

I am always asking myself what an intelligent college graduate needs to understand if he or she is to take their place in our community. As a political scientist at a liberal arts college, this means that my classes are conducted in part from the point of view of good citizenship. This is especially at the introductory level. Ultimately, good citizens are thoughtful citizens, and I want my classes to see that it is possible approach political questions without cynicism and still maintain intellectual rigor. In a deeper sense, I hope that

my students come away with an understanding of the way one semester can contribute to the whole of their liberal arts education. Part of a teacher’s job, especially at a small liberal arts college such as Belmont Abbey, is to help the individual student learn how to take responsibility for their own learning. Practically speaking, this goal reaches beyond one semester and even beyond a baccalaureate experience; liberal education at its highest is the work of a lifetime, and the reward is reflected in soul of the learner.

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

Wow, I am tempted to wiggle out of this one because there are so many! For philosophers I’d mention Plato, Pascal, and Montesquieu. For novels I love Henry James and Evelyn Waugh. I am also a sucker for James Lee Burke, who writes rich, atmospheric mysteries.

Family info:

I am blessed with two boys: Adam has just turned 6 and Samuel was 4 in November. My wife Michelle and I are expecting another child in August.

What have you discovered about the Abbey that

surprises or pleases you most?

This may seem like a small thing but really it is important. People here are very nice. I like my students and my colleagues. It is easy to feel at home at the Abbey.

Quirky Facts:

What was the most recent book you read?

What Hath God Wrought, which is a very good history of the United States between 1815 and the 1840s. (It is more interesting than my description!)

Who would you consider an inspiration to you?

My wife. Michelle has an extensive background in the sciences and much more accomplished than I am. She is completing her master’s of public health – her second masters, actually – while caring for our family, carrying our third child, and working at Carolinas Healthcare in regulatory compliance. I am lucky to find my car keys on a given morning.

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

I am in it, actually. I am doing something I love at a college I believe in.

Dr. Svetlana Corwin Assistant Professor of English—Department of English Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Emory University M.A., English, Appalachian State University B.A./M.A., English and German Philology, Herzen State University

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

The main motivating factor for my applying to the position of Assistant Professor of English at Belmont Abbey College was the college’s mission to foreground a unique combination of spirituality and intellectual inquiry. This

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position corresponded perfectly with my desire to teach at an academic institution that promotes not only learning but also faith and service to the community. BAC’s mission statement expresses fully my own belief in responding to the transcendental Other calling all to abandon their self-seeking ways and to join in the work of re-conceiving existence in accordance with divine plenitude. Such total transformation Crossroads

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presupposes first and foremost full actualization of each individual’s potential. And because I believe that education provides a great avenue for personal growth, helping my students to excel at learning is my mission too. Moreover, due to my training in and enthusiasm for both traditional national and new “transnational” literatures which, according to Salman Rushdie, create “imaginary homelands,” I eagerly jumped at the opportunity to teach world literature and great books courses. And most importantly, a small liberal arts college like Belmont Abbey is an ideal place for me to teach, for I believe wholeheartedly in cultivating a deep and meaningful dialogue with all of my students. Because I view teaching as primarily a communicative process, I myself have to learn continuously from the diverse cultural heritage that formed and informed me, so Belmont Abbey offers an ideal setting for simultaneously imparting what knowledge and experience I’ve got and acquiring new wisdom.

What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise? My educational background is somewhat eclectic: as an undergraduate I studied Linguistics at Herzen Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg, Russia; later I received my MA in English from the Appalachian State University in Boone, NC and recently I acquired my Ph. D in Comparative Literature from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. My dissertation, entitled “Extimate Existence: the Uncanny Poetics of Rainer Maria Rilke and Boris Pasternak,” examined both psychoanalytic and metaphysical aspects of the uncanny defined by me as a trans-figurative linguistic force operating within everevolving artistic discourse. There I argued that Rainer Maria Rilke

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first developed his poetics of “extimate existence” and Boris Pasternak then re-articulated it in his own work. I thus claimed that Rilke’s life-long exploration of the radically estranging power of language found its quite expected support within Pasternak’s poetics of homeless imagination. Hence, in both Rilke’s and Pasternak’s works I traced the return of the Lacanian ‘unsymbolizable real’ of death and the sublime, in order to bring forth the complex and paradoxical (extimate) interrelation between the interior domain of individual existence and the ungraspable aspects of being. Such cultivation of art’s non-cognitive loci supported my main assumption that all figuration is always and already a trans-figuration, and that this aesthetic impulse (or metamorphos) operating within artistic discourse is a force of equal strength to Freudian reproductive (eros) and destructive (thanatos) drives. In response to life’s transience and art’s narcissism, Rilke and Pasternak pursued “extimate existence,” in which the boundary between the inside and the outside, or the self and the other, grew ever more permeable, without, however, collapsing altogether. Thus, these poets managed to open themselves to the irreducible otherness of the Lacanian ‘pre-symbolic’, or the Kristevan ‘abject’, in search of continuous self-transcendence and self-potentiation. As for my current research interests they lie in the areas of modern and post-modern English, Russian and German literatures, aesthetics, literary theory, and philosophy. Since the so called ‘theory of the uncanny’ investigates and negotiates such categories as self and other, human and non-human, the symbolic and the unsymbolizable, my teaching foregrounds issues of narration and poetics placed within the framework of conceptualizations

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by Jentsch, Freud, Lacan, Cixous, Kristeva, Heidegger and Bakhtin. As I reexamine complex and crucial interdependence between identity-construction and (trans) figuration, I arrive time and again at the Lacanian conclusion about human desire as longing for the other, whether the latter is figured as the sublime and the sacred or as the eerie and the terrifying. Tied to the Formalist concept of ‘estrangement’ the uncanny also engages issues of perception and linguistic expression as loci of continuous dialogue and re-accentuation. In some basic sense, all writing happens on the boundary between the familiar and the strange, and any interpretation can be regarded as an imperceptibly slight shift in this divide. For that matter, all representation, as sensemaking, seems to be ultimately driven by the ineffable (which coincides in part with the Lacanian ‘real’). From this point of view, the uncanny as a trans-figurative force of writing can be understood as a turbulent relationship between ‘the real’ and the other two orders of Language (‘the imaginary’ and ‘the symbolic’). Although ‘the real’ repels discourse, it also energizes narration and signification – traumatic in nature and yielding no proper signifier in ‘the symbolic,’ ‘the real’ generates the lack which in potential guarantees infinity and plenitude of meaning production.

What do you most wish to impart in your classes?

What becomes transmitted by me in the classroom is not merely the rich meaning of fiction and literary theory but my life-long intense engagement with these subjects, which implies conveying what significance literature and language hold for me as sources of insight, personal enrichment, guidance, illumination, and, of course, pleasure. Because the power

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of writing to change the course of history was felt acutely in the Russia of the transitional Glasnost period during which I was receiving my own undergraduate education, I want to impart to my students a personal faith in transforming their lives through reading and writing. For me, literature is more than a subject of study – it is a personal dialogue with the voices that formed and reflected upon humanity’s journey through time. Hence my main objectives as an instructor are to expose my student to the maximum variety of literary expressions (with their particular dilemmas, disclosures and ambiguities) and to lead them to discover literature’s essential urge for freedom in voices that are marginal, outcast and suppressed. In the process, I try to demonstrate how certain inexpressible essences take shape as texts progress to claim a reality of their own, which was not recognized prior to these literary utterances. Exploring this metamorphosis between imagination and reality, my work on the uncanny has made me perceptive to literature’s infinite potential for evading dogmatic constraints and providing both the writer and the reader with a safer space for recognizing and examining their misgivings of prevalent beliefs. I view education as preparation of the mind for unforeseen challenges. Since etymologically “education” means two different things (Lat. “educare,” to train or to mold, and “educere,” meaning to lead out, to find a way out of some predicament or impasse), my methods of teaching are also bifurcated in the following way: I strive to shape and hone my students’ rhetorical skills while simultaneously readying them to seek solutions to problems yet unknown (and perhaps even unknowable). To accomplish a change in my students’ thinking I employ various ways of liberating their mind from existing preconceptions and enabling the young individuals to take control of

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their self-fashioning. So, in order to share my own searching and curiosity with my students and to learn together with them from the strong poetic voices of the past and the present, I try to accommodate the needs and interests of my students at any moment during instruction, hoping that such flexibility will enable every person in the class to confront what s/ he learns in my courses on an intensely personal level, which would in turn “lead him/her out” of any cultural and individual impasse or inertia, thus fulfilling the main goal of education – to propel a person out of a state of intellectual and emotional inactivity to higher levels of development and engagement. I would also like to note that success of any course depends primarily upon a good working relation between a teacher and a student, and I commit myself fully to establishing such a relationship with all of my students. This involves for me an immedieate daily responsiveness towards their needs, as well as my own honest, tolerant, friendly and enthusiastic conduct in the classroom. Such attitude towards my students is directly related to my main goal in teaching – to convey to these young people the sense of writing as empowering and capable of bringing about change in their social and personal lives, rather than some esoteric, or even extraneous, discipline. And I certainly hope that my strong encouragement can motivate the students and validate their efforts at learning to read and write critically, despite any failures and frustrations they might have previously encountered.

What are your passions outside of the classroom? (Hobbies, favorite reading…)

I spend almost all of my time outside the classroom with my 4-yearold girl, playing imaginative games

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and doing various crafts (beading, sculpting, etc). I used to study painting in my youth, so one of the most enjoyable pastimes for my daughter and me involves using crayons and water-colors to be expressive and creative (although not yet imitative of any external reality). I also love swimming and every summer I try to impart this essential skill to my child.

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

The list would by no means be exhaustive; however, there are several names that stand out: Socrates, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Blake, Goethe, Rilke, Dostoevsky, Berdiaev, Bakhtin, Pasternak.

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

The snakes are not as ubiquitous here as I was originally warned. On a more serious note, I found this place most congenial to my meditative disposition, because the Abbey seems to resist the noise pollution of the modern Western world, progressing gracefully with the flow of time yet with no unnecessary hastiness.

Quirky Facts:

What was the most recent book you read? Vladimir Pelevin’s The Helmet of Horror and various prose pieces by Yurii Mamleev.

Who would you consider an inspiration to you? Naturally, Socrates remains an inspiration for anyone who wants to pursue intellectual inquiry with integrity and courage.

