October 12th, 2017

Hello to all of the Pumas:

It has been an interesting few weeks since my return to St. Joe’s. After 26 years, there has been a lot of activity.  I feel honored to have this unique opportunity to help the college we all love so dearly. Even though I have only been on campus for a short time, the positive momentum is evident from so many caring alums.  The recent Homecoming weekend was spectacular and The Saint Joseph’s College Alumni Association, Inc. deserves a Big Thank You for making this happen for all of us that are trying to keep the Puma spirit alive.  I had a wonderful time and the evening ended at the Wagon Wheel as it should have. (My apologies to some of the old, old-timers but Ma Rafferty’s closed a long time ago).   But I do want to get to know all of you again and while I have connected with nearly 60 of you in person at this point I look forward to many, many more conversations.

As you might imagine, the task before us is very challenging but it is achievable if we all join together for a common goal – the rebirth of Saint Joseph’s College. One of the areas that I hope to contribute to is in dealing with some of the issues that seem to be dividing us. It is very clear that for SJC to return in 2019-20, we will need monetary support for the next two years as we develop a sustainable plan that lasts another 127 years. The Phoenix Team is reviewing all revenue sources and as you may well know, the auction was one of them.  We have had a basic strategy in establishing the items to be auctioned, including those that are not needed to re-open in two years or that can be easily replaced when the time is right.  For example, the campus benches, the football championship trophy and the Administration Building bell cannot be replaced so they were protected.  Even so, a few of the more controversial items included:

  • Fr. Froelich’s photo – the C.PP.S. Community discussed this and were comfortable with having it in the auction. Fr. Stang mentioned that he felt Fr. Froelich would be pleased to know that the “popularity” of his photo would help generate funds for SJC’s survival.  Fr. Barry removed this item from the auction because some of our alums were upset. I still remember Fr. Froelich with his very long hair back in the early 1970’s and of course, his superb “guidance” of the guys in Bennett Hall.
  • Championship Banners -- Some of our alums were concerned about the loss as they were under the impression that the banners were permanent. But as a Director of Athletics for 35 years, I have typically replaced banners every 5-7 years as they became worn or there was a need for a new style. Our plan is to celebrate any reopening of Saint Joe with refreshed banners that reflect our proud history.
  • Hall of Fame Plaques – unless the process has changed the last several years, every Hall of Fame inductee was given a beautiful plaque for their personal possession at the induction ceremony and the photos displayed on the large wooden frames were for the on campus historical recognition. As an additional update, the West Lafayette company that provided the plaques and the wooden frames burned down so we were not able to continue that particular method of display since 2011. Even so, we had planned to leave the impressive wooden frames and the plaques as they were but there was a miscommunication and unfortunately, many of the plaques were removed. We apologize for the anger and hurt feelings this has caused, as it was not the intention of the Phoenix Team to sell the Hall of Fame Plaques.  Because of this, we have decided that anyone who found themselves in the unfortunate situation of having to purchase and remove theirs can contact me and we will provide a refund. For anyone who has reached out about picking theirs up, also know that we are putting the Plaques aside so if you do still wish to have yours you can also contact me and I’ll assist with this.  And when Saint Joe reopens our plan is to have a new, more modern Hall of Fame display.  It was my decision to build the wooden frame Hall of Fame displays back in the 1980s and I feel very comfortable that a more modern look can be very attractive and honor all of our Hall-of-Famers, not just those who were on the wall for the time this was being done.

Like many of you, I continue to carry a deep sense of disappointment over what  transpired on February 3rd but we can bounce back, that is what Pumas do……..nothing worthwhile is ever easy and we have been through a lot of tough times before.  The Phoenix Team is working hard to keep SJC alive but we know we have made some missteps along the way and will attempt to be more proactive in our future processes.  Very few institutions of higher education suspend operations so it continues to be a learning process for all of us.  As concerns arise, please feel free to contact me directly for more information.

Bill Hogan ‘74