Extras from the Spring 2014 Issue of Franciscan Way Magazine
Life lessons, forever friendships, career direction—participating in one club or six (Kathleen (Cooligan ’86) Cleary!) offered so much to members during their college years. Find out more here and at franciscan.edu/franciscanway.
My memories go back to 1961, when I was the president of the Student Education Association of The College of Steubenville. I got to attend the Ohio Education Association convention in Columbus, Ohio, that year as a student representative. Mr. John R. Korzi was our faculty sponsor.
From 1967 to 1969 I belonged to the Film Society. Membership cost $10.00. The fee was used to rent foreign and artsy films. We met on Sunday evenings, watched the film, and had "intellectual" discussions about the films afterwards. To this day I enjoy foreign films, quirky films, and movies in general, excluding extremely violent ones and movies full of car chases. Fortunately, we live near an "art" movie theater and go to a show most Monday evenings when we are in town.
We had a large Greek presence when I attended Steubie. In the sororities, we had our own philanthropic goals. My sorority was Delta Zeta and our national goal was to help deaf education. We also fed a family at Christmas and Thanksgiving, and delivered the goods for a meal to individual homes. I remember bringing our food to the assigned house, and lo and behold, it was the home of one of my students from student teaching. My roommate and I were numbed by the poverty.
I was "independent." It added "backbone" during a time of significant Greek influence.
My experience with clubs and student organizations was the most impactful part of my college experience. Mark Sullivan and I used to tell other students, "Don't let the classroom inhibit your education." There was so much more to college than academics. Student Government taught me leadership skills and how higher education administration worked, which led directly to my career as a higher education administrator (I am now the Associate Provost of Sinclair College). The Martial Arts Club, led by Mark Schultz, was my first experience with pushing myself beyond my comfort level—I went on to win a Silver Medal in Taekwondo in a regional sparring competition several years after leaving Franciscan. After 25 years, I am taking Karate again, which is bringing back wonderful memories of that committed group of students who met in the gym. My experiences in the theatre were essential to preparing me for the first 20 years of my career, where I worked as a professor, actor and director in theatre and film before switching to academic administration. I had not planned on a career in the theatre, but auditioned for my first play ever at Franciscan because my friends were doing it and I thought it would be good for me! That led to a wonderful career in the theatre, which has prepared me well for the improvisation and public appearances required of a cabinet-level position in a large college.
I was just reminded that I may have been an officer (Student Government Representative) of the Ski Club during my freshman year. The Ski Club took a night skiing trip to Oglebay Park. It was about a 20-car caravan, with maybe two or three drivers who had maps or knew the way. The slopes had been skied all day, so they were slick and frozen. Some of the engineering types crafted ski jumps by shaping piles of snow. There were many injuries, but a good time was had by many. It was my first and last time night skiing—sometimes, college is about learning what not to do.
I wasn't a part of any club on campus but am proud to say I was in Music Ministry. I loved using my guitar and voice to lead worship. Sunday liturgies and Festivals of Praise were a huge part of my life at Franciscan University. I carry loving memories of standing with fellow musicians and singing my heart out to God. To this day, certain songs will bring back the memory of a chapel filled with students all on fire for God. I remember and give thanks, and I pray that wherever these students are today, they are still on fire for God.
I was also a part of a special group of ladies that formed the office staff for the Summer Conferences. These ladies showed me the value of Christian Ministry in a “behind the scenes” kind of way. It was hard work for God's glory with no thought of anyone seeing what we did. I remember great life lessons and awesome ladies.
Being part of the Communications Department newscasts, University Yearbook Staff, and a 2-year member of Spiritsong all played a role in making my college years memorable. But the organization that has had the most lasting impact on me is Alpha Phi Delta Fraternity.
Whether it was painting the Steubenville Marina on Earth Day, organizing Red Cross blood drives on campus each semester, helping build a parade float to celebrate the University's 40th Anniversary or holding the annual "Neon By The Sea" dance (as well other memorable Delt dances), Alpha Phi Delta taught me leadership, responsibility, service to others and brotherhood.
I am godfather to the son of one fraternity brother, sang at a couple of brothers' weddings, and was a groomsman for another. To this day, 28 years after joining the fraternity, I maintain contact with several of the brothers and meet up with them a couple times a year. Some of my fondest college memories include events involving the fraternity.
