Monday Morning Update

February 23, 2015

Another Match: Last year, we first reported that three members of our community had been named potential bone marrow donors through the Be The Match Registry. Now nearly one year later, we are proud to announce that number has moved to four. In the fall Willy Baker, a junior forward on the men’s ice hockey team, donated his stem cells to a 62 year-old male patient battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. To read Baker’s inspiring story, and to learn about how Biology Professor Sheila Barry has made such an impact through blood and bone marrow drives on campus, visit here.

Boutique Liberal Arts: Two years ago, English Professor Scott Cohen and eight other Stonehill faculty members engaged in a semester-long discussion on the future of the liberal arts. Sponsored by the Center for Teaching & Learning, this Faculty Learning Community explored the traditions of liberal arts education and the challenges it faces today. The group deliberated on the role a liberal education has in shaping students' intellectual, moral, spiritual, and civic lives. Inspired by those conversations, Cohen looked closer at the topic. Noting how colleges and the public increasingly conceive the liberal arts as a boutique product, Cohen sees a trend that might make the liberal arts experience “woefully narrow” and at “cross-purposes with liberal education.” Cohen’s extended thoughts on this issue, which has implications for colleges like Stonehill, were recently featured in Liberal Education, published by the American Association of Colleges and Universities. To read it, visit here.

Real Olympic Debate: As advocates and critics debate the merits and demerits of Boston's bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, Political Science Professor Bettina Scholz argues that assessing the benefits of hosting the Games has to go beyond considerations of economic or infrastructure changes. In CommonWealth Magazine recently, she noted that how a city hosts the games highlights its moral and ethical values. For example, "the lavish and intolerant 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics" put a mirror to the values of Russia's current leadership. To read her full op-ed, visit here.

Dead Man Walking: Since 1984, Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J. has divided her time between educating citizens about the death penalty and counseling individual death row prisoners. Her spiritual guidance to death row inmate Patrick Sonnier became the subject of her book Dead Man Walking, which in turn was based on the 1995 blockbuster movie of the same name. In her years of working with prison inmates, she has questioned the convictions of some, leading her to her second book, The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. On Tuesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. in the Martin Institute, Sr. Helen will be the featured guest at the 2015 Saint Andre Lecture. All are welcome to attend. For more, visit here.    

Summit Solidarity: Seven years ago, when Summit Editor Lindsay Briggs ’08 underwent a double lung transplant, one of the people who helped her was Summit editor, Ken Staffey ’93. Despite the outreach, the two only met at the Summit’s recent 65th anniversary party. To read the paper’s story on that meeting, visit here.

The Vaccine Debate: It’s been a hot-button issue for years but with the recent measles outbreak, the debate over childhood vaccinations is making headlines once again. And, the anti-vaccination movement isn’t going anywhere soon according to Adjunct Professor of Writing Jon Lee, whose op-ed on the issue recently appeared in WBUR’s Cognoscenti. A folklore expert, Lee explains “the types of legends, jokes, rumors and bits of gossip that circulate during any major outbreak very closely resemble the narratives that circulate during any other major outbreak. That is, humans recycle disease-related narratives…But the basic message of those narratives remains constant: fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of disease and harm, fear of death.” To read Lee’s thoughts, visit here.