If you could be in any profession, what would it be and why? Teaching literature is and has always been my ‘dream job’.

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Dr. Travis Feezell

Associate Professor of Business—Department of Business Ed.D. in Education from University of Idaho M.A., Medieval British Studies from University of Wales, Cardiff, Great Britain B.A., English, from University of Wyoming

interested in the ways issues in higher education get solved and addressed through athletics. I find this stuff absolutely fascinating! My dissertation looked at faculty attitudes towards athletics and I hope to continue this line of research in the future by looking at the causes and influences of these attitudes. I’m involved right now in a line of research that attempts to look at the ways institutions “use” athletics to enhance institutional identity or solve issues of institutional finances.

What do you most wish to impart in your classes? What drew you to teaching at the Abbey?

I was drawn to the Abbey by both the opportunity to teach generally but also the specific opportunity to shape a sport management curriculum. I have always been attracted in my professional life to shaping and molding new or existing programs … it is such an appeal. But I also think it’s important to note that I was attracted by this place, the Abbey, in particular the beauty of the campus, the vision of the institution, and generally the atmosphere that we have here at this wonderful institution.

What are your greatest areas of intellectual interest and expertise?

Though I teach all facets of sport management and certainly have experience in many of those areas from my past as a college athletics administrator, from a scholarly perspective I am most interested in the connection and sometimes collision of athletics and American higher education. In particular, I am interested in policy reactions to the issues inherent in college athletics and especially

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I probably repeat this to my students too much, but I’m most interested in providing the perspective of APPLIED sport management, that is, the useful tools of management applied to the unique environment of sport. Sure, like any other discipline, there are theoretical models that both illuminate the topic and give meaning to it … yet I’m really interested in helping my students connect those models into contemporary sport management situations. For instance, just the other day I was talking to my students in a sport law class about issues of risk management and exposure in transportation. On the one hand, I can provide them a document that lists these exposure areas … but what I really want them to do is to take a situation and work out how to limit that exposure. So I give them a situation that I’ve encountered that involves teams traveling all over the place, limited financial resources to pay for that travel, and huge amounts of potential exposure. They then have to work it out! And that’s the beauty of it … sport management isn’t just reading about it, it’s doing it!

What are your passions outside the classroom?

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

If I wasn’t teaching or involved in athletics, I think I’d probably want to be a professional cook. I love it! I love to cook, I love to shop for ingredients, I love to put it all together to create great and memorable meals. I also love to play squash (the game, not the vegetable!) and I’m a great reader of spy novels and thrillers.

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

Hmmm … interesting question. From a sport perspective, I really enjoy the commentary and writing of Murray Sperber and John Feinstein. In terms of more contemporary literature, I love Pat Conroy, John Fowles, and Sharon Kay Penman. If I reach back into my days as an English/Medieval Studies student, I still am drawn to Chaucer and Arthurian literature.

Family:

Wife: Carol of almost 20 years; we met as camp counselors in New York, fell in love, got married … yes, it really does happen that way! Son: Jackson, 14 Daughter: Delaney, 11 Son: Colby, 6 Son: Cooper, 4

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

I’ve really discovered a Benedictine ethos that runs through the institution that I very much appreciate and certainly value being a part of on a daily basis. I also sense and appreciate the ideal of community here. I made a choice a very long time ago to teach and work at small colleges because they embrace this notion of community. We care about each other and we make it our business to know how you are doing Spring 2009


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and what you are up to. Some would find this intrusive I think … me, I find that sort of a care lost in our culture and I love that we try to reclaim some bit of that at the Abbey.

What was the most recent book your read?

I usually have two or three going at once … I just completed When Christ and the Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman as well as a couple of books in the Twilight series. Because most of my day is spent immersed in nonfiction, I usually stack my bedside table

with fiction that I can get lost in!

Who would you consider an inspiration?

Boy, this will sound corny but I’m often inspired by everyday people that do extraordinary things. My heroes are not the ones you see on the TV each day. Instead I’m drawn to people who perform positive acts that affect others, that is, they give something of themselves, either unexpected or above and beyond the norm, that makes a difference to others. For instance, the other day I saw a piece on someone who had donated their home

to a family they had never met that had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Can you believe that? It was an act so selfless that most of us would hesitate to perform but one that profoundly changed the life of another.

If I could be anything I would …

Be a professional baseball player, not for the money, but for the competition. Be a professional writer … I can write a bit, but some people are just so gifted! Be a professional cook and restaurant owner … bad hours, great joy!

Dr. Carroll Helm

Associate Professor of Education— Department of Education Ph.D., Educational Leadership/Administration, Psychology Collateral, East Tennessee State University M.S., Education Administration and Supervision, University of Tennessee B.A., Psychology and History, Carson-Newman College

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

The Abbey is the most unique place I have ever seen. Having actual Benedictine monks on campus makes for a most unique experience. I had driven by the exit signs for the Abbey many times while visiting my son in Charlotte. When the opportunity came for a faculty position, I knew I had to apply. Talking with, and then meeting, Dr. Powell only confirmed what I already knew: that the Abbey was where I needed to be. I continue to feel blessed each day. I am able to touch lives through my teaching.

What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise? My back ground is Education, where I have held positions as

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classroom teacher, principal, central office administrator and community college dean. I have taught at Tusculum College, East Tennessee State University and the University of the Cumberlands prior to coming to the Abbey. Teacher dispositions are of particular interest to me where I have published three articles on the subject. I have taught Methods of Research on the graduate level and continue to read current research in the field

What do you most wish to impart in your classes? Crossroads

My main teaching area here at the Abbey is Social Studies Methods. Methods courses are required of all education majors prior to student teaching. I want all of our students to learn and understand a variety of methods used to teach social studies, and to be able to implement them once they have their own classrooms. Building a child’s self-esteem is also something I try to impress on students as an important part of teaching.

What are your passions outside of the classroom? The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

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I enjoy golf a great deal. It is one hobby where I can leave all of life’s worries and hassles at home, and concentrate on playing the game. It is a great stress reliever and a way to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. The Belmont and Charlotte area has a great climate for golf almost year round. My second love is reading.

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

My favorite writer is C.S. Lewis. His spiritual journey from an atheistic background to becoming one of the greatest defenders of the Christian faith is intriguing. I love his Tales of Narnia and have most, if not all, of his other books. John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs are also among my all time favorites.

and areas of the country.

Family info:

Coming to Belmont Abbey has allowed me to spend more time with my two grandchildren Zachary 3, and James Edward, age 6 months. My son Scott is their father, and I have a beautiful 22 year old daughter, Lydia Carol. My son Lucas was 20 years old when we lost him in a car accident 6 years ago this month.

Quirky Facts:

What was the most recent book you read?

The Richest Man Who Ever Lived by Steven K. Scott

Who would you consider an inspiration to you?

My son Lucas continues to inspire me to be at my best at all times since we are not assured of tomorrow. He is my hero!

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

The faculty in the education department is amazing. They have accepted me into their group with open arms, and have made me feel like one of their own. Dr. Powell is an energetic and dynamic leader who encourages everyone to do their very best. The diversity of the student body is also wonderful. I love meeting students from all backgrounds

If you could be in any profession, what would it be and why? I have no regrets. I love the field of Education and have devoted my life to teaching young people. There is no profession that could promise the reward and satisfaction I have received from this field of endeavor.

Dr. Gerald Malsbary Director of Freshman Year Symposium Ph.D. in Medieval Studies, University of Toronto M.A. in Greek, University of California at Berkeley B.A., in Classical Studies, University of California at Berkeley

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

I was drawn to the Abbey by its tradition and the way that tradition was waking up in the people I met here – also by its location.

What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise?

My strongest areas of expertise are Latin and Greek language; ancient and medieval literature, history, and philosophy; and the theory of the liberal arts.

What do you most 50 Crossroads

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wish to impart in your classes?

In all my classes I want to impart the truth relevant for each class and my own honest love of the truth; and do this in a way that students understand.

What are your passions outside of the classroom?

Spending time with my family and friends; playing the guitar and singing; eating and drinking; walking my dogs.

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

Homer, Virgil, Dante, Thomas Aquinas, Samuel Johnson, Jane Austen, G. K. Chesterton, Josemaria

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Faculty & Staff

Escrivá, Bob Dylan.

Family info:

My wife Katherine (née McClatchey) and I have five daughters: Christine (31); Annie (28); Mary (28 and married); Jane (27 and married and mother of one); Theresa (23 and married).

What have you

discovered about the Abbey that surprises or pleases you most?

Who would you consider an inspiration to you?

Quirky Facts:

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

That it has a wonderful, famous tradition of theatre.

What was the most

recent book you read?

The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency

The Venerable Bede

Rock/blues musician: (I thank my lucky stars I’m not).

Dr. Igor Strugar

Associate Professor of Mathematics—Department of Mathematics Ph.D., Mathematics from University of Toledo M.S., Mathematics from University of Belgrade B.S., Mathematics from University of Montenegro

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

The hospitality of the people at the Abbey, the nice calming environment, and the wish to help create a math department that could be recognized (at least regionally).

What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise? Mathematics, but if you need me to narrow the field, that would be Differential Geometry.

What do you most wish to impart in your classes?

The way of thinking, the way to see things for what they really are, and the ability to do things (to make your own conclusions, and prove them).

What are your passions outside of the classroom?

Spending time with my family,

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playing soccer, running, theatre, reading.

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers? Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky, Danilo Kis, Ivo Andric, Gabriel G. Marquez.

Family info:

We have two sons, Vasilije (9 years old) and Nikolaj (almost 10 months old). My wife Sharon is a pharmacist, but interestingly enough, has a math (of all degrees out there) degree as well.

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

The fact that the faculty is relatively autonomously organized.

Quirky Facts:

What was the most recent book you read? Living to Tell the Tale, by G.G.Marquez.

Who would you

consider an inspiration to you? Albert Einstein, Peter the Great of Russia, and the American Founding Fathers.

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

To fulfill my childhood dream: playing/coaching soccer professionally. To fulfill my current needs: writer/ author. Who knows…?

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Mr. Jeff Thomas

Associate Professor of Business —Department of Business J.D., Harvard Law School BBA, University of Michigan Business School

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

The “package.” When I came here to interview, I liked the people and the campus. I was also jazzed up about the opportunity to help build the Abbey’s Entrepreneurship Program and being able to afford a decent home for my family.  

What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise?

Entrepreneurship and business law (with a focus on startups).

