In a packed room, College of the Holy Cross students, staff and faculty had a chance to meet and hear from this year's distinguished recipients of the Sanctae Crucis Award, the highest non-degree accolade the College bestows upon alumni. Given to alumni who fully embody the Holy Cross mission statement, the recipients for 2018 were: Augustine "Gus" J. Caffrey, Ph. D. '73; Hon. Richard J. Leon, J.D. '71; Mary Beth Sheridan '83; Barbara Tylenda, Ph.D., ABPP '79; and Arthur "Ned" E. Weyman, M.D. '62.
The five award winners shared their wisdom and advice in a panel discussion led by Denise Schaeffer, professor of political science and the director of strategic initiatives for the Provost's office. Following the panel, the recipients broke off into individual groups to interact more directly with students and share career and school advice, along with memories from their time at Holy Cross.
Here, the highlights — relevant and resonant to current students and the Holy Cross community beyond.
Augustine J. Caffrey, Ph.D. '73
Caffrey is a physicist at the Idaho National Laboratory who developed the Portable Isotopic Neutron Spectroscopy system, a device used worldwide to determine the contents of artillery shells without risking exposure of humans to potentially dangerous chemical warfare agents.
"When I was a student at Holy Cross, I joined the staff of the radio station. It was great — I got to hear the new release of The Doors first. The guy who was in charge, Dan Kennedy, is my model for running a business. At a student radio station, it's a bunch of volunteers. They weren't getting paid anything. But we had a meeting every week and Dan Kennedy allowed every person to have his or her say. Physics is a team sport. The Einstein paradigm is out the window. You have to get along with other people. You need to make everyone on the team feel valuable. And that's what Dan Kennedy taught me how to do at Holy Cross."
Hon. Richard J. Leon, J.D. '71
Leon is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, who has presided over cases including ruling on the constitutional rights of Guantanamo detainees and the recent AT&T/Time Warner merger.
"One thing that has remained the same throughout the 50-plus years since I was a student, is that Holy Cross fosters an esprit de corps between and among the students — an environment in which friendships that are formed will stay friendships for the rest of one's life. I certainly have had the benefit throughout my career of having Holy Cross people come into my life — not people I went to Holy Cross with, but people older and younger. That esprit de corps forms a fast bond with Crusaders you didn't even go to school with."
Mary Beth Sheridan '83
Sheridan is the deputy foreign editor of The Washington Post covering such issues as Ebola, the Islamic State, migration, and homeland security and reporting from countries including Venezuela, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Egypt.
"I think that the value of a liberal arts education is as strong as ever. I was very drawn to that. I think you learn how to learn. The ways I learned to think critically, to write, to debate, to get to the core of the issue — these are fundamental things I took away from Holy Cross. You come away from a Holy Cross education with a sense of mission, of wanting to do your part to make the world a little bit better. That was true of really everyone in my class."
Barbara Tylenda, Ph.D., ABPP '79
Tylenda is the chief psychologist and associate unit chief for the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at the Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital and clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, R.I. Her focus is on the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of children and adolescents who present with developmental disabilities and co-existing psychiatric disorders.
"When I had finished up my Ph.D. at Southern Illinois University, I was going to do my internship, which we now call a residency, in clinical psychology. I was going specifically to be a neuropsychologist. Apparently, for whatever reason, that option was not open. I was told I was going to the developmental disabilities unit. I was terrified. If I had maintained that vantage point, I would have never been open to the possibilities of what I beheld. I found these beautiful children who most people do not want to work with, that are just wonderful. If I had not been forced into a situation and reframed my acceptance of that, my career wouldn't be the same."
Arthur E. Weyman, M.D. '62
Weyman is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is a pioneering researcher and educator in echocardiography whose findings have resulted in the use of echocardiography in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac patients worldwide.
"My mentor has always said that throughout his life, as he gets older, the thing he's proudest of are the accomplishments of the people he's trained. And nothing can be more true. As a mentor, it's more than that. I was chairing the American Society of Echocardiography's Young Investigator's Award, which they were nice enough to name after me, and I looked into the winner's background, and I could see that he was one of my felllow's fellow's fellow's fellow. So what you do as a mentor doesn't just stop at the person you're involved with; it goes on and on and on for generations."