|Jan. 29, 2009
A man who once dreamed of becoming a doctor is being honored this spring for bolstering the spiritual health of St. Bonaventure University for more than 30 years.
Fr. Dan Riley, O.F.M., who began his college career in 1960 as a pre-med student at St. Bonaventure, will receive the university’s Gaudete Medal at the annual awards celebration Friday, May 1, at the Country Club of Buffalo.
The Gaudete event will also pay special attention to the university’s 150th anniversary, which concludes its 15-month celebration on May 31; the college was dedicated Oct. 4, 1858.
St. Bonaventure’s Gaudete (gow-DAY-tay) Medal honors business and community leaders who exemplify the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi through their joy, hope, positive outlook on life, sincerely compassionate spirit and desire to serve humankind. Recipients of the Gaudete, which means “Rejoice!” in Latin, have inspired, encouraged and enlightened others through their personal and professional lives.
“It is fitting that we honor Fr. Dan at this, the culminating event of our 150th anniversary celebration. I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Fr. Dan to receive this award,” said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., university president. “The generosity of his soul and the light that Dan always radiates are emblematic of the virtues we hope our students will take from this place when they leave here.”
The Gaudete event is being coordinated by a committee of some 35 alumni and friends of St. Bonaventure University and chaired by the Lawley family — William Jr., Michael, Mark and Kathy Lawley Best. The Lawleys are also a major sponsor of the event.
“The Lawley family is proud to be associated with this event,” said Bill Lawley Jr. “To play a role in highlighting the service of Fr. Dan Riley is a special privilege and blessing.”
Greatbatch Inc. has agreed to serve as the lead sponsor for the Gaudete event.
“We believe in St. Bonaventure and what it represents. We are proud to be among the many organizations that will join in this momentous celebration of the university’s history and the iconic Fr. Dan Riley,” said Tom Hook, a 1984 alumnus of the university and president and CEO of Greatbatch Inc.
Other sponsors to date are:
The guardian of Holy Peace Friary at Mt. Irenaeus, the university’s Franciscan sanctuary in the hills of West Clarksville, Fr. Dan is often the first friar students meet when they come to St. Bonaventure. His radiant smile and booming laugh have been omnipresent fixtures on campus since 1971, when he returned to his alma mater and started the university’s campus ministry.
He was assigned by Holy Name Province to positions in Boston, New York City, Portsmouth, N.H., and Washington, D.C., between 1974 and 1979, but returned to St. Bonaventure in 1979 to become coordinator of the university’s vocation program and campus minister.
Even more than his infectious smile, the indelible mark Fr. Dan will ultimately leave at St. Bonaventure is Mt. Irenaeus.
Named after longtime librarian Fr. Irenaeus Herscher, O.F.M., the Mountain was established in 1984 when Fr. Dan signed a purchase agreement on a 207-acre, hardwood-covered hilltop in Allegany County. Three cabins were built in the 1980s, Holy Peace Chapel was dedicated in 1990, and Holy Peace Friary — a large community house for the resident friars, with gathering space for prayer and meals — was completed in 1995.
Twenty-five years after its founding, Mt. Irenaeus continues to host members of the St. Bonaventure community and visitors of all faiths, offering a quiet, natural setting and contemplative atmosphere that encourages people to develop their spirituality, or simply to get away from the stresses of daily life for a little while.
Several times a year, Fr. Dan takes the “Mountain on the Road,” a program that brings the Mountain’s services wherever its presence is requested. Participants at the retreats open up to important parts of their spiritual journeys, while reconnecting within the St. Bonaventure family.
A native of Rochester, Fr. Dan graduated from St. Bonaventure in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and joined the Franciscan Order in 1965. He received his master’s in theology from Washington Theological Union, and was ordained a priest in 1971.
Fr. Dan also plays a vital role on campus as a minister-in-residence in Devereux Hall.
For more information on Gaudete event sponsorships and individual tickets, contact Anne Goergen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-375-4085.
St. Bonaventure University has received an anonymous gift of $1 million from an alumnus to support entrepreneurial service learning.
Received during the Christmas holiday, the leadership gift will endow service programs in the School of Business, specifically Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), and BonaResponds.
