Tails of rector assistants

Author: Ed Cohen

Honey was in Stanford, Harley in Pasquerilla West, Kitty in Badin, and Charlie in Walsh. The four were all new residents of their residence halls during the 1999-2000 school year. But they weren’t freshmen. They were pets — three cats and a dog.

Under a policy change made by Father Mark Poorman, CSC, vice president for student affairs, rectors are once again permitted to keep pets. The thinking is that pets add a homey feeling to a hall and encourage residents to interact with their rector.

The cat fanciers among the inaugural year’s rector pet owners were cat owners Sister Sue Bruno, OSF, of P.W., with Harley; Sister Pat Thomas, O.P., of Walsh (Charlie); and Badin’s Nancy Cook (Kitty). Father Tom Gaughan, CSC, of Stanford, decided to room with a golden retriever, Honey. This year Sister Anne Dougherty, OSF, in Howard Hall has a cat, J.J., and Sister Carrine Etheridge, IHM, of Farley Hall, has a dog, Farley.

It’s fitting that Stanford has a dog again. The late Father Robert Griffin, CSC, who lived at various times in Stanford and in Keenan, was recognizable by his constant canine companion, a series of cocker spaniels named Darby O’Gill.

There have been additional, occasional rector pets in recent years. For many years when Father Bill Seetch, CSC, former rector of Morrissey Manor and Flanner Hall and now religious superior of the Holy Cross Priests and Brothers would go home to Cleveland at Christmas and Easter, he would bring back the family’s miniature schnauzer, Ben, to keep students company through finals. The dog was a proven stress reliever.

Pangborn Hall’s rector, Heather Rakoczy ‘93, has worked out a joint custody agreement with her parents regarding Ajax, a white cocker spaniel she got when she was at Vanderbilt working on her master’s in divinity.Ajax spends breaks, football weekends and miscellaneous other weekends in Pangborn and the rest of the time at her parents’ house in Schererville, Indiana.

The campus is home to at least two other dogs, although they don’t live in the residence halls. Residing at the old Holy Cross Hall Annex studio above Saint Mary’s Lake is Taxi, the Dalmation of art department chair Rev. Austin Collins, CSC. Many visitors to the sacristy below the Basilica of the Sacred Heart have had the pleasure of meeting Chancellor, the golden retriever of Brother Dennis Meyers, CSC, the church sacristan.