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Fr. Graham takes part in City Hall ceremony

University president's invocation kicks off swearing-in of Cincinnati city council

11/26/03

An invocation by President Michael J. Graham, S.J., kicks off the swearing-in ceremony Monday for the new and returning Cincinnati City Council members, one of whom is a Xavier student.

Graham was chosen for the invocation "because of his involvement in the community and in Evanston and the good relationship Xavier has had with the community," said Bernadette Watson, Mayor Charlie Luken’s chief of staff.

Graham has promoted Xavier's increased involvement in community issues with his theme of "University as citizen," particularly in the aftermath of the April 2001 riots when he co-chaired the community action now (CAN) police and justice action team. The committee, which met regularly on Xavier's campus, produced a new video for the common pleas court to show potential jurors about how to be a responsible and unbiased member of a jury.

The two new council members, Republican Sam Malone and Charter Party member Christopher Smitherman, were elected by a cross-section of Cincinnati voters who were drawn by their messages of racial reconciliation, support for police and opposition to the economic boycott that grew out of the riots.

Malone is studying at Xavier for his undergraduate degree. He and Smitherman join the seven returning council members—Democrats David Pepper, Alicia Reece, Laketa Cole, John Cranley and David Crowley, Charterite Jim Tarbell, and Republican Pat DeWine. The candidates were elected to council in the Nov. 4 election.

The ceremony at City Hall downtown begins at 11:00 a.m. in the City Council chambers expected to be overflowing with city officials, media representatives and well wishers.

The invocation is a prayer that opens the ceremony. The benediction—a closing prayer—will be given by The Rev. Gerald Collins, the new rector at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Evanston. The neighborhood borders Xavier's campus.