Thanks for stumbling across this blog. Originally I planned to start writing on a regular basis a year ago, but, as always, life got in the way. As a one-person public relations shop for Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, it's difficult to find time do anything outside the normal duties of my job. However, as I approach 12,000 submissions on Twitter, I thought, "If I can post my thoughts 140 characters at a time morning, noon and night, perhaps I can offer more substantive reflections at least once a day." Whether anyone else is interested, well...that remains to be seen.
My wonderful neighbors, Hal and Elayne Seaman, gave me a diary last Friday, suggesting that I record personal thoughts during my trips abroad teaching religious studies courses for Marist. I also teach a course called Organizational Writing, which is really a course on life, with lessons in journalism, public relations, ethics, the job hunt and whatever else pops up during the course of a 75-minute class. A number of my students have started blogs of their own, ranging across a broad spectrum of interests. Seeing the enjoyment they derive from writing gives me hope, as I believe putting pen to paper, or type to screen, is a dying art. Yet, I am rejuvenated when I read outstanding work by current and former students who have been in my classes or whom I have come to know in other capacities during my 16+ years years at Marist. Between the suggestion from Hal and Elayne, and the efforts of my students, I thought I'd give this blog another try.
Just a few personal notes for this first post. Born and raised in the city of Poughkeepsie, I graduated from city schools, Dutchess Community College and Fordham University. A few years later, I undertook additional studies in philosophy and theology, for one year at Iona College, then two years at the Pontifical North American College in Vatican City and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy.
When I was working as a news reporter at WEOK/WPDH Radio, I was paired on PDH with Peter Clark and we became the station's first morning team. Pete, a true musicologist, played tunes and I, the newsaholic, was the reporter. We also did comedy routines together, usually focusing on a funny but true "kicker" story at the end of the newscast, which led to successive ad-libbed puns and the pairing of an appropriate song.
Little did I know that chance pairing would last 31 years (as of this October). Pete is, by far, the most incredible and wonderful person I've ever met -- kind, loving, caring, intelligent, and the epitome of ethics and values. He is more than my partner, he is my life. More on Pete and our family down the line.
After leaving radio, I worked a succession of public relations positions in the Hudson Valley for a public employee union, county legislature, and regional utility, before entering academia at what was then called Bryant College in RI. In 1994, I became chief college relations officer at Marist and three years later started teaching. I had prior teaching experience at Dutchess Community College in the early 1980s, when I was barely older than my students, and returning to the classroom has been a true blessing. In 2002, I left Marist briefly to become vice president of Pace University, returning to Marist as chief public affairs officer after only five months. I'm glad I did. Had I not, I would not have met many incredible colleagues and students, some of the latter have become like members of my own family. I hope to highlight them in future posts because I love them, am proud of them, and want to promote their accomplishments in work and in life.
Community service has also been an important aspect of who I am since I was a high school student and I am currently a member of several foundation and nonprofit boards in the Hudson Valley, Albany and New York City.
As someone who reads entries on a dozen blogs daily and follows many other news sources, I appreciate what it takes to be "newsworthy" or otherwise maintain one's interest. Let's see if I can get you to come back, encourage others to stop by, and offer insight into whatever happens to rise to the top of my consciousness on a particular day.
One last thing...the title of this blog comes from my desire to write a book about my experiences in seminaries in New York and Rome, and I always joked that I would call it "Looking Through Stained Glass," as I got to see the best and worst in the Church and its adherents. The same is true today, 24 years after I returned to the United States. I see people using their faith to help, but also to oppress and harm their fellow human beings. Posts in that realm will probably be among the more controversial.
If you're still here, thanks for reading, and I look forward to your feedback and suggestions. Perhaps you can teach an old dog new tricks.