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March 21, 1997

Mr. Tom McCormack
c/o OUTmedia
285 5th Avenue, Suite 446
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Dear Tom,

It was two years in the making, but it was absolutely worth the wait! Your presentation here last week as part of our Peace and Social Justice Series was everything I ever expected and hoped it would be, and so much more! It was truly the most moving and powerful program I've ever seen; I cannot overstate my gratitude to you for your thoughtfulness, your sincerity, and the open and honest manner in which you presented your program, Hate Speech + Love Songs.

We knew going into this that some people would criticize us for welcoming an openly gay performer to our Catholic college. We knew some feathers would be ruffled, and in fact, some were. But we believed that we had a responsibility to address the issue of homophobia and its too frequently related intolerance and hatred. Homosexuality is a difficult issue to address honestly and openly in the context of a Catholic college, but it is a desperately important issue. We knew this would be something of a risk, but it turned out to be the best risk I've ever taken!

We could anticipate the resistance some people would have, and we did. I could never have anticipated, though, how responsive the audience would actually be to your presentation. This wasn't a typical, polite - if not somewhat dismissive - response. The audience responded in the same way I did - they were deeply and genuinely moved -- an audience, I might add, that was quite diverse, including traditional and non-traditional age students alike, members of the faculty and staff, several Sisters from the College, and numerous people from the public. You struck a lot of nerves, you opened a lot of eyes, you opened a lot of hearts. In a very real and tangible way, Tom, you changed lives. You truly affected people. Few programs can claim that kind of success!

The work and thoughtful preparation you devoted to preparing Hate Speech + Love Songs for our Peace and Social Justice Series was fully evident. It was such a thoughtfully and compassionately constructed program! I genuinely hope that you will repeat this program at other colleges - particularly other Catholic and other religious schools. Be assured, I will be most happy to provide the strongest recommendation! I said to the audience at the conclusion of your program that yours was the best program I've ever organized; I sincerely meant it!

You have an immense talent, Tom. Your music is powerful, as is your honesty, compassion, and genuineness. Congratulations on an utterly superb presentation and performance. And thank you!

Sincerely,

Jim Hamel
Rivier College
Director of Co-Curricular and Campus Programs


Tel: 603/888-1311 ext. 8250
Fax: 603/888-6447
420 Main Street Nashua, NH 03060-5086



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