Set to retire this summer, Martin McGovern, longtime director of communications and media relations and managing editor of SAM, shares a few Stonehill stories.
Arriving at Stonehill on a hot August night in 1979, I was greeted at the Sem by Rev. Robert Kruse, C.S.C. Over a pasta meal, he engaged me in good conversation. After dinner, as he showed me to my room, we entered a corridor where the Doors’ "Roadhouse Blues" played at full volume, with partying students belting out, "Let it roll, all night long." As we were leaving the wing, Fr. Kruse looked at me with amused tolerance, rolled his eyes and smiled.
Pointing to my room, he said, “Have a good night; welcome to America.” His hospitality and humor put me at ease after my first Atlantic crossing.
Then the academic dean, Fr. Kruse could appear aloof, even austere. Yet, he was a gentle, gracious and welcoming soul—erudite without being arrogant, curious about others and open to debate and conversation. From day one of my four decades here, he set the tone for me and for many others new to the College.
At Stonehill, I have told and written countless stories about major events, initiatives, crises, changes and beyond.
Often, informal stories also illuminate significant things about a place and a community. As I prepare for retirement this July, I have a few of these stories to share with SAM readers.
Cheeky Student Neighbors
During the 1980s, I lived as an adult resident in O’Hara Hall, in a corner suite overlooking the pond. My cheeky student neighbors had a flair for mischief, sneaking into my room to rearrange furniture or putting Saran Wrap on the toilet seat, which amused them but infuriated me. On one such occasion, wise beyond his age, Ed McShane ’84 put his arm around me and said, “Mart, relax, one day you will look back and laugh.” At every reunion since, that story gets retold, and I revel in the retelling. Those cheeky neighbors are still my friends today.
A Reporter's Questions
As a Summit reporter, Lauren Daley ’05 asked me— the College's official spokesperson—the same kinds of probing questions that her more experienced professional peers might pose. She kept me on my toes. When she graduated, I missed our jousting and followed her journalism career closely, ultimately inviting her to write for the Stonehill Alumni Magazine. Today, she writes for the Boston Globe and other news outlets. For the record, I prefer collaborating with her over jousting. My respect for her is considerable, as it is for other Summit writers and editors who have leveraged that experience so well.
No Buyer's Remorse
When Trustee Thomas Shields made a record $7 million gift to Stonehill, in 2010, I interviewed him. Wrapping up, I asked, "Anything else?" Without hesitation, Tom replied, "No buyer’s remorse." Tom and Mary Shields delighted in meeting with the recipients of their scholarship—hearing how the students made the most of their education. On the way home from those meetings, Tom explained that he and Mary had the best conversations, sharing what the students had told them about their majors, assignments, internships, study abroad and dedicated faculty mentors. While Advancement had made the ask for that remarkable gift, our students really closed the deal.
Along with these uplifting stories, I have others that taxed me, including 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, a bomb scare on campus, a riot, and, of course, the pandemic, to name a few. But throughout the ups and downs of my Stonehill career, I have been surrounded by good people—colleagues, alumni and friends of great integrity, ability, humor and decency. To have had such loyalty and trust is a blessing, and to have told so many Stonehill stories has been a joy.