Matt Doyle, Advancement Officer, Special Projects, has worked in the St. Michaels Advancement Office for eight years, involved with a range of alumni and fundraising projects. A graduate of U of T (UC), he has studied business and project management. He lives in a place with way too many books and no television.


Living with Books

Image depicts staff member Matt Doyle's home bookshelf

A good friend of mine once said “you live with books,” and that sentiment has resonated with me, as I’ve been working from home for nearly four months now, surrounded by my books. COVID-19 has given me more time to spend with them, gazing at their spines neatly lined up on the shelves, knowing which ones have been read and which others will be enjoyed in the future. I’ve finally found the time to alphabetize them all.

I shared that statement with someone last year and she looked at me quizzically, wondering what I meant. For the bookworm like me, it made perfect sense, with no need for an explanation. Books are different than art. Art hangs on the wall, but books are something special in your house. They’re there to be enjoyed—pulled off the shelf, returned, moved around, sorted, read, and re-read.

One author represented on my shelves is Morley Callaghan, an alumnus of St. Mike’s who graduated in 1925. Sadly overlooked today, and more remembered for knocking down Ernest Hemingway in a boxing match refereed by F. Scott Fitzgerald, at one time Callaghan was one of the most popular novelists and short story writers in Canada. His novels and stories are written in a deceptively straightforward style which belies the deeper moral concerns underpinning each one. Toronto was still very much a part of the British Empire in the 1930s, and Callaghan’s dramas focus on the Catholic minority in a city that was beginning to lose it homogeneity.

Callaghan’s career began while he was an undergrad studying at St. Mike’s, writing for the yearbook, submitting short stories to publishers, and penning articles for the Toronto Star. Besides his writing, Callaghan also organized the St. Mike’s Literary Club, where he chose the books and plays to be read by the other students, with a heavy bent to the modernist writers who were his near contemporaries. Conrad, Fitzgerald, Tarkington, Galsworthy, Shaw, and O’Neill were some of the authors Callaghan chose, all of whom were giants in the early 20th-century literary world. One wonders if the Basilian Fathers who were teaching at the school knew who Callaghan was encouraging his fellow students to read.

Photograph of Matt Doyle's collection of Morley Callaghan books

Debating was a popular activity on the U of T campus in the 1920s, and Callaghan was a member of the St. Michael’s team that won several debates, which would help his studies when he went to Osgoode Hall Law School after he graduated. It should also be mentioned that St. Mike’s was not only the place where Callaghan started his literary career, but he was also awarded for his boxing skills while at the college, which would come in handy when he was later challenged to that bout by Hemingway.

That’s one of the things I enjoy most about working in the Advancement Office at St. Mike’s—learning the rich traditions and stories of the College’s nearly 170-year history. The pandemic has prevented our usual in-person events from happening, including Alumni Reunion, when alumni are invited to return to campus. I miss meeting with our alumni and hearing their stories about their time at St. Mike’s. I know it’s only temporary, and our alumni will be back on campus soon. Our recent grads are our newest alumni, and who knows—maybe someday one of them will be Canada’s most popular author.

Golf carts awaiting their drivers.

A beautiful day on the Eagles Nest golf course opened with a hearty breakfast for 2018 USMC Golf Classic participants on Wednesday, July 25. President David Sylvester greeted golfers upon their arrival and played a round himself in a foursome with alumni John McGrath, 6T3, Jerome McGrath, 0T5 and Kevin Fawcett, 0T8. Divided into 16 teams, over 60 St. Michael’s alumni and friends turned out for a day of golf and fellowship in support of the school.

Participants throughout the day praised the charms and challenges of the course. When asked at the first tee how their game was going so far, one smiling foursome suggested, “The course is winning.”

A view of part of the course.

One team, however, overcame the course to win this year’s tournament, and that team happened to include USMC’s Registrar and Director of Student Services Giancarlo Mazzanti, 8T4, who played with Rob Moffat and Steven Smirnis from Middlefield Group. They each received a Google Home device, and their names will be affixed to the trophy in an engraved plaque commemorating this year’s event. In second place came Jonathan Flegg, Terry Krinsky and Paul Crossdale from CI Institutional Asset Management, who also went home with prizes.

One of the day’s winners.

Before the awards presentation—which featured the winning and runner-up teams as well as raffle winners, silent-auction winners and men’s and women’s awards for Longest Drive and Closest to the Pin—St. Michael’s President David Sylvester offered remarks about the institution that the Golf Classic supports. The philosophy of education at St. Michael’s involves, he said, “putting students at the centre of everything we do,” and developing those students into “complete people.” “Investing in our students’ experience and success is a key priority as we build on St. Mike’s rich history of excellence,” he said.

The winning team receives their trophy.

“This annual event, which has raised more than $2.5 million since its inception, is an outstanding example of the St. Mike’s spirit and commitment to student success.” To golfers in the audience who hail from other schools, Dr. Sylvester offered thanks for their support. “Welcome to the family,” he said.

All told, participants and sponsors raised $76,500 during the 2018 Golf Classic, and these proceeds support scholarships and bursaries, enhancements to the Kelly Library and student counseling and wellness services. Special thanks go out to Golf Classic co-chairs Jim McGovern, 8T5, Barry McInerney, 8T5 and David Scandiffio, 9T4, and to all our participants for their investments in the lives of our students.

Next July, St. Michael’s will return to Eagles Nest for the 20th annual Golf Classic. Stay tuned for details!