HNU Hosts Preview of Madame Butterfly

Crystal Soo-Jeong Kim performs material from the opera Madame Butterfly, and Curt Pajer accompanies her on the piano.

Crystal Soo-Jeong Kim performs material from the opera Madame Butterfly, and Curt Pajer accompanies her on the piano.

The University’s Asia Pacific Peace Studies Institute partnered with the Japan Policy Research Institute to present a preview of Madame Butterfly, the opera by esteemed composer Giacomo Puccini. The HNU event featured panelists A.J. Glueckert, Crystal Soo-Jeong Kim, and Curt Pajer from the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

“We like to cultivate empathy and openness to understanding cultural forums, especially those that cross many borders, and that’s an important foundation for peace,” Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Peace Studies Institute Chiho Sawada said.

Patrick Lloyd Hatcher, a historian and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Japan Policy Research Institute, moderated the panel. “Butterfly has had a very interesting life span,” Hatcher said as he told the history behind the opera.

The opera is based loosely on the novel Madame Chrysanthème, which was authored by Pierre Loti and published in France in the late 1800s. In the novel, a naval officer was temporarily married to a Japanese woman while in Nagasaki.“It was an intriguing story, particularly in the West, which was fascinated by things Chinese and Japanese at the end of the 19th century,” he said.

Hatcher told the audience that the novel was turned into a play and performed in 1900 in the West End of London. Puccini saw the play and decided to write the opera Madame Butterfly.

The event also included performances by Glueckert, a tenor and Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera; Soo-Jeong Kim, a soprano and graduate student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; and Pajer, a pianist and music director of the Opera Program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Historian Patrick Lloyd Hatcher (right) engages panelists from the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Historian Patrick Lloyd Hatcher (right) engages panelists from the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

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New Column by HNU’s Writer-in-Residence

Belo Cipriani, HNU’s writer-in-residence, is the author of the new Get to Work blog on SFGate, the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle.

In this biweekly career column, Cipriani explores topics relevant to the modern work environment and the job search process, such as appropriate clothing for an interview, exceptional cover letters, and social media mistakes. His second blog post, which discussed office odor offenders, went viral and received 2.1 million hits.

“As the new voice for the Get to Work blog, I plan to not only share innovative ways to job search, but also discuss ways to enhance the workplace,” Cipriani wrote in his first blog post.

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Dr. Keith Devlin and Dr. Gary Yee Named Commencement Speakers for Holy Names University

Holy Names University (HNU) announces the commencement speakers for its 134th graduation ceremonies. Dr. Gary D. Yee, distinguished educator and Superintendent of the Oakland Unified Schools will speak to graduate students on Friday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m. and Dr. Keith Devlin, internationally renowned mathematician from Stanford University, will address undergraduate students on Saturday, May 17, at 4:30 p.m.

Yee is an exemplary teacher and visionary leader in both public and private education in the United States, particularly in the East Bay.  The positions he has previously held include Oakland Unified School District board member, chair of HNU’s Department of Education, tenured professor of education at HNU,  tenured professor of education at St. Mary’s College of California, assistant professor at Boston College, and vice chancellor for Peralta Community Colleges.  As a master teacher, educational reformer, and effective administrator, Yee has influenced generations of teachers and students.

Devlin is co-founder and executive director of Stanford University’s Human-Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute, a co-founder of Stanford Media X university-industry research partnership program, and a senior researcher in the Center for the Study of Language and Information.  Since 1996, as “The Math Guy” on NPR’s Talk of the Nation: Science Friday, Devlin has been called upon to translate the most complex subjects into clear language for listeners of all ages. Using examples and experiences from learner’s daily lives, like riding a bike and playing video games, Devlin explains mathematical theorems and concepts to people of all ages and levels of knowledge.

On behalf of HNU, President William J. Hynes, PhD will bestow an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to both Dr. Devlin and Dr. Yee. The ceremonies will also include the awarding of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to James P. Kelly in recognition of his long-time service and support of HNU.  “Jim embodies the integrity, wisdom, business acumen, and altruism toward his community and HNU that we wish all our graduates to exemplify.  Especially as a Trustee and Vice Chairman of the Board, Jim’s service has been extraordinary!” states Dr. Hynes.

James A. Vohs and Andrea Brearcliffe Bryant ’60 will receive the President’s Medal in recognition of their significant support of the core values of Holy Names University.

