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  Editor's Note

At the Top of Their Game

“I want to thank Crusader!”

Those were the words of “Best Actor” winner Jamie Foxx as he accepted his Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 27. Foxx was referring to Crusader Entertainment, one of the production companies responsible for this year’s hit film, Ray, the life story of music legend, Ray Charles. And, yes, the company has a Holy Cross connection—Karen Mulvihill Baldwin ’85.

HCM first profiled Baldwin eight years ago. At that time, she was working to launch a hockey-themed movie, Mystery Alaska, which featured a young—and still mostly unknown—actor named Russell Crowe. Over the ensuing years, Baldwin and her husband, Howard, have steadily built a reputation as industry players with a knack for spotting talent and a good story. In the wake of the acclaim that Ray has received—and with three big-budget films scheduled for release before the end of the year—the Baldwins are making their mark in a notoriously competitive and fickle industry.

A psychology major while on the Hill, Baldwin originally planned on a career in medicine. But 20 years after graduation, she finds herself reading scripts, attending casting sessions and, increasingly, walking down a succession of red carpets at award shows. Turn to Page 14 to learn how this budding mogul rose to the top of her field.

Another alum “on the rise”—in an altogether different fashion—is Fred Contrada ’74, who, on Page 30, recounts for us his recent expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro. Appropriately, Contrada’s climbing hobby began on Mount St. James, with a trek up nearby Mount Monadnock. After years spent scaling peaks in the Rockies, the Cascades and the Andes, Contrada set off last September for Africa and a midlife attempt to climb higher than he’d ever before attempted.

Like Baldwin, Contrada has also been featured in a previous issue of HCM. In our winter 2000 issue, Fred recalled the story of his spur-of-the-moment, 1973 road trip to New York City, where, as editor of The Purple, he finagled an impromptu and mildly surreal interview with Salvador Dali at the St. Regis Hotel. Thirty-one years later, Contrada’s trip to Tanzania was a bit more grueling, but his account of the journey is no less humorous.

And while we’re on the subject of Crusaders scaling peaks, I want to call your attention to a new, recurring section of the magazine. The close out to each issue, “The Profile” will feature alumni at the top of their game—business visionaries, pioneering entrepreneurs and mavericks of industry. We debut this new section with a visit to J.D. Power ’53, who, at press time, was popping up in The New York Times, Business Week, and TheFinancial Times with some exciting news. In case you missed it, turn to “The Profile” on Page 96 for details.

Jack O'Connell


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