I was in a club - TIP - Teachers in Progress. I was at Franciscan from 1988 to 1992, but I think I was only in the club during my last 2 years. I remember we coordinated various workshops to help students in the education program in their Early Experience and Student Teaching portions of their studies. Workshops such as "Make It. Take It" were a huge hit, as we had full access to the laminator to make boxes full of manipulatives to use in the classroom. Of course I have been a teacher all these years and still actually use one of the manipulatives I made way back in 1992. I was the secretary of the club. The vice president of the club was Ed Manville (whom I married in 1993) so I guess my best memory was that that was how I got to know Ed.
Works of Mercy was an incredible opportunity to reach out and do good for others. I was a part of the Labelle Nursing Home ministry. It wasn't easy walking into a care facility that served relatively poor elderly in our community. The sounds and smells were enough to give a visitor pause upon entering. What moved me about this ministry, though, was the ability to connect with people who had a lifetime of stories to share. The residents had come to a point in life where so much had been taken away from them through age and illness, and most had few, if any, visitors. There were also some relatively young residents who, through unfortunate circumstances, were rendered helpless and placed in the care of the nursing staff at Labelle. The residents shared with us the joys and sorrows they carried amidst a lifetime of memories. I'm grateful that Franciscan gave us the opportunity to spend our Saturday mornings in their company. Even when a resident wasn't communicative, it was important to hold a hand or share a smile, to be God's presence if only for a few moments. One year we sponsored a “Senior Prom” which gave the residents an opportunity to dress up and enjoy a fine occasion. Those that could dance, danced. Others visited and enjoyed the music. Youth is a gift so often taken for granted. This ministry deepened my appreciation of caring for the elderly and challenged me to live a life without regrets, a life that is true to who God created me to be.
I was a student senator for the Graduate-Non Traditional Student community. Our purpose was to represent this important community in student government and on campus. I still have fond memories of going with my fellow Senator and some friends to Subway to pick up those huge subs we were serving for the Resurrection party that year. It was a blast and oh so good! My car smelled like subs for over a month! The spirit of leadership and friendship developed during this time remains with me to this day.
I was a student senator in FUSA. It was a great opportunity to serve the University, work alongside wonderful students and faculty, and get involved in initiatives that I was passionate about. Being involved with FUSA helped encourage me to stay connected to the University, and I now serve as the President of the D.C. Chapter of the University's Alumni Association.
I was a part of Music in Our Schools. According to the official club description, we read stories, played music, and sang songs with third graders and younger in the public and special education schools of Steubenville. But that really meant we were teaching them that your friends' noses are not for picking, books are not food, and musical instruments are not for licking.
The clubs at Franciscan University are truly an amazing bunch and they deserve as much appreciation as possible!
I myself was a member of the Franciscan University Anime Club, or FUAC for short (we often pronounced it "fwac" and jokingly swatted each other with paper fans). I was president of this club from 2010 to 2012. I have to say, this club is the reason I had such an amazing experience at Franciscan. The members of this club were some of the most caring and accepting people I've ever met, and I am still friends with past and current members of it, although most are graduating this year. These are the people I would watch anime with, stay up late "studying" with, and talk about frustrations with. We were a family, and still are.
Some of the easiest memories to pin down are when we would go to anime conventions yearly in Ohayocon in Columbus, Ohio, or when we would have FUAC movie nights. But the memories that make me smile are when we were all sitting in a room together, just talking and bantering back and forth with each other after club meetings or just finding each other in the JC. For awhile we hung out primarily under the stairs in the JC, and when I walked down those stairs I would hear a chorus of "Catherine!" and the rest of my afternoon would be with them, calling out to other members and friends as they would come down the stairs and join us.
Thinking back to it now, what I really miss is getting to see those stunning people every day. Although I got my undergraduate degree at Franciscan, what I really gained were life-long friends and an outlook on how truly beautiful people can be. Anime Club was the gem of my university experience.
As soon as I saw this survey topic, I knew I had to answer because I loved my club SO much.
Joining Ut Unum Sint was one of my best college decisions by far. A friend encouraged me to join my sophomore year after discovering I was Protestant. You see, Ut Unum Sint means “that they may be one,” and the club’s purpose is to open dialogue between Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox. I attended the first meeting and found absolute acceptance by my Catholic brothers and sisters. One of the best opportunities the club offers is an exchange with students from Wheaton College in Illinois. Going to Wheaton and meeting other students open to dialoguing about their faith was a life-changing experience. The following year I had the honor of being vice president of the club, the first Protestant, I do believe! Several of the people I keep in contact with now I met through the club, and it will forever have a place in my heart.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write about this club I love(d) so much!
Class of 1994
Two high school teachers first challenged Kevin Schmiesing to do more serious reading about history, a subject that had always fascinated him. Their classes focused on the history of ideas...
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