What do you most wish to impart in your classes? Dream big. Try to identify and mitigate some of the risks involved. Take the other ones.  

What are your passions outside of the classroom?

My daughter, yelling at the TV during Michigan football games, and watching movies (ideally, with a tub of popcorn and a diet cherry coke!)

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

Mark Twain and (recently) Guy Kawasaki. However, I often bother a few of my former college roommates for their thoughts.  

Family info:

Emma is my (almost) 3 year old daughter. She enjoys Play-Doh, her new Barbie Jeep, and pretty much anything with lots of sugar. My wife (Mary) and I met in 1987 - but we did not get married until 2005. Mary’s last two jobs were in academics – she worked at the University of Chicago and at DePaul University. Her departments focused on improving retention rates for at-risk students. Getting students to mentor other students was their secret sauce.

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

That we are adding men’s and women’s track and field.

Quirky Facts:

What was the most recent book you read?

Curious George Eats Pancakes

Who would you consider an inspiration to you?

Phil Knight (Founder of Nike, Inc.)

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

I am hoping to make this position my ideal job. Years ago, I set the goal of one day cutting the grass at Michigan Stadium; however, the school replaced the grass with turf. Oh well, I guess that sometimes things happen for a reason.

Dr. Ronald Thomas Assistant Professor of Theology—Department of Theology Ph.D. University of Cambridge Master of Divinity, Emory University B.A., Philosophy and Psychology, The University of Memphis

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

I came to knowledge of the Abbey through Dr. Robert Preston, the past

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president. I saw some of his writing on Richard Weaver in Touchstone magazine, contacted the Bradley Institute, and started attending the yearly Weaver/Ingersoll symposia. Whenever I came, I would stay in the monastery; there I got to know Abbot Spring 2009


Faculty & Staff

Placid, as well. I was impressed with BAC all around: the beauty of the place and the Benedictine spirit; the efforts Bill Thierfelder was making toward a renewal of truly Catholic education; the fact that it was in the South, in North Carolina, no less. (North Carolina has really always been my favorite state). When the opportunity to apply for a position here presented itself, I jumped at it.

of the Incarnation: human flesh, soul, and culture is Capax Dei, that is, capable of bearing the supernatural action of God. At the heart of this “embodied religion” of the West is, of course, the Catholic Church. One’s attitude toward it, ultimately, determines whether one is interested in culture, in the normative sense, or in culturelessness—for whatever frisson that might arouse.

Ironically, my expertise is in being a theological generalist. Because of my past experience as an Anglican priest, I am well acquainted with “doing theology on the hoof.” I still think that is the best way, since it combines one’s faith with the vast reflection of the Church on the things of God, which is what I take theology to be. Beyond this, my interests are in the topics of ecclesiology, Church and culture, and Mariology.

I love good liturgy and superb Church music even though I am not a musician myself. If I still lived in Europe, I would be in a medieval Cathedral every weekend: I cannot get enough of them. When my oldest son was three, and we lived in England, he complained to a friend that all his dad liked to do was “lounge around in Cathedrals.” I can’t do that in Lincolnton, where I live, so I like to take walks around our pretty little town. I like to fish, when I can, and drink good coffee.

What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise?

What do you most wish to impart in your classes?

I desire that students realize the meaning and content of the Christian civilization of which they are a part, whether they realize it or not. Without the core of a Christian and Catholic world-view, our civilization lacks any sort of coherence. Even an unbeliever such as the philosopher Juergen Habermas (a good friend of Benedict the XVI’s, by the way) admits this. Our Western, Christian civilization is not the solely the fruit of the Enlightenment, natural science, or empirical reasoning—its roots are deeper, more profound, more all-encompassing. Still less is it the fruit of autonomous individualism, secular communitarianism, or some sort of “multiculturalism”. Our culture extends the significance Spring 2009

What are your passions outside of the classroom?

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

The Southern, Catholic novelist Walker Percy changed my life when I was in college. I still think he was a prophet–who, ironically, is not without honor in his own country. G. K. Chesterton was so prescient, I sometimes wonder if I belong to the same species as he did. If I were going to be marooned on a desert island, I would take water and anything by T. S. Eliot, especially The Idea of a Christian Society, Notes Toward the Definition of Culture, and Four Quartets. John Henry Newman is my patron saint, and the Anglican theologian of the last century, Austin Farrer, taught me how to pray. Francois Fenelon keeps me honest. This fellow Ratzinger is an interesting writer; I have bought a lot of his books recently.

Family info:

I have four children: Ada (15, and who takes Gerald Malsbary’s Latin class here on campus), Joel (11), Ben (6), and Rachel (5). They are all home schooled by my wife, Sally, in what they have named St. Daniel the Stylite Academy. St. Daniel was a “pillar hermit” of the fifth century. Go figure. Sally is an impressive writer (and poet and blogger), whose work has appeared lots of places, but especially in connection with the publication First Things. We have been married almost 19 years. Great years.

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

The attic of Stowe Hall is pretty neat. My Freshman Year Seminar group cleaned it out last fall, but it is still nice and spooky. I wish someone would explain to me the bullet holes.

Quirky Facts:

What was the most recent book you read? Robert E. Lee on Leadership by H.W. Crocker III.

Who would you consider an inspiration to you?

Well, Robert E. Lee. He freed his slaves a decade before the Civil War, and turned down Lincoln’s offer to lead the Union Army when he found out that Lincoln planned to attack Virginia, Lee’s home. He is principle, loyalty, and courage in a devout Christian package. Might I hope that if he were alive today, he would be a Catholic? St. Edith Stein and Blessed John Henry Newman really tug at my heart, as well.

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

I would be a Catholic theologian. What could it hurt?

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Faculty & Staff

New Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Appointed Dr. Mark Newcomb brings an impressive pedigree, fresh ideas to the Abbey

D

r. Mark Newcomb has been appointed the Abbey’s new Assistant Dean of Academic

Affairs. Prior to coming to the Abbey, Newcomb was Director of Academic Services at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Newcomb earned his B. A. in History and French from HampdenSydney College, garnered his Master of Theological Studies from Duke University’s Divinity School, and earned both his Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy degrees (both in Historical Theology) from Fordham University. Before going to Aquinas College, Dr. Newcomb served as both Registrar and Director of Institutional Research at HampdenSydney, worked as a Database Administrator and Web Master for Staunton City Schools, and acted as Assistant Registrar at Virginia Military Institute. “We are very pleased that Dr. Newcomb has such a substantial background in the liberal arts and has taught and/or worked at several well-respected liberal arts colleges,” Dr. Carson Daly, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, wrote in her announcement to the Abbey’s staff. “We are also delighted that he has done a great deal of work with adult degree students, understands the intricacies of scheduling classes, is thoroughly familiar with educational data base issues, and is no stranger to the demands of Institutional Research.” Dr. Newcomb began working at the Abbey in March, 2009. He and 54 Crossroads

his wife, Kimberly, have two young daughters, Lucy Marie and Aurelia. Below, in his own words, are Newcomb’s goals and hopes for the College, his areas of academic interest and much more:

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

I would say that there were a constellation of qualities about the Abbey that brought me from a passing interest in the position of Assistant Dean to seeing this place as a real vocational and educational home for my family and me. There have been a lot of serendipitous events that suggested that the Holy Spirit wanted us here, starting with the fact that all of my early contacts with the Academic Affairs

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

staff confirmed that they shared my high-flying sense of humor, and delight in academic life and culture! On our initial visit, we were struck by the uncommon beauty of the place and its rich history. During my interview, people seemed genuinely to care not only about my credentials and experience, but my formation as a person and my larger life story, how I met my wife and what she does, the names and interests of our children. I came in a short time to see the Abbey as a place where we would all be welcomed to live and grow, morally and intellectually. My early academic formation was at a small, Liberal Arts college in the South, Hampden-Sydney, so I have a strong bond to liberal education, forged in my youth, and as a convert, I also have great love of the Catholic Church and her teaching.

What are your areas of intellectual interest and expertise?

My dissertation is a study of the English Reformation, specifically the exegetical methods of Nicholas Ridley and Edmund Bonner, the Edwardine and Marian bishops of London, respectively. I am therefore deeply interested in the historiography and theological developments of the English Reformation, and the larger history of the interpretation of scripture, beginning with the patristic era. I also have practical interests in the intersections of theology with the modern professions of business and medicine, having taught courses with a focus on Catholic Social Teaching and Moral Theology to business and nursing students in recent years. Spring 2009


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What do you hope to accomplish as Assistant Dean? What are your goals and hopes for the College?

I see my role here as one of listening and helping to foster dialogue in pursuit of the common good for the institution. I hope to be able to articulate the values behind the more noble aims of accreditation and administrative processes, and to have us focus on how such initiatives can be more than “something we must do for SACS,” to, “this aim may have enduring value for our academic program, as it helps us to prepare for our accreditation review.” My wish is to have all of the organs within the body of the College, faculty, staff, students, and administration, realize their special, yet complementary, parts in the common inheritance, preservation, and promotion of our mission.

What are your passions outside of the classroom?

I do a lot of reading in varied areas, but beyond my intellectual life, and as a healthy counterpoint to it, I do a great deal of vegetable gardening and enjoy fly fishing. I have done a lot of woodworking over the years and refinished a lot of our furniture. I like to cook and bake— chocolate is probably my favorite ingredient!

Who are your favorite writers/thinkers?

A classical foundation was a large part of my undergraduate education, so my favorite authors, or at least those who have most challenged me to think deeply about myself and the kind of person I wish to be, include such figures as Cicero and Epictetus. Among early Christian authors, I am very fond of Ignatius of Antioch, Ireneus of Lyons, Hilary of Poitiers, and Gregory Nazianzen.

Spring 2009

Among modern theological writers, I have read broadly in the works of John Henry Cardinal Newman, John Paul II, Hans urs Von Balthasar, Karl Rahner, and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. Each year, I make a point of re-reading Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who also wrote The Little Prince. Wind, Sand, and Stars is his personal account of the trials and agonies of early night flights in Patagonia to deliver mail, in those first fixed-wing aircraft. It is a text of poetic reflection on the nature of men and how they come to their full humanity in the deliberate service of others, the emptying out of self that bears allusions to Christ’s own self-emptying, described in a characteristic paradox by St. Paul in Philippians 2.

Family info:

My wife, Kimberly Marie, and I met the year after college, when we both served with the Washington National Cathedral Volunteer Service Program in D.C. We were both raised Methodist, but were Episcopalians before entering the Catholic Church in the spring of 1998. As a pair of married theologians, we share a lot of inside jokes, especially since we studied with many of the same people at Duke Divinity School from 1992 to 1994. We have two children, Lucy Marie, aged 4, and Aurelia, who just turned 2.

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

The most beautiful and surprising thing I have experienced here is the sense of peace and exhilaration after Lauds each morning with the monks. Father Abbot has graciously provided a place for me at the monastery until my family can join me in North Carolina. I have been observing a fairly strict Lent, taking a little less sleep and food than usual,

but the lift I feel after rising early and helping to pray the morning office is indescribable. You come to understand that this is the power, the energy that drove and sustained civilization for 1,500 years: the peace and love of God, prayerfully nurtured in the soul, during the dark, still hours of morning.

Quirky Facts:

What was the most recent book you read?

Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss—I read it to my children—yes, ummm…—I was reading it to the kids, you see.

Who would you consider an inspiration to you?

I have been fortunate to have lived with a number of my heroes. My grandfather was a superior tobacco farmer who was consulted for miles around about different types of agricultural problems. He taught me to take the long view of things and the value of doing things well, through careful observation and deliberate planning. My Dad was a highly-decorated Marine Corps crew chief and tail gunner in Vietnam. From him, I learned the value of tenacity and self discipline. The example of humility and constant study set for me by my friend and mentor, the late Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., was a decisive influence on my character and was pivotal in my eventually coming home to the Catholic Church.

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

I am living it—really, who would not want to be a theologian and college administrator? Soon there will probably be a reality show about people in my profession, because it is such an enviable lifestyle. Trust me, whatever else, it will be highly entertaining!

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Faculty & Staff

Abbey Announcements By Jillian Maisano

Faculty Presentations and Publications  r. Sara Powell, Associate Professor of Education and D Chair of the Education Department, delivered two wellreceived presentations at the annual National Middle School Association conference: “Wayside Teaching: A Middle Grades Imperative” and “A Daily Dose of Data.” Dr. Melinda Ratchford, Associate Professor of Education, presented “Life Lessons from R.M.S. Titanic” as part of Sun City Carolina Lakes’ Lifelong Learning Program in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Dr. Ratchford also presented “Literature Surrounding the H.M.S. Titanic” to the members of the Belmont Book Club at Cramer Mountain Country Club.   Dr. Judith McDonald, Assistant Professor of Education, presented “Teaching Electricity to Elementary Students” at the National Science Teachers Association conference. Also, Dr. McDonald’s article, “Warm Ups: A Brain Stretcher or a Brain Sleeper?” appeared in the North Carolina Middle School Association online journal in November.  ireesh Gupta, Associate Professor of Computer G Information Systems, attended The 40th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education held in Chattanooga Convention Center, Chattanooga, TN, March 4 - 6, 2009. The symposium was sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery - Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education. The theme of the symposium was “Engaging Computer Science Education.”

Community Outreach Activities:

M  s. Benette Sutton, Instructor of Education and Chair of the Gaston Literacy Council (GLC), is working to implement the GLC’s five-year strategic plan for grant applications to meet the needs of the community. Working closely with Gaston County Schools, Ms. Sutton has also helped to create a new program, Motheread, which gives families with preschoolers children’s books and instructional ideas. In addition, the Council provides adults who need help reading with literacy instruction.   Under the leadership of Dr. Carroll Helm, Associate Professor of Education and faculty sponsor of Kappa Delta Pi, this student honor organization helped to renovate the family room and dining room at Catherine’s House, a local shelter for abused women and children.   Dr. Judith McDonald worked with Gaston and Lincoln County Schools to implement Project Wild, a conservation and environmental education program geared toward K-12 students. Dr. McDonald also participated in the clean-up of Charlotte’s Hall House, an old building being readied to be a homeless shelter. She also regularly prepares meals for the homeless.   56 Crossroads

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Belmont Abbey College’s Education faculty continues to partner with the Gaston County Schools’ Teacher Cadet Program, regularly teaching lessons in the classrooms of four local high schools.

Awards and Special Notice

D  on Beagle’s [Director of Library Services] latest book, Poet of the Lost Cause: A Life of Father Ryan, was recently nominated for the Jefferson Davis Award sponsored by the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. Mr. Beagle’s book on Father Ryan has also been nominated for the McLemore Prize offered by the Mississippi Historical Society. In addition, Mr. Beagle was invited to submit an article on the Learning Commons for a forthcoming issue of an information science journal published by Nagoya University in Japan.

T  he Motorsports Management program won the North Carolina Motorsports Four Year School Program Award (sponsored by NASCAR) at the 2009 North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards Banquet. In its fourth year of operation, BAC Motorsports Management was recognized for having established a successful four-year course of study and for having established a productive partnership with Millsport, a motorsports marketing team based in Concord. T  he Business Department conducted a “mock media negotiation” session on November 20, with representatives of the motorsports industry and Millsport senior management— followed by a networking event that was attended by more than 80 students. This event, which received outstanding reviews from both industry and student participants, was covered in local papers, as well as in a story on Fox News. T  he 2007 summer/fall issue of Crossroads, entitled “Faith and Reason: Living and learning at the intersection,” received the highest award in its category from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP). The magazine was one of 5,000 entries from the United States and several foreign countries. The AMCP competition, known as the MarCom Awards, has grown to be the largest of its kind, with participants ranging in size from individual communicators to Fortune 50 companies.

Out and About:

“  Historic Trinity:” The History Dept. visited the Gaston County Museum of Art and History.

ARRIVALS:

J oan Bradley was hired in January as the Benefactor Relations Coordinator. Joan came to us from Wachovia Dealer Services, where she was the Executive Assistant to the Senior Vice President in Charlotte. She also assisted the Senior Vice President in Irving, Texas, as well as the President of Wachovia Dealer Services in Irvine, California. Before being employed by Wachovia, Joan worked at Time Warner Cable. There, she started out supporting both the General Manager and the President in Columbia, South Carolina. Spring 2009


Faculty & Staff

Joan was then promoted and she relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina to work in Time Warner’s Corporate Office, where she supported the Senior Vice President of Human Resources, and the Vice President of Corporate Development. She was then promoted to work for the Executive Vice President for the states of North and South Carolina. Joan brings to us over 20 years of corporate experience. She lives in Charlotte with her husband. Katherine Malsbary was hired in February as a manager for the Catholic Shoppe at Belmont Abbey College. Her husband, Dr. Gerald Malsbary, is the Director of the FirstYear Symposium at the College. Deborah Salman was hired in October as a receptionist for the Wellness Center. Adam Smith joined the College in November of 2008 as the Assistant Athletic Trainer. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Athletic Training from the University of Charleston, West Virginia. He then went on to receive a M.S. degree in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His thesis concentration was on sport biomechanics. While in graduate school, he worked one year as a graduate assistant at Elon University and one year as an intern at North Carolina A&T State University, both as a certified athletic trainer. He lives with his wife in Cornelius, NC.  homas Turner was hired in January as the Director T of Academic Assistance. Thomas graduated with his A.S. in Business from Northeast State in Tennessee, with his B.S. in Social Science Education from Michigan State University, and with his M.S. in Higher Education Administration and Geography from Minnesota State University. Turner grew up in Sheffield, England and Mons (Brussels), Belgium until he moved to Minnesota at age 12. Prior to joining the Abbey, Turner was an Adjunct Professor at Northeast State in Tennessee, teaching Learning Strategies, Developmental Reading, and Geographic Information Systems, and Summer College Connection Courses to graduating High School Seniors. While in Florida, he taught Social Studies at Our Lady of Lourdes Middle School; taught Government, Economics and Forensic Psychology at the Florida Air Academy; and held the position of Curriculum Coordinator for the Horace Mann School System. After receiving his M.S., he taught Sociology, Geography and College Success at Minnesota State University. Turner also served in the U.S. Air Force under the 45th Air Division in Combat Intelligence Technology, and as a Squadron Trainer for Computer Mainframe Systems Operations (in New Hampshire, Panama, Guam, and Greece.) He lives in Gastonia with his pets.

Children of God Children are dear to God and beautiful they are innocent and truthful they radiate from their heart joy, love, and zest. Children are the buds tender care, love, nurture, and education will blossom them into the denizens whose altruism & energy will become contagious. Poor malnourished children living in slums with elderly parents and no earning look to better future with yearning. We say they should go to school and get education Ma and Pa say we are sick and hungry go work, bring us food and money. At the tender young age they enact the role of adults some roam the streets as beggars work in construction and carry rocks on shoulders. They work in fields with pesticides work in homes and in mines some wash affluent’s cars in bitter cold in hopes of good tips from the hearts of gold. They are beaten by their employer and forced without humanity to hard labor at the end of day they come back home with money in hand and soul in pain. Like a mother who loves all her children but keeps a special place for the weaker one in her heart, The Almighty Father loves us all but the abused, disabled, poor little holy angels hold a special place in His heart they are the children of God. By Gireesh Gupta, Associate Professor of Computer Information Studies March 3, 2009

 ecil (Clay) Wright was hired in October as a R Multimedia Instructional Technologist. Spring 2009

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Faculty & Staff

New book by abbey duo celebrates the life and work of illustrator, alumnus ralph ray, jr.

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or Abbey biology professor Robert Tompkins, it all began with a serendipitous newspaper article and a visit to a local museum. The article Tompkins happened upon in the Charlotte Observer was about an exhibit at the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, featuring the wildlife illustrations of a not very well-known local artist. “As I was reading the article I realized that this ‘local artist’ had illustrated a book I already owned (The Ruffed Grouse), and I had admired the plates of his illustrations for years,” Tompkins says. Then, as he continued reading, Tompkins found out something else surprising about the artist, Ralph Ray, Jr. (Abbey Prep ’39): “I discovered that he was not only from the town in which I live [Gastonia, NC], but also that he was an alumnus of the very institution in which I teach,” Tompkins writes in the preface of his new book, The Life and Art Of Ralph Ray, co-authored by Donald Beagle. His curiosity piqued, Tompkins went to see the exhibit for himself. And the idea for a book was born. “After viewing the exhibit, I knew that this was indeed a special person, and that his work and life needed to be made available to a broader public,” he writes. “By profession I am an academic biologist. I make no pretense of possessing special training or expertise in art. However, I do know good art when I see it. Ralph Ray produced good art in a short lifetime.” Tompkins soon embarked on the research process, and what surprised him most about his subject was how prolific Ralph Ray was. “It’s remarkable how many illustrations he crafted in just a few years, and how high a level of quality he maintained on every piece he touched.” With the help of the College Relations Department at the College, Tompkins was able to secure much-needed grant money for his research – a total of $13,000 from the Carrie E. and Lena V. Foundation and the David Belk Cannon Foundation. To help him with technical matters like image scanning, photo editing and the like, Tompkins enlisted the aide of Abbey

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colleague Don Beagle, director of library services at the College. Beagle, having been through the publishing process himself with his own three books, also helped Tompkins with the various “ins and outs” of book publishing. “Plus Don’s just a joy to work with,” says Tompkins. Tompkins and Beagle hope the book will be released as early as this coming July or August. And plans are currently in the works to stage another exhibit of Ralph Ray’s illustrations in conjunction with the release of the book at the Schiele Museum, the place where it all began.

Spring 2009


MoNASTIC NEWS

meDItatIOns BY aBBeY prOfessOr aLreaDY InspIrIng thOusanDs

“The Stations of the Cross pictured in this booklet grace the nave of the Abbey Basilica of Mary Help of Christians at Belmont Abbey in Belmont, North Carolina. “They were designed and hand-crafted in 1896 by Francis Mayer and Company of Munich, the same company that crafted the Basilica’s magnificent painted windows. “Down through the decades, countless people have lovingly meditated upon the scenes depicted in these Stations to help them deepen their relationship with Love Himself, Jesus Christ. “May these Stations of the Cross and the meditations we have written to accompany them help you do the same.”

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o begins the inspiring new booklet, Meditations on the Stations of the Cross, written this spring by Abbey theology professor dr. ron Thomas just in time for Lent. And thanks to an aggressive online promotional effort led by the Abbey’s College relations team, thousands of people across America have received their copy, and are using it to enrich their prayer life. (The booklet is designed for personal use at any time, in any season, not just during Lent.) If you haven’t ordered a free copy ($4.95 for shipping and handling), we invite you to do so. It’s a wonderful way to make a spiritual pilgrimage to the Abbey – without having to leave home. (The booklet is published with the permission of the Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of Charlotte.)

please order online here: www.belmontabbeycollege.edu/email-campaigns/meditations/ Spring 2009

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Sports News

Abbey Honors Its First Sports Hall of Famers It was an evening long in coming, but well worth the wait. On October 2, during Homecoming, twelve storied figures of Abbey Athletics were inducted into the inaugural sports Hall of Fame. There was much laughter and a few tears, the latter coming when Jim Riches talked about his late son, Hall of Fame inductee Jimmy, who died while attempting to rescue victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. On a less sobering note, perhaps the highlight of the evening was when the name of the new Hall was announced: The Mike Reidy Abbey Athletics Hall of Fame. The entire crowd rose to its feet and applauded in unison in tribute to Dr. Reidy, who still works at the College, and remains one of our mostbeloved people.

The inaugural inductees. (Back Row L-R): Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B. (on behalf of Abbot Walter Coggins, O.S.B.); Jennifer Dowd Breuer; Howard Wheeler (on behalf of Howard Wheeler, Sr.); Dr. William Thierfelder; Natalie Monfils; Henry Steincke (on behalf of Al McGuire); Melissa Barrett; Jim Riches Sr. (on behalf of Jimmy Riches). (Front Row L-R): Theodore Crunkleton; Danny Doyle; Stanley Dudko; Joseph McDermott; Dr. Michael Reidy.

Stanley Dudko gets a kick out of his being inducted, as do others.

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Athletic Director Dick Dull unveils Hall of Fame plan.

Spring 2009


Sports News

Spring Sports Roundup by Chris Poore

Baseball Head Coach Kermit Smith earned his 200th career win as Abbey head coach with an 8-2 victory over Augusta State. The baseball team is currently atop the Conference standings at this writing with an 11-5 record and have won seven of its last eight Conference games.

Men’s Golf Belmont Abbey junior Connor Tomlinson has been selected as the NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas men’s golf Player of the Month for the month of February. Tomlinson, from Charlotte, led the Abbey to a team title at the Pine Needles Intercollegiate. After firing a three-under par 68 on the final day of competition, he took home medalist honors. Tomlinson started the final round in 17th place among 58 students, but shot the 36-hole event’s low score on Tuesday to finish with a 76-68-144. His performance led the Crusaders to the team title, after opening the final round in a tie for second. It was the Abbey’s first win of the spring season in its spring debut. Spring 2009

Women’s Lacrosse The Belmont Abbey women’s lacrosse team shocked the fourth-ranked and previously unbeaten Limestone Saints 12-10 on March 25 at Saints Field. It was the first win over the Saints in the four-year history of the women’s lacrosse program, ending a ten-game losing streak against Limestone. The women’s lacrosse team has clinched its third-straight winning season and is three wins away from the school record of 12, set last year. Women’s Golf The Belmont Abbey women’s golf team is ranked eighth in the nation according to the March 25 rankings by Golfstat. It is the highest ranking ever for Abbey women’s golf, which is just in its fourth year of existence. Belmont Abbey has a 103-8 record against Division II opponents, including an 8-6 record against top 25 teams. It has posted two wins, both coming in the fall, claiming an 18- stroke victory at the Patsy Crossroads

Rendelman Invitational and a six-stroke win at the Tusculum Fall Classic. This spring, the Lady Crusaders have played four tournaments and have finished no worse than sixth out of 15 teams in each. Junior Carley Warrington took medalist honors at the Larry Nelson Intercollegiate, winning by six shots after carding rounds of 75-71-74=220 (+4). In three rounds, she posted 12 birdies, including five in the final round. The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

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SPorTS NEWS

Abbey’s Show of Support

Lifts Coach’s Grieving Heart By Susan Shackelford

It may have been Friday the 13th but there was nothing unlucky about it. It was indicative of the divine providence that Coach Susan Yow believes led her to Belmont Abbey to coach the women’s basketball team. on February 13, Yow had finished going over a scouting report with Assistant Coach Sarah Jansen when several players from the team led Yow into the lockerroom. Hanging there were pink uniforms, each one with “KAY” on the back —in honor of her sister Kay Yow, the women’s basketball coach at N.C. State, who had died nearly three weeks earlier from breast cancer. “I was thrilled … and emotionally touched,” Yow says. “It meant a great deal because so many division I teams across the country were wearing pink uniforms in honor of Kay and I had been unable to accommodate our team due to the obvious economic crunch — and she was my sister,” continues Yow, who has headed Belmont Abbey’s division II program for two years. “My team, of all teams along with N.C. State’s team, should be in pink.” 62 Crossroads

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Yow had looked into procuring pink uniforms earlier in the season to get ready for “Pink Zone Week,” February 14-21, a promotion to raise money and awareness about breast cancer. When Kay died on January 24 after a long fight against the disease, assistant coach Jansen went into action. “We had a secret meeting over here — Coach (Yow) had no idea,” Jansen recalls. Two of the school’s suppliers, New Balance and double B Sports, agreed to pay for the uniforms and even threw in longsleeve shooting shirts. The cost was about $1,000. “To me the pink uniforms was the least we could do on behalf of Susan and to honor Kay,” Jansen says. But the fact is, the school did much more. “Belmont Abbey really walked this journey with me,” Yow says. Spring 2009


Sports News

As Kay battled the disease during the 2008-09 season, and eventually had to relinquish coaching her team in late 2008, the school rallied around Susan. Not only did the team, athletic department and school administration support her, so did students and faculty. “The many cards, notes and e-mails from people on campus have been very comforting,” Susan says. The sisters were extremely close. “Kay was my biggest fan,” Susan says. “We talked a lot about coaching philosophies and how to handle situations outside of the X’s and O’s. We also talked a lot about the X’s and O’s.” She and Kay chatted by phone after every Belmont Abbey game. “She was as excited when we won as when her own team won — I miss that,” Susan says. Belmont Abbey raised $2,142 at the women’s basketball team’s January 31 and February 14 games for the Kay Yow/ WBCA Cancer Fund. Also, January 31, school officials invited fans to come down on the court after the game for a time of reflection, organized by volleyball coach Lettie Wilkes. Breast cancer survivor Bobbie James, the mother of Belmont Abbey volleyball player Bria James spoke to the group, as did baseball player Tyler McKenzie, who plans to become a minister. “It was a huge circle with the team in the middle,” Yow remembers. “We prayed for Kay’s life and breast cancer survivors and victims.” As Kay’s condition worsened during the season, Belmont Abbey Athletic Director Dick Dull gave Susan the latitude to “just do what you have to do — don’t worry about it,” Susan recalls. Says Dull, “This is an incredibly supportive institution relative to students and staff and everyone here, and Susan is a member of our family. It was very easy for us to give Susan whatever time she needed to address the issues before her sister’s death and after.” Assistant coach Jansen took on more responsibilities. In addition to her usual scouting, “Coach Jansen often had to be the leader in practices and she even coached one game at LeesMcRae,” Susan says. “The team was down at the half but came back to win. I never worried. I never felt things were not getting done. Coach Jansen did a terrific job.” Says Jansen, “I wasn’t trying to fill Coach’s shoes. I was trying to make the girls comfortable and keep them posted on what was going on and how Kay was doing. “It was our second year together, and I have a good understanding of what needs to be done,” Jansen continues. “Coach is huge on taking care of the girls.” Yow even makes them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before every game so they have a snack before they play. She managed to make the sandwiches for all but one game this season. For the game she missed coaching, “she made them the night before and had them dropped off,” Jansen recalls. “They’re made with love.” The team also showed support by staying focused and performing well, despite being a squad dominated by underclassmen. The team had one senior, four juniors, five sophomores and three freshmen. The Crusaders finished third in the 12-team Carolinas Conference regular season. In the conference tournament, they reached the semifinals before falling to Mount Olive College, 70-59, and finishing with a 19-10 record. Spring 2009

