Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Murray Scholar Joseph Pinter on his Award

Rick Reilly spoke for the entire audience during his speech at Santa Anita Racetrack.

“Being the next Jim Murray?” Reilly, of ESPN, asked. “That’s like saying, ‘Tiger –– meet my sister. Shaq –– you shoot the technical. Donald Sterling is hosting the Kwanzaa party.’

“You can’t just replace Jim Murray.”

Reilly accepted the Great Ones Award from the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation (JMMF), and brought the room to laughter with his opening line at the JMMF dinner in October.


While Reilly’s remarks were slightly off color –– he’s never been one to shy away from those –– they are completely true. No one can call himself or herself the next Jim Murray.

Murray’s style of writing, with humor, sarcasm and wit, will be tough for any columnist to replicate.

He was the voice of his readers, the speaker for the community.

Fortunately though, every year a handful of journalism students from across the country can call themselves the next class of Murray Scholars.

This year, that included myself. It took days to actually set in that I had won one of the five scholarships. I thought the chances of my essay being selected over students from bigger journalism schools were too slim to even consider.

I wrote my column on Bill Swan, chairman of the board of trustees during the 2003 basketball scandal. I was certain the judges would choose a different entry.

I was wrong.

When Murray died, his widow, Linda, wanted to keep Jim’s legacy going. She began a scholarship fund in Jim’s name. She chose to use an essay contest to decide the winners each year.

“The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation became ‘official’ on May 17, 1999,” Linda –– now Murray Hofmans –– said. “The inaugural Jim Murray Memorial Golf Classic was held at Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, California, on the first anniversary of Jim's passing: August 16. The money we raised afforded seven $5,000 scholarships to our first class of Murray Scholars in the year 2000.”

Hofmans invited the top 10 journalism schools in the nation to participate in the competition. Local universities (USC, UCLA, California-State Northridge) were also invited, along with the alma maters of JMMF board members.

A few St. Bonaventure University alumni and longtime Hofmans friends suggested she extend an invitation to St. Bonaventure.

About 15 universities participated in the contest in 2000. Now, in 2014, 31 schools participate. In the 15 years since the competition’s beginning, St. Bonaventure has produced 11 Murray Scholars, setting the record higher than any other participating school.

Hofmans handpicks the judges for the competition, whom are all are prominent sports journalists. St. Bonaventure graduate and Yahoo! Sports basketball insider Adrian Wojnarowski was among this year’s judges.

Hofmans invites the winning students and their families for a weekend in Pasadena, Calif.

This year, Thursday night consisted of an informal welcome dinner. On Friday, we toured the Rose Bowl (led by the general manager, Darryl Dunn, a St. Bonaventure graduate) and the Santa Anita Racetrack. Then on Saturday, we watched and bet on horse races.

Afterward, JMMF board members, judges, donors, and past and present Murray Scholars enjoyed a Monte Carlo Night in the racetrack’s banquet hall. We played roulette, blackjack and poker. Reilly won $3,000 in fake money against my father in roulette.

Unfortunately, though, I am too young to understand just how great Murray was.

I was only six years old when he died. At least I had Reilly.

Every week for as long as I can remember, I read Sports Illustrated cover-to-cover, and hurried to get to the last page –– Reilly’s column.

His piece on Joey Chestnut’s absurd ability to stuff 25 hot dogs in his stomach in one sitting comes back to mind quite easily.

His last sports column brought me to tears. Once I finished, I realized I truly wanted to become a journalist.

Reading his columns set me on the path that brought me to St. Bonaventure. Reading his last one proved it.

And now I’ve met him and listened to his hilarious speech. He, along with other prominent national journalists, even donated money for the scholarship I received.

During the ceremonies, I felt like I could finally call myself a journalist.

But it was all possible because of people like Reilly and Hofmans.

While Reilly was as close as one came come, no one can ever replace Jim Murray. Reilly even admitted it.

Instead, his memory lives on through each and every Murray Scholar.

As for the next Jim Murray?

