all the photo shoots I’ve witnessed in the last four years, the portrait session
that produced this issue’s cover was the most enjoyable. It was a beautiful,
late June morning and the campus was still reunion-perfect. Prospective students
and parents were touring the grounds and in the distance we could hear just an
echo of Smith Hall construction.
our photographer, Pat O’Connor, worked to set up his shot, our six faculty subjects
began to arrive on the scene. Some had retired months earlier, others had yet
to clean out their department offices. But all had taught together for decades.
I watched them shake hands, embrace, make bad jokes, share future plans and reminisce.
And I recall thinking to myself that
there was a genuine bond between these men.
Now, a month later, thinking back on that morning, I refuse to edit that sensation.
By and large, I have no knowledge of their various relationships. And it’s entirely
possible that, over the course of 30 years working side by side, there have been
disagreements, large and small, between these vibrant and diverse personalities.
But as Stephen Ainlay, dean of the College, pointed out to me, these are individuals
who approached their careers as callings. And where they taught was as important
to them as what they taught.
I can attest to that statement. I had the good fortune to be taught by two of
the six people on our cover. Chances are, you shared that same good fortune.
I would argue that these faculty members are part of a unique
group—that first regime of lay teachers that helped Holy Cross—beautifully, it
turns out—through a period of monumental change. They negotiated a revolution
in the College’s curriculum and social life while managing to preserve our identity
and mission. And through it all, they never lost sight of
the individual student.
In this regard, they are our model for the next generation of Holy Cross professors.
Because whether they were teaching us Thomas More’s Utopia or
Methods of Physics or Imperial Russian History, they were, in fact, showing
how to think about the elemental questions. And they were giving lessons
Dean Ainlay says, we owe them a debt of gratitude.