Holding The Bar High

Alumni Thank Professor Raymo for Academic Rigor

Chet RaymoFALL SEMESTER, sophomore year, Thomas Fergus ’84 struggled. He knew he had to keep a 3.0 if he wanted to stay in the 3+2 engineering program with the University of Notre Dame, but his science courses were demanding. In addition, Program Director Chet Raymo right, had frontloaded key required courses for the fall because he was taking a spring sabbatical.

“Normally they would have been spread out over a year, easing the workload. So, I was a little ticked off at Chet. A tough teacher, he knew how hard and competitive the Notre Dame curriculum was going to be, and he didn’t cut a wise guy from Roslindale, or any of my classmates, a break,” Fergus recalls.

“He kept the pressure on, and we all knew the score, No 3.0, No 3+2. Those courses were the most challenging of my Stonehill academic career,” he adds, noting that when students in the program got to Notre Dame, they realized how well Raymo, along with professors Michael Horne and Ralph Bravaco, had prepared them.

Today, Fergus is the CEO of Commonwealth Trading Partners in Alexandria, Va., which provides trade and security services. He appreciates that the physicist and noted author held the bar high for him and his engineering classmates. Fergus believes that 3+2 graduates can trace their professional success to the fundamental life lessons Raymo taught, most notably that achievement stems from hard work.

Other former engineering students enthusiastically share that sentiment. In April, Fergus and Trustee Patrick Burke ’84 rallied 48 of the program’s 100 graduates for their first reunion. They came from across the country for a dinner in Donahue Hall, where they honored their former teacher and mentor, whose high standards were always accompanied by personal attention, approachability and encouragement.

Now professor emeritus of physics, Raymo pioneered the 3+2 program, which began in 1975. After attending Stonehill for three years to earn a degree in chemistry, computer science, environmental science or physics, the 3+2 students transfer to Notre Dame to earn a bachelor’s in engineering.

At the dinner, the program’s graduates surprised Raymo by announcing the Chet Raymo Engineering Scholarship, benefiting a deserving 3+2 student.

In response, Raymo—who since joining Stonehill in 1964 has taught full time, authored 14 books on science and nature and four novels, and written countless essays for the Boston Globe—appeared uncomfortable in the spotlight. Ever modest, he expressed his thanks by saying, “What more could a teacher want than to know that your former students value the lessons that you taught?”

While resource constraints halted the program for a time, Professor Bravaco began revitalizing it in the late ’90s. In his remarks at the reunion, Burke noted that interest at Stonehill in the 3+2 program is at an all-time high with 61 students currently enrolled.

Burke added that, for a liberal arts college like Stonehill, such a program differentiates the College from its competitors while strengthening its ties with Notre Dame. An annual visitor to campus, the associate academic dean of engineering at Notre Dame, Cathy Pieronek, has nothing but praise for the quality of Stonehill 3+2 students.

Burke concluded, “The 3+2 program that Professor Raymo started now flourishes under his colleague Professor Bravaco. The Raymo Scholarship is our way of thanking Chet, supporting the program and helping our engineering students take advantage of this exceptional opportunity.”

To learn more about the Stonehill and University of Notre Dame 3+2 dual-degree engineering program, visit stonehill.edu/engineering.

Professor Emeritus Raymo with Trustee Patrick Burke ’84 [left] and Thomas Fergus ’84 [right] at the 3+2 reunion dinner.

To view photos from the 3+2 Reunion Dinner, click here.


Commencement 2014 - Hats

To view photos from Commencement 2014, visit here and here.


Student Spotlight

Politics in Action: Hayley Conklin ’15

Hayley Conklin '15FORGET BEACH DAYS and barbecues. Hayley Conklin ’15 spent this past summer interning with the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), one of the largest women’s political organizations in the nation.

With a background in politics and campaigns, Conklin was well prepared for working in the nation’s capital. A New Jersey native, she has interned with the N.J. Republican State Committee, Romney for President, and Gov. Chris Christie’s reelection campaign, gaining experience in fundraising events and outreach. She also served as legislative aide for N.J. Assembly Republican Whip Scott T. Rumana.

What’s the biggest lesson you learned during your NFRW internship? A colleague told me the best piece of advice that I will forever live by: “Perception is reality.” As I entered life in Washington, D.C., unsure of what to expect, these words guided me throughout my internship experience. How you present yourself, the work you do, and how one is perceived become reality in D.C.

Favorite book about politics? After reading A Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin, I realized the true genius behind my favorite president. Lincoln selected all the men who ran against him for office and utilized these individuals to form his cabinet. He knew if these men could handle a presidency, then they could flourish in a cabinet position. Lincoln proved selfless in times of hostility, reuniting the United States of America. He truly is my political hero.

