Summer 2014

Cover Story

Sand Volleyball: Home Games

Tom Black, head coach of the sand volleyball and indoor volleyball programs — and assistant coach with the U.S. women’s national team — says sand volleyball demands more from players than the indoor game, while simultaneously making them better indoor players.

Ties That Bind Us

Googling oneself is an exercise of quiet narcissism that many of us indulge in, I suspect. Google “Welsh Jesuit” — something I do occasionally — and there appears an engraving of a man with gaunt features and an enigmatic expression. Less ambiguous is the rope around his neck and the large knife sticking out of his chest.

Denis Trafecanty ’64

The way Denis Trafecanty talks about running, you wonder if his baby steps were actually in a 5K.

Ana Ponce Ed.D. ’13

Ana Ponce is chief executive officer of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy in Los Angeles. She is an alumna of Teach for America.

Writes of Love

Lauren Chapman Ruiz earned her B.A. in English with minors in graphic design and journalism. She works as a designer for Cooper in San Francisco. Miguel Ruiz earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in English. He works for PNC Financial Services. They live in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco.

Joslyn Shoop ’08, M.A. ’11

Joslyn Shoop is assistant coach of the women’s soccer team. We asked her to predict the outcome of the World Cup tournament, which will take place from June 12–July 13. Shoop was one of the best goalkeepers ever to wear an LMU jersey. She was twice named a First Team All-West Coast Conference selection and was the 2005 WCC Defender of the Year. She holds the top two single-season goals-against-averages in LMU history. In January 2007, she was invited to the U.S. Under-21 National Team training camp. After graduation, Shoop played professionally for the Pali Blues Soccer Club and had a stint with the FC Gold Pride Women’s Professional Soccer team. She is a member of the Cal South Olympic Development program coaching staff. Shoop lives in Mar Vista with her husband, Taylor Shoop M.A. ’11, a former LMU baseball player.

Roger Crawford ’82

When Roger Crawford got the finger on his right hand stuck in a tennis racket, he realized he could play the game. He has a condition called ectrodactylism, the absence of fingers or toes.

Bragging Rights

Every September, LMU gym rats congregate in Gersten Pavilion for a very serious basketball tournament with high stakes: the 3-on-3 Alumni Basketball Tournament, held during Alumni Reunion Weekend.

Sand Volleyball: Home Games

Tom Black, head coach of the sand volleyball and indoor volleyball programs — and assistant coach with the U.S. women’s national team — says sand volleyball demands more from players than the indoor game, while simultaneously making them better indoor players.

Mojave Stress

Thirty years ago, Philippa Drennan joined her colleague John Waggoner in a study of Joshua trees in the Mojave Desert. His initial research that concerned the distribution of Joshua trees within a range of altitudes in the remote desert became long-term monitoring of new growth and flowering of specific trees. Changes in climate and environment have affected the trees, and Drennan describes here what they have observed through their research in the Mojave National Preserve.

Sense Ability

When senior Griffin Guez hears a chorus of singers, he sees a rainbow of colors. Guez has synesthesia, in which stimuli associated with one sense trigger a response in another: He sees sounds; music sparks visual images; numbers have colors. Once thought to be a disorder, synesthesia has been increasingly researched in the past two decades and is now considered a neurological characteristic. This is Griffin Guez’s story, as told to Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch.

Techno Logic

For more than three decades, higher education has wrestled with how to adapt to an ongoing wave of technological innovation and, if possible, adopt it. What is clear is that technology changes, and changes again. Today’s educational environment is one in which mobile technologies, social media and MOOCs are commonplace. But while the tools of education change, some questions remain foundational: Can we adopt technologies without ourselves being changed?


Disturbing Arts: A Conversation with Dana Gioia

Dana Gioia’s words have started arguments. His 1991 article, “Can Poetry Matter?”, sparked a national discussion about poetry, and his 2013 essay about the state of Catholic writing, “The Catholic Writer Today,” launched another debate. As a poet, arts advocate and chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (2003–09), he has shaped America’s cultural life for more than 20 years. Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch interviewed Gioia about art, literature and faith.

Making History

South Sudan’s independence in July 2011 was a moment of great hope in Africa. It followed an overwhelmingly popular referendum vote and seemed to promise an end to decades-long violence. Jok Madut Jok, LMU professor of history who was born in the village of Marol, has helped establish schools in Marol, written books about Sudan and served in his new nation’s government. South Sudan remains in strife, but Jok is helping make a better history.

