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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.
A book by Addie J. King ’01
King modeled the main character in her first novel after her experience as a first-year law student — then, she added a talking frog. “When I learned that the Brothers Grimm had studied law before they started their folklore and linguistic studies, I was hooked,” she said. The book combines real-life scenarios (like the new student who forgets to check for first-day assignments) with a creative reimagining of Grimm fairy tales. An attorney by day, King said creative writing helps hone her legal writing skills — in turn, her legal work makes great inspiration for future fiction.
A book by Michael Anthony Grandillo ’86
Although this dissertation-turned-historiography features Tiffin’s evolution, much of the book speaks to more universal themes. “The history of higher education in Ohio embodies the American experience: of immigration, the quest for economic freedom, the escape from religious persecution, and most importantly, to our spirit of celebrating the value of education,” explained Grandillo, who serves as vice president for development and public affairs at the school. Mentions of UD, the Marianists and the city of Dayton can be found throughout.
A book by Lori M. Balster ’94
UD research chemist — and avid writer — Balster puts a new spin on the typical high-school sweetheart story in her novel, which profiles a smart, blond 15-year-old girl and the 17-year-old green-haired punk who falls for her. “I’m so tired of the Hollywood narrative where the pretty blond cheerleader is won by the geeky guy with glasses that no one thought had a chance,” she said. “That narrative has no resonance with me. This country is about choice. We should have more narrative choices, too.”
A book by M. Charles McBee ’68
No, this isn’t an in-depth look at the 2012 election; McBee’s original screenplay-turned-novel is a political thriller, he said, written in the “brilliant satirical style of Dave Barry combined with the authentic drama style of Nelson DeMille.” The fast-paced story follows Commander Jack Connolly as he pieces together a national-security puzzle (including, among other things, a renegade submarine, a missing vice president and an assassination directive).
A book by Kevin P. Ryan ’88
Growing up in a devout Catholic family, Ryan had long been a “praying person.” As he matured, the formulaic memorizations of his youth gave way to more spontaneous expressions garnered from experiences as broad as backpacking and running to simple daily life observations during his 28-year teaching career at a Catholic high school in Columbus, Ohio. The daily prayers he shared with students inspired Seeing God Everywhere, a collection of 366 reflections drawn from a wide range of spiritual and interfaith traditions. “Prayer doesn’t have to happen in a church setting,” Ryan says. “It’s a way of life.”
A book by Mark A. Kelly ’59
In the mid-1950s, credit hours cost $12, men significantly outnumbered women on campus, and war veterans were commonplace in first-year classes. That was the world 21-year-old
Kelly inhabited when he enrolled at the University after his Korean War service. A refurbished carriage house on Dayton’s north side served as his home base. Kelly packed plenty of fun into his first year while living at “The Mansion,” while somehow remaining on track toward graduation, and he writes about it all. Recent visits to the University remind him of how much has changed, but one quality remains constant — Kelly says students are just as friendly today as they were back then.
A book by Karen Hutzel ’99
An education career was not in Hutzel’s plans after she graduated from the University with a visual communication design degree, but her AmeriCorps year in a Florida high school shifted her perspective. Running a community arts program in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood as a University of Cincinnati graduate student further cemented her interest. “I really started thinking about the role schools play in urban environments, not just in the arts,” says Hutzel, a professor of art education at Ohio State University. In this anthology, Hutzel — also the book’s co-editor — and other contributors explore the influence of art on urban education reform and community engagement.
A book by J.F. Spieles ’98
In fall 1864, 12-year-old Georgia orphan Henry Akinson deserts his Confederate army post shortly before Union Gen. William T. Sherman marches to the sea. Akinson faces more danger while carrying out missions for a plantation owner in exchange for protection, but he later finds refuge with a slave family, forcing him to re-examine his beliefs about slavery and equality. “I’ve always looked at storytelling as a teaching methodology,” says Spieles, a fifth-grade teacher in Englewood, Ohio. Through his fictional Civil War tale and accompanying teacher’s manual, Spieles aims to engage middle-grade students as they study this crucial juncture in America’s history.
Leo Schulte ’78, who may or may not be the author, called our attention to this mystery for young adults, the first of a projected trilogy. The title page claims it is presented by Hamish De’Lamet and Chandral Ramon, who may or may not exist and who claim to live in Lynchburg, which may or may not be in one of several states. And who knows about the anonymous author of the journals those two found? One very real Edgar Award-winning writer describes the book as “Sam Spade (with overtones of Holden Caulfield) … a can’t-put-it-down-once-you’ve-started-novel.”