After 15 years as President of Xavier University, Michael Graham, S.J., knows the magic of campus in December. We sat down with him and talked about his favorite campus holiday traditions, the best gift he ever gave and what’s on his Christmas playlist.
1. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
Early Christmas evening, after the hubbub of the day has died down, a bunch of my family will end up at my brother Dave’s. We binge-watch Christmas programs from when we were kids: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol—singing along with all the songs and dancing when Schroeder plays the piano.
2. What do you love most about the holidays at Xavier?
Christmas lights are always nice, especially the multi-colored lights on evergreens. And it’s good to see how focused everyone is, since Christmastime is also end-of-semester and finals time.
3. Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
Oh, the usual. To learn together. To serve together. To succeed in changing the world together. And hopefully to lose a few pounds.
4. What is the best holiday gift you ever gave?
When my mom was alive, I had the tradition of giving her a Christmas decoration of some kind every year. The best one ever was when I took old family photos, photocopied them and put them in small silver frames and used them to decorate a tabletop tree. It made her cry. It was awesome.
5. Do you have a favorite Christmas song?
Way too many to choose from! Hark, The Herald Angels Sing is probably my favorite Christmas carol, and The Christmas Song would be my favorite Christmas song.
6. What musician would you love to see in concert?
Since I just saw Paul McCartney in July, it would have to be John Lennon. But that will have to wait until heaven.
7. D’Artagnan or Blue Blob?
D’Artagnan is such a party animal. He and I have had so much fun at tournament games on the road. It's a good thing that what happens after Sweet 16 games stays there. But if I really, really need to talk to a good friend, someone who knows me better than I know myself, it’s the Blue Blob. Every time.
8. What is your favorite spot on campus?
You mean besides my suite at the Cintas Center after we win a game? My study in my apartment overlooking the campus is great, although my office is currently pretty sweet, since it’s all decked out for Christmas.