By Kathleen S. Carr '96
A Life in Service: Patricia Shea, SND, ’86
Sister Patricia Shea resisted the call until it was deafening. An economics/accounting major at Holy Cross, she took part in the Appalachia service project and went on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola—two events that she calls “transformative.”
And, after graduating, Shea chatted with campus ministers, who suggested the Peace Corps as a career path. She joined the organization and spent a year teaching high school accounting in the Fiji islands. Returning to Boston, Shea accepted a position with a public accounting firm, passed the CPA exam and became certified. But when she got involved in her local parish community, Shea began to realize that she couldn’t shake her interest in theology.
“I heard about the Weston School of Theology, and I started taking classes at night—I realized then that I wanted to make a shift,” she says. Shea took a job at a retreat house as the business manager, which gave her the flexibility to pursue a master of divinity degree. She spent eight years working toward that goal.
Attending a series of retreats, Shea says she asked God what he wanted her to do with her life.
“To my great surprise,” she explains, “what I discovered was that God wanted a closer relationship with me. I just paid attention to what interested me—what gave me life and spark—and that was definitely ministry.”
At the Dover retreat house, she met members of the congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
“What attracted me to them was that they were with it,” she says. “They knew about world issues and, overall, they were joyful people. But I was very hesitant; I didn’t know anyone in my generation who had entered religious life. I eventually agreed to have the conversation, but I wouldn’t go to the convent. I actually made them meet me at a Dunkin’ Donuts.”
The end result of that coffee shop conversation was a first profession of vows, which Shea made on Oct. 7.
“I’m just trying to make the world a better place, to grow, be happy,” she says. “This is my way of walking in the footsteps of Christ.”
Protecting the Country with Science: Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., ’62
Considered by many as America’s version of the Nobel Prize, the Lasker Foundation Award was presented to Anthony Fauci, M.D., ’62 in September. Fauci, who has directed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, constructed the United States’ responses to AIDS relief and helped to plan Project BioShield, a comprehensive effort to develop and make available modern,
effective drugs and vaccines to protect against attack by chemical,
biological, radiological or nuclear weapons.
Q: What does it mean to you to receive the Lasker Foundation Award?
A: It is an extraordinary honor. And it’s also very humbling. You do things in your career because you’re passionate about them—you don’t do them for the awards. But this is quite an impressive group of recipients, and I am honored to be among them.
Q: In addition to receiving the award for designing and developing the president’s plan for AIDS relief in Africa and for helping to prepare the country against a biological attack, you were also singularly cited for your role “in explaining issues of great concern like the science behind emerging biological hazards” to the public. How do you accomplish this—and how will you continue to do this?
A: When you’re a representative of the federal government, and the people of the United States, you receive support from taxpayer money, so you owe it to them to explain exactly what it is that’s going on. It’s important to be precise in your thinking and articulate in your expression.
Q: What are you working on now? What are your future plans?
A: I’m going to continue to do exactly what I’m doing. I’ve tried to shift the thinking from preparedness relief to preparedness against something that will inevitably happen. The evolution of microbes has told us that, as the years go by, we will see a naturally occurring threat—we saw this with HIV AIDS, SARS, West Nile Virus, and we see it with the thereat of pandemic influenza. I don’t isolate deliberately released threats from the naturally occurring ones. A lot of the principles from which I act—such as being precise in your thought, and economical in your expression—are Jesuit teachings, and they’ve been an important part of my success. My fondest Holy Cross memory is the education I received there, and the Jesuit ideals I experienced.
Innovating Change: James Keyes ’77
James Keyes was en route to
law school when Rev. Vincent Lapomarda, S. J., an associate professor in the department of history at Holy Cross, encouraged him to take a business course. More than 20 years later, Keyes has emerged as the chief executive officer of Blockbuster—having been pursued by the multimillion dollar company for his unique ability to innovate. Receiving his MBA from Columbia in 1980, Keyes went on to work for Gulf Oil, Citgo and 7-Eleven; he stayed at 7-Eleven for 21 years and had a number of roles—including chief operating officer and chief financial officer. When 7-Eleven was sold, Keyes took an 18-month sabbatical. During that time, he became more actively involved in philanthropy, serving on the national board of the American Red Cross.
Keyes became interested in Blockbuster more as an investor than as an employee, but, after talking to the board of directors, he accepted the role of chief executive officer and chairman. He says that he has found a strong opportunity with Blockbuster to use his innovative skills to drive the company to the next level.
“Blockbuster is a brand recognized worldwide,” Keyes says, “with 8,000 locations, and a business model that has become less relevant to the consumer over the years. The challenge to me is to take this widely recognized brand and use available technology to make that brand more relevant—and make Blockbuster become, once again, part of the daily/weekly routine of the consumer for media entertainment.”
One of Keyes’ first steps was to acquire Movielink, a company formed by the five major movie studios as a vehicle for creating and distributing digital content. Top-run movies are put into digital format and made available for download to any PC or portable device.
“Our vision for Blockbuster is to provide total access to media entertainment by offering DVDs in store, by mail—or offering digital content via download to your computer or portable device,” Keyes explains.
Kathleen S. Carr is a freelance writer based in Melrose, Mass. She can be reached at email@example.com.