Thursday, December 18, 2014

Goodbye to a Man of the Mount

Brother Kevin Donohue, OSJD '49
THE ARCHDIOCESE and all of Los Angeles are mourning the passing Dec. 3 of Sir Daniel Donohue, president of the Dan Murphy Foundation and with his late wife, Bernardine, among the great philanthropists in the city.

As The Tidings' online obituary notes, Sir Daniel passed away at the age of 95. In his long career at the foundation, millions of dollars were granted to hospitals, social programs, schools and building the L.A. cathedral.

The obituary mentions that Sir Daniel studied at Catholic University, but omits his undergraduate alma mater: Mount St. Mary's College! He was an alumnus of the Class of 1949.

He was Brother Kevin in those days, a member of the Hospitallers of St. John of God, and with another brother, Oliver McGivern, was training for a vocation in social work. They commuted each day from from the orphanage in Chatsworth where they lived and worked.

They're mentioned in the 1949 yearbook as one of the notable sights around campus. They have their own page in the yearbook, which carries the editors' impressions of the pair:
Mount St. Mary’s turns "co-ed" … two Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God … Social Welfare majors, social science and philosophy minors … active in work with boys … at Rancho San Antonio … members of SWES … dynamic on field trips … noticeable on campus … friendly smiles … flowing black habits … "Call us 'Brother,' please!" … enliven class discussions with varied experiences… familiar station wagon jogging on and off the hill… always cheerful … '49ers. 
Brother Kevin eventually left religious life, and in 1954 married Bernardine Murphy, daughter of Daniel Murphy, another great philanthropist with a recognizable name.

The names Donohue and Murphy grace many a building in Los Angeles, thanks to the generosity of this family. We're proud to call Sir Daniel one of our own.

Sidebar: Were Bros. Kevin and Oliver the first male Mount grads? Read the history here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Extra, extra! Read all about it

Younger siblings of Mount students help out with the SWES toy drive in 1954.
WE HAD OCCASION TO BROWSE the digitized editions of the long-running The View campus paper earlier this week and wondered what Mount journalists were writing about in back in the day. Pretty typical stuff, it turns out. In some ways, student life doesn't change a lot decade to decade.

Fifty and 60 years ago there were Christmas parties and fundraisers, event planning for the New Year and looking forward to Winter Break (or Christmas Vacation, as it was called). Here are some choice tidbits from yesteryear:

Sixty years ago - December 1954
  • Costume dance party is planned for Jan. 5 by the Gamma Sigma Pi sorority. The locale is "Hernando's Hideaway" at Sepulveda and Slauson boulevards in Westchester, and the theme is "Hard Times." Dance music by the Johnny Delfino Band.
  • The Student Councils of Mount St. Mary's, Immaculate Heart College and Marymount share a holiday dessert party on the Marymount Campus in Palos Verdes. 
  • The SWES (Social Work, Economics and Sociology) Club holds a toy drive for underprivileged children. The main event is the special delivery of toys by little brothers and sisters of the club members
  • The Parnassians literary club and Sodality of Mary Literature Committee hold an annual Christmas book sale. Bestselling titles are Little World of Don Camillo, The Second Conquest, Deliverance of Sister Cecilia, and Holding the Stirrup.
  • A front-page editorial urges student to be more respectful of each other in the New Year.
  • Two full pages are dedicated to student poetry about Christmas. Another page is given over to coverage of club Christmas parties. 
  • "Personalities of the Month" are the three Bondan sisters, senior Anne, junior  Kathy and frosh Jo.
  • Christmas Vacation begins on Friday, Dec. 17, 1954, at exactly 4;25 p.m. Classes resume on the dot at 8:30 a.m., Monday, Jan 3, 1955.
Fifty years ago - December 1964
  • An article discusses the slow start of the new national program VISTA (Volunteers In Service to America), the domestic version of the Peace Corps.
  • To help alleviate a citywide shortage, four Mount students sign on as substitute teachers in L.A. public schools, part of a pilot program to put student teachers in real classrooms. The article notes that they earn the same pay rates as credentialed substitutes.
  • Sister Dolores Cecile Schembri, CSJ, of the Music faculty will give a piano concert.
  • Volunteers are need for a trip to bring medical and other supplies to poor parish in Tijuana
  • An article provides in-depth details on Christmas planning in Doheny Hall (the Mansion, then a CSJ convent). The results of the annual CSJ "cookie-baking spree" will be shared with the neighborhood. Sister Mary Irene Flanagan of the Home Economics Department plans an all-white flocked Christmas tree with gold ornaments, while banisters of the Grand Staircase will be festooned with silver garlands and red ornaments. Midnight Mass will be held in the third-floor chapel. 
  • Popular book author and illustrator Leo Politi is the guest of honor at a Las Posadas celebration sponsored by the student members of the California Teachers Assn
  • Nationally renowned artist Sister Mary Corita Kent, IHM, is to give a presentation on her famous serigraphs.
  • No. 17 will finally available for classroom space in the spring semester following the death the previous June of Dr. Rufus von Klein Smid, former USC chancellor and a Chester Place resident for 30 years,
Old newspapers are fun to look at, and the Mount Archives has lots of them! Fortunately, they're all available online. Just head over to Happy browsing!