Deaths in the Family

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Author: Notre Dame Magazine staff

One of Notre Dame’s legendary teachers, TOM STRITCH, died in January at age 91. Stritch arrived on campus as a freshman in 1930 and, with the exception of four years of naval service during World War II, spent nearly the rest of the century here. He taught English, American literature and, especially, journalism into the 1970s, becoming an emeritus professