The Heights Throughout the Century
An Interview with Kevin Mulcahy, A&S Class of 1982 and Author of Comic Strip "Norman" in The Heights
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The Heights: What years were you at Boston College?
Kevin Mulcahy: 1978 to 1982
The Heights: What did you major in?
KM: Political Science
The Heights: What clubs or organizations were you involved in?
KM: The Heights, comic strip author/illustrator, UGBC executive vice president senior year (Joanne Caruso was UGBC president that year, the first woman to hold that position)
The Heights: Who was the president of BC during your time on campus?
KM: Fr. Monan (Rev. J. Donald Monan, S.J.)
The Heights: Was the football team successful when you were at BC?
KM: In my freshman year, we were 0 and 11. Every game seemed to be full of interceptions run back against us. We even lost to our arch-rival at the time: Holy Cross (yes, they do have a football team!). But in my junior year, when we were getting killed by Penn State, in desperation, a freshman named Doug Flutie was put in to play quarterback in the second half, and we almost came back and beat Penn State. BC football was never the same after that.
The Heights: What was your favorite place to eat on campus?
KM: Eagle’s Nest. It was one of the few choices we had, and it was located right above The Heights and UGBC offices, so it was pretty convenient. If you had a friend who worked there, you could get some pretty good portions.
The Heights: How did you become involved with The Heights?
KM: Early in my freshman year, I noticed that the The Heights didn’t have any comic strips. So I created one on freshman confusion over the pronunciation of “McElroy,” and they ran it. I got addicted and published a Norman comic strip every week for the remaining four years.
The Heights: What initially drew you to the newspaper?
KM: It was THE campus newspaper, and run by students. So it was easy to get involved. I just walked in with a comic strip in hand.
The Heights: Have you continued to draw since your time as a Heights cartoonist?
KM: I continued the Norman character for a year at Duke Law School, focusing on law student life. Those comic strips were run nationally by The Student Lawyer magazine, published by the American Bar Association (I even recycled a few BC Norman strips, but let’s keep that a secret).
The Heights: If you were drawing a cartoon for The Heights today, what would it be of?
KM: Hmm. I suppose it would cover a lot of the same ground—the ups and downs of college life, which I think remains pretty constant. But I’m sure the characters would be shown using a lot of technology.
The Heights: Do you think the problems facing students today are greatly different from the ones you faced while at BC?
KM: We never had to deal with the stress that can come from being so connected all the time—but we never got the benefits of that either. And tuition wasn’t as high as it is now.
But in the end, I think pressures and joys of being in college remain pretty consistent through the years.
The Heights: What do you miss most about BC?
KM: Spending so much time with peers who have similar interests. It’s really a great luxury to be able to do that. Once you graduate, you don’t get that any more.
The Heights: What was your greatest achievement as an undergraduate?
KM: Well, I suppose it was keeping the comic strip going while I was at BC. I’d got a lot of nice feedback each week. For fun, sometimes I’d walk down the halls of a women’s dorm just to see how many Norman comic strips were taped to doors (I think the record was 8).
The Heights: Do you have any regrets from your time at BC?
KM: Not many. It was a very good place to be during those years. But after I graduated, I looked back and thought I should have been an English or History major, rather than a Political Science major. In retrospect, it seemed to me like the skills and knowledge that you’d get as an English or History major would be more satisfying and useful as life goes on. But all in all, no real regrets.
The Heights: Finally, would you do your time on the Heights over again if you had the chance?
KM: Definitely! I made great friends during those years. Even had the same roommate, John Valpey, for four years. And our crew from Mod 8B are still great friends. Being at a four-year college is such a privilege. And being at a renowned one like BC, with great organizations like The Heights, made it really special.