June 22, 2006


  1. First-Year Experience offers academic and social connections
  2. Biedenbach, Taylor honored as alums of the year
  3. Zwierlein to retire at the end of the year
  4. Conference on end-of-life issues hosted by Bogoni Center
  5. All welcome at Summer Evenings of Re-Creation
  6. Collaboration between Warming House and culinary students leads to magic on the tables
  7. Students receive VIP treatment at Vatican
  8. SBU to host more than 150 Franciscan academics at conference
  9. Trio marks 25th Reunion with 100-mile bike trek to Olean
  10. Enrichment program gathers Poor Clares at SBU
  11. University mourns death of Dr. Stephen Gray-Lewis
  12. Newsmakers ...


First-Year Experience offers academic and social connections

Students starting college this fall have been dubbed Generation M, the multi-taskers. They listen to iPods, download music and talk on the phone — all while doing their homework. These students communicate by text messaging and cell phones. And most of them have never had to share a bedroom.

And then they come to college, where they must share a bedroom, where they have to turn off their cell phones in class, and where they have to meet face-to-face to work on group projects.

The challenges that first-year students face can overwhelm even the most academically and socially well prepared students. That’s why new students arriving on campus in August will be greeted with the University’s inaugural First-Year Experience program. Living and learning communities will help students meet the campus community and provide academic and social connections from the first day. Freshmen-only residence halls will meet the challenge of transitioning to living in a community. Affinity Groups will cluster students with similar interests.

Sounds intense? Sounds fun? The program coordinators hope so. Their goal is not just to engage new students, but the entire campus community.

“This has become a community-wide effort to improve the experiences of our students,” said Dr. Nancy Casey, associate professor of education.

Some two dozen upperclassmen have already made the commitment to be mentors of first-year students. The mentors, who had to go through an application process and meet academic requirements (maintain at least a 3.25 GPA), will serve as positive role models and help students make the transition to college.

“They see this as a leadership opportunity,” said Casey.

During Orientation, students can select a residence hall Affinity Group, which will provide theme-focused housing options. Members of an affinity group live together on the same floor and have the opportunity to build community with students, faculty and staff who have similar interests.

“This gives them an opportunity to find a niche earlier and provide positive alternatives for students,” said Ann Lehman, academic coordinator in the School of Business.

For example, the Synaptic Clefts is designed for students with a serious interest in science; the Wellness Floor is designed to offer opportunities and seminars to help students find their niche and stay active; and the World View Crew is for anyone who has an interest in world cultures, international travel and the global community. Each affinity group has one or more faculty or staff mentor.

First-year students will also be invited to participate in one of the Learning Communities designed by faculty to help students succeed academically and become an active part of the intellectual and social life at St. Bonaventure. The communities are a way for students to begin their academic experience in a common way. In each Learning Community, the students will take at least one course in common, participate in co-curricular activities and/or service opportunities, and actively participate in study groups and activities for the group.

Some of the fall 2006 Learning Community offerings include The Learning Community for Nonviolence with Dr. Barry Gan, director of the Center for Nonviolence and professor of philosophy; I Survived Calculus with Dr. Doug Cashing, professor of mathematics and chair of the Department of Mathematics; and Eyes in the Back of Your Head (Myths and Realities in Teaching) with Betsy Cashing, lecturer in adolescence education.

Other components of the First-Year experience include:

- supplements to University 101, a one-credit course that introduces college academics and helps with adjustment and transition issues. The course will be connected with residence life by programming in the residence halls.
- All Bonaventure Reads, a program centered on a common text all freshmen will be asked to read before coming to campus in August. The program isn’t limited to incoming students, however. All students and employees are invited to read Ron Suskind’s “A Hope in the Unseen, An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League,” in which the author follows “the two-year journey of a prickly, religious honor student as he escapes from a blighted, Washington, D.C., terrain to find a home at Brown University.” Opportunities for group discussions about the book will occur during Welcome Days and throughout the academic year.
- additional academic programming during Orientation and Welcome Days
- and establishment of an office in the basement of Shay-Loughlen where faculty and staff can have office time and the opportunity to bring living and learning elements together.

