Editor’s note: The letters that appeared in the winter 2005-06 print issue are marked with a double asterisk (**)
Footing the bill
** “The Village of Notre Dame” in the Autumn 2005 issue failed to address the upwardly spiraling costs of a Notre Dame education. While the wealthy name buildings after themselves, tuition and fees for one year at Notre Dame rapidly approach the median household income in America. Lowering the shamefully excessive cost of a Notre Dame education should be the first priority of the new president, Rev. John Jenkins, CSC. With roughly 75 percent of all Notre Dame students on financial aid, shouldn’t this be converted into lower tuition and fees? If you ask any prospective Notre Dame parent what’s more important, affordable tuition or a new lacrosse field, you’d better be ready for an earful.
Bob Kruse ’78
Stuck in traffic
** The autumn issue noted a request by local officials for the University to help fund traffic control for an additional football game. The Notre Dame response is silly—that it’s solely South Bend’s responsibility. It takes anywhere from one to two hours to travel between the toll road and campus. Notre Dame should pay its rightful amounts to help expedite the traffic. Maybe the University administrators who live near campus or the big-bucks alumni who fly in and can afford hotel rooms don’t recognize the ridiculous hassle of not having legitimate traffic control.
Frank Keres ’75
The new president
** As a former student of Father John Jenkins and now a philosophy professor at Xavier University, I found the article on his intellectual development very interesting (“My Love for the Place”). It is heartening to see the role that philosophy played in his formation in the Catholic intellectual tradition. Father Jenkins’ love for Notre Dame is equally a love for the kind of free and open inquiry into questions of truth, beauty and goodness still carried on by many professors in the department today. When someone asks me what an undergraduate can do with a philosophy degree, I can now point to Father Jenkins as an academic leader committed to implementing the intellectual tradition of philosophy at a place like Notre Dame.
Daniel J. Dwyer ’93
** After getting my doctorate from Notre Dame in 1975, I have been an Evangelical Protestant and college/seminary professor throughout my career. Father Jenkins’ article warmed my heart and made me again thankful for the five years I spent on campus with its intellectual challenges and the generosity of the faculty accepting my biblically oriented philosophy and relatively different perspective. My relationship there was a highlight of my education and intellectual understanding. The essay, articulating the moral and spiritual course that I experienced, made me even more thankful that this same course has been set for the future, remaining in the tradition of the philosophical and religious pursuits in which I felt so at home.
John H. Stoll ’75Ph.D.
** While I read with interest the article about the installation of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, I could not help but contrast it with the installation of Ball State University’s new president, Jo Ann Gora. Rather than spend the $150,000 budgeted on her installation ceremony, Ms. Gora chose to fund “inauguration scholarships” to deserving students. My niece was admitted to Notre Dame but had to decline her admission because, with her father seriously ill with cancer, her family could not consider financing a Notre Dame education. Instead, she enrolled at another outstanding university that recognized her many achievements and awarded her four years of free tuition and room and board. Considering Notre Dame’s refusal to fund academic scholarships to outstanding students, I think it a shame that the University did not follow Ms. Gora’s example.
Father Jenkins article was a tremendous reaffairmation of the centrality of the truth"of divine revelation from Scripture and Tradition" in Notre Dame’s mission. Thank you, Father.
Paul J. Cella, Jr. ’66
** According to “Generation Map,” today’s students appear to be “conservative” people with “evangelical zeal” who watch Fox News, “lack the theological or philosophical underpinnings for their stances,” but still “incorporate religious values when issuing agendas for action” and are likely to advance to the financial and political centers of the country. I couldn’t have described a George Bush disciple any better.
Jeremy W. Jaskunas, M.D., ’97
Another view of Haiti
** Walt Collins’ interesting article on Louverture Cleary School (“A Gift of Hope”) is marred by the distorted history in his sidebar, one more chapter in the shameful failure of Catholics here— bishops, academics, politicians and especially journalists— to respect and defend the heroic efforts of Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide to bring “poverty with dignity” to Haiti’s desperately poor in the face of Washington’s and the Haitian elite’s consignment of them to the despair of maquiladora exploitation.
William H. Slavick ’49, ’51 M.A., ’71 Ph.D.
** I can understand your attraction to “Moral Relativism on the Phoenix Streets.” The anecdotes were compelling. They took me back to my work with the homeless of Colorado Springs. I’m grateful, however, that my experiences didn’t leave me vulnerable to such questionable moralizing. I hope that you at least agonized over the essay’s thesis statement (“The concepts of honesty and falsehood are luxuries of the rich, those not beneath the boot heel.”). I hope that you at least almost rejected the piece, figuring that your readers would conclude that you’ve crossed the line and are now no better than the mainstream media from which you’ve so successfully distanced yourself. Because you made the wrong choice.
Geoffrey Parker ’83
Saint Joseph, Indiana
Oldies and Goodies
About the Letter from campus—Ed Cohen’s "Oldies and Goodies. " I’m amazed how often people from my generation want to criticize current music, and tend to assume that everything new is hip-hop. My 19-year-old son has turned me on to the music of such groups as Guster, A.O.R., Counting Crows and Incubus. (I’ve seen them all in concert with him as well.) There is plenty of great new music out there which can be appreciated by both generations. The lines that our parents used back in the ‘60s and ’70s, “It just sounds like noise” and "Your music doesn’t have a melody" were incorrect then, and they’re incorrect now. And we baby boomers should know better than to be close-minded.
Tony Chifari ’77
I would have imagined ducking snowballs in hell before reading “Seasons Greetings” inscribed on Notre Dame Christmas cards. I mean “holiday cards,” as described in the recent catalogue which claimed—"A Collection of Fine Merchandise Echoing the Spirit of Notre Dame." Is that so?
Of course, when one pacts with the Gods of Merchandising certain tradeoffs are expected. You get a store full of “your college name goes here” um, stuff, tradition homogenized in a licensing agreement, and “Winter Lights,” the reconstituted name for Christmas decorations as noted on a photomontage in this magazine in the winter 2004-05 issue. If Notre Dame wants to become a Brand, which it has, then it must hire a Brand Manager, which it has not. Because if exorcising “Christmas” echoes the spirit of Notre Dame, we’re all in trouble. Duck.
James Hayden ’66
I usually have nothing but praise for the quality of Notre Dame Magazine, however, it was with great disappointment that I read “Domers in the News,” in the Autumn 2005 issue.
It is my recollection that “Domers in the News” is typically a celebration of the achievements of the Notre Dame alumni, not their missteps. What point does it serve to announce the legal challenges facing Joseph Cari? If there was any reason to do so, it would be to ask the Notre Dame community for its prayers for Joe and his family.
As Mother Teresa said, “words which do not give out the light of Christ only increase the darkness.” For all of us, individuals and editors alike, our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising up to new heights.
Paddy Mullen ’80