“The players stepped up with some great leadership,” Yow says, noting that senior Emma Camp and a variety of players led the team. “They have played their hearts out.” The team made the trip to Cary for Kay Yow’s funeral on January 30, joined by others from the school. Abbot Placid Solari, OSB, chancellor of Belmont Abbey, and Stephen Miss, the men’s basketball coach, also made the trip to Cary, attending the viewing. “I have tremendous respect for Coach Yow,” Miss says. “She has been a mentor to me, and she is not only a fine coach but an even better person. I think she is really the kind of person you want to emulate. She handled the situation with great dignity and poise.” Yow lives her life by “focusing her gaze outward,” Miss continues. “She is really concerned about others.” When Miss talked to her about bringing the men’s basketball team to the funeral, she gently dissuaded him. “Thank you for thinking of

“Kay was my biggest fan… She was as excited when we won as when her own team won – I miss that.”

me, she said, but you guys need to practice and get ready for your next game,” Miss recalls. “She is just genuinely concerned for others. It’s a very real and consistent character trait with her.” Dull agrees. “All through this time of personal difficulty for her family — the one thing that stood out was her concern for her team and the young women who play here. She didn’t want this to be a distraction for them.” So much so that she even coached a game against Queens the night after her sister had died that morning. “I told them (the players) I wasn’t trying to be a martyr; I just felt I needed to be Crossroads

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Sports News

there for the assistant coach and the team, that it was the right thing to do,” Yow says. She had come to the realization she would return for the game when, amid her grief, she thought through the situation. “I was with my sister Debbie and my brother Ronnie, and there wasn’t anything I could do. Kay had taken care of the funeral. I felt for Coach Jansen, and I had a responsibility. Kay had groomed me for this. I felt that’s where she would want me to be — no question.” In the game, played at Charlotte’s Grady Cole Center, Queens took a substantial lead only to see Belmont Abbey come back to eek out the win, 64-62. “At the end, I jokingly said that Kay had decided that blood was stronger,” Susan recounts. Both she and Queens coach Trudi Lacey had played for Kay at N.C. State. Susan was also Kay’s graduate assistant coach when Lacey

committed to State. “I took the letter of intent to her at her high school,” Susan remembers. Yow arrived at Belmont Abbey prior to the 2007-08 season, but it was not what she had had in mind as her next stop in the coaching ranks. She had been an assistant coach in the WNBA and a Division I college coach. Yet, she didn’t want to be a plane ride or eight-hour car trip away from her sister. “I believe it was divine providence that I wound up at Belmont Abbey,” she says. “I had never coached at the D II level. I had never worked without a full-fledged staff for years. I was scared that I could do the job. I think, though, because it was the right place at the right time, it has worked out.” Grateful for the school’s support, Yow says, “It’s been a great place to be.”

The Yow Sisters: A Birds-Eye View By Susan Shackelford

Sarah Reese played basketball only one year under Belmont Abbey women’s basketball coach Susan Yow, but it led Reese to a unique vantage point on Yow and her older sister Kay, who died from breast cancer in late January. After the 2007-08 season, Susan Yow helped Reese obtain a graduate assistant coaching position at N.C. State, where Kay was a longtime, successful coach. During the 2008-09 season, Reese assisted the women’s basketball team and coaching staff while working on her master’s degree in sports management — which, thanks to her role with the team, is being paid for by the university. It’s been a great experience. “If I have the chance to be back next year, I’d love to do it,” Reese says. “I think it’s the people you work with that make the job.” When she arrived at N.C. State last summer, she was immediately struck by the similarities between the Yow sisters. “You think of coaches as high strung and demanding, but both Susan and Kay had a way of demanding excellence as gentle-natured people,” says Reese, who grew up in Sanford, N.C. “They even have the same sense of humor. The similarities are amazing. A lot of times Coach (Kay) Yow would say 64 Crossroads

something and I would think, ‘That’s just like Susan.’” Watching Kay go through her arduous battle with breast cancer was tough, but Reese was impressed with her spirituality. “Coach Yow’s faith was the big thing,” Reese says. “I had a chance to be in a Bible study with her. She made time to be there or to find out what she missed. One day she talked about a book she’d read, “Just Give Me Jesus,” and it was apparent that that was how she felt about her life, that nothing really matters but faith.” But not just in Bible study did Reese sense Kay’s priorities. “No matter what she was doing she always had this sense of something bigger in life,” Reese says. “So often she would talk in terms of basketball, but you knew what she was saying was bigger than that. She had a humble way about her, but she was able to do so many things through her spirit and her faith.” Reese is thankful for the opportunity to get to know both Yow sisters —something that almost didn’t happen. At Belmont Abbey, Reese was a fivefoot, eight-inch shooting guard who played sparingly under Susan Yow in the 2007-08 season, Yow’s first year at the Abbey. “I’m a good shooter, but I’m terrible at defending anything,” says Reese, who played her first two years at

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Pfeiffer, then transferred to the Abbey. As she planned to transfer from Pfeiffer, she worked at Kay Yow’s basketball camp, hoping to become a “walk-on” with the N.C. State team. Instead, she was asked to be the team’s manager. She appreciated the offer but turned it down. “I had had three knee surgeries in high school and pushed through that,” she recalls. “I had worked hard to play and only had so many years left.” As a senior at the Abbey, Reese met with Susan Yow about her career plans. A business major, Reese had enjoyed her sports-management courses. Yow asked if she’d ever thought about being a graduate assistant coach and working on her master’s degree in sports management. “She said, ‘You think about it. If you want to do it, I’d love to help you find a place to do that,’” Reese recalls. Later, when Reese took her up on the offer, Yow contacted her sister Kay. But Kay didn’t have a position available. Months later, Reese was at Disney World after graduation when Susan called to say Kay had a position after all. Reese was to have started a job the next day with a business brokerage. “Susan’s call took my life in a different direction,” Reese says. It also gave her a birds-eye view of the Yow sisters, two of the best-known and respected coaches in women’s basketball. Spring 2009


Sports News

Abbey Brings Back Tennis, Track And Field by Matt Kline

In college athletics if you’re not moving forward then you’re going backward. At Belmont Abbey they are focusing on the former, as athletic director Dick Dull announced that the school will be adding men’s and women’s tennis as well as track and field. When the new teams are added, Belmont Abbey will field 18 varsity sports, nine each for men and women (the school also fields junior varsity baseball and men’s basketball teams). Counting these additions the school has added seven new varsity sports in the past four years with men’s and women’s lacrosse and wrestling having been added in the 2005-06 season Tennis has a strong tradition at Belmont Abbey. The program was headed by Mike Reidy from its inception in 1970 until 2001, where he helped guide the Crusaders to multiple NAIA and NCAA tournament berths, including a trip to the NCAA Division II sweet sixteen for the men in 2001. Tennis will also begin their play at the Belmont Abbey-Sacred Heart campus since the courts on the main campus are not playable. Track and Field is a sport that is close to the heart of both Dull and Abbey president Dr. William Thierfelder. Thierfelder was a two-time All-American high jumper while Dull was an Atlantic Coast Conference champion javelin thrower at the University of Maryland. “This is an exciting day for Belmont Abbey College,” Dull said. “Track and field is a sport that is engaged in by almost every country in the world…it truly is universal.”

Permission to reprint granted by Matt Kline, special correspondent with The Charlotte Observer. www.charlotteobserver.com.

Spring 2009

Bill Hodge Named Men’s And Women’s Track And Field Coach By Chris Poore

Bill Hodge, a multitime coach of the year honoree in four different Division I conferences and a highly successful recruiter with an emphasis on success in and out of the classroom, has been named head men’s and women’s track and field coach at Belmont Abbey College. Hodge will also assume head men’s and women’s cross country coaching duties upon the retirement of Brother Paul Shanley, O.S.B. after the 2009 season. Hodge joins the Abbey after two years at Mount Olive College, where he started the men’s and women’s track and field program in 2008. “I am excited to be given the opportunity to start the Belmont Abbey track and field program under the leadership of Richard Dull and Dr. William Thierfelder,” Hodge said. “It is rare that both the athletic director and the president of an institution are former track and field athletes and I believe this bodes well for our success going forward.” Hodge spent seven years as head assistant coach at Bucknell University, which won Patriot League Coaching Staff of the Year honors in four of his seven years. He was also a women’s two-time East Coast Conference Coach of the Year during his five years at Lafayette College, where he started the program. He was also head coach at Columbia University and Wagner College. Crossroads

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ALUMNI News

A Homecoming For The Ages (All Of Them)

T

here was something for everyone at this year’s Homecoming, no matter how young or old. Highlights included the inaugural “Got Monks? Mile,” open to intrepid runners of all ages; the inaugural Abbey Athletics Hall of Fame, which featured 12 inductees (see our story in the “Sports News” section of the magazine); the Wall of Fame dinner and ceremony; the Sacred Heart Society luncheon; men’s and women’s soccer games, cross country and much more.

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Spring 2009


Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs These notes are based on information gathered from August 1, 2008 through February 28, 2009. They reflect information from alums and friends of Belmont Abbey.

Bible College (1977-95), and served as assistant principal at Holbrook High School in Lowell, NC in 1969.

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Brian Mulherin ’41 Abbey Prep retired as Director of Human Resources for East Central Regional Hospital of Augusta, GA. Brian served in the Army (Private to Sergeant), then as a 2nd Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserve Medical Service Corps. With 34 years of service, he retired with the rank of Colonel. After they both lost their spouses, Brian and new wife Neita married and have a home in Augusta, GA. They share 10 children between the two of them. Brian continues to volunteer at the hospital and other organizations in the area ….AND he still enjoys riding his Harley!

Donald Petrine ’66 and wife Nancy live in Yorktown, VA and have two sons, Kevin (35) and Brian (30). Son Brian graduated from the Physician’s Assistant program at Barry University and is working for the Mayo Clinic. Son Donald is helping employees find jobs before the Department of Defense at Ft. Monroe closes in 2011.

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41

Rose (Hagley SHC ’53) Farah and her husband Licha of Carlisle, KY, are happy to announce the birth of their sixth grandchild, Sadie Rose. Rose and Licha celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on November 3, 2008. Rose turned 75 years last December.

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Upon his retirement as state Probation/Parole Officer for the State of North Carolina, John Loughridge ’57 was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is among the most prestigious honors awarded by the Governor of North Carolina and is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state. Contributions to their communities, extra effort in their careers, and many years of service to their organizations are some of the other guidelines by which recipients are selected for this award. The honor is most often presented when a person retires. Pine is the official state tree of North Carolina and as of Dec 31, 2006, the Order has been awarded to 6,672 individuals.

Michael Daniels ’67 is a retired financial consultant with Merrill Lynch. In his spare time, he coaches and referees soccer. Michael and wife Irene have two children and live in Bigfork, MT.

