SXU alumnae connect through calligraphy over 50 years ago

At a recent gathering of Saint Xavier University’s (SXU) Alumni Relations Golden Girls, SXU alumna who graduated 1967 and back, alumna Kay Burton had a suspicion that she and alumna Jean Unsworth share a unique connection.

“I thought she might be the former Mercy Sister Augusta, so I asked her what her religious name was. I was correct,” said Burton. “Consequently, I mentioned the fact that I thought I had been a student in her calligraphy class at SXC during the spring semester in 1960. She said, ‘Yes.’”

During her senior year, Burton was looking to fill credit hours. Since she had completed all of her required coursework for her mathematics major, she was simply looking to take a class that was different from those she had been taking.

“I liked the course and found it fun and rewarding,” said Burton.

Her teacher, Jean Unsworth, developed the course by first seeing a need for an art class at Mother McCauley High School. She used innovative teaching methods for the time such as broadcasting her class to students throughout the school via televisions.

“[I] enjoyed working with it because I would have the opportunity to explain a technique and then demonstrate using the camera and taking the students through the strokes and letters until they were able to learn it,” said Unsworth.

After graduation, Burton’s time at SXU led to a 35 year career as a mathematics teacher, while Unsworth went on to publish five art-related textbooks and even served as the head of the art department at SXU from 1967-1968.

Although their lives went in very different directions, these two women continue living out the core values of SXU. Burton will always cherish the memories made and skills learned in calligraphy class. As a result, she still has one of her favorite pieces to this day.

“My ‘Hail Mary’ was, I felt, one of my better products so I framed it and hung it in my bedroom. It has moved with me for fifty-seven years,” said Burton.

For additional information, contact SXU’s Alumni Relations Office at 773-298-3316 or alumni@sxu.edu.