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Alumni Authors

June 5, 2019

These scholarly Friars put pen to paper professionally.


Including alumni Terry Doody ’61, Bill Mayer’74 and Anthony Santoro ’56, at least 23 Fenwick graduates are published authors. Retired Yale French Professor Tom Kavanagh ’61 has published books and articles on 18th-century literature, culture and the visual arts, among other topics. His 2005 book, Dice, Cards, Wheels: A Different History of French Culture, traces the cultural history of gambling in French culture from the Middle Ages to the present. His other books include Esthetics of the Moment: Literature and Art in the French Enlightenment, Enlightenment and the Shadows of Chance: The Novel and the Culture of Gambling in Eighteenth-Century France (winner of the Modern Language Association’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literature Studies in 1994) and Writing the Truth: Authority and Desire in Rousseau.


In 2017, then-94-year-old Paul Sikorski ’41 published We Interrupt This Broadcast: A Veteran’s Look Back on His WWII Tour of Duty. Mr. Sikorski grew up in Riverside, IL, and was a soldier in the U.S. Army Signal Corps – stationed in Britain before D-Day and in France afterwards. The author also has written three other books: As I Recall is an early history of Textile Rubber & Chemical Company; What Is Alliteration, Pleonasm, Verbiage or an O. Henry Ending, a collection of words, phrases and idioms offered up as a creative-writing reference; and Wheels Up, essays on his eight-decade romance with flying machines. He now resides in Georgia.


The late Tom Clark ’59 was poetry editor of The Paris Review from 1963 to 1973, one of the prestigious journal’s most important decades. He published his own collections of poetry, including “Disordered Ideas,” “Empire of Skin” and “Paradise Resisted” through Black Sparrow Press. Mr. Clark’s numerous literary essays and reviews have appeared in publications including The New York Times, London Review of Books and the San Francisco Chronicle.


Classmate and Fenwick Hall of Famer Phil Caputo ’59 (inducted in 2001) wrote the definitive memoir of a Vietnam foot soldier, A Rumor of War. Last year marked the 40th anniversary of publication, and it has been featured in Ken Burns’ WTTW documentary on Vietnam. 


Fenwick 2006 Hall of Fame inductee Steve Twomey ’69 won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for his Philadelphia Inquirer profile of life aboard an aircraft carrier. He also has written for the Washington Post. In 2016, he published Countdown to Pearl Harbor, which examines the 12 days leading up to the Japanese attack. Twomey started his career as a copyboy for the Chicago Tribune while attending Fenwick.

Mike Shields ’67 has written two books: The first (1982) was Fight to Win, about the greatest moments in Notre Dame football history. Five years later he published Never Quit: A Photographic Celebration of Courage in American Sports. “I wrote and compiled them while working at Abbott Laboratories,” Shields shares. “They were fun to do and both had a lot of fascinating and unique photos. I also met a lot of interesting people.”


Giles Miller ’96 penned the tome Everything I Need to Know About Business I Learned from Hip-Hop. “It explains fundamental business concepts using examples from Hip-Hop personalities, culture and wider industry trends,” Miller explains. “If you are looking for a new way to illustrate key theories of the free enterprise system, this book is for you.” Readers can learn: cash flow from Snoop Dogg; start-up considerations from The Source founders, Jonathan Shecter and David Mays; sales and marketing from P. Diddy; management fundamentals from 50 Cent; human resources from Macklemore; project management from Ice-T; business finance from Queen Latifah; and major changes in business from Dr. Dre and Jay-Z!


Jerry McDermott ’50: After an early retirement from Texas Instruments, where he was an account manager, he concentrated on a writing career that includes more than 400 magazine articles and four books. Together, Never Alone is his 2018 release in the Christian literature genre. Have you ever wondered about Christ’s opinions and comments on the affairs of the modern world? Together tries to answer these questions as it contains commentaries by Jesus in our era. The purpose of the book is to reveal the loving character of Jesus as he comments on individual, church and world conditions. McDermott does not hide his frailties either, as Christ directs and corrects him. The Lord’s comments on the American scene are really a commentary of what he has already revealed to the apostles and disciples in truths we have overlooked or avoided. He is reaffirming His eternal truths. McDermott’s books are available on Amazon and at booksellers. Another book, Ferrari - Midwest Racing History, was covered by chapters in Cavallino magazine. The Friar alumni author has experience as a parish council president and co-pastor of a prayer group.  


Maggie McKinley ’01 earned her PhD in English from Marquette University in 2012. She is the author of Masculinity and the Paradox of Violent in American Fiction, 1950-75 and Understanding Norman Mailer. Her work has also been published in Studies in American Jewish Literature, Philip Roth Studies, Roth and Celebrity, and Critical Insights: Philip Roth. Ms. McKinley is currently an Associate Professor of English at Harper College in Palatine, IL.


Drew Schroeder ’12 is the author of the self-published novel Taking Chances and a collection of poems titled “Sweet Nothings and Silent Screams.” Both works are available for purchase on Amazon.


Alumnus Peter Ponzio ’72 has been an adjunct professor at Loyola University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies in Chicago for the past three years. Ponzio also is a published author. His most recent book (2018), titled Themes in Dickens: Seven Recurring Concerns in the Writings, was published by McFarland Publishing early last year. An earlier book on Dickens, entitled Attached to Life Again: Esther Summerson’s Struggle for Identity and Acceptance in Bleak House was published by VDM Verlag in 2008. And Deus Ex, a new novel, was published in 2016 by ExLibris. Prior to teaching the Organizational Finance and Banking, Money & Capital Markets Finance courses at Loyola, Ponzio was a professor of composition and writing for four years at McHenry County College (IL) and also taught Senior Honors English at Skokie Yeshiva, the all-boys high school division of Hebrew Theological College. He spent 22 years at office products manufacturer ACCO Brands, where he was VP of Finance.

Most of these alumni-written books are available in Fenwick’s John Gearen ’32 Library. So come and check them out!




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