Show me the bread: Battling Benedictine schools bet over Superbowl outcome

Feb. 1, 2006

Lacey, Wash. – Ordinarily, the 13 Catholic Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States are big on values like community, respect and the importance of teamwork. But this is no ordinary time. Superbowl XL week is upon us, and a cross-country rivalry between Washington’s upstart Saint Martin’s University, established in 1895, and its sedate older cousin, St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Penn., has reached – well – a level of touchiness heretofore unknown.

St. Vincent College, founded in 1846, has for 40 years hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers summer training camps on their campus. Since July of last year, the college has ardently watched “their team” climb to the top of the AFC. On the college website, Steelers news is as prominent as student news.

But here in the Northwest, where loyal, long-suffering Seahawks fans have hung in some 40 seasons for this moment, tension is at a fever pitch as Sunday’s game nears.

The serenity was shattered this morning when Saint Martin’s President Douglas M. Astolfi placed a wager with St. Vincent President and Vice Chancellor James F. Will. At stake: a pound of Olympia’s Batdorf and Bronson coffee, a bottle of fine Washington wine and smoked salmon. Will bit immediately, anteing up a complete bread-making basket from the legendary St. Vincent Archabbey Gristmill and Bakery.

In issuing the bet, Astolfi said he told Will, “As a former University of Pittsburgh dean, I approached this bet with some mixed emotions because I’ve been a longtime Steelers fan, but not this year – they’re going to have to lose.”

Astolfi said he intends to watch every minute of the game – and, knowing where his bread’s buttered, will definitely be cheering on the ‘hawks.

For more information:

Deanna Partlow
Media relations coordinator
(360) 438-4541
dpartlow@stmartin.edu