“In this time of economic uncertainty, this tremendous gift illustrates the donor’s firm belief in the comprehensive service learning happening across our campus and the activities that benefit economies at the local, national and international level,” said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., president of the university. “I am especially pleased to announce this gift during St. Bonaventure’s sesquicentennial as service to others has been a hallmark of our University’s century-and-a-half existence. This gift allows our students to continue to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”
The $1 million gift will provide annual support to innovative programs that prepare students to lead and serve.
The SIFE program, which focuses on economic empowerment and entrepreneurial education, provides both local and international programs and ranks in the top 5 percent of SIFE teams nationwide. In its fifth year, it operates service trips to the Bahamas and Africa and works with nearly 20 schools in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free income tax preparation to lower income citizens within Cattaraugus County. In the first five years of the VITA program, St. Bonaventure students have invested 6,000 service hours to generate more than $1.6 million in income tax refunds for Cattaraugus County residents. Last year, working in cooperation with the United Way and the Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services, VITA opened a retail location in the Olean Center Mall.
BonaResponds, a group composed of students, faculty, staff, alumni and local residents formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, sent nearly 300 relief workers to the Gulf Coast immediately following the storm, one of the largest collegiate efforts in the nation. Since then BonaResponds has sponsored dozens of initiatives that have assisted people both locally and nationally.
“Our faculty, staff and students have worked incredibly hard over the past five years to bring these programs to life. This gift is not just a vindication of our hard work but of our vision of serving our communities while providing extraordinary opportunities for our students to grow,” said Todd Palmer, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Business and lead SIFE adviser. “We are extremely blessed to have a donor who sees that the ties between the community and the university must be strengthened and has given us the resources to take this program to the next level.”
Susan Anders, Ph.D., CPA, professor of accounting and VITA adviser added: “As we face the beginning of a new tax season, the VITA volunteers are incredibly grateful for both the resources and the recognition, but especially for the recognition.”
Funding co-curricular programs is a key initiative in the university’s current Anniversary Campaign for St. Bonaventure.
“This gift, while advancing our students’ education and career paths, also enhances the energy level of our campaign as we head into the critical final months,” said Mary Driscoll, associate vice president for advancement.
To date, more than $93 million in cash and pledges has been raised in the campaign, Driscoll said. Launched to the public in September 2005, the campaign will conclude this May as St. Bonaventure ends its 15-month sesquicentennial celebration.
St. Bonaventure University’s Franciscan Heritage Program at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy, welcomed world-renowned medievalist Jacques Dalarun, who taught a guest class on Monday, Jan. 26, at Umbra I, via dei Priori.
Dalarun, senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, was previously director of the Medieval Department at l’École française de Rome, as well as the Joseph A. Doino Visiting Professor of Franciscan Studies at the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University (2004-2005). Dalarun, the author of numerous books and articles, is one the world’s foremost authorities in medieval and Franciscan studies. Among his better-known English-language titles are The Misadventure of Francis of Assisi (2002), Francis of Assisi and the Feminine (2007), Francis of Assisi and Power (2007), Robert of Arbrissel: Sex, Sin, and Salvation in the Middle Ages (2006), and “The Umbrian Legend by Thomas of Celano” (2007).
He led students in a discussion of the autograph letter of Francis of Assisi to Brother Leo, one of the few extant texts from the hand of Francis himself, which is housed in the Duomo at Spoleto. Students will have an opportunity to see the text themselves when they visit Spoleto later in the semester.
The Franciscan Heritage Program is a semester-long study abroad program at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy, open to all students from schools affiliated with the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities.
further information, contact Michael Chiariello (email@example.com) or
building a new reputation across the land
Lanier led St. Bonaventure's men's basketball team to the NCAA Final Four in the 1969-70 season, so the association is a common one.
But there's a new connection to SBU being planted in locales far from campus, such as in Hammond's home state of Texas. Ask someone there if he's heard of St. Bonaventure University and you might just get this response: "Isn't that the school that has BonaResponds and supports disaster relief?"
Hammond, an insurance consultant and former insurance broker, answered a call for help and joined BonaResponds volunteers who spent 10 days in Bridge City, Texas, over the winter break. Inspired by the group's work and spirit, he wrote this piece:
special experience, a very special group of SBU people'
As students and former students of St. Bonaventure University, we have all lived and felt the Franciscan spirit that is the essence of SBU. It was present over 40 years ago when I was a student and I found that the spirit still is alive and well over the last week in Bridge City, Texas.
In a recent edition of the alumni newsletter an announcement caught my attention. I had heard of BonaResponds and that they had done disaster relief after storms in Buffalo, Mississippi, and Iowa. It always made me proud to see the service and efforts of the students, faculty, and alumni to help other people. It was a sacrifice, but one that showed what St. Bonaventure is all about.
Now they were looking for volunteers to help with disaster relief in Bridge City, Texas, during the first two weeks of January 2009. I live in Dallas, so if they were coming over 2,000 miles, the least I could do would be to drive 250 miles and try to help out.
Hurricane Ike flooded almost every one of the 3,500 homes in Bridge City in September 2008. The homes needed to be gutted, sanitized, and rebuilt. Most residents did not buy flood insurance since they had not been flooded in over 100 years. I sent an e-mail to BonaResponds coordinator and founder Dr. Jim Mahar, associate professor of finance at St. Bonaventure, who welcomed me to the team.
Now I was committed and started to wonder what I had gotten myself into. Could I help, how can I help, will I fit in with these 20-year-old students, will they accept a 65-year-old as part of the team? As you read on, you will see that the answer to those questions was a resounding “yes!”
So off I went by myself, wondering what this experience had in store for me. I packed everything I thought I would need to survive five days in a disaster area: clothes, a sleeping bag, an air mattress, eating utensils, a water filter, and some tools.
We were to work with the Church of Christ Disaster Relief Team out of Florida, which had been on site with six permanent members since the day after Hurricane Ike hit in September 2008. They had a totally self-sufficient compound set up in the Bridge City Community Center with sleeping bags, air mattresses, showers, hot meals, all necessary tools, and people from the Church Of Christ to cook and make sure all our needs were met. As it turned out, all we needed were our toiletries and our clothes as everything else was provided.
I arrived two days into the project in the middle of the afternoon. I signed in and was directed to one of the BonaResponds job sites. I was given a warm welcome by everyone on the team, which I would later find out was the “losers” team, but we were proud of it. The other half of the group decided to call themselves the “cool” team even though there was always some doubt about the validity of their name.
Everyone was very glad to have me there and put me right to work ripping up the hardwood floors of our assigned house. These kids were hard workers; there were no slackers in this group. There were actually
more girls than guys and they gave the guys a run for being the toughest workers.
When you are working and living with a group 24/7 you really get to know them, and let me tell you, these kids were unbelievable. I was nowhere near as mature at their age and it gave me a new respect for the youth of today and the leaders of tomorrow. They worked hard and played hard, were great fun to be with, and there was never a dull moment. The energy level was intense and even though I couldn’t always keep up, that didn’t matter; they were just happy to have a new team member.
By the time I had to leave after five days, the BonaResponds team had gutted nine houses and still had four more days to go. The coordinators from the Church of Christ had not seen any other group work as hard or as fast as the BonaResponds team. They were truly impressed with this group from a Catholic university. We do not share the same faith, but that really didn’t matter because we were all there doing good work for people in need, as part of our individual faiths, bringing us closer together.
With all this hard work there had to be some time to play and that was certainly the case. Most businesses in Bridge City are just now getting up and running again, as with the karaoke club that the group just happened to find. The owners had not been running it since the storm, so we welcomed them back with spirited participation.
Picture 20 kids from Western New York deep in East Texas. Down here in Bridge City, the people aren’t sure what people from New York look like or whether they have ever heard of country-western music. Well, that all got sorted out pretty quickly, once they realized we weren’t part of FEMA.
Several of the girls took the stage and started singing country western songs to the delight of all the local Texans. The reality of the moment really sunk in for me when one of the locals leaned over and said, “you have a great bunch of kids in that group.” By the end of the evening, BonaResponds had won over the locals and relations between Texas and New York are on a new high.
Sunday after church, we worked a half day and got the rest off, so we went to the beach. We thought we had seen devastation in Bridge City but Crystal Beach on Bolivar Island has been almost totally washed away. The foundations and support poles of 90 percent of the houses are all that is left. Even the debris was washed away.
The good news was that there was still a sandy beach with some sea shells left for us to play on. One of the best moments of the trip was five of the girls forming the word “TEXAS” as a silhouette in front of a colorful sunset. It was spectacular.
That night we ordered pizza and built a bonfire to roast marshmallows to make s'mores. Our fire attracted several of the local town officials who came by to make sure we had plenty of firewood. The people were so nice and really appreciated what we were doing for their community.
After a half day’s work on Monday I had to leave to get back to Dallas for a meeting. The kids were begging me to stay, which made me feel appreciated. We took group pictures, and then I got a “group hug,” which was very touching and brought tears to my eyes. What a great experience. I think I can partially explain it this way:
We touched the hearts of the people of Bridge City.
We were touched by the friends we made on the trip.
It was an amazing week for me. I would encourage everyone reading this story to think about getting involved. There is a desperate need in these disaster areas and there are jobs for any skill or fitness level. They range from driving, interviewing victims, handing out supplies, to the more physically demanding work of gutting the houses so they can be disinfected and rebuilt.
I have had many satisfying and rewarding moments in my life but this BonaResponds experience ranks near the top. It was a very special experience with a very special group of SBU people.
(Bill Hammond and his wife, Patricia, have three grown children: Bobby, Amy and Melinda. Bill can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Homecoming 2009 at St. Bonaventure University, Feb. 5-8, will include the requisite men’s basketball game on Saturday night, but that’s only one of a number of activities planned for students and alumni.
There will also be tours of new campus facilities, featured exhibitions at The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, a conversation with recent graduates, even a campus radio station “takeover” by alumni who once sat at the controls.
The focal point of the weekend is a match-up between The Bonnies and Atlantic 10 rival LaSalle. The game tips off at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7, at Bob Lanier Court in the Reilly Center Arena. Tickets are available by calling the Reilly Center Arena Ticket Office at (716) 375-2500.
Homecoming activities kick off Thursday with a dance from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the campus Rathskeller.
Here’s a rundown of other Homecoming 2009 events:
Friday, Feb. 6
10 a.m.-5 p.m., Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts: Galleries open for viewing exhibits that include “150 Years of St. Bonaventure University: An Archives Exhibition in Three Parts” and “Art of Sky, Art of Earth: Maya Cosmic Imagery.”
4-5 p.m., Athletic Hall of Fame, Reilly Center: “Life After Bona’s” panel presentation featuring recent graduates.
5-6 p.m., Athletic Hall of Fame, Reilly Center: Alumni/student networking reception with recent graduates and members of the National Alumni Association Board.
6-8 p.m., Rathskeller: Senior/alumni social.
p.m., William O. Smith Recreation Center in Olean: Men’s hockey game vs.
University of Rochester.
Saturday, Feb. 7
10 a.m.-5 p.m., Quick Center for the Arts: Galleries open.
11 a.m.-2 p.m., Café LaVerna: Stop in for coffee and conversation with students and alumni.
10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.: Tours of the William F. Walsh Science Center and the Rare Books Addition to Friedsam Memorial Library.
2-3:30 p.m., Athletic Hall of Fame, Reilly Center: Meet Athletic Director Steve Watson and tour the facilities, including the newly renovated men’s locker room.
8 a.m.-9 p.m.: “Takeover” of campus radio station WSBU FM 88.3, “The Buzz,” by alumni who are former DJs; programming includes a “Rock Radio Reunion Roundtable” from noon to 1 p.m.
Reilly Center: Men’s basketball game, followed by reception in the
Sunday, Feb. 8
Homecoming events are sponsored by the St. Bonaventure University Alumni Association, the senior class, and the Campus Activities Board.
The Extraordinary Classroom Experiences Series is a forum for the presentation and celebration of vitally engaging learning environments at St. Bonaventure University. Through this series, University faculty invite the campus community to attend a particular lecture, class exercise, or presentation that exemplifies a faculty member’s passion and expertise.
All events are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following each program to encourage continuing dialogue on the subjects. Click here to download a printable .pdf listing of the Extraordinary Classroom Series.
Dr. Claudette Thompson, assistant professor of undergraduate education, co-authored an article, “Infusing Multicultural Principles in Urban Teacher Preparation.” The article is published on pages 86-90 in the Winter 2008-2009 issue of Childhood Education: Journal of the Association of Childhood Education International.
All SBU faculty, staff and administrators are welcome to Friday Forums.
Date: Friday, Jan. 30,
The Friday Forum is Generously Subsidized by The President’s Office.