Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Jesuit Recalls Turbulent Times on the Hilltop

Rev. Edward Bodnar, S.J. attended Georgetown from 1938-1939 before entering the priesthood. He later completed a B.A. in Classics at St. Louis University and a Ph. D. at Princeton, also in Classics, in 1958. He returned to Georgetown in 1967, serving as THE HOYA’s moderator between until 1975. He is currently a Professor Emeritus of Classics at Georgetown.

Tell us about being moderator of THE HOYA.

I was the last moderator of THE HOYA. I came to Georgetown in 1967 and was approached right away by [HOYA editors] Gene Payne (CAS ’69) and Don Casper (CAS ’70). Fr. Royden Davis had recommended me.

The original role of the moderator was to act as censor and read everything before it went to print. But by the time I got the job it was kind of an anomaly. There was no job description. The Hoya came out once a week, I would just hang out in the newsroom while they were putting it together. And there was a time at first when I was signing checks. Then one day there were no more bills to sign. Student activities started doing that.

I went on sabbatical in ’74-75. I never clicked with the staff when I got back. My name was quietly dropped from the masthead and finally an editor, whose real name I don’t recall, but whose nickname was Black Bart, ended our relationship.

What was campus like when you got there in the ’60s?

In ’68, of course, there was the reaction to the assassination of MLK. There were riots in Northwest Washington. From up above Healy you could see the skies were burning bright red. That was the year they called off final exams. They made finals optional. That was also the only time I ever marched. I marched with a group down to the White House. It was a very, very interesting time. A crazy time.

What are some past issues that really stick out in your head?

I really remember the 50th anniversary issue. That was put together almost entirely by Don Casper. It was quite a feat. That was 35 years ago, huh?

There was also some very good investigative reporting. Fr. [Robert] Henle fired his executive vice president, Fr. Ryan. Apparently two of Fr. Henle’s assistants, Fr. Ryan and Daniel [Altobello] (C ’63) had gotten into a feud. A lot of reporters really dug into that story and produced some good journalism.

What was it like when women first came to the paper?

The college didn’t admit women until ’69 or ’70. There were already women in the foreign service school and the nursing school. They were usually not trusted to do anything other than be copy editors. It took a long time for women to be more trusted in the newsroom.

It’s a funny linguistic thing. When women first came to the campus, they had their dorms and the men had theirs. The question was, when could they see each other? It was during parietals. Extended parietals started out as a good thing, but became a restriction.

– Interview By Josh Zumbrum

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