Regular Exorcise With William Friedkin

Academy Award-winner William Friedkin has directed several seminal films, including “The Exorcist,” “To Live and Die in L.A.” and “The French Connection.” Friedkin spoke on campus in late March as part of the School of Film and Television’s “The Hollywood Masters” series. Vanessa Newell, associate professor of film production in SFTV, spoke to him about his work and the film industry.

Run, Bunny, Run

Every spring semester for the past five years, members of the Crimson Circle service org pull off a harmless, hilarious prank.


Sarah Strand, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Human Sciences in the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering and director of the LMU athletic training program, studies concussions in female athletes. The information presented here is based on her research and statistics gathered from government publications. Read an interview she did with LMU Magazine.

The Writers Room

Melissa Blake ’95 says she chose to attend LMU partly because of its screenwriting program, and she completed the program partly with financial help from a relative. Today, she and her husband, Roberto Orci, fund scholarships in the School of Film and Television screenwriting program that benefit two undergraduate students. SFTV grants undergraduate and graduate degrees in screenwriting for film and television. In 2013, The Hollywood Reporter named the school one of the top 10 film schools in the United States.

Forecast LA

This past spring, LMU’s Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles surveyed 60 of the 88 local mayors and 2,400 residents to assess their view of Los Angeles, the state and the nation.

A Foreign English Tongue

The woodcut illustration is from a volume of Chaucer’s works published in London in 1602 and now in the holdings of the Department of Archives and Special Collections of William H. Hannon Library.

James Lovell

James Lovell, a captain in the U.S. Navy (ret.), was navigator on Apollo 8, the first mission to orbit the Moon, and commander of Apollo 13. He has received several honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the French Legion of Honor, and two Navy Distinguished Flying Crosses. After his retirement in 1973, Lovell served as president of Bay-Houston Towing and Fisk Telephone Systems and executive vice president of Centel Corp. Lovell delivered the commencement address at the 2014 Commencement Exercises on May 9, 2014.

A Conversation With Angela James

Angela James, trained as a sociologist and demographer, is an associate professor of African American Studies. Her areas of expertise include race and ethnicity, urban demography, and family studies. One of James’ freshman courses is “Metropolitan Los Angeles,” about black Los Angeles, which concludes with a tour of important African American historical and cultural sites. She was interviewed by Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch.

A Conversation With Lesley Leighton ’84

Lesley Leighton ’84, who is a graduate of Westchester High School as well as Loyola Marymount University, is associate conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

A Conversation With Victoria Graf

Victoria Graf, professor in the School of Education, is the former director of SOE’s Special Education program. In December 2013, she was named a member of California’s Statewide Special Education Task Force, which will analyze the state’s systems for serving students with disabilities and make recommendations by the end of 2014. She was interviewed by Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch.

Bottled Spirit

During LMU’s centennial celebrations of 2011, Steve Brutocao ’86, owner and CEO of Brutocao Cellars, and Christopher Silva ’86, CEO at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, produced editions of their wines as a way to donate to their alma mater...

Dear LMU — Letters From Our Readers, Summer 2014

Letters From Our Readers, Summer 2014

Dispatches Summer 2014

1950 Richard Harris [LibArts] recently published his third novel, “The Accidental Terrorist,” the last book in his Mike Driscoll trilogy. 1966 Gene S. Ogden [SciEng] retired on May 1, 2013, with 46+ years as an aerospace engineer with Lockheed Martin...

In Memoriam Summer 2014

John Schnieders Jr. [BusAdm ’31] on Aug. 10, 2013 Robert Bodkin [LibArts ’35] on Sept. 9, 2013 Baldo Martin Kristovich [LibArts ’35, Law ’38] on March 1, 2013 Clyde Von Der Ahe [SciEng ’39] on Jan. 4, 2014 William Daze...

Dale Marini ’70, M.A. ’75

Dale Marini ’70, M.A. ’75, associate director of admission who probably has reviewed more than 250,000 admission applications in his time, will retire this summer. We decided to take a look at his desk while we still can. Here’s what Dale had to say about some of the keepsakes and oddities that have accumulated in his office over the years.

Letter From Detroit

When I graduated, I left LMU with a triple major and no idea what I wanted to do. Imagine that. I started a Santa photo program at a mall, where kids come to get their photo taken with Santa and parents come to complain. Unfortunately, that gig lasts only two months every year. So I had to figure out what was next.

Consider the Desert

A flight east from Los Angeles will usually cross, miles above at a cool altitude, the Mojave Desert. From on high, its dusty, flaky expanse looks as if every ounce of water has been leeched out, leaving behind dry, emptied rivulets.

Paul Salamunovich, the Maestro

Paul Salamunovich passed away on April 3, 2014. He was professor of music and choral activities at LMU and director of the L.A. Master Chorale.