Inside Bona's logo 

Oct. 4, 2007


  1. BonaResponds heading to Ohio
  2. Br. David Haack's latest commissionings on display at Washington Theological Union
  3. SBU to host Disability Awareness Month activities
  4. SBU speaker to discuss importance of preserving Allegheny National Forest
  5. Colorado student follows her heart to Bona's
  6. Markel Insurance presents scholarships to two students
  7. Career Center
  8. Friday Forum
  9. Newsmakers


BonaResponds heading to Ohio

BonaResponds, a volunteer-run disaster relief group out of St. Bonaventure University, will travel to Findlay, Ohio, during St. Bonaventure’s midterm break, Oct. 5 to 9, to help aid and rebuild communities devastated from severe flooding in August.

When the Blanchard River in northern Ohio rose 8 feet above flood level in August, flooding destroyed homes across eight counties. In Findlay, the flooding forced 2,000 of the 40,000 residents to evacuate and damaged 2,200 homes and businesses. More than 400 homes and businesses remain uninhabitable.

“The damage is still so bad,” said Jim Mahar, Ph.D., founder and leader of BonaResponds and assistant finance professor at St. Bonaventure.

BonaResponds will be doing work similar to work it did in Biloxi, Miss., six months after Hurricane Katrina: a mix of debris cleanup, gutting houses, putting up drywall and painting. BonaResponds will stay in a church hall or similar facility. There will be bathroom, shower and kitchen facilities, as well as a place to lay sleeping bags.

The cost of the trip is being subsidized by BonaResponds. The cost is $70 per person (to cover the costs of food and transportation). If volunteers choose to meet the group in Ohio, the cost is $40. The trip is open to anyone.

Volunteers do not need to be affiliated with St. Bonaventure. Non-St. Bonaventure students must be 18 years of age or older, unless a parent or legal guardian attends the trip. Volunteers must have had a tetanus shot within the last five years. All volunteers must fill out consent forms that can be found online at http://bonaresponds.blogspot.com/search/label/Ohio.

For a reference of what to bring on the trip or to see recent pictures of the flood damage, visit http://bonaresponds.blogspot.com/search/label/Ohio.

Those who would like to participate should send their registration fees and volunteer consent forms to BonaResponds, Jim Mahar, School of Business, Box BY, St. Bonaventure, NY 14778. Monetary donations are also being accepted at this address. Any donations will be used to purchase tools and other materials for the trip.

BonaResponds was created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It has taken approximately 400 volunteers to the Gulf Coast and led just as many volunteers in service projects throughout Western New York. BonaResponds aims to be a world-class organization whose mission is to help people in need, as well as to build better leaders and better communities. The group, comprised of students, faculty, staff, alumni and local residents, is run completely through donations.

BonaResponds recently completed its sixth local service day on Sept. 8, and hopes to return to the Gulf Coast in January.

BonaResponds welcomes new members, regardless of affiliation with St. Bonaventure. For more information regarding BonaResponds, visit www.bonaresponds.org or contact BonaResponds at bonaresponds@sbu.edu

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Br. David Haack's latest commissionings on display at Washington Theological Union

Br. David Haack, O.F.M., Ph.D, assistant professor of visual arts at St. Bonaventure University, is inspired by the Franciscan life he has lived for 25 years.

This inspiration is reflected in his exhibit of Franciscan-themed paintings at The Washington Theological Union, a Roman Catholic Graduate School of Theology and Ministry in Washington, D.C.

The exhibit, “Visuale Ricordanza di Franesco,” which began July 16 and closes in mid- November, translates into the visual record of Francis of Assisi. Br. David’s paintings are informed by 13th and 14th century Franciscan early documents, painted in a contemporary manner.

The exhibit is a personal meditation on several events of the life of Francis of Assisi. These events come from a three-volume set of biographies and early documents translated and written by friars and sisters connected with the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University. Br. David meditated on the documents and tried to seek contemporary imagery that reflects a 13th century theme. In other words, he tried to keep the spiritual movement of the writing, or the episodes of Francis’ life, within the context of a contemporary visual image.

“It’s not very easy,” Br. David explained. “Obviously the idea of a friar and Franciscan life has changed over 800 years, and the contemporary life of a friar is not the same as a 13th century friar.”

Br. David was commissioned after the Franciscan president at Washington Theological, St. Bonaventure alumnus Fr. Lou Iasiello, O.F.M., approached him to see if he ever considered moving his work around the country. From there, “Visuale Ricordanza di Francesco” developed into 38 paintings.

Br. David was also commissioned by Washington Theological to create a set of paintings that would be permanently installed in the entrance of the Graduate Theological Union. He was given the freedom to create whatever he thought would be appropriate after declining the school’s original suggestion of painting five portraits of the last five popes.

Instead, Br. David wanted to take the paintings in a different direction, away from faces.

“I ended up constantly thinking of the different kinds of ministry The Washington Theological Union teaches after reading their literature, mission statement, curriculums and various programs of study,” Br. David said.

The paintings are seven pairs of hands, doing seven different things, representing six different nationalities. Each pair of hands represents a ministry taught at The Washington Theological Union.

Since 1998, Br. David has been a part of the St. Bonaventure community. He teaches several art courses, and a Clare college core curriculum course. Br. David holds a doctorate in humanities/art history and master’s degree in philosophy from Syracuse University. He also holds a master’s degree in painting/art history from the Catholic University of America and a bachelor’s degree from St. Francis College.

As an artist, his works can be found in such places as Rome, Italy; Asumbi, Kenya; Dublin, Ireland; Montreal, Canada; Palm Springs, Calif.; Wanaque, N.J.; Green Bay, Wisc.; and Port Washington, N.Y.

“I don’t know how many pieces I have all over; however, I’ve always had the philosophy that I would like to paint until I’ve painted a masterpiece, and I don’t feel as though I have done that yet,” Br. David said.

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SBU to host Disability Awareness Month activities

St. Bonaventure University recognizes October as being Disability Awareness Month. This year’s theme is “Sports and Disability,” focusing on athletes with disabilities.

“This was adopted as the theme for the year’s events, as recreational and physical activities are often overlooked in addressing issues for people with disabilities,” said Barbara Trolley, Ph.D., Disability Services Committee chair and associate professor of counselor education.

There will be events throughout the month to spread awareness about, and sensitivity to, disability issues. All activities are open to the St. Bonaventure community, including faculty, staff, students and alumni.

“Murderball,” a movie about wheelchair rugby, will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 and 4 in The John J. Murphy Professional Building Auditorium A and B.

On Oct. 17 and 18 from 12 to 2 p.m., information tables will be set up in the Reilly Center, featuring organizational representatives from Cradle Beach, Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped (SABAH), Special Olympics, Holiday Valley Adaptive Sports and Quad Rugby. Candy bars will be sold to benefit Autism Parent and Down Syndrome Parent Groups, as well as former Disability Support Services coordinator Nancy Matthews. Also on Oct. 18 at 4:30 p.m., a panel discussion involving representatives of the above organizations on the topic of “Athletes with Disabilities” will be held in Murphy Auditorium.

On Oct. 26 from 2 to 4 p.m., a series of activities called “Sports Simulations” will be held in the Sandra A. and William L. Richter Center. These will stations involve completing a physical activity while simulating a disability. All participants will be entered to win an array of prizes.

Disability Awareness Month has its roots in 1945 when Congress enacted Public Law 176, designating the first week in October as National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. In 1962, the word “physically” was removed from the week’s name in order to recognize the employment needs of all Americans with disabilities; in 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Since then, October has become the kick-off month for year-round awareness programs that highlight the abilities and skills of Americans with disabilities.

“National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a campaign applicable to all areas of society,” Trolley said. “There are many forms of disability and diversity. Out of this awareness comes the realization that not all disabilities are physical in nature, and not all are detectable when you first meet an individual. These events also provide a forum for dialogues about disability among University members.”

For more information about Disability Awareness Month, contact Trolley at btrolley@sbu.edu.

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SBU speaker to address importance of preserving Allegheny National Forest

Kirk Johnson, executive director of Friends of Allegheny Wilderness, will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at St. Bonaventure University about his organization’s efforts to designate 54,460 additional acres of the Allegheny National Forest as wilderness under the Federal Wilderness Act.

The Allegheny National Forest, which encompasses 513,000 acres, represents the largest natural area in this region. Only 2 percent of the forest, located less than an hour from St. Bonaventure University, is now preserved as wilderness.

Johnson’s multi-media presentation, “A Citizens' Wilderness Proposal for Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest,” will explore the importance of preserving the forest as wilderness for future generations.

Johnson carries on in the tradition of Aldo Leopold, considered by many as the father of wildlife management in the United States. Leopold once said, “The richest values of wilderness lie not in the days of Daniel Boone, nor even in the present, but rather in the future.”

The presentation will take place in the Robert R. Jones Trustees Room of Doyle Hall at the University and is open to the public. It is sponsored by Bart Lambert, associate professor in the Department of Political Science.

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Colorado student follows her heart to Bona's

Anna Feeley’s heart grows every time she gives back.

This dedication to service is one of the reasons Feeley enrolled as a freshman this year at St. Bonaventure University. Ironically, it’s also the reason the Western New York school almost didn’t make her list of post-high school options.

Feeley, from Fort Collins, Col., was so driven by the desire to serve that she considered postponing college studies altogether and joining the Peace Corps instead. “My father instilled in me the fact that we are blessed, and that we should give back,” said Feeley.

Then she heard about BonaResponds, the volunteer relief organization at St. Bonaventure. First formed to take relief teams to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, BonaResponds still sends volunteers south, but now answers campus, community and regional calls for action as well. Students and others will spend this weekend’s mid-semester break in northern Ohio where they will help repair damage from destructive August flooding.

As a resident of Colorado, Feeley was no stranger to St. Bonaventure. Her father, John Feeley, is a 1974 graduate. But her dad was careful not to direct her toward his alma mater, said Feeley, instead encouraging her to set her own course.

St. Bonaventure wasn’t a consideration, said Feeley, until she read about BonaResponds’ cleanup efforts in tornado-ravaged Enterprise, Ala. She saw the kind of immediate impact a group like BonaResponds can have.

Dr. Jim Mahar, assistant professor of finance at St. Bonaventure and coordinator of BonaResponds, remembers when Feeley answered the organization’s call for student-leaders at the beginning of the semester.

“She came up to me and introduced herself,” said Mahar. “She said, ‘I just wanted you to know that BonaResponds was one of the main reasons I am here now. I was not going to go to college. I was going to join the Peace Corps. But I saw what you did and wanted to be part of it.”

Feeley, and many others like her, show that service opportunities are becoming a high priority in the college search process, said SBU Director of Admissions James DiRisio.

“More and more, we find that high school students are being engaged by their teachers, their youth groups, even their high school sports teams to participate in an array of activities that I would call service learning,” he said. “Because they are having positive experiences, many are seeking to expand upon and to participate more fully in the kinds of opportunities that BonaResponds provides.”

St. Bonaventure has a long history of involving students in service-related learning opportunities, said DiRisio, citing programs such as the Bona Buddies youth outreach program and the Warming House, thought to be the oldest student-run soup kitchen in the nation.

“I think the biggest difference we see now is that Bona students have already done these kinds of things in high school, and they are looking at Bonaventure because of the opportunities we are presenting to take those vocations to the next level,” said DiRisio.

Feeley brings a wealth of service experience to St. Bonaventure, including sanitizing a flood-damaged New Orleans house, working in a Mexican orphanage, and counseling at a camp for kids with cancer in New York.

Naturally, she will be among Bona’s students who will be in Ohio this weekend for the cleanup there.

“We will mostly be gutting homes and starting to put up drywall, along with some painting,” Feeley said. “I feel it will be very rewarding.”

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Career Center news ...

For more informa ion regarding on-campus recruiting including resume due dates and scheduled interviews click here!


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Markel Insurance presents scholarships to two students

To commemorate their 25th year of service to St. Bonaventure University, representatives from Markel Insurance Co. visited campus Tuesday, Sept. 25, to present $2,500 scholarships to two SBU students, selected by a panel of campus administrators and faculty members.

Markel (formerly the Rhulen Agency) has provided student health insurance at SBU since 1983.

Pictured above (from left) are: David Kube, Markel regional sales director; Joseph O’Halloran, a junior journalism and mass communication major; Mary Kohl, SBU’s director of Health Services; and Mark Nichols, Markel vice president and business unit manager. Unable to attend the presentation was the other scholarship winner, Roger (Ken) Giese, a junior biology major.

“I want to thank all of the administration at St. Bonaventure, whose commitment to Markel stands as a testament to the power and effectiveness of long-term business relationships,” said Nichols, who initiated the insurance contract with St. Bonaventure in 1983. “St. Bonaventure will always hold a special place in my memory and of the collective memory of the people here at Markel.”

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Friday Forum

All SBU faculty, staff and administrators are welcome to all the Friday Forums.

Date: Friday, Sept. 28, 2007
Speaker: Fr. Richard P. O’Brien, Crowley-O’Brien Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

Time: Lunch starts at noon, Forum goes from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Place: Doyle Dining Room
Topic: "Academic Freedom in a Catholic University"

There is no cost for lunch this week (courtesy of the Office of the President).


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Dr. Rodney J. Paul, associate professor of economics in the Department of Finance, had the paper “Transfer Payment Distribution and Increases in Gambling Activity” accepted for publication in Applied Economics Letters. This short paper illustrates how attendance and track revenues increase at greyhound racetracks on the day that government transfer checks are distributed.

Dr. Paula J. Scraba of the School of Education presented the BUILD WITH LIVING STONES program “Franciscan Presence and Dialogue: Peace-Making in a Culture of Violence” to the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Ind., on Sept. 22, 2007. This presentation was also given on campus Oct. 1 as part of the Franciscan Passport Program.

Team JMC of the Relay For Life at St. Bonaventure has completed its first fundraiser for the 2008 season. The fundraiser was done through the Family Fun Night program at Friendly’s Restaurant in Olean. Pictured from left are Caitlin Veri, Ray Reynolds, Christina Cardona, Amy Passalugo, Carole McNall, Cassidi Huggler, Courtney Spencer and Stephen McNall.