Winter 2015

An Interview With Our New President

By Dan Maloney

It’s early fall, and per his custom, Patrick Coulter, a junior finance major and WEXP business manager, is cleaning up the radio station office. WEXP’s studio overlooks McCarthy Stadium and on a clear day commands a distant view of the Philadelphia skyline. Usually, Coulter only tidies up mics, picks up trash other hosts left, and updates the bulletin board. But today, he’s displaying a new picture in the studio. It shows him and Dan Maloney, a junior secondary education and English major, standing with Colleen Hanycz, Ph.D., La Salle’s new President, prior to her inaugural interview with the station.

“It was a really incredible opportunity,” Coulter admitted. “We contacted her in the summer and she was more than willing to sit down and talk with us. She’s really committed to explaining her vision for the school to the students.”

On Coulter’s weekly show, Talking Points, the hosts generally interview students from across campus to gain different perspectives of La Salle. Questions range from what drew them to the school to what activities take up most of their time to settling pop culture arguments.

“It’s conversational,” explained co-host Dan Maloney. “We try to channel NPR’s Terry Gross and provide our listeners with real personal experiences.”

The radio interview provided Hanycz with the perfect venue for both introducing herself and her plans as La Salle’s historic first lay female president. The interview started with introductory remarks about how Hanycz and her family (she is the mother of three children including a La Salle freshman) have adjusted to the move from Canada to Philadelphia. But the interview quickly shifted to her vision for the school. Hanycz expressed her desire to clarify La Salle’s branding and what it contributes to students and the community.

“It isn’t clear what La Salle stands for in the school community,” Hanycz said. “People say it means community, it means access to education, it means service—which are all parts of it, and we need to find what exactly makes La Salle unique from the other schools in the area.”

Hanycz, who recently introduced La Salle to a plan of Program Prioritization to form what she has termed “spires of academic excellence,” admitted that changes are inevitable, but she will communicate with the University community throughout the process.

“You will find you have a President who is deeply committed to transparency,” Hanycz said.

Part of her commitment to transparency comes from her respect and admiration of both the alumni and current students who positively contribute to the school.

“I think our students are truly unique and truly standout with their commitment, their passion, and their support for one another,” Hanycz explained. “And the other part of this is the incredible faculty and staff who support them. I’ve been hearing some amazing things. It’s a pleasure and an honor to serve here.”

University Honors Program Welcomes Alumni Back at Homecoming Breakfast

By Maggie Garin

It was an early start to Homecoming for some dedicated Honors alumni and current Honors students at the annual Welcome Back Breakfast hosted by Richard Nigro, Ph.D., Linda Morris, and the Honors Board. From 9:30 to 11 a.m., the basement of McShain Hall became a meeting place for alumni and students to network, swap stories of the Triple, and enjoy breakfast before the Homecoming Tent and basketball game. Honorary guests in attendance included University Provost Brian Goldstein, and former President of the University, Brother Michael McGinniss, F.S.C., Ph.D.

Honors Board students put together a program for the alumni in attendance. First to speak were two seniors discussing how the Honors program encouraged them to travel abroad. One student attended the Honors travel study course to Vietnam, run by Assistant Professor of Philosophy Joseph Volpe Jr., Ph.D., over spring break. The other senior student had studied abroad in Rome last year for an entire semester. Both students were thankful for the help of Nigro and other Honors faculty in maneuvering their schedules to make these experiences abroad possible.

Next to speak were two current Honors juniors, who discussed how the infamous Honors Triple forced them to think outside the box. They highlighted how skills learned in the Triple have aided them in interviews for internships, academic extracurricular activities, and their respective nutrition and business disciplines.

The Honors sophomores who presented at breakfast talked about life in St. Basil’s Court, the living and learning community for Honors freshmen and many Honors sophomores. Life in St. Basil’s supports both Honors students’ academic and social opportunities.

