Welcome Remarks for Funeral of Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J. ’49

July 9th, 2012 by 


Photo by: Rob Carlin

By Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president

On behalf of the extended Holy Cross community, I would like to welcome you to this celebration of the life and ministry of Father John Brooks, S.J., 29th President of Holy Cross. We are faculty and staff, grounds-keepers and students, Trustees and food service personnel, alumni and Public Safety officers, coaches and chaplains. We welcome members of the episcopacy and public officials, business leaders and neighbors, fellow academics and members of the local clergy, as well as the broader Jesuit community, and most especially Father’s extended family: his sisters, Mildred and Marion, his brother, Paul, sister-in-law, Dorothy, and their children Maureen, Paul, John and their families, and many cousins. This morning, we are united in our sorrow and our deep affection for Father John Brooks, and we come together in this sacred space with gratitude for all the ways our loving God has blessed us through him. We also draw on Father Brooks’ deep Faith and Hope to augment our shared desire that our gracious God who has given us all the gift of life, will also bestow on us eternal life in Christ.

My predecessor, Father Michael McFarland, S.J., cannot be with us today as he is representing the New England Province at an international meeting of Jesuits in Nairobi, Kenya, but he joins us in spirit and prayer, as do many other members of our Holy Cross family who are abroad but have sent us their condolences and prayers. Although I am a more recent member of the Holy Cross community, I was very blessed to spend a great deal of time with Father Brooks in the final week of his life. I can assure you that as he was in life, he was in death: thoughtful, engaged, and peaceful; he very deliberately thanked each nurse, doctor and technician by name as they treated him; and he faced his future with a calm certainty that he would see his loving God face-to-face. He wasn’t anxious or fearful, but rather centered and receptive to the wonder of this new experience.

Until the very end, John kept that brightness in his eyes signaling his enjoyment of the beauty of life, the interchange of ideas, the diversity of human personalities, and always his passion for Holy Cross. As a formed Jesuit, he never worked anywhere else; and over the years he became not just the president but the personality of Holy Cross. His commitment to academic excellence, to diversity and inclusion, to a measured approach to athletics, to the professional development of the faculty, to critically-engaged theology and to our Catholic and Jesuit identity has become the imprint of all that we do today. He was a man with a determined will and great strength of character, but not an over-sized ego. He always recognized the leadership of his friend and predecessor, Father Raymond Swords, and the talents and gifts of his administrative team, faculty and students.

In 2009, Father Brooks was interviewed as part of the New England Province Oral History Program. The interviewer asked him about his life and family, his formation and ministry, and then concluded by asking him: “As he looked back over his life, had he felt the presence and influence of God’s providence?” This is how Father Brooks responded:

“Yes, definitely.  God is always at work in our lives. There is no way I could have survived twenty-four years as President of Holy Cross without God’s presence every day.

“As for my personal life, I have a much deeper understanding and gratitude towards God than I ever had in my younger days.  I don’t find myself complaining much these days.  I’m much more aware of the fact that my entire life has been a gift.  There is nothing I’ve done entirely on my own.  While in the past I undoubtedly took many of life’s gifts for granted, I’ve now reached a stage of life where I know more than I once did of the importance of the role God plays in my life.  I’ve had a very happy life in the Society of Jesus, for which I am genuinely grateful.”

At one point last Monday morning, when Father Savard had returned to Ciampi Hall to get Father Markey, I was sitting next to Father Brooks’ bed praying. I recalled a reading from the liturgy a few weeks earlier from the Second Book of Kings where the prophet, Elijah, preparing to be taken up into heaven, departs for the Jordan. Elisha, his faithful disciple accompanies him, knowing what is about to take place. After they crossed the river, Elijah says to Elisha: “Ask for whatever I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha answers: “May I receive a double portion of your spirit.” Well, I laughed a bit at that, since it seemed a bit presumptuous of me to ask John for a double portion of his spirit; and I was sure that if he answered my prayer, you might not be able to put up with me! But I did ask John to bless me with his courage, his wisdom, and his vision in my service to Holy Cross. Today, as we celebrate the life and ministry of Father John Brooks, may we all be similarly blessed as he crosses into God’s loving embrace.

Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., is the current president of Holy Cross.