I just hope I can write half as well as he did.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Joseph Pinter's Investigative Journalism

History Major Joseph Pinter just published his fourth and last blog post on the connection between St. Bonaventure University's enrollment problems and the population loss in all eight WNY counties. The post also discusses the projected decline in high school graduates in those counties through 2019. Click here to read his post!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Internship Opportunity with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

The Buffalo office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is looking for Winter/Spring 2014 interns. As an intern in her office, interns would support staff with constituent outreach and advocacy events, participate in meetings with community leaders and organizations, help to monitor daily regional news as well as advocate on behalf of Buffalo for the Senator. Students can also apply for college credit. If you are interested in applying for this program, please email Tariq A. Zahran at ariq_Zahran@gillibrand.senate.gov<mailto:Tariq_Zahran@gillibrand.senate.gov> with a copy of your resume, cover letter and letter of recommendation by January 5th 2014.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Remembering the History Club's Ghost Tour on Halloween (by Harrison Leone)

A tingle down your spine. A disturbing and unshakeable sense of being watched. A slammed window, a knock on the door, the patter of footsteps down an empty hallway; probably a drunk roommate, but possibly…a ghost, a phantom or a spirit of the undead.

As with any 150 year old institution that is populated by rickety buildings and flanked by dark forests, St. Bonaventure has its fair share of ghost stories. The history club, in the spirit of the Halloween season, hosted a ghost tour to hear the tales of the school’s most famous purported paranormal phenomenon. The tour was guided by the wonderful Chris Brown, the Director of First-Year Experience and Orientation, who shared his unparalleled knowledge of St. Bonaventure history, lore and legend with the nearly forty students and faculty in attendance.

Mr. Brown regaled the group with some of Bonaventure’s most famous tales of terror, including the green light of De La Roche, the Dev Runner and, of course, the famous 5th Dev ghost. According to legend, the green light, which supposedly can be seen in the third floor windows of De La Roche, is the tortured spirit of a student who perished in a fire while attempting to finish a research project. The student is now condemned to eternity in his laboratory, working on his assignment until the end of time. The Dev Runner, as anyone who has lived or spent time in Deverux Hall, is the name given to phantom footsteps heard in the cavernous corridors of St. Bonaventure’s oldest dormitory. The ghost of 5th Dev has its origins in the period when the floor was opened for student housing. The supernatural happenings on this famous floor are related to an alleged “black mass” performed by some of the students in an attempt to summon some sort of dark, occult power.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dennis Frank, Jason Damon, and Phillip Payne at the Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference

Jason Presenting
Dennis Frank, Jason Damon, and Phillip Payne presented “St. Bonaventure Cemetery: Introducing History Students to GIS” at the Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference.  The theme of the conference was Collaborating Digitally: Engaging Students in Faculty Research.  The three discussed the rewards and challenges of introducing GIS into a class from the perspective of archivist, students, and faculty.  During the spring 2014 semester students enrolled in History 419:  Digital History and Archival Practices worked on a GIS map of the St. Bonaventure cemetery.  Jason continues to work on the project this semester for the university archives.

Snow Days without Snow (sort of)

Students in my classes have gotten a treat.  I live close to Buffalo and so have been hit with the big storm making the news, even as SBU has seen very little snow.  The result is snow days for my students - without the snow.  Meanwhile, I'm snowed in.  Here are pictures from my front window and my side window.

This is the street in front of my house. 

This is my side yard.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dr. Marinari and Dr. Payne Accepted for Project on Revising the History Major

The American Historical Association, the largest professional organization in the United States devoted to the study and promotion of history and historical thinking, just selected Dr. Marinari and Dr. Payne to participate in the AHA Tuning Project for the History Major. The project represents a nationwide, faculty-led initiative to reimagine the history major and to redefine the skills and knowledge students should have by the end of their history program. To do this, the AHA will convene accomplished history faculty from across the country at its annual meeting in New York City in January 2015 to attend a workshop on undergraduate teaching and to begin "to develop common language that communicates to a broad audience the significance and value of a history degree."