Finally, some Honors freshmen discussed their labs, which sent students into Philadelphia for plays, museum tours, ballets, and much more. They highlighted how the labs encourage Honors students to use the city as their largest classroom, a notorious aspect of a Lasallian education.

Continued networking, conversations, and excitement for more Homecoming festivities followed the program.

The Honors Program Explores the East

By Jacques Linder and Samuel Volosky

This fall, the Honors Program offered a diverse elective called "Love in Asian Religion, Literature, and Film."  Taught by Julie Regan, Ph.D., a religion professor who specializes in Eastern religions, this course examines the themes of love, sexuality, and gender across Asia. As students from this class, we can say that our perspectives broadened through this course. Being accustomed to the traditions of the West, we gained new insights into how different people love and express themselves through their gender and sexuality in Eastern religions. Looking at Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism has shown us how these themes influence the arts of these cultures. 

Regan began by introducing her students to two crucial Indian texts: the Kama Sutra and The Life of the Buddha. Both works are deeply rooted in India’s perspective of love and religion. She asked her Honors students to look for evidence of the Kama Sutra in the biographical epic of the Buddha. We then examined Confucianism in Zhang Yimou’s acclaimed film Raise the Red Lantern, a film about a Chinese concubine in the 1920s.

After Confucianism, the class observed the many forms of Buddhism and how Buddhist monks live and experience sexuality. Yukio Mishima’s complex narrative style in Confessions of a Mask, a novel about a homosexual Japanese man growing up during the Second World War, challenged us to understand flexible sexuality.

Recently, we have started studying the multi-faceted religion of Hinduism in the powerfully intimate films of director, screenwriter, and producer Deepa Mehta. Regan has exposed us to a whole different culture in order to understand love and sexuality in new and innately human forms.    

Paul Cillo, a senior religion major, has also enjoyed this experience of new cultures. “This explorative course allows students to enter another part of the world as we engage in various types of texts in the pursuit of understanding and explaining the complex views of love, sex, and gender which seem so foreign to our own Western perspectives,” he said.

This expansion of cultural awareness follows the Honors Program’s mission that continues to “ask the impertinent question.” Even if the questions come from other cultures, their beliefs must also be considered. We have enjoyed asking these questions and studying these beliefs in an attempt to understand people across the world from us. 

Professor Kevin Harty Researches Representations of Medieval Times in Television

By Erin Galuchie

Between the bookshelves of the Connelly Library, over a cup of coffee and the sound of students buzzing between classes, Kevin Harty, Ph.D., Director of the English Department, shares how he spends his sabbatical. Harty is not a newcomer to the field of research. Having previously researched the use of the medieval time period as a lens to explore themes and political implications in motion pictures, he now turns to the use of the medieval time period within television. Harty has decided to study both television series and episodes that are set in the Middle Ages from the 1950s through current culture. Rather than simply focusing on the historical accuracy of the Middle Ages in television episodes, he plans to investigate the political themes and underlying meanings present.

Harty does not spend all of his time burrowed in his office in the Connelly Library; instead, he travels to gain further insight for his research. His national journeys have taken him to California and Pittsburg, Pa., while his international trips have taken him to England and Paris, France.

While in California, England, and Paris, Harty gathered information found only in the television archives located there. Even with the use of these archives, he explains that he will have gaps in his research. It is extremely challenging, and almost impossible, to collect every television episode ever created from the 1950s through present time, since there was a point in media’s history where shows could not be recorded and were not otherwise documented.

The purpose of Harty’s travels to Pittsburg was for more than leafing through archives. He attended a conference that focused on the use of medieval times in media—more specifically movies. He plans to use the information collected there as ideas to delve further into his research.

Harty plans to write a novel based on all of his findings. He explains that he does not want this to be the novel that he uses to retire, but that does not deter its merit. Once the book is published, he will be the first person to use the Middle Ages as a lens to research television, much like he was the first to do the same for movies. He did not allude to what topic he wants to tackle next, but keep an eye out for his novel come fall 2016.


Upcoming Events

Thursday, July 13, 2017

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