Related Information:

Boroughs Welcome Remarks by Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J. »
Markey Homily by Rev. Earle Markey, S.J. ’53 »
Condron Eulogy by P. Kevin Condron ’67 »
Brooks Reflections on Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J. ’49, Delivered on July 8 at His Wake by Frank Vellaccio »
| More

 

Comments (1)
  1. Barbara West says:

    Wonderful article and amazing man! I certainly wish I had known him while he was living. However, after reading this, I feel like I knew him well. What a blessing he was for all of the Holy Cross family.

    My daughter, Tracy West Barlok, has just started her new job at Holy Cross. We are all so proud and pleased that she is now associated with such an outstanding institution. Father Brooks had so much to do with this. It was an honor to read all about him. Indeed, he was Holy Cross!

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Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 405
Visit Crusader Connections to learn more about and apply for opportunities...
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Fidelity Investments On-Campus Recruiting
10/20/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 404
Visit Crusader Connections to learn more about and apply for opportunities...
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Conference: Rethinking the Afropolitan
10/20/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
This conference, being held Oct. 19-21, "Rethinking the Afropolitan:...
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Conference: Rethinking the Afropolitan
10/21/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
This conference, being held Oct. 19-21, "Rethinking the Afropolitan:...
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COES HC Capital Club Meeting
10/23/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
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COES Dinner
10/23/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite A - 4th Fl
Open to Campus Community Only
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Book Launch: Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Jesuits
10/23/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Help us commemorate the newly published Cambridge Encyclopedia...
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COES Finance Club Meetings
10/24/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
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Athlete Alumni Networking Night
10/24/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite B/C - 4th Fl
The Holy Cross Career Crusaders Networking Night is...
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Athlete Alumni Networking Night
10/24/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite A - 4th Fl
The Holy Cross Career Crusaders Networking Night is a...
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Lecture: Charles Camosy Looks Beyond the Abortion Wars
10/24/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Charles Camosy, associate professor of theology at Fordham University,...
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Washington Semester Program Information Session
10/24/2017
Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 401
The Washington Semester Program is a highly competitive, semester-long...
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Open Enrollment Assistance
10/24/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
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COES HCEG Meeting
10/25/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
HCEG (Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group) is the student chapter of...
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COES Sales Club Meetings
10/26/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
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Battle Hymn of a Federal Judge
10/26/2017
Political Science
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Judge Richard J. Leon, has served as a federal judge for the District...
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COES HC Capital Club Meeting
10/30/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
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Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
10/30/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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COES Finance Club Meetings
10/31/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
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7 C's of Social Change (Event canceled)
10/31/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 320
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
10/31/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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COES HCEG Meeting
11/1/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
HCEG (Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group) is the student chapter of...
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Lecture: Alan Rosen on Jewish Religious Life and Practice During the Holocaust
11/1/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Alan Rosen, Kraft-Hiatt scholar-in-residence, will give a talk...
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Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/1/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/2/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
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Poetry Reading by Gabrielle Calvocoressi
11/2/2017
English
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Join us for a poetry reading by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Calvocoressi...
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PricewaterhouseCoopers Extreme Games Launch
11/2/2017
Economics and Accounting
Smith Laboratories 154
Open to the Public
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COES Sales Club Meetings
11/2/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/2/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
See More >>


Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/3/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
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Black Student Union Presents "Griot"
11/3/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Ballroom & Dunn Rcpt
Open to the Public
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Open Enrollment Assistance
11/3/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/3/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
See More >>


Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/4/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
See More >>


Lecture: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz on Googling for Hate
11/6/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a former Google data scientist and author...
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COES HC Capital Club Meeting
11/6/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/6/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
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Creating an Inclusive Campus: Skills and Practice
11/6/2017
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
This workshop will take diversity and inclusion from theory to...
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COES Finance Club Meetings
11/7/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/7/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
See More >>


COES HCEG Meeting
11/8/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
HCEG (Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group) is the student chapter of...
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The Human Consequences of Anti-LGBTQ Policies: Experiences of LGBTQ Asylum Seekers
11/8/2017
Africana Studies
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/8/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 3
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
See More >>


Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/9/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
11/9/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/9/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
See More >>


Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/10/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
See More >>


