I wanted you to know just how much I enjoyed the spring
edition of Holy Cross Magazine. Over the past several
quarters, you have focused on graduates in particular areas
of activity which has been very interesting. When you zeroed
in on education, particularly primary education, you hit
my "hot button."
For three years now, nominally I have been retired.
Though I live on a golf course, I early realized that game was not my idea of
a rewarding "afterlife." Somehow, I became involved in substitute teaching, and
I must admit I'm having a lot more fun and satisfaction than I ever imagined.
In each of the past three years, I have put in 70 days
out of the statutory school year in Illinois of 170 days. That allows us to take
off the month of December to visit our eastern family members and also lets us
take six weeks in Florida in March and April. I substitute in two districts,
Lake Zurich and Wayconda, Ill., anything from K through eighth grade. Since you
never know until the phone rings what your next assignment will be, your life
is filled with looking forward to the next challenge.
In the past year, I was asked to give a five-Saturday
seminar on a subject of my selection to a group of gifted students ranging from
fifth to eighth grade. Since it was a presidential election year, I chose as
my topic, "Hail to the Chiefs," and as it happened, the middle class took place
on Inauguration Day. What an experience to teach a group of kids who are as interested
in the subject as you are. This year, I've been asked to repeat as well as add
a new topic-"Waterways of North America: Highways to History."
The key to this "afterlife" has been my undergraduate
degree from Holy Cross. That entitles me to teach through secondary school anywhere
in Illinois. If other Holy Cross graduates are looking for a rewarding way to
spend their retirement years, I would strongly suggest substitute teaching as
a worthwhile activity.
Paul Rollins '54
I have just read the summer 2001 Holy Cross Magazine and
saw Professor Kenneth Happe '58 profiled in the article, "A
Sea Change on the Hill." Professor Happe is a great friend
of mine and was my mentor while I attended Holy Cross.
I wanted to send this long-overdue letter of appreciation
and inform all alumni how much Professor Happe meant to
students like myself.
I met Professor Happe when I was enrolled in a beginner's-level
Latin course. I had taken Latin for over eight years prior to that, but I took
his class in an attempt to "fluff" my grade point average. Needless to say, I
didn't last long! Prof. Happe flushed me out by calling both my high school and
my mother and getting the goods on me. Before I knew it, I was a classics major.
During my entire career at Holy Cross, Professor Happe
struggled with me semester after semester and gave me my lowest grades of any
of my teachers. But I continued to enroll in his classes because he was such
a powerful teacher. I will never forget how he would jump on tables and chairs
in our classroom and act out parts of the plays we were reading. He said that
he did those things so that we would have a greater appreciation of what he was
teaching, but I honestly think he did it to scare the Dickens out of students
who were falling asleep during a lecture.
Though I learned a substantial amount from him in the
classroom, many of Professor Happe's lessons never fully sank in until after
graduation. In particular, he repeatedly told me that I would amount to nothing
if I did not get my act together and plan for the future. He consistently informed
me of how hard it was out in the real world, but I ignored him. However, Professor
Happe, as I have come to know all too well, was never wrong.
Life after graduation was hard and I had to learn to
grow up very fast. I moved to a city hundreds of miles south of Worcester where
I knew no one and had no money. My carefree attitude had placed me in a predicament
that I had not encountered previously, and I struggled. However, when I stopped
trying to just survive and started implementing the techniques of hard work and
dedication that Professor Happe had tried to instill in me, I began to thrive.
In that faraway place, I met my wife, befriended many people of differing ethnic
and religious backgrounds, and consistently led the advertising division of my
company in sales figures. Now I am in law school, still applying those same principles
and doing very well for myself.
I want to personally thank you, Professor Happe! For
everything! I would not have come half as far as I have if I had never met you.
Andrew P. Lannon '96
Thank you for printing the recent piece from Fr. McFarland.
Having read about his credentials in past issues, I know
him much better after reading his words. I hope the call
to evaluate increasingly complex currents in our society
will be heard by all. It has particularly troubled me
in recent years to find few willing to engage in deep
discussions of the relationship between the common good
and free markets. Perhaps the media's effect of skimming
these thorny issues is to blame. Maybe it is complacency
in an age of selfishness and political isolation. Or
(most troubling in my opinion) neglect comes from the
willingness of many well educated people to allow one
issue to dominate political discourse and decision making.
Whatever the reasons, the failure to elevate our discourse
to the level of Fr. McFarland, to form our opinions after
serious thought, and to act in our every day life can
and will, I believe, have serious implications. Fr. McFarland
has called on us to operationalize the meaning of compassion
in our business and political lives, citing many real
challenges. I hope it is a dialogue he will continue
to share in the pages of future issues.
Robert Donahue '87
Michael Duane '73 asks in his letter (Holy Cross Magazine,
summer 2001) if the presence of a Naval Reserve Training
Corps unit (NROTC) on the Holy Cross campus "should
be a source of pride or a cause for concern for our
College." He implies that the latter is appropriate.
I can't speak for other graduates of the College and
our NROTC unit, but, for me, the fact that Holy Cross is the only small liberal
arts college that hosts a Navy unit is not a source of pride. It is, instead,
a source of regret. I regret that our sister institutions have turned their backs,
one and all, on the needs of their country.
I suspect that Mr. Duane and I would disagree about
the requirement for a military establishment. However, we might agree that, for
the foreseeable future (especially after Sept. 11), this nation will maintain
considerable armed forces.
Given this reality, the issue before us (and, perhaps,
the academic community) is the cultivation of an officer corps with the philosophical
grounding necessary to give effective and morally sound advice to
civilian decision makers.
I suggest that the creation of such a corps is not achieved
by limiting the source of new officers to the service academies, large universities,
etc. It is achieved by attracting officers whose educational foundations reflect
the diversity of intellectual thought in the United States. To deny the officer
corps access to the diversity offered by small liberal arts colleges is a disservice.
It is a disservice to elected officials who must develop policy based on advice
from senior members of the armed forces, and it is a disservice to the nation.
Given our global influence, it is a disservice to the world.
For this reason, it is important that the College of
the Holy Cross continue to host the nation's last NROTC unit at a college such
as ours. It is important, even imperative, so that the "College's fundamental
values" (cited by Mr. Duane) will continue to become "fundamental values" within
the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps.
William A. Dempsey '63
West Springfield, Mass.
Chair, J.T. O'Callahan NROTC Committee