Letter to the editor: Former DePaulia editor dies after battle with Alzheimer’s

Letter to the editor: Former DePaulia editor dies after battle with Alzheimer's

Courtesy of Donnellan Family Funeral Services

A funeral Mass was said on Wednesday, March 11, in St. Vincent de Paul Church for Daniel N. Kadjan, Editor-in-Chief of The DePaulia in 1955-56.  Dan was editor at the time of one of the best April Fool stunts in the student newspaper’s history.

DePaul was a different school back then.  There were no dormitories;  all of the students were commuters, most from their parents’ apartments.  Men’s basketball Coach Ray Meyer had to rent rooms in nearby buildings for any out-of-town players he recruited.

The DePaulia, a tabloid weekly distributed on Friday mornings, was the primary source of news about social and sports activities. There were three special issues each year: a ‘Powder Puff’ issue produced by the female staff, a freshman- staffed issue near the end of the school year, and an April Fool issue on the date closest to April 1.

Alumni Hall was dedicated in 1956. With 2,000 seats for home basketball games, it replaced ‘The Barn,’ the old theater converted to a gymnasium with seating for about 300.  Ray Meyer and Frank McGrath were ecstatic, and jealously guarded that beautiful new gym floor.

I was Feature Editor that year, and brainstormed with staff photographer Arnie LeCompte for April Fool ideas.  Arnie‘s local parish offered roller skating and roller hockey as teen activities in the church basement.  Could we superimpose a picture of that scarred-up floor, complete with kids playing roller hockey, on a photo of the new Alumni Hall?  Editor Dan liked the idea, and told us to give it a try.  This was old-school stuff — 8×10 prints, cut with X-Acto knives, and pasted together with rubber cement.  But we did a credible job, and it appeared on, I think, page 5.

Arnie had the honor of delivering a copy to Coach Meyer, and he hung around, waiting. Finally, Coach saw it.  He turned pink.  Then red.  Then purple.  He yelled for Frank McGrath, and together they ran into the new gym, and searched every inch of the place looking for damage to the new floor.  Finally, Arnie showed them the April Fool disclaimer.  It took awhile, but they finally calmed down and acknowledged that we pulled off a good one.

April 1st is almost here.  Can you top this?

– Tom Serb
Editor-in-Chief of The DePaulia, 1957-58