A book by Don Quigley ’63
For nearly 40 years, each December Don Quigley ’63 has done the same thing: he’s donned a familiar red suit, added a temporary white beard and spent time listening to hundreds of children detail their Christmas wishes.
“My writers’ group was really interested in my motivation — why do I keep doing this, year after year, with nothing material in return? I credit my humble childhood Christmases and the values system taught by my parents: what’s important, and what isn’t. I wanted to use the role of a mythical character to bring out that focus.”
Published in 2012, Santa’s Magic chronicles Quigley’s four-decade stint as the jolly man. He based the book on his short story about a young girl whose father was paralyzed in a car accident the month before Christmas. Her one request of Santa? To have her father walk again.
“You never know the impact you can have on someone else’s life. I later learned that until that night when she sat on Santa’s lap, she hadn’t spoken a single word since her father’s accident. After I left, she finally spent time with her father,” said Quigley, who has kept in touch with the girl and her family. He sent her a copy of the book.
Quigley is an adjunct professor in the School of Business Administration.No Comments
Forget the sleigh and reindeer — sometimes, Santa Claus needs to travel in an ’84 Chevy Caprice.
That was the original transportation of choice for Don Quigley ’63, a busy sales professional by day who, for the past 30 years, has transformed into the iconic Christmas character at night. What does it take to don the familiar costume?
“Someone who gets more joy from giving to others than from receiving,” Quigley said. “It also doesn’t hurt to love to dress in a warm, plush red velvet suit and instantly look like you’ve gained 50 pounds.”
In the beginning, Quigley snuck off to his basement, perfecting a hearty “ho ho ho” and belly laugh. “My wife worried I was having a midlife crisis,” he chuckled. He recounted this and other tales in his 2012 memoir, Santa’s Magic, which also features illustrations by Katie Kandrach ’10. The two joined forces after meeting as teacher and student while Quigley was a UD business professor, a later-in-life profession that Santa gets the credit for inspiring.
“My role as Santa gave me self-confidence and self-esteem that wouldn’t have been part of my personality otherwise,” Quigley explained. After two years of portraying the mythical man, he made a career move from a computer giant to an electronics manufacturer, returning to his alma mater in 1998 as an adjunct professor. “I started by listening to children as they told me their dreams, and now they are listening to me as I teach how to pursue them.”
After three decades of use, Quigley finally traded his original Santa uniform for an updated version, which he wore again this Christmas. “Santa, the legend, can never retire,” he pointed out.No Comments
Holidays have a way of following Katie Kandrach ’10.
She’s been a UDQuickly Snapshot in St. Patrick’s Day gear, collaborated with professor and alumnus Don Quigley ’63 to illustrate his book, Santa’s Magic, and as a marketing professional at Victoria’s Secret, finds herself busiest during the month of love. They’ve all found a place in her heart – and her portfolio.
While an undergraduate, Kandrach partnered with Quigley after her roommate recommended her during a writers’ group event at Flyer Spirit. Her drawings, some based on real photographs, give life to the memoir, which describes Quigley’s four-decade stint as Santa Claus.
“My professor let me tie them into a senior project, which was great because he gave me some great advice and taught me a new pen and ink technique I’ve never used before,” said Kandrach. “I also used illustration samples from the book in my portfolio because it was still a work-in-progress by the time I had the interview with Victoria’s Secret.”
Kandrach is a member of the company’s beauty team as a graphic designer. Having landed the job shortly after graduating, Kandrach relates that she has had a blast, loving every second of it.
“We design the windows, all of the marketing you see on the inside tables, as well as some of the pieces you receive in the mail. I’ve even been to a photo shoot and have met some of the models and our photographer!”
Kandrach recently opened her mail to see her first copy of Santa’s Magic. And while she has no plans to illustrate another book currently, she entertains the idea of the possibility in the future.
“I was pretty swamped last year illustrating a portrait for a friend’s anniversary, as well as illustrating a football field for a friend’s birthday present. I’ve got a pretty jammed-pack next few months with work and a family vacation to Australia so I’m going to take a break for a bit,” she said.
With plenty of projects on her to-do list, like decorating the Victoria’s Secret floor set for Valentine’s Day (Kandrach’s favorite holiday), to helping her boyfriend with the launch of his Web design company, she fondly thanks UD for her accomplishments.
“UD is chock-full of great design professors who constantly pushed me to improve myself. They were always willing to go the extra mile.”
Read more about Quigley’s annual transformation — and why his wife thought it was the start of a midlife crisis.No Comments