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John A. Fracchia, MD ’68 has practiced General Urology with New York Urological Associates since 1979 and has been Program Director and Chairman of Urology at Lenox Hill Hospital since 1983. He is Clinical Associate Professor of Urology at Cornell University Medical continued on page 68

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Flynn Warren ’62 of Bishop, GA, retired in June 2007 from his position as Clinical Professor and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy. His wife Monica retired from Oxford College of Emory University in 2005 and they both work as temporary pharmacists on occasion. The Flynn’s have four children: James, Stephen, Nadia, and Khaled.

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Charlie Field ’59 has retired from Towson University as a coach and teacher. He runs a yearround basketball and baseball youth camp in Baltimore.

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Dr. Sammy Oxendine ’66 and wife Helen have three children: April Ray, Alison Liscum and Amy Odom and make their home in Cramerton, NC. Oxendine is currently pastor of Life Church in Cramerton. His previous ministry was with Church of God Home for Children in Kannapolis (1969-76). He was also Vice President of East Coast Spring 2009

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“Pogo” Pogachnik ’68 and wife Angela of Jacksonville, FL have been married for two years and have four grandchildren between them. (Pogo’s: Charlie, Parker and Aidan; Angela’s: Joel). Pogo underwent a total hip replacement in December and has replaced watching baseball with playing baseball. Pogo and Angela still enjoy riding their motorcycles and attending bike events in the southeast. Their vacations have been spent traveling to the Bahamas, New York, Paris, Jamaica and New Orleans. “Other than that, we’re pretty dull people!” they say. Crossroads

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Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs

continued from page 68

College and Adjunct Professor of Urology at the New York Medical College. A graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Medical School, he trained at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, and at the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Dr. Fracchia is certified by the American Board of Urology. Presently, he is the Vice President for Professional Relations with Allied Urological and is a past president of the New York Section of the American Urological Association. Dr. Fracchia serves on the editorial board of the magazine Community Oncology.

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Paul Zingg ’68, is President of California State University at Chico, and has published a new book entitled An Emerald Odyssey: In Search of the Gods of Golf and Ireland.

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Frank Alioto ’70 is president of Com-Cycle in Hayward, CA. He and his wife Barbara have been married for 29 years and have two sons: Frank III of Berkeley, CA, who is in Law School, and Luke Benedict, who is a senior at Sonoma State University majoring in Philosophy. Luke will be studying Oenology and Viticulture after graduation. (“Viticulture & oenology” is a common designation for training programs and research centers that include both the “outdoors” and “indoors” aspects of wine production.)

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Robert Horan ’70 is a Viet Nam Veteran, still a bachelor at 58, and lives in San Francisco. Robert is the co-founder and owner of Family Medical Services, which is a multi-disciplined clinic. Robert admits that Belmont Abbey gave him the education which was the foundation to his success and that the attachment to the Abbey “stays with you for life!”

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Dennis Smith ’69 is “back home” in NC and also “back home” as a Commercial Sales Representative for ADT Security in Charlotte. Dan’s wife Laura is with American Renaissance Middle School in Statesville.

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Tony ’71 and Trish (Condon ’72 SHC) Dittmeier are retired and loving it. Their daughter Colleen will be attending the Abbey in the Fall of 2009.

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Richard Schuck ’71 became a grandfather for the first time in February 2008 to Tyler Eric Nothstein. Richard and wife Margaret of Rahway, NJ have two children: Krista Nothstein (31) and Paul Schuck (26). And “just for fun”, Richard, Walter O’Leary ’71, Frank Deluca ’71 and their spouses enjoyed a trip to the Navy-Notre Dame game last November.

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Linda (Farris SHC ’72) Johnson and her husband Frank ’71 have four grandchildren (three girls and one boy) who are all age 2 and under. Frank is an active board member with Maryknoll Missioners. Both Linda and Frank look forward to a mission trip to Africa.

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Mark Schulte ’73, Louisville, KY, has recently been elected a fellow to the American College of Dentists. Only 3% of all dentists are given this honor.

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Kathy (Pierse SHC ’75) Poppiti is the Coordinator for Pathways Outpatient Services at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, DE. Kathy also maintains a private psychotherapy practice. She and her husband Anthony have been married for 28 years and their daughter Laura is in graduate school at the San Francisco Art Institute.

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Margaret (Schexnayder ’76 SHC) was married to Charles Young in 2006. Margaret has four children: Andy Scully (29), Matthew Scully (28), Patrick Scully (26) and Kathleen Scully (22). Her son Matthew and his wife Erin are the proud parents of their first child: Irland, born in January.

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John Kemp ’83 and Donna (Bell ’83) Kemp with their children Patrick (15), Ian (13) and Elizabeth (9), in front of the temple of Zeus, located in the valley of the temples in Agrigento, Sicily. Patrick displays the now world-famous “Got Monks?” slogan in the photo. At the time of the photo, the Kemp family was midway through their summer vacation, which started in Athens and concluded in Rome, and took them through 13 days of historical and cultural landmarks. All three of the kids wore their “Got Monks?” t-shirts which generated inquiries wherever they went! 68 Crossroads

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Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs

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Stephen Bogner ’79 is living in the Miami, FL area and managing the City’s municipal marinas. He also has a residence in the Myrtle Beach, SC area and likes to visit the Grand Strand whenever possible.

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George Miller ’88 of Charlotte, NC, was married to Holly Blanton on December 31, 2008 in Farmville, VA.

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On January 11, 2009, Valerie (Paluszak) Giggie ’90 and her husband Michael celebrated their twins’ (Gregory Maximus and Thomas Octavius) first birthday. What a crazy year 2008 was for the babies, but their siblings Robert (15), Margaret (11), John Paul (9), Mary (7) and Anthony (5) were thrilled with the new arrivals. Lucky for them, Fr. Kieran was able to squeeze in a visit when he came to Indiana for a Notre Dame football game.

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Tom ’91 and Marla Daudelin announce the birth of their daughter, Addison Grace, born on February 27, 2009.

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Jim ’93 and Karen Hartle are pleased to announce their most recent addition, Nicholas Reid, born on August 23, 2008. Nick joins Gabe (7), Jack (12) and Will (13) to fill out the Hartle family roster.

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Sue (Rhyne ’80) Gedeon of Shreveport, LA, is excited to start her new job for Chesapeake Oil and Gas. Her oldest child Jordan is a high school English teacher and high school youth director at church. Sue’s next oldest child Ryan is the Cancer Research Coordinator for LSU Medical Center. Her daughters Adrienne (a senior) and Allison (a sophomore) are at the University of Dallas. Sue’s daughter Lauren is a sophomore in high school and plays lacrosse. Her son Matthew is in middle school and plays ice hockey.

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Mark Matthews ’93 of Sandston, VA, has formed a life purpose and leadership coaching business, Stay Motivated Coaching & Consulting (www. staymotivatedcoach.com). He specializes in coaching and training junior managers and attorneys. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at the College of William & Mary School of Law.

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Geralynn (Slough ’81) Trellue of Easley, SC, has a new position with the Greenville Hospital System. She is in the Office of Philanthropy and Partnerships as their Special Events Manager. Geralynn and her daughter Megan, who also attended BAC, were on campus recently for a meeting with the alumni office.

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Theresa Fordyce ’82 has been working for Princeton House Behavioral Healthcare system for 6 ½ years, four of those years as a Night Nurse Manager. In April 2008, she received a service award from the hospital system and in June 2008 was recognized as Nurse of the Year. Theresa is enrolled in the Gerontology Certificate program.

L-R:Annie MacKay (5), Lolorei Bennet (3), Mary MacKay (7), Jonah Bennett (3) and Megan MacKay (4) enjoying popsicles in Melbourne, FL

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After living in North Carolina for nearly 30 years, Mary Ellen (McGlinchy ’83) Piper and her husband, Patrick, have relocated to Park City, UT. They encourage fellow hikers, bikers and skiers to visit them!

Spring 2009

Jimmy Bennett ’94, Mindy (Marshall ’95) Bennett, and Jan (Margraf ’95) MacKay often get together for visits with their children. Crossroads

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Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs

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Dawn (Dilworth ’94) Manus and her husband Roger welcomed their son, Grayson, born June 28, 2008.

Leslie (Benfield ’97) Wilson and her husband John announce the birth of their son, Chase Jacob Wilson, born on Feb. 17, 2007.

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98

Darren Coursey ’94 and his wife Kimberly of Belle Harbor, NY, announced the birth of their first child, Jessie Maeve Coursey on June 28, 2008.

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David (’96) and Maria (Ferguson ’97) Buerkle are happy to announce the birth of their sixth child, Tobias Paul, on Feb. 8, 2008.

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Mary (Earwood ’96) and Sean ’96 MacCaffray of Midlothian, VA have a daughter, Stephanie Reagan (almost one year old), and a son, Devon, who just began high school.

96

Sean Relay ’96 and his wife Heather welcomed the birth of their daughter, Noelle Rose, on February 20, 2008. Her baptism was celebrated on July 20, 2008 at St. Mary Immaculate Parish in Plainfield, IL. Big brother Matthew loves his new role!

97

Anthony Esposito ’98 and wife Kelly welcomed the arrival of their first child, Taylor Gracie Esposito, born on November 23, 2008. She came into the world at 8 lbs, 6 oz and 21 inches long. Anthony and Kelly currently reside in Atlanta, GA.

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Fr. John M. Pagel ’98 was ordained a priest in 1980 and has built two churches and rectories. He has worked in the Diocese of Charlotte as well as in Mexico, Central America and Texas. He has been the pastor of St. Joan of Arc in Candler, NC for the past 10 years. Rev. Pagel is always on the go and hasn’t been able to get back to the Abbey for some time, but keeps the Abbey in his prayers.

00

Proud parents Daniel Bathgate ’00 and Kateri Josaitis, announce the birth of their first child, a son named Jackson William Bathgate. He arrived February 18th at 9:49 pm and weighed in at 6lbs 13oz. Dan and Kateri live in Peterborough Ontario where he manages a golf pro shop and teaches golf lessons. Dan says that Jackson is a great addition to his life and fatherhood will be a great journey! 

00

David Lapeyrouse ’00 was married to Sarina Noack on January 19, 2008 in Lafayette, LA.