The First-Year Experience collaborators know that incoming freshmen aren’t the only ones who know how to multi-task. So as you’re reading this, check out the First-Year Experience Web pages or drop them a line to learn more:

Nancy Casey — ncasey@sbu.edu, ext. 2141

Ann Lehman — alehman@sbu.edu, ext. 2079

Mary Piccioli — mpicc@sbu.edu, ext. 2435


Click here to return to the top of the page


Biedenbach, Taylor honored as alums of the year

Lisa A. Biedenbach of Hamilton, Ohio, and James W. Taylor of Olean, N.Y., were honored as St. Bonaventure University’s William P. “Stax” McCarthy Alumnus of the Year during the University’s annual Reunion Weekend, held June 9-11 on the University campus.

The award, named in honor of the late Annual Fund and alumni director William “Stax” McCarthy, is presented to an alumnus or alumna who has met the criteria of offering sustained service to the University and displaying the spirit of St. Francis, St. Bonaventure and St. Clare.

Lisa A. Biedenbach, a member of St. Bonaventure’s Class of 1976, graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Following graduation, she became an assistant editor at St. Anthony Messenger magazine in Cincinnati. She left the Messenger in 1978 to pursue other opportunities but found her way back in 1988 when she became the editorial director of books at St. Anthony Messenger Press/Servant Books, a position she still holds today.

During her tenure as a member of the University’s National Alumni Board from 1998 until 2004, Biedenbach created St. Bonaventure’s annual National Alumni Day of Prayer. She also served as chapter president for the Greater Cincinnati area, hosted alumni events and wrote articles for alumni publications.

As a member of the Board of Trustees Marketing and Enrollment Committee, Biedenbach has given the University and the Office of Admissions many hours of her time. She has represented the University at numerous college fairs in the Greater Cincinnati area. She writes letters and makes phone calls to both prospective and admitted students.

In 1999, the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication awarded Biedenbach with the Alumnus of the Year award in recognition of her volunteer efforts. Her efforts have included hiring interns at St. Anthony Messenger Press, advising on internship supervision to faculty and mentoring graduates as they begin their search for employment.

James W. Taylor, enrolled at St. Bonaventure in 1952 and subsequently joined the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. He graduated in 1956 with a bachelor of business administration degree. Following his 11 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, he transferred to inactive reserve status in 1967. He became a director of a national bank for 13 years and also served as a regional director with the National Association of Investors.

Taylor has been a driving force in forging a supportive and lasting relationship between the St. Bonaventure Army ROTC program and the American Legion. He is the Allegany American Legion and Cattaraugus County American Legion ROTC liaison officer. In this capacity he coordinates numerous events for the University’s cadets with the Legion. Some of these include the Fall ROTC Awards Ceremony, Christmas Social, Spring Awards Ceremony, ROTC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, ROTC Dining In and the ROTC Military Ball.

He also spearheaded the new “Hall of Fame Academic Excellence Award,” which was presented for the first time in March to one cadet in each academic class who possesses the highest grade point average. Additionally, he financed four new “Seneca Battalion Army ROTC” signs, which have been placed on the outside wall of the Reilly Center.

This past spring, Taylor sponsored two cadets so they could take part in the University’s Bona Responds service trip to the Gulf Coast. For his involvement with the ROTC program at the University, Taylor was inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame in 2005.

Being a “super fan,” Taylor travels frequently to see the men’s, and sometimes women’s, basketball teams play on the road. He also supports other St. Bonaventure athletic teams. He is a member of the Sixth Man Club and has supported the men’s and women’s cross country, diving, baseball, softball, golf and women’s soccer teams.

Click here to return to the top of the page


Zwierlein to retire at end of the year

St. Bonaventure University Director of Athletics Dr. Ron Zwierlein will retire at the end of December, he announced on Wednesday. Zwierlein has been St. Bonaventure’s director of athletics since January 2004.