Best politics class at Stonehill? Professor William Ewell’s American Government and Politics. It was not only my first politics course, but also my first class at Stonehill. He taught the parties, systems of government and how we understand and view politics. We debated issues and studied specific members of Congress, allowing my classmates and me to question our beliefs and ideals.

What are you looking forward to during senior year? I am enjoying my last fall in New England and being back on Stonehill’s campus. I’m also continuing an internship with the Karyn Polito for Lieutenant Governor Campaign in Massachusetts and am helping fundraise for an event in New Jersey. And then I am graduating a semester early, in December! Where did the time go?


Stonehill College Academic Convocation 2014

PROFOUND QUESTIONING AT ACADEMIC CONVOCATION in August, the more than 1,200 students in attendance were reminded by keynote speaker Rev. Richard Gribble, C.S.C. [left] to “ask deep and profound questions about ourselves and our world.” [L to R, Angelica Sincavage ’16, Shara Jamatia ’17, Parijat Bhattacharjee ’16, Hiralben Patel ’17.]


Not So Sketchy

THIS PAST SPRING, Stonehill hosted a drawing marathon where more than 70 students, faculty members and artists from around the region gathered to explore mediums, strategies and technologies in art.

“Drawing is basic, primal and accessible. We all draw as kids, and it used to be considered an indispensable part of a refined education,” notes the marathon’s coordinator and Associate Professor of Art Shane Savage-Rumbaugh. “I think of it as the bedrock for visual expression, and I wanted to celebrate drawing’s potential and importance. “

For the marathon, one of Stonehill’s studios was turned into a massive blank canvas, inviting artists to let their drawings sprawl from wall to floor. In another room, there were live models and easels; while in another, there was still life. Participants drew in a darkened room with flashlights and a digital camera where they traced projected images. Artists also explored an ancient Japanese marbling technique at a Sumiganashi station.

Think you want to try drawing? Savage-Rumbaugh offers ten tips:

• Draw through and around the form.
• Practice varying your lines and marks.
• Don’t assume you know what things look like.
• Relate everything to everything else.

One final tip: think of the process as important. People often get overly focused on the end product and freeze up. Mistakes are both inevitable and productive. Get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable, and give yourself a break.

Sketch by neuroscience major Genelle Goodhue ’14 at the drawing marathon.


Moments Alone

Matthew Tardiff '14Matthew Tardiff ’14 [right] blogged about his meaningful moments at Stonehill. Here is an excerpt:

I’ve been saying from day one that the people are what make this place special, and that never changed over four years. But one thing I never thought of were the moments that I shared with these people on an individual level...and some of the most salient memories I have of Stonehill are with only one other person. Out of all the time I’ve spent with my friends, all the time I’ve been doing something-or-other at Stonehill, what stands out are the moments I was alone with someone. Talking about broken relationships at lunch. Trying to find out our place in this world, and if God has anything to do with it. Watching T.J. Oshie’s shootout against Russia in the Olympics, forced to yell quietly so as not to disturb a sleeping suite. Sitting on the stone wall by O’Hara Pond at 3:30 a.m. Fearing for our lives about what people might hear us talk about from the top bunk to the bottom. Realizing that we lose people, but that we also continue on. Lying on the beach with an almost-full moon reflecting off the water. Making music in a soundproof studio. This is obviously not a comprehensive list, but these are some examples of times when I was alone with someone, learning about myself and them, about us and the world in which we live.

To read Tardiff’s blog, visit here.


Go, Fight, Win!

DID YOU KNOW that Stonehill has not one but two fight songs in its Archives?

Stonehill College fight songThe first song is dated circa 1954:

Stonehill College shout the praises of
Stonehill College that’s the school we love
True to your colors the purple and white
Loyal to you we will win in the fight Rah, Rah, Rah

In North Easton you’re our proudest boast
To you we will drink our every toast
You’ll always be Alma Mater true
Stonehill College we’re for you Rah, Rah, Rah.

Another version,“The Chieftains of Stonehill” by Rev. George Fischer, C.S.C., has a 1963 copyright and is set to music [below]:

The Chieftains of Stonehill are on their way,
as all with a sharp eye can see.

They put some razzle-dazzle in ev’ry game they play, with a mixture of T.N.T.!

The Chieftains of Stonehill are brave and bold;
they boast of a proud pedigree.
The fame of their name to the world be told,
as they win another victory!

Let us know if you helped to create either fight song or if you recall singing one as you cheered on your favorite team! Email klawrence@stonehill.edu.