01

98

Christina (Arsena ’98) Reynolds and husband Andrew welcomed identical twin boys on July 28th, 2008. George Anthony and Nicholas Biagio join their big brother Samuel. Anthony weighed 4.3 lbs and Nicholas weighed 3.8 lbs. Christina’s brother Scott Arsena ’97 will serve as godfather to both the boys. 70 Crossroads

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James ’01 and April (Sigmon ’02) Harte welcomed the birth of their son, James Patrick Harte IV on October 23, 2008. He weighed in at 6lbs 1oz and was 20 1/4 inches long.

Spring 2009


Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs

01

From left to right are: Andrew Robinson, Erin Looney ’00, Ryan Looney ’01, Emily Hahn, Kristin Fisher, and Michael Fisher

Ryan Looney ’01 and partners Michael Fisher and Andrew Robinson opened the doors of their new restaurant, The Common House, in midJanuary 2009. The restaurant is located in historic Plaza Midwood on the east side of Charlotte, NC. Their goal is to be the best neighborhood bar and restaurant they can be. They are advocates of the Slow Foods movement and strive to use local vendors and farmer’s markets to provide all natural and sustainable ingredients. The beverage list boasts an extensive beer and liquor selection, in addition to a small but strong wine list. Visit their website www.charlottecommonhouse.com for menu options and restaurant coupons. Wife Erin (Nelson ’00) and Ryan are excited about this new adventure and extend their personal invitation to their Abbey friends to come try this fun and unique eatery.

02

Kathleen (Busch ’02) and Matthew Green were married on August 11, 2007 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Atlanta, GA. Many Abbey alumni were in attendance at the wedding.

02

Catherine (Lee ’02) was married to Dominic Henriques ’00 October 6, 2007 in Catherine’s hometown of Winter Park, FL. They were happy to have so many Belmont Abbey College classmates present for their wedding. Dominic and Catherine live in Charlotte, NC with their dog Hank.

02

Terriann (Maher ’02) Vogel and her husband Jeff are happy to announce the arrival of their first child, Rylee Vogel, born on October 11, 2008. Rylee was 21 inches long and 7lbs 7oz. Pictured are cousins Madeline Maher (7) and Megan Maher (4) daughters of Michael ’96 and Catherine (Elrod ’96) Maher.

02

02

Catherine (Rumore ’02) Hahn and Fr. Kieran having lunch in the monastery dining room on December 17, 2008.

Spring 2009

Kim (Nopper ’02) and husband Pat of Broad Channel, NY, are the proud parents of Kaitlyn Ann Palmese, born September 3, 2008, weighing in at 8 lbs., 4oz. and 20 1/2” tall. Kim is a teacher with the NYC Department of Education and currently on child care leave; Pat is with the NYC Sanitation dept. Kim’s twin sister, Kristin Nopper ’02, the proud Godmother to little Kaitlyn, is enrolled in nursing school and lives in Matthews, NC. Crossroads

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03

John ’02 and Kate ’03 (Matthews) McCune are enjoying their young sons, Patrick Benedict (1 year) and John Paul (2 years old) pictured above. The McCunes live near the Abbey and love bringing their boys over for walks around campus.

04

Cody Angell ’04 finishing first in the Sarasota half marathon on February 15, 2009. For more photos and information, please visit: www.sarasotamarathon.com.

Pictured Top L-R: Sam Plummer ’03, John Ryan, John McCune ’02 holding John Paul McCune II, Elizabeth (Spelz ’05) Sabo, Joseph Firmin ’05, Sean Dunne ’05. Middle L-R: Jenny (Gareis ’06) Ryan, Kate (Matthews ’03) McCune, Lisa Aguilar ’05, Christina (Turner ’04) Rodite, Robert Rodite ’02. Bottom L-R: Katinka (Evers ’03) Ritz, Ed Mason, Thomas Reinhardt, Carrie’s Godfather, Carrie and Jay, Michele Shea ’04, Christine Tileston ’04, Ree Latham ’05.

03

Carrie Perrine ’03 was married to Jay Sorgi on September 22, 2007 at Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Charleston, WV. Kate (Matthews ’03) McCune was the Matron of Honor, and

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Christine Tileston ’04 was a bridesmaid. Carrie and Jay were very grateful to have so many Abbey alumni present for their wedding. Carrie and Jay currently live in Milwaukee, WI . Spring 2009


Class Notes By Gayle Dobbs

04

Matt ’03 and Jessica (George ’04) Ferrante, and 2 1/2 -year- old daughter Isabella, are now a family of four! Luciana Regina Ferrante was born May 28, 2008, and weighed in at 9 pounds, 1 ounce (whew!). Life with two little princesses is such a joy. “We are truly blessed!” say the Ferrantes. Matt is adjusting to this whole new world of ribbons, bows, tu-tus, and teaparties. Photo: Matt (’03), Jessica (’04), Isabella (2 and 1/2), and Luciana (5 months old).

04

Chris ’02 and Brynne (Stubbs ’04) Beal have been blessed with the gift of their second child, Kellen Robert. He was born on November 23, 2008 weighing in at 5 pounds, 10 ounces and was 18 ½ inches. “We are delighted he is here! Kellen has been getting lots of love and attention especially from his big brother Patrick (2 years old).”

05

Melissa Littlewood ’05, of Hickory, NC, is a member of the NC School Psychologists Association (NCSPA) and interns at Burke County Public Schools as their school psychologist. She is hopeful to complete her Masters this spring from Western Carolina University. Later in the summer she has volunteered her time to spend three weeks at an orphanage in Rabat, Morocco through the Cross Cultural Solutions non-profit organization.

05

Melissa (Thomas ’05) Terry joins Des Moines University as an academic secretary. She was previously a fifth-grade teacher in Gastonia, North Carolina. She graduated from Davidson College with a B.A. in psychology and earned a B.A. in elementary education at Belmont Abbey College. Des Moines University is the only private medical school in Iowa, offering graduatelevel professional degree programs in osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, anatomy, biomedical sciences, health care administration and public health.

Spring 2009

05

Michelle Pazzula ’05 traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico and spent last summer studying at the University of Guadalajara; she earned 6 credits towards her Masters Degree. She studied the cultural, educational and political differences in Mexico and how it could affect our incoming immigrant students in Charlotte, NC.

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05

Brother Robert Williams, O.F.M. Cap. ’05 was ordained a transitional deacon on May 18, 2009. His ordination for the priesthood is scheduled in May/June 2009.

In Loving Memory

05

1944 – William J. Bickerdyke, Washington, DC – January 19, 2009

Erin (Quinn ’05) married her long-time friend, James Van Dyke on May 17, 2008. Erin is warehouse manager/ administrative assistant for Faulkner/Haynes & Associates. She and James make their home in Raleigh, NC and look forward to starting a family in the near future!

05

After being stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA. Christine (Bendza ’06) Sulentic was deployed to Iraq and will be there until October 2009. She is an Intelligence Officer for an AH-64D Battalion, with 14-hour work days for 365 days (one day off a month). She misses her children, Gabriel and Anthony, and regrets not being present for their birthdays (Gabriel’s first and Anthony’s fourth), but husband Brad (alumnus) has it covered!!! She feels so blessed to have a family and support system like them. She took tons of stationary to write letters because the bandwidth there is so slow you can write a letter and get it to the states faster than opening your email. The Chaplain says the best way to make it through is to keep your mind off the war by staying in

06

Noemi Santana ’06 has kept in touch with many of her former classmates at the Abbey through her work at Expeditors International and recently completed the US Compliance Officer Exam. This year Noemi will be celebrating her five-year wedding anniversary to Jose.

07

1941 – Margaret Rankin Rhodes, Lincolnton, NC – September 21, 2008

1946 – Dennis C. Dunn, Kingwood, TX – July 20, 2008 1948 – Fr. Donald F. Scales, Richmond, VA – December 12, 2008 1949 – Jack C. Morris, Charlotte, NC – February 18, 2007 1949 – Robert G. Patterson, Asheville, NC – September 12, 2008 1950 – Paul A. Cencula, Cayahoga Falls, OH – September 12, 2008 1950 – James A. Dukes, Clarksville, GA – September 30, 2008 1950 – Joseph A. Matthews, Rehoboth Beach, NJ – September 27, 2008 1956 – Herbert J. Scism, Essex, MD – December 16, 2008 1957 – Tony A. Sievers, Newport News, VA – September 4, 2008 1960 – Frank C. Kennedy, Savannah, GA – October 24, 2008 1961 – June Jackson Abernathy, Belmont, NC – September 17, 2007 1963 – William L. Beskie, Wilmington, NC – October 8, 2008 1966 – Steve S. Watts, Lexington, NC – November 11, 2008 1968 – Russell H. Bayne, Mt. Holly, NC – October 2, 2008 1969 – Tom A. Thayer, Vineland, NJ – August 19, 2008 1975 – Dot A. Gage, Gastonia, NC – May 3, 2008 1985 – Mary Kalenty O’Neill, Durham, NC – May 17, 2008 1986 – Jim (Bones) R. Isaia, Southampton, NJ – December 25, 2008 1996 – Jim R. Allen, Ft. Mill, SC – November 20, 2008

Brooks Beard ’07, Gastonia, NC, is Financial Advisor at New England Financial of Charlotte, NC. He is very committed to helping individuals plan for their future. He says that the Abbey was the best thing that has happened in his life.

1996 – Michael L. Kuykendall, Gastonia, NC – February 7, 2009

07

1985 – Mary Kalenty O’Neill, Durham, NC – May 17, 2008

Danielle Hess ’07 is in her second year of the MS Clinical Psychology Program at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, VA.

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1997 – Judy Holland Thompson, Mt. Holly, NC – September 22, 2008

2006 – Lauri Anne Bishop, Belmont, NC – January 11, 2009 Spring 2009


SUPPORT MINISTRY THROUGH PRAYER 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: BACSupportMinistry@carolina.rr.com. 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.

Have You Provided For Your L oved Ones ? Consider a Will or Tr ust

Planning

If you are interested in learning more about giving to the College through Bequests, please visit www.BACLegacy.org. Contact Information: CarolBrooks@bac.edu; GayleDobbs@bac.edu

ah

ead can: • Save ta xes • Distrib ute your a ssets as yo • Care f u wish or your lo ved ones are gone after you

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Spring 2009

Our Inheritance from the monks

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Belmont Abbey College - Crossroads Spring 09  

The magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Belmont Abbey College - Crossroads Spring 09  

The magazine of Belmont Abbey College

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