There aren’t many magazines in which you’ll find a profile about Lady Gaga’s stylist and a story about the Cambodian genocide separated by a mere six pages.
On the surface, of course, the topics seem world apart. But then you insert St. Edward’s University, and somehow, they all come together in a way that makes perfect sense. Sure, Brandon Maxwell ’08 (the force behind Lady Gaga’s fashion) and Shannon Ung ’15 (recipient of a 2014 Summer Academic Excellence Award who went to Cambodia to retrace her parents’ journey during the country’s genocide) share little common ground. But here’s the thing: They shared an experience, years apart, at a common place that helped them discover who they are. In their time at St. Edward’s, they found their passions and began charting a course to fulfill those respective passions.
And that’s amazing. Really, really amazing.
I love both of these stories for very different reasons: In many ways, Brandon’s story strikes me as quintessentially St. Edward’s. He came to the university not knowing what he was going to do with his life, and quite frankly, not knowing if college was for him. After some tough love from Professor Bill Kennedy, Brandon pulled himself together and earned his degree — and then went on to land the job of his dreams before turning 30.
Shannon’s story is equally about the St. Edward’s experience. Thanks to a Summer Academic Excellence Award from the university, she traveled to Cambodia this summer to research the genocide that her parents fled more than 40 years ago. According to Shannon, she rebelled against her parents as a high-school student, and her time at St. Edward’s helped her process her family’s past and realize a way to integrate it into her future.
Of course, that’s not all we have in this issue. You’ll also find the story “Oh, the Places They’ll Go,” which checks in with members of the Class of 2014. In “Quiet Zeal,” we take a look at the Brothers of Holy Cross and what the declining numbers of men answering the vocational call means for St. Edward’s University. Don’t miss the web extra, in which we bring you the memoirs of two longtime brothers.