Race: The Power of an Illusion Part 3
11/10/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 519
*Episode III – “The House We Live In” focuses not...
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Talk by Prof Wiebke Deimling-Kant’s Theory of Sympathy
11/10/2017
Philosophy
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall 501
Open to the Public
See More >>


Tickets for Department of Theatre Production of "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/10/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre...
See More >>


Theatre Department's Fall Production: "Fuente Ovejuna"
11/11/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Fuente Ovejuna,” the theatre department’s fall production, is being...
See More >>


COES HC Capital Club Meeting
11/13/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


Matthew Hughey Lecture
11/13/2017
Africana Studies
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
See More >>


COES Finance Club Meetings
11/14/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu Lecture
11/14/2017
Asian Studies
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
See More >>


Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu (Event canceled)
11/15/2017
Asian Studies
Dinand Library Levis Browsing Room
Open to the Public
See More >>


Conference: Religion, Protest, and Social Upheaval
11/15/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
The recent proliferation of social, political, and economic protest...
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PricewaterhouseCoopers Extreme Games Competition
11/16/2017
Economics and Accounting
Smith Laboratories 154
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
11/16/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


"I Can't Remember What I Just Read!"
11/16/2017
Academic Services and Learning Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 406(07)
Learn strategies to focus your attention and get more out of the...
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Conference: Religion, Protest, and Social Upheaval
11/16/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
The recent proliferation of social, political, and economic protest...
See More >>


Conference: Religion, Protest, and Social Upheaval
11/17/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
The recent proliferation of social, political, and economic protest...
See More >>


COES HC Capital Club Meeting
11/20/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/20/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/20/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


COES Finance Club Meetings
11/21/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/21/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/21/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/21/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Tickets for Alternate College Theatre Production of "Stop Kiss"
11/21/2017
Theatre
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 1
Buy tickets for “Stop Kiss,” the Alternate College...
See More >>


Open Enrollment Assistance
11/21/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
11/23/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


COES HC Capital Club Meeting
11/27/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


COES Finance Club Meetings
11/28/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


Study Smarter, Not Harder!
11/28/2017
Academic Services and Learning Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 408(09)
Why is it so hard to remember what you just heard in lecture or...
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COES HCEG Meeting
11/29/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
HCEG (Holy Cross Entrepreneurs Group) is the student chapter of...
See More >>


Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
11/30/2017
Theatre
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of the millennium. Sara wants to change the world; Callie simply wants to get by. They could be best of friends or even something more – if only they could make a decision. But making that decision isn’t easy and may even cause dangerous repercussions. An Alternate College Theatre production directed by Alexis Rappaport ’19. Tickets
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of...
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COES Sales Club Meetings
11/30/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>


Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
12/1/2017
Theatre
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of the millennium. Sara wants to change the world; Callie simply wants to get by. They could be best of friends or even something more – if only they could make a decision. But making that decision isn’t easy and may even cause dangerous repercussions. An Alternate College Theatre production directed by Alexis Rappaport ’19. Tickets
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of...
See More >>


Lecture: Quayshawn Spencer on a Radical Solution to the Race Problem
12/1/2017
Philosophy
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Quayshawn Spencer, assistant professor of philosophy at the University...
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Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
12/2/2017
Theatre
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of the millennium. Sara wants to change the world; Callie simply wants to get by. They could be best of friends or even something more – if only they could make a decision. But making that decision isn’t easy and may even cause dangerous repercussions. An Alternate College Theatre production directed by Alexis Rappaport ’19. Tickets
ers growing up and leaving their twenties behind. Callie and Sara meet in New York City at the turn of...
See More >>


Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
12/2/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Stop Kiss,” an Alternate College Theatre production, is being staged on...
See More >>


Alternate College Theatre Production: "Stop Kiss"
12/3/2017
Theatre
Fenwick Theatre
“Stop Kiss,” an Alternate College Theatre production, is being staged on...
See More >>


COES HC Capital Club Meeting
12/4/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
HC Capital seeks to supplement the liberal arts by providing the technical skills...
See More >>


COES Finance Club Meetings
12/5/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 216
The Finance Club offers students the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding...
See More >>


COES Sales Club Meetings
12/7/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 118C
Explore the sales and management industries of business and gain the tools to...
See More >>

See All