Professor of business and economics Jerome “Jerry” L. McElroy, who taught at Saint Mary’s for 32 years, died Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. He was 77 years old.McElroy was deeply invested in the life of the community at Saint Mary’s, vice president for college relations Shari Rodriguez said. When asked what he wanted to tell his colleagues and students, McElroy said, “Tell them I love them.”Rodriguez said students, alumnae and faculty loved McElroy right back, as expressed by College President Carol Ann Mooney.“Jerry was the consummate Saint Mary’s faculty member. A man of deep faith, this was not a job for Jerry, but a true vocation,” Mooney said. “He loved his students and colleagues and often demonstrated that love by sharing his beautiful poems with us. None of us will ever forget his warm smile and the countless contributions he made to generations of Saint Mary’s women.”McElroy began teaching at Saint Mary’s in the fall of 1982, and continued to teach through the fall 2014 semester. Jerry was honored with two faculty awards recognizing his excellence in teaching, the Maria Pieta Award in 1989 and the Spes Unica Award in 1997, Rodriguez said.McElroy was also a poet. He hosted annual readings at the College on themes of nature, the supernatural world, childhood on his grandfather’s farm and meditations on themes of grace. Most recently, McElroy offered a reading in October 2014 from his latest published chapbook, “Hidden Graces,” which was published by Finishing Line Press.At the reading, professor emeritus of religious studies Keith Egan introduced McElroy, stating that in McElroy’s lifetime, he has published more than 140 poems, published or co-published 17 books and monographs and produced nearly 142 scholarly papers, which resulted from McElroy’s research into the economies of the islands of the Caribbean.Beyond his admirable accomplishments, McElroy influenced many in the College’s community on a personal level, as shown by the hundreds of letters, notes and e-mails received by his wife of 43 years, Birdie Maria Rossow McElroy.“Each of those who wrote or called felt he [McElroy] knew them well, and they him,” Birdie McElroy said. “He was a spirit that transcended mere cursory knowledge: as one former student said, ‘He saw us.’ That is a rare gift and one that flowed naturally from Jerry, from a large heart, sharp mind, all encased in a soft demeanor and humor that delighted.”Birdie McElroy said although her husband’s five books of published poetry that contain some of her own artwork may not have eclipsed his economic research, his poetry helps distinguish McElroy as a true “Renaissance Man.”“His gift to me as my husband was an abiding love, a kindness that enveloped me, a support for my every endeavor and surely the greatest gift from one human being to another; the gift of knowing me deeply and accepting everything I am,” Birdie McElroy said.Close friend and colleague Richard Measell, who is the chair of the department of business and economics, said that besides being a true family man, McElroy was also a professional and reliable professor, who always sought excellence but not perfection, and handled others with grace and understanding.“Saint Mary’s has many truly outstanding people who have dedicated their lives to working here, but Jerry is part of the very few who definitely are the ‘best of the best,’” Measell said. “Throughout his years here, he demonstrated excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.“He loved his students dearly and always wanted them to learn as much as they could. … Jerry knew how to relate well to others and his rapport with his students was remarkable — leading many to stay in touch with him after graduation.”One of these former students, Courtney Parry, class of 2009, said she grew especially fond of McElroy, as the two worked together researching, conducting data analyses and writing reviews of several publications.“We worked well as a pair — he would identify a hypothesis (often in an area of island research, his specialty) and I would run the data to prove or disprove the hypothesis,” Parry said. “I would identify the needed datasets, clean the data and run the models.”The research Parry conducted for her senior thesis was used in an article Parry and McElroy co-published her senior year. Parry said she also helped McElroy with a second article after she had graduated.Parry said she will remember McElroy as a wonderful teacher and mentor along with his family who she grew close with over the years.“In many ways, they [the McElroy family] ‘are Saint Mary’s’ — kind, generous in spirit, faithful and supportive.”Tags: jerome mcelroy, jerry mcelroy, professor of economics, saint mary’s professor dies
Hamilton from $149.00 View Comments We’ve said that Hamilton maestro Lin-Manuel Miranda has too much on his mind, but does the man listen to us? Thankfully, the answer is a decisive “no.” In addition to the upcoming Disney film Moana, the certified genius has contributed tunes for another highly anticipated movie: freaking Star Wars.While on The Tonight Show, Star Wars: The Force Awakens writer and director J.J. Abrams revealed to fellow Hamilfan Jimmy Fallon that when he saw the Broadway megahit, Miranda joked that he’d write a new cantina song for his movie. Perhaps the composer possesses Yoda-levels of the force, because Abrams was looking for someone to do just that, as John Williams was focusing on the actual cinematic score and not the one song.According to Miranda, he and Abrams collaborated during his break on two-show days. “J.J. is the best. Can’t wait to see,” he tweeted. Even Questlove, Fallon’s bandleader and Hamilton album producer, wasn’t in on it, which makes us wonder: what other unannounced projects does Lin-Manuel Miranda have up his sleeve?Star Wars: The Force Awakens heads to theaters on December 18. Until then, may the memes be with you! Related Shows Lin-Manuel Miranda Star Files
By Dr. Esteban Devis-Amaya, senior lecturer in Spanish and Latin American Studies at Oxford Brookes University November 02, 2020 According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an agency with the mandate to protect refugees, more than 4.5 million Venezuelans have left their country, escaping difficult economic, social, and political conditions over a period of seven years.The exodus can be divided into two waves. The first wave started with Hugo Chávez’s rise to power, and ended some months after his death. This wave included many business people, political opposition leaders, and former state employees. Its demographics were fairly narrow. According to Venezuelan sociologist Tomás Páez, over 90 percent of these refugees had some sort of professional qualifications.The second wave started in 2014, under the regime of Nicolás Maduro. The number has been much larger and its demographics a lot more diverse.Venezuelan academic Rina Mazuera-Arias, a civil law professor and researcher, and her team have shown that only around half of recent refugees (in 2019) have professional qualifications — still a high percentage, when compared to other global migrations, but lower than in the first wave.The active role of Chávez and Maduro has been seen in both waves. During the early 2000s, a large number of former state employees, mainly from the PDVSA state oil company, left Venezuela after participating in anti-government strikes. The Chávez government fired around 18,000 PDVSA workers, blacklisting them from government jobs, blocking them from accessing public service assistance, and persecuting and imprisoning trade union leaders. Many of these engineers, scientists, and administrators left Venezuela and were hired by other countries’ oil industries.This modus operandi has intensified during the Maduro regime, especially the persecution of political opposition leaders and activists, whose options are to flee the country, seek refuge at an embassy, or become political prisoners — often in the infamous Helicoide jail. The swelling number of activists from different political parties living abroad and their stories of persecution, enduring threats and intimidation, and being smuggled out of the country, are examples that attest to the active participation of the regime.Maduro’s persecution has not only focused on political activists, but has extended to their families. Often, when the regime cannot subdue an opposition leader, either due to their prominence or because they have already fled, it turns to their relatives — as was recently seen with the persecution of the uncle of Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó.Intimidation campaign Venezuelan women refugees walk through a camp run by the United Nations in Maicao, Colombia, in May 2019. (Photo: Reuters)This persecution has not only targeted Venezuelan nationals. In 2015, the Maduro regime expelled over 2,000 Colombians living in Venezuela during a campaign of intimidation through an operative of the People’s Liberation Operation (OLP, in Spanish) — an anti-crime initiative of the government — that included members of the police checking individual houses in search of Colombians, and marking them with the letters R or D in paint, for “registered” or “demolish.” It then led to the emigration of an additional 22,000 Colombians due to the fear of repression from the regime’s forces.Persecuted Venezuelans have also included former court magistrates, journalists, nongovernmental organizations’ activists, and many who have raised their voice against the regime and have subsequently fled, after suffering threats, harassment by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN, in Spanish), and being accused of “treason against the homeland” — which would mean being tried in military courts.The Venezuelan regime does not keep public emigration statistics — a suggestion that it wants to hide the issue, does not place much importance on it, or wants to ignore it. Therefore, the data must come from other sources.A lesser threat to the regimeAt the same time, the regime has had a more passive role in the exodus, one that has been partly beneficial for its own survival. The first benefit it has enjoyed started with the first wave, and has continued since. Venezuelan sociologists Iván De la Vega and Claudia Vargas