Thinking About Our Marywood Screening and A Quiet Hero: Dr. Rex Dumdum

Written by Tony Mussari
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by Kitch and Tony Mussari
Copyright 2014
Mussari-Loftus Associates
The Face of America Project

Be good to your work, your word, and your friend. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Setting

This week, our Face of America journey took us to theIMG_5581A 250 Nazareth Student Center at Marywood University for a special event. On this April evening, Kitch and I would experience the magic of Dr. Rex Dumdum’s leadership skills.

We met Rex last year at the annual ethics conference, and we became fast friends. Three weeks ago we were reunited at the 12th annual ethics conference. Rex attended every one of the sessions, and he moderated the evening panel discussion.

Rex is an Associate Professor of Information Systems and Leadership. Everyone should be so fortunate to have a teacher or a friend like Rex. He is thoughtful and generous with his time and his talent. His greatest assets are his welcoming way, his million dollar smile and his positive sense of humor.

IMG_5586 AAs a member of the business division at Marywood University, Rex is shaping lives one person at a time. He does it the old fashioned way with a sterling example of what it means to be a decent, good and kind person.

His leadership philosophy is deeply rooted in service to others. His word is his bond, and competence is his brand.

When Louisa May Alcott wrote these words, she described Rex:

Simple, genuine goodness is the best capital to found the business of this life upon. It lasts when fame and money fail, and is the only riches we can take out of this world with us.

The Marywood Screening

Before the ethics conference ended, Rex proposed the idea of a screening of Four Days of Honor and Valor in GraphicGettysburg for his students. After consultations with his colleagues, the idea was expanded to include students in the business division and other interested students and invited guests. Then, Dr. “D” as he is affectionately known to his students, invested the time and energy needed to attend to all of the details for the event with dignity and class. As with everything he does, Dr. “D” did it with enthusiasm, and he personalized the experience for students and faculty members.

With the encouragement and help of Dr. Art Comstock, he arranged a dinner for seven of his colleagues in the business division, and he graciously invited Kitch and me to the dinner which preceded the screening. This beautiful community moment enabled people to relax, get to know one another and talk about things relating to the screening, the leadership conference and ways we can help students better understand traditional concepts of character, courage, honor, humility, integrity, and selfless service.

Kitch and I were fascinated by Fulbright Scholar Rodica MilenaIMG_5587 Zaharia’s assessment of her experiences in America. Rodica is a woman filled with the gift of loving kindness.

Dr. Chris Speicher introduced Karwan Murad to the members of our screening family. Karwan is a young physician from Iraq. He told us about his journey to Marywood University, and his hopes and dreams for his two-year visit in America.

Dr. Sarah Kenehan and Dr. Murray Pyle shared the good news aboutIMG_5585A250 Marywood University’s second place finish in the Fleming Ethics Bowl competition and the challenges they face as they prepare students for another competition in Arizona.

Kitch and Chris Speicher shared stories about family members who played bridge together for many years.

For almost an hour this small section of the student dining hall was filled with the sounds of laughter, delight, joy and learning. It reminded me of joyful times spent at our kitchen table with family and friends during the holidays.

At the appointed time, Rex led the way to the large room above the main dining room. When the elevator door opened, Kitch and I were delighted to see one of our former students, Stephanie Seese. She came to the student center to say hello. She could not stay for the screening, but her decision to spend a few minutes with us was a priceless gift.

When we entered the room where the screening would take place, the words of Anna Sewell came to mind:

It is good people who make good places.

The Event

In keeping with his generous nature, Dr. “D” made sure that light refreshments were available for everyone who attended theIMG_5598A250 screening. The students loved the cookies and soft drinks.

As with all screenings, Kitch and I were anxious. Dr. “D” reduced our anxiety levels when he told us the technology for projecting the film had been tested. To guarantee the success of the event, he went the extra mile. He learned how to operate the equipment so everything would run smoothly, and his hard work paid off.

When the lights dimmed, the sound of silence documented the engagement of the viewers.


The Marywood screening was a success on many levels. The room was packed. The students were attentive. The comments after the screening were affirming and insightful. The conversations we had with students, faculty and invited guests were complimentary and very encouraging. They liked the story. They connected with the message, and as one student told us, “I have a better understanding of humility and the power of gratitude.”

Another guest summarized the documentary with these words:

I enjoyed the documentary. It was an experience that I was happy to have in my life. It renewed faith in my beliefs and I really hope this can shape a way for people in the future. Your documentary is a moving lesson from beginning to end.

The most poignant comments about the documentary and the screening were recorded e-mails from students:

There was something you said tonight that really stayed with me, it was regarding the burdens that we all bear and how we cannot allow those burdens to stop us from doing what is right.

The film gave me hope… simply put, it is desperately needed today, and I sincerely hope you get the opportunity and funding to distribute it to every school in America.

One of the highlights of the evening happened when I presented a gratitude gift to Rex. His eyes sparkled, and a glowing smile of surprise filled his face. There was a moment of silence and then he filled the room with the sound of his one word reaction WOW!

Rex brought the evening to a close with kind comments about the production, and he thanked everyone for making the screening a success.

As we left the Nazareth Student Center with our dear friend Sister Mariam, the words of one of America’s best reverberated in my brain:

There are two things that men should never weary of, goodness and humility; we get none too much of them in this rough world among cold, proud people. Robert Louis Stevenson

Thank you, Dr."D".

Thank you, members of the Marywood faculty, staff and student body.

Thank you, Dr. Art Comstock and the business division.

Thank you, Kitch.

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