“My decision to retire is based on my personal life and professional endeavors,” Zwierlein said. “Personally, I want to be nearer to my family and thus able to enjoy the freedoms of retirement … to watch my grandchildren grow up and to spend time with my mother. Professionally, I believe I have fulfilled the expectations presented by the University’s administration when I accepted the AD’s position. I believe we restored credibility and integrity to a department torn by scandal. Although never really broken, the perception was that the Athletic Department was a rogue operation working outside of institutional control. This perception had to be altered through actions and deeds. Some 22 months and 11 reports, reviews, certifications, audits and evaluations later, I am pleased to report we have passed all of our examinations with high marks. I also was charged with taking St. Bonaventure’s athletic programs to a competitive level with attention to all facets of our NCAA Division I commitments. Although some may use basketball as the only yardstick to measure successes, I would invite everyone to examine St. Bonaventure’s sports programs across the board to verify our progress. Having said that, I also feel very confident that the basketball program is being built on a solid foundation and positioned to achieve success.”

“Dr. Ron Zwierlein brought to this position the enthusiasm of a seasoned athletics administrator and the invaluable perspective of a life-long educator (Zwierlein holds a Ph.D. in education),” said St. Bonaventure president Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D. “His willingness to engage in collaborative action across constituencies of the University made him a trusted and effective agent for change. We will miss him very much, but we will build on the foundation he created with gratitude for his leadership. A national search will be conducted for his replacement.”

Zwierlein’s 39-year career in intercollegiate athletics has been marked by consistent advancement and achievement.

Some of Zwierlein’s accomplishments at St. Bonaventure include the successful completion of the Athletic Department’s NCAA Division I certification in 2004-05; the writing and initial implementation of a five-year Strategic Plan; the NCAA’s awarding of a CHAMPS/Life Skills program to St. Bonaventure in the fall of 2004; and a National Consortium for Academics and Sports Outreach Award in 2004-05.

St. Bonaventure’s student-athletes have consistently posted impressive academic achievements during Zwierlein’s tenure. In the 2005-06 academic year, St. Bonaventure’s 14 intercollegiate teams posted a combined grade point average (GPA) of 3.06. Eight teams currently hold better than a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

Under Zwierlein’s watch, many of St. Bonaventure’s teams have achieved unprecedented success in competition. The men’s swimming and diving team won the 2006 Atlantic 10 Championship while the women’s swimming and diving team has finished second in the A-10 Championship five years running. In 2004, the baseball team won the Atlantic 10 Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Baseball also finished second in the A-10 this season with a program record 18 conference victories. In 2005, the softball team earned a berth in the A-10 Championship for the first time, then followed that with a return trip last month. Women’s lacrosse has qualified for the A-10 Championship two out of the last three seasons and this past spring went 14-3 and earned its first national ranking. In the 2005-06 year alone, three Bonnies coaches were honored as Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in their respective sports – men’s swimming’s Sean McNamee, baseball’s Larry Sudbrook and softball’s Mike Threehouse.

Zwierlein has hired two new coaches, Mel Mahler in men’s soccer in 2005 and Manoj Khettry in women’s soccer last month. He also is assisting with the renovation to St. Bonaventure’s baseball complex, the newly renamed Handler Park at McGraw-Jennings Field.

Zwierlein serves the Atlantic 10 Conference on a number of committees and has served on peer review teams for the NCAA during certification reviews.

Prior to joining St. Bonaventure, Zwierlein worked at his alma mater, Bowling Green State University, for 24 years. He was Bowling Green’s director of athletics for five years, responsible for the coordination of 22 sports in the Mid-American Conference and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Zwierlein also held other posts at Bowling Green, including interim vice president for student affairs, director of recreational sports, director of the university field house, associate director of the student recreation center, and men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach.