have shown that, unsurprisingly, those who migrate are more likely to support the opposition — a trend that has increased over the years. The massive departure, therefore, has decreased the number of critical voices within the country, reduced the turnouts during anti-governmental protests, and even made it more difficult for detractors to participate in elections — lessening the internal threat to the regime.The second benefit is connected to its expenses. The crisis that has led to migration has been mainly a product of the regime’s own failed social and economic policies. As has been widely reported, the economic crisis has had a very real strain on public services. Schools, hospitals, universities, water and electricity services, etc. have faced severe budget cuts.The exodus has helped the regime by reducing the number of children and young people who need to be educated, and the number of patients who need to be treated. It has meant that there are fewer mouths to feed, less need for medicines, fewer public sector employees to pay, and in general, a reduced pressure on public expenses. In the education sector alone, according to the government’s own data, from 2013 to 2017, more than 683,000 students stopped attending schools. The Venezuelan National Institute of Statistics indicates that between 2015 and 2018, more than 1,270 schools closed.The regime has also benefited from the remittances refugees sent back to Venezuela — helping to boost the struggling economy. The remittances have created jobs, allowed some families to maintain a decent standard of living, and given the economy much-needed foreign currency, which avoids much of the hyperinflation being experienced in the country. It is difficult to know the actual figure for the remittances, but they are believed to have reached over $3 billion a year at its peak.The country, however, has also suffered from critical brain drain. Insecurity, high inflation rates, and low salaries for public servants have led to the emigration of thousands of doctors, nurses, scientists, and educators. Venezuelan academics Jaime Requena and Carlo Caputo, fellows of Venezuela’s Academy of Physics, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences, underscored the stark situation and showed that between 1960 and 2000, only 235 stem researchers left the country, however, between 2000 and 2015, more than 1,450 left — numbers have since continued to rise.In addition, the large numbers of opposition politicians and activists abroad have formed influential pressure groups that continuously expose the repressive nature of the Maduro regime.COVID-19 impactThe COVID-19 situation in 2020 has brought a new dimension to the phenomenon. Many Venezuelans living abroad rely on informal work for their income, which has been hit particularly hard by the different countries’ lockdowns. Most of them also lack access to social security. As such, a number of Venezuelans have gone back home: It is estimated that around 15,000 Venezuelans have returned, a small percentage, but still an important number. The Maduro regime has used their return for its own political advantage — using it for propaganda purposes. There have also been reports of discrimination and of bad sanitary conditions in quarantine camps.Moreover, migrants are returning to a country with a shattered health system, ranked 176 out of 195 in the world, according to the John Hopkins University Centre for Health Security Index, which also tracks the spread of the virus. The World Food Programme estimates that more than 40 percent of Venezuelan households suffer from daily water cuts and that the country is at risk of suffering a major famine. By end of April 2020, the Venezuelan regime had only reported 329 cases of coronavirus and 10 deaths, though the numbers are likely much larger. With a lack of access to medicines, and where even handwashing is a challenge, the threat from the virus is ever present. The economy has been further hit with the lowest price of crude oil in history, plus a reduction in the amount of remittances. The regime will struggle even more in the coming months, and migrants will be forced to leave their country again, whether by force or by circumstances.The Venezuelan regime has been both an active and a passive force in the migration of Venezuelans, and has both benefited and been affected by the phenomenon. However, the situation brought by COVID-19 is not only unprecedented, but will also weaken even more Venezuela’s unstable public institutions.Paradoxically, any future transitional government will also have to rely on remittances and on the reduced pressure on public services. Many of those who have fled will undoubtedly return, especially those who have been persecuted. The transitional government will also need key workers to migrate back to Venezuela. However, it will also benefit from a staggered return from most others, to get the much-needed capital, and not overwhelm the weakened health system it will inherit. The consequences of the migration generated by the policies of the Chávez and Maduro regimes will continue to be felt for decades to come.