Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Question Hour: No Creeps Left Behind

by Tom Bozzo

Lots of searchers (by Marginal Utility standards) have been looking for information on Archmere Academy's plans to name a building in honor of the parents of alumni who happen to have lots of money despite being, among other things, a convicted murderer and two accessories to murder (the latter turned state's evidence), plus a ne'er-do-well dropout with criminal law problems of his own.

If you're searching and a member of the Archmere community — other than a faculty or staff member who doesn't want to be fired, of course — I'd recommend signing the online petition at the Protect Archmere's Legacy website, for what it's worth.

The school's official statement demonstrates the sort of sensitivity that has successfully defused all of those clerical abuse problems. Shorter Archmere administration: "Show us the money!" The longer version:
Archmere Academy is guided in our decision-making... by our Heritage, our Mission, and our established policies. Additionally, we invite the opinions of our faculty, our alumni, and the families of our students about important decisions that affect many constituents.

We appreciate the great generosity of our many philanthropic donors. This includes the Louis J. Capano, Jr./III Foundation. Archmere has had a relationship with members of the Capano family for several generations [heh; see above -ed], including Louis Capano, Sr., for whom the building is named, and welcomes their continuing support.

With respect to the controversy about our decision to accept the Capano Foundation gift, we have consistently focused on the benefits that will accrue to our students – and the entire Archmere family.

We certainly understand the concern, and we respect the viewpoints of those who oppose our naming of the Student Life Center for Marguerite and Louis Capano, Sr.

It's probably for the best that they ended there without adding the implied "[buzz] off [unless you have a million bucks to give us]."

The Protect Archmere's Legacy folks entertainingly quote the school's student handbook, which lists among the Heritage and Mission to "refrain from vulgarity, arrogance and braggadoccio…" To (re)state the bleeding obvious, the whole naming rights market is a swamp of vulgarity, arrogance, and braggadoccio. Moreover, the school reportedly solicited the Capanos as people with the bucks to give a big boost to the capital campaign. Oh well.

The headmaster, Fr. Zagarella, meanwhile, told the parents that he's "somewhat surprised" at the outcry because the naming plans have been on file at the local galactic hyperspace planning council office at Alpha Centauri since the gift was accepted.

Well, guilty as charged. From my contacts in the Wilmington Catholic secondary education world, I knew about the Capano gift several weeks before the story appeared in the W$J and kept my shame quiet rather than blogging about it or writing a sharply worded letter to my former classmate the development director. Amazingly, it was the transition from private embarrassment to a nationally-reported debacle that changed my mind.

The problem, from the school's perspective, is a failure of communication; to solve the problem, they
have retained communication professionals familiar with this community to help us shape our messages to achieve shared understanding.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of professionals willing to apply lipstick to any imaginable pig.

(Question Hour is an occasional series of posts regarding search terms that lead visitors to this blog.)
...good Hitchhiker's Guide reference. You made me snort coffee out my nose.

Verification Word: Orrtp: The sound that someone makes snorting coffee out their nose.
Actually the Capano gift was donated about a year ago. The WSJ was a little late in getting the story to the public....I guess it didn't help matters that the WSJ writer was from Salesianum High School.
Sara: Thanks. I think the HHGTG could serve as an all-purpose reference source were one so inclined, sort of like the Simpsons in its glory days.

Anon: That was half the point of the Hitchhiker's Guide reference. The other half regards Fr. Zagarella's incredulity that the W$J article would arouse controversy that the original announcement didn't.

Verifictionary word: Msgvi ('misgive').
The Archmere issue may be on ABC's Nighline tonight or Monday night. May be a reason to stay up late.
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