Zwierlein was the director of athletics at John Carroll University in Cleveland from 1978-81. He also coached swimming and diving, soccer and tennis, and served as director of aquatics, chair of the Physical Education Department, and supervisor of intramural and club sports over his tenure at John Carroll.

Zwierlein and his wife, Cindy, have three children, Heidi (Zwierlein) Brown, Heather and Chad, as well as three grandchildren.

Click here to return to the top of the page


Conference on end-of-life issues hosted by Bogoni Center

A day-long inaugural conference on end-of-life issues, hosted by the Bogoni Center at St. Bonaventure University and co-sponsored by the Bogoni Center and The Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center of Upstate New York, was held on Tuesday, June 20, at The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

The conference was for nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, physician assistants, hospital, nursing home, hospice and other healthcare administrators and caregivers, counselors, chaplains, health education specialists and human service providers interested in end-of-life and palliative care.

The keynote speaker, Mary Labyak, president and chief executive officer, Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, Largo, Fla., is a nationally recognized expert in hospice and palliative care.

The conference examined gerontology and end-of-life issues from a palliative approach. Labyak’s discussion provided attendees with a springboard for examining other important social, ethical, organizational and professional issues and challenges confronting the end-of-life, the aging population, and the fields of geriatrics and gerontology. An opportunity to gain knowledge to improve the quality of care from a variety of approaches was also provided.

Conference participants discussed the provision of high-quality end-of-life care as an important public health issue; support, create and maintain effective dialogue around the importance of addressing spirituality and ethics at the end of life among patients, family, friends and caregivers; appreciate the challenges to delivering health care in an increasingly diverse setting; influence the installation of palliative care approaches to caregiving in their respective institutions; and understand the potential shifts in emphasis occurring in geriatrics and gerontology and the need to assure a humanistic experience around aging, caregiving, dying and bereavement.

The generosity and commitment of Paul and Irene Bogoni of New York City enabled St. Bonaventure University to establish the Bogoni Center in the fall of 2003. The Center is dedicated to academics, research and outreach for students, healthcare providers and caregivers within the field of aging. Rooted in the Franciscan tradition, the Center seeks to enhance a values-based understanding of the human aging experience.

Click here to return to the top of the page


All welcome at Mt. Irenaeus Summer Evenings of Re-Creation

For the 15th year, Mt. Irenaeus will be holding its Summer Evenings of Re-Creation series every Wednesday from June 28 to August 2. This summer’s theme is “God’s Word is life and love for us.”

The evenings of prayer, sharing and reflection are open to everyone. All are welcome to come earlier in the day to spend time on the land.

“We like to invite people to come and enjoy some quiet time, some prayer time. We choose topics that can be put into practice in their own lives,” said Fr. Daniel A. Hurley, O.F.M. “It is an interesting way in which we can touch a lot of different people from different faith backgrounds. A lot of the people that come are not involved in regular church practice, so this helps them discover ways they can get in touch with God through prayer.”

Each evening begins with Mass at 4:45 p.m. followed by a dish-to-pass supper at 6 p.m. and time in the chapel from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Speakers and topics for each session include:

June 28 – Daniel Riley, O.F.M., “In the beginning was the word”
July 5 – Louis McCormick, O.F.M., “Love is …”
July 12 – Carol Kenyon, O.S.F., “Our name is love”
July 19 – Bonnie and Larry Orsini, “From word to mission”
July 26 – Harry Monoco, O.F.M., “Franciscan lectio divina”
August 2 – Tim Shaffer, “Living God’s word: the Franciscan influence on Thomas Merton’s eremeticism”

For more information or directions please call (585) 973-2470.

Click here to return to the top of the page


Collaboration between Warming House and culinary students leads to magic on the tables

The grace and poise — not to mention the taste — of several dozen cream puff swans served to Warming House guests helped generate a relationship that is serving the guests, local chefs, culinary students and SBU students.

“I value nourishing foods. One of my challenges is to make good-tasting, healthy, and beautiful meals from the donations of mostly processed foods,” said Trevor Thompson, director of the University-run soup kitchen.

So, Thompson jumped at the chance last fall when his sister, a student at the Culinary Institute of America, offered to treat the Warming House guests to a batch of her swan-shaped cream puffs. That’s when Thompson began thinking creatively. He extended an invitation to instructors and students at nearby Alfred State College’s Culinary Arts program, and they responded by visiting the Warming House during the spring semester. SBU student coordinators received workshops in food preparation and safety, and the two dozen daily guests of the Warming House were treated to two special meals.

Thompson had noticed that most of his 11 student coordinators lacked basic culinary skills, and in turn lacked confidence, creativity and efficiency when preparing meals.

“I feel that part of their experience of being a leader at the Warming House is to leave feeling that they ‘know’ how to cook, from knowing what to do with evaporated milk or butternut squash to knowing how to cut onions or carve a turkey. These are life skills that will forever make them richer persons,” he said. The coordinators also need to know and enforce food safety issues.

Alfred State College culinary instructor Brent Kelley and six to seven several culinary students visited the Warming House twice to cook with the student coordinators. Afterward, Kelley offered a workshop in food skills and safety.

“The leadership crew of SBU students worked alongside the culinary students and Chef Kelley,” Thompson said.

Thompson also believes the experience puts the culinary students in a unique situation where they can consider more deeply how their gifts and dreams might serve the needs of the world.

“I’m hoping that the culinary students will consider their own vocational journeys more deeply, particularly how preparing and cooking food might feed the hungry among us,” he added. Thompson was also excited by the energy that was created on both campuses.

Chef Kelley commented after the experience, “Every student I brought … wants to return and felt very positively about the experience.”

“I feel that all people deserve nourishing food. It’s one of the principles of The Warming House,” said Thompson. “When I saw the guests’ faces light up when we served the pork stir-fry with a side of pineapple pork ribs and the cream-puffs, I knew that they would go home feeling that their lives are valued and worthy. I hope to continue to be able to offer a greater sense of dignity for those who come to us by offering them nourishing and aesthetic food experiences. That’s the power of food. That’s the magic happening at our tables.”

In the future, Thompson hopes to encourage other local chefs to share their skills with the program.

Click here to return to the top of the page


Students given VIP treatment at Vatican City

Fr. James Vacco, Dr. Patrick Panzarella, Dr. David DiMattio, Dr. Patricia Parsley and students of St. Bonaventure University were part of a very unique experience over the weekend of June 9-11 at Vatican City, Rome, Italy.

Members of the western New York group were treated as VIPs at the Vatican, witnessing spectacles the average visitor would not see. Cristina Carlo-Stella, the chief of staff of the Office of the Fabricca, Cardinal Marchisano, Arch-Priest of the Basilica, and Archbishop Chiasarmo, President of the Fabricca, all greeted the students.

The St. Bonaventure group was exposed to the original, walk-in model of the proposed new St. Peter’s Basilica by Sangallo of 1500. Also, they visited the archives room filled with documents that date back over 1,000 years. This collection includes some of the plans and bills submitted by Michelangelo when he was involved in the building project of the new St. Peter’s. The St. Bonaventure group was able to experience how mosaics are created and watched artists actually begin the very delicate and detailed process. Then the group ventured into the underground necropolis and visited the tomb of St. Peter.

Some students traveled to Capri, Italy, while others spent the weekend in Rome to visit numerous Christian sites. The group in Rome celebrated Mass in the catacombs of St. Priscilla and then visited the Lateran Basilica, St. Mary Major’s and the Colosseum.

Serving the evening meal to the poor of Rome at the San Egilio Community Kitchen was another event the group took part in. San Egilio was one of the first lay movements for outreach and international concerns that developed after Vatican II. This community kitchen has been known to serve 1,500 people a day.

Sunday, June 11, Fr. James and a small group of travelers celebrated Mass in Clementine Chapel, built over the tomb of St. Peter.

Click here to return to the top of the page



SBU to host more than 150 Franciscan academics at conference

The campus of St. Bonaventure University will be bustling this weekend as academics from around the country gather to explore the Franciscan tradition and discuss ways the tradition can be used to develop a unique sense of mission in higher education today.

Today (June 22), representatives from 16 different Franciscan academic institutions began to gather at the University for the 2006 Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities (AFCU) Symposium.

The 154 registered participants will explore the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition as a Resource for Mission, the theme of the conference, which ends on Sunday, June 25.

“The conference is intended to create an opportunity for individuals from Franciscan affiliated institutions to come together to learn more about the Franciscan intellectual tradition as a resource and dialog partner as the institutions seek to further clarify and develop their distinctive sense of mission and unique contribution to higher education,” said Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., vice president for the Franciscan Mission.

The AFCU is an organization representing 19 institutions affiliated with or sponsored by Franciscan religious communities across the United States. The AFCU was established to support the members’ mission of Catholic higher education by providing a forum for dialog as well as to foster and facilitate collaboration among the members.

This year’s conference is the second of its kind and a first at St. Bonaventure. A welcome and orientation to the program and its goals from University president Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., and the Rev. William Beaudin, O.F.M., of Siena College will take place at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, June 22.

The keynote address by Sr. Mary Beth Ingham, C.S.J., Ph.D., will be delivered at 9 a.m., Friday, June 23, in the Rigas Family Theater in The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Sr. Mary Beth is a professor of philosophy and former associate vice president for academic affairs at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She has served on the faculty of the Franciscan Institute and has been a visiting professor at St. Bonaventure. She is an expert on the thought of the Franciscan medieval Franciscan scholar John Duns Scotus. She has written four books and numerous articles on the thought of Scotus and the contemporary relevance of his work for a post-modern world. Presentations, pertaining to the Franciscan academic experience, will take place throughout the conference and will be of several different formats.

A range of 75-minute topical seminars, some 25 in all, will be available to participants during the course of the conference. The wide variety of seminars will enable participants to selectively learn more about the Franciscan intellectual-spiritual tradition, explore different core curriculum models that are animated by the Franciscan tradition, explore how the Franciscan tradition might be incorporated into various areas of the curriculum and/or professional programs in business and education, discuss some of the ways the tradition might inform an institution’s approach to various student life issues, and learn how Franciscan institutions might develop their unique sense of mission in higher education today.

Open space meetings, to be held Friday, June 23, will provide an opportunity for open-ended conversation, rather than formal presentations. Poster sessions on Saturday, June 24, will allow participants a similar opportunity to discuss ideas about a program, initiative, course or other information of their interest and choosing. Topics for the poster sessions will include those posted by participants on Friday morning. Roundtable discussions, covering several topics, will be held on Friday and Saturday during lunch breaks.

The conference will conclude on Sunday, June 25, with a Celebration of the Eucharist at 8 a.m. in the University Chapel, Doyle Hall.

For more information on the conference, including a detailed schedule and descriptions of each seminar topic, visit afcu.sbu.edu. Questions and concerns can be directed to Sharon Godfrey at (716) 375-2221 or sgodfrey@sbu.edu.

Click here to return to the top of the page



Trio celebrates 25th Reuion with 100-mile bicycle trek to Olean

When their 25th college reunion drew near, Greg Farrell, Pat Hanna and John Urlaub of Rochester decided the best way for three middle-aged guys to make their triumphant return to St. Bonaventure University was not in a Porsche 911 convertible, but rather on two wheels.

The three members of the St. Bonaventure Class of 1981 made the 100-mile trek from Rochester to Olean on their bicycles.

A 25th college reunion is a milestone for many, meant to be marked with picnics, parties, ceremony and celebration. For these three alumni, the occasion called for something more – a personal challenge.

They began their adventure at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 8, with a brief prayer to Saints Francis and Bonaventure for a good journey.

The first part of their trip was through the Genesee Valley Greenway, an old rail trail they rode from Henrietta to Mt. Morris. The final leg took place on the back roads leading from Mt. Morris to Olean. They pulled onto campus around 5:30 p.m. and their understanding wives met up with them for the reunion festivities the following day.

Farrell, Hanna and Urlaub met as college freshmen in the fall of 1977. They became friends, avid Bona’s basketball fans and eventually graduates of the University. All ended up in Rochester, began careers and started families. They remained connected through alumni events, basketball games, and their kids’ schools and sports teams.

Farrell, of Pittsford is the operating company credit manager at Conagra Foods in Sodus, N.Y.

Hanna, of Rochester, is the vice president of marketing and sales at ATC Corporation in Rochester.

Urlaub of Rochester, is the owner of Rohrbach Brewing Company in Rochester.

All agree that it was one of the most enjoyable and memorable times they’ve had in a long time. Only time will tell what they will have in store for their 30th reunion.

The trio were among more than 850 who gathered for Alumni Reunion Weekend June 9-11.

Click here to return to the top of the page


Enrichment program gathers Poor Clares at SBU

This weekend, St. Bonaventure University will welcome a group of sisters that is unlike any other … sisters connected not by common parents, but by a common mission to God.

The women are Poor Clare Sisters, Franciscan nuns from the Order of St. Clare, who have devoted their lives to prayer and contemplative living. They will be leaving their cloistered monasteries to join together at the University for the Poor Clare Enrichment Program, which runs from Monday, June 26, to Friday, July 14.

The program is designed to allow English-speaking Poor Clares from different monasteries and parts of the Poor Clare tradition to come together for a three-week experience at the University. Sponsored by the Poor Clare Endowment, established about 14 years ago, the program is known as “Know Your Vocation.”

“The Clares’ presence on campus creates the opportunity to bring an important part of Franciscan life to the campus community and enriches not only the Clares who come but also the students of the Franciscan Institute, the faculty and staff by participating in classroom study, meals, liturgy and prayer, and ordinary interaction,” said Sr. Roberta McKelvie, O.S.F., managing editor for Franciscan publications at St. Bonaventure and coordinator of the enrichment program.

This summer’s program will include 23 Poor Clares from monasteries in 11 cities, including Amarillo, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, N.J.; Delray Beach, Fla.; Denver and Pueblo, Colo.; Great Falls, Mont.; Greenville, S.C.; Jamaica Plain, Mass.; New Orleans, La.; and Wilmington, Del. Although all are linked by the vows of obedience, poverty and chastity that St. Clare of Assisi bequeathed to them more than 800 years ago, each monastery remains completely autonomous. The program allows Sisters from varying traditions the unique opportunity to interact and learn from each other.

The program is in its second three-year cycle. The first cycle took place in 2001-2003 and brought together more than 70 Sisters from Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and the United States.

“Poor Clares from the first cycle were so pleased with the program that they insisted I don’t let it die,” said Sr. Roberta. Some of the Sisters’ comments from the last year include:

“This was fascinating and exciting for me, most of it ¬stimulating a desire for more reading ....”

“It was very helpful to be able to view and learn about the Poor Clares in the medieval era.”

“The reading and sharing of Mother Magdalen’s letters opened a greater appreciation and understanding of the personalities and struggles and faithful commitment needed to establish the Poor Clares in the United States.”

This summer, in addition to times of prayer, study and reflection, the program is broken down into three main modules. The history module will enflesh the history of the Order of St. Clare through stories of Sister Mary Magdalen Bentivoglio, founder of the first Poor Clare monastery in the United States.

The theology module will focus on a major text of St. Bonaventure, “The Tree of Life.” Finally, an “arts and letters” segment will showcase artwork and letters participating monasteries use as sources of prayer and devotion.

Out of respect to the Poor Clares’ dedication to prayer and contemplative living, media requests for personal interviews and photographs can be arranged by contacting Bryan S. Smith, director of Media Relations, at (716) 375-2376 or bsmith@sbu.edu.

Click here to return to the top of the page



University mourns death of Dr. Stephen Gray-Lewis

Dr. Stephen W. Gray-Lewis, associate professor of English and theater at St. Bonaventure University and a resident of Olean for more than 40 years, died of lung cancer on June 16, 2006. He was 75.

“Doc,” as his students knew him, came to St. Bonaventure University in 1965 with degrees in English literature and theater from Brown University and the University of Wisconsin. Prior to his academic career, Gray-Lewis had worked as a translator for U.S. army intelligence, and as an editor for McGraw/Hill. He also spent time as an aspiring actor in New York City.

Shortly after joining St. Bonaventure’s Department of English, Gray-Lewis began directing student theater with a production of A Man for All Seasons staged in the upstairs room of the University clubhouse. He continued to direct shows featuring students, faculty, staff and their families until his retirement from St. Bonaventure in 2003.

In all, he staged more than 100 productions at St. Bonaventure in the clubhouse, the Reilly Center, Butler Hall, The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, and in the Garret Theater, his beloved home away from home.

His many University productions included Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Richard III, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice; musicals by Gershwin, Porter, Bernstein and Gilbert and Sullivan; classic plays by Ibsen, Shaw, Pirandello, Sophocles, Miller, Feydeau, Williams and Coward; and challenging contemporary works such as How I Learned to Drive and This Is Our Youth. He was instrumental in preserving theater study and performance at St. Bonaventure.

During his nearly 40 years at St. Bonaventure, Gray-Lewis taught classes in both English and visual and performing arts, including acting, directing, stagecraft, playwriting and theater history.

His Shakespeare courses, which included dramatic readings from the lectern of some of the Bard’s great soliloquies, were very popular with students. Gray-Lewis also taught courses in English composition, dramatic literature and Renaissance literature. He participated in St Bonaventure University’s Oxford program; was a member of the university’s Devereux Society; contributed a chapter to a book on teaching gifted children; and was an editor of Cithara, the scholarly journal.

He served on the original planning committee for The Quick Center and directed the first play produced on the Rigas Family Theater stage: a theater alumni performance of The Play’s the Thing. In 2000, St. Bonaventure dedicated the green room of the renovated Garret Theater in his name, and in 2003 Gray-Lewis was awarded the first honorary membership given by St. Bonaventure’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, the national theater honor society.

In addition to his theater work at St. Bonaventure, Gray-Lewis directed plays by Shakespeare and others for the Olean Theater Workshop, and appeared on stage in community productions and at the Sterling Renaissance Festival. In the summer of 2005, he directed the popular community production of Romeo and Juliet in Olean’s Oak Hill Park. He was preparing to direct the summer 2006 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the time of his death.

At leisure, Gray-Lewis was an avid reader of mystery novels, biographies and cookbooks. He was an accomplished cook and often served gourmet meals to friends, students and visiting alumni and their families. He enjoyed traveling to attend theater in New York, London and wherever his alumni were performing. He was a supporter of the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, WNED-TV and Classical 94.5.

Gray-Lewis’s wit, graciousness, intelligence and his enthusiasm for drama and theater earned him the respect and friendship of St. Bonaventure faculty and staff. He was responsible for inspiring many toward careers in education and the performing arts, and imparting life-long appreciation for literature and theater to generations of students.

He is survived by a brother, Roderick, of Florida, several nephews and a niece.

A gathering in memory of Gray-Lewis will be held in the fall.

Click here to return to the top of the page



Newsmakers ...

Dr. Charles Walker recently presented the results of his research on human well-being at the national meeting of American Psychological Science held in New York. Two research reports were presented: "Using Positivity Ratios to Distinguish Languishing from Flourishing in College Students" and "Implications of the Circumplex Model of Affect for Assessing Student Learning." His research stems from assessment work he has done for the Journey Project and was partially funded by a Martine Grant.

Click here to return to the top of the page