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  Editor's Note

Moment by Moment

Reflecting on the Holy Cross experience

Perhaps more than any other community, a college campus marks the rhythm of life with intensely emotional arrivals and departures. The momentous and public nature of commencement, reunion, convocation and homecoming get the most attention - as well as several pages in this issue. But for all of us traveling to and from College Hill over the years, the private, more intimate occasions are what truly give shape to our lives at Holy Cross.

I’m new to campus, but not to the Holy Cross family. My great-uncle was Rev. Michael Earls, S.J., Class of 1896, a writer and poet who also served as a teacher and administrator at the College for many years. His sister (my maternal grandmother) was a musician who composed the 1919 version of Linden Lane (although, apparently, the spirit of the times kept her from being fully acknowledged: she is credited only as EL.C. Earls on the sheet music). My father, Owen ’50, my late uncle, Robert ’53, my sister Jane ’82 and many friends and relatives have let me in on their own Holy Cross experiences and memories. Plus, having grown up in Worcester , I knew my way around the Hart Center , Fitton Field and Hogan; and every trip in or out of town was marked by the sight of Fenwick and O’Kane from I-290.

So, I always saw this as a special place. But that didn’t prepare me for the emotional wallop of coming “home” to Holy Cross.

This spring and summer I gained a new perspective on the distinctive culture that exists here and among the wider community of alumni and friends of the College. Attending events that happened to be associated with those “momentous” college occasions - award programs, alumni gatherings, Commencement - I saw Holy Cross reveal itself in small moments, exchanges and gestures:

Associate Professor of music Osvaldo Golijov hurrying to the stage to embrace the musicians of the Kronos Quartet who so beautifully performed his work during the Sanctae Crucis dinner honoring alumni achievement . . .

The laughter and tears punctuating Class Dean Victoria Swigert’s address at the ALANA dinner on the eve of Commencement, as she acknowledged each student with a personal recollection . . .

The mix of excitement, pride and trepidation on the faces of a soon-to-be first-year student and her parents stepping up to the Gateways orientation registration desk in Hogan . . .

The quiet descending on a hotel ballroom filled with New York area alumni as poet Billy Collins ’63 read from his work Questions About Angels.

In this issue, you’ll certainly find other “moments” that uniquely informed the experience of Holy Cross - Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Edward P. Jones’ account of spotting his mother in the crowd at his 1972 graduation; Joseph Califano’s memory of how Fr. Henry Bean’s rhetoric class taught him “to think on his feet” - to cite just two examples.

If these pages inspire you to reflect on your own classroom experiences, we hope you’ll consider submitting an essay about “The Teacher Who Changed My Life.” We’re gathering these for a future issue of Holy Cross Magazine. You’ll find more information about this at www.holycross.edu.

On behalf of everyone at Holy Cross Magazine, I hope you enjoy the reporting and reflections in this issue.

Ellen Ryder


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