posted on: Thursday January 14, 2016
When Kathleen McGinty ’16 contacted me to write a reflective essay for The Cowl’s 80th anniversary I was immediately flooded with wonderful memories. I had the distinctive opportunity of celebrating The Cowl’s 50th anniversary while I was Editor-in-Chief in 1985-1986. We had so much fun that year but also worked hard to generate a top-notch publication. Our staff was dedicated and passionate, always performing rigorously to master their craft-—Joe Ungaro, Anne D’Andrea, Kendra Bogosian, Sean Sweeney, Brian Thornton-—to name a few. After 30 years, many are still in journalism, deciding to turn their Cowl experience into a career.
What I witnessed during my year as editor was the incredible loyalty and esprit de corps from everyone—working long hours on Sundays, all with the goal of publishing a quality issue for our fellow Friars. As a matter of fact, in the first ever issue of The Cowl issued on November 16, 1935, the then-President, Fr. Lorenzo C. McCarthy, O.P., wrote a front-page column commending the new enterprise with one of its main purposes to foster college spirit. And 80 years later it’s still going strong, spreading Friar spirit every week.
Personally, I learned so much that year that I have used throughout my career. First, I discovered the power of leveraging each other’s strengths in working toward a common goal. All of the volunteers working for The Cowl each brought something special—creativity, writing, logistics, sales, photography, et.al.—to put out a quality product. Second, I saw how teamwork and collaboration can achieve wonderful things. And, lastly, culture is all the invisible stuff that keeps an organization together. I didn’t recognize it at the time, since I needed more context with experience to realize that culture trumps everything.
So I wish the staff the best of luck during The Cowl’s 80th Anniversary (treasure this time since it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience), and I would like to thank The Cowl for granting me such valuable life and leadership lessons.