Hallelujah with Hans, Laughs with Brunett

Mark Lee, ’91, on Hans Mair, Ph.D., and Rev. John Brunett, S.J.

By Magazine Staff  |  Photos from Loyola University Maryland Archives

Mark Lee was listening to the Concert Choir perform Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus in the Chapel when someone caught the freshman’s eye. “There was an older gentleman in the back row with no hair,” said Lee, recalling the 1987 concert. He was curious about this man singing in a sea of young student voices.

When Lee joined the choir, he met that man, Hans Mair, Ph.D., an associate professor of political science. Lee learned that Mair—like himself—was a bass. “I realized that the best place to sit was next to Hans.”

Lee never took a class with Mair, but they forged a special friendship. When Lee produced a Friday Night Live program for the Loyola stage, the then-student asked Mair to act in a “Hans and Franz” skit. Mair, who had never seen the Saturday Night Live version, readily agreed.

“What do I need to do?” Mair asked Lee. “Just flex your muscles and say, ‘I want to pump you up,’” Lee told him. The production ran long, and the skit was never actually performed, but Mair was sitting there, waiting, prepared to take the stage. “He didn’t even know what ‘Hans and Franz’ was, but he was there.”

Now Loyola’s director of technology and graduate student services, Lee has fond memories of many of the faculty and administrators he met as a student. He tries to model his interactions with students after those of the late Rev. John L. Brunett, S.J., who worked in Loyola’s advising office when Lee was a student.

“Fr. Brunett really made the ministry of presence alive. When you were with him, you
were the only person in the world,” Lee said. He also remembers the Jesuit’s panache for storytelling—and even has videos of Fr. Brunett telling some of his funniest stories. “He was just a wise, gentle man. He was the best of what Loyola was about.”

After he graduated in 1991, Lee stayed in touch with Fr. Brunett until shortly before the
Jesuit died in 2003 and was a pallbearer at his funeral Mass. Mair passed away in 2007.

Lee still thinks of Mair often. “When I hear Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria,’ I hear Hans in my right ear.”

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