Vohs is the former president, chairperson, and CEO of the Kaiser Permanente Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals.

“For four decades, Jim Vohs has made outstanding contributions to the growth and development of the university, first as a Regent, then as a Trustee, and finally as the first lay chairperson of the board. His personal values mirror the mission and goals of HNU.  When Jim retired from Kaiser, the Board of Kaiser Permanente made a gift of $250,000 to HNU in his honor to be used for scholarships, knowing that this would mean more to him than anything else they might do. He has taken a personal interest in each of the students who has received one of these scholarships.  As an active member of the Advancement Committee, Jim Vohs’ wise leadership has guided HNU through many campaigns and helped us initiate our first comprehensive campaign,” Dr. Hynes said.

A third generation Californian, Andrea Bryant graduated from Holy Names College in 1960 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and History of Art.  Her commitment to civic engagement and social responsibility has helped nonprofit organizations for more than 50 years. She is the secretary/treasurer for the La Casa De Esperanza Foundation, sits on the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts Visual Art Program Committee, and is a member of the Back Stage Society. Other recent activities include working with the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Acquisition Collection Committee, Legacy Society, Annual Campaign Committee, Fine Arts Society, and the Milwaukee Art Museum Garden Club.  She recently retired after serving nine years on the Waukesha County Community Foundation Board of Directors.

“Andrea has joyfully helped to build up the common good for the benefit of everyone.  She has made her alma mater proud by her outstanding contributions to the growth and development of her local community and HNU.  It is an honor to present this award to recognize the outstanding contributions of these two eminent individuals,” Dr. Hynes said.

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Donor Appreciation Event Highlights Music

The University’s donor appreciation event on April 13 drew more than 60 attendees and featured a presentation by Director of the Kodály Center for Music Education Anne Laskey and music lecturer Gail Needleman on HNU’s American Folk Song Collection. Following the presentation, donors were invited to join other guests in the Regents’ Theatre to attend a standing room only spring concert by the HNU Orchestra.

“We have a wonderful afternoon planned for you. Today is about music, and learning, and you,” Director of HNU Fund Maureen Nikaido said. “It is our pleasure to have this occasion to show our appreciation to you, our donors.”

Nikaido said that when donors make gifts to the HNU Fund, they are supporting the highest priorities of the University, including student scholarships. “In the tradition of the Sisters of the Holy Names, we are committed to ensuring that all talented students, regardless of financial means, can pursue a quality education. Thanks to your generosity, we are fulfilling that promise,” she added.

The next donor appreciation event will take place on November 16. The goal of these events, Nikaido says, is to express gratitude to HNU’s supporters and give them an opportunity to “come back to the University they love so dearly and see some of the wonderful things happening here.”

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HNU Literary Journal Explores Social Justice Themes

Between the Lines, HNU’s new online literary journal, launched its first issue in April. The journal publishes poetry and creative nonfiction with a social justice emphasis.

The journal’s editor-in-chief, Belo Cipriani, says that he was drawn to the online format “because it would be paperless, eco-friendly, and accessible to people with print disabilities.” He chose to focus on nonfiction and social justice themes, since he wanted the journal to deal with real events that tied to the University’s mission.

Students participated in the journal in conjunction with the class Online Journal: Literature and Social Justice, which is taught by Cipriani, the University’s writer-in-residence. For its inaugural issue, the journal received more than 100 submissions from the United Kingdom, Africa, and throughout the United States. Cipriani and the students, Prose Editor Michelle Morgan and Poetry Editor Andrew Taw, selected the authors who would be included in the first issue of Between the Lines.

“The students in the class read every submission and voted on each piece they felt fit the voice of the journal,” Cipriani said. “When considering poems or essays for the journal, the student editors looked for a strong message and literary merit.”

The April 23 launch party included readings from several of the authors whose work was selected for the journal, including Sandra Wassilie, the winner of the Celestine Award. The Celestine Award recognizes exceptional and thought-provoking work in poetry. Daisy Zamora served as the judge of the Celestine Award; she is the author of five books of poetry, including The Violent Foam and Life for Each. J. Weintraub earned the journal’s Anthony Award, which acknowledges revolutionary nonfiction. Greg Archer, a writer, editor, and television host, served as the award judge.

“I am very proud of the students in the class and of the final publication,” Cipriani said. To read the first issue of Between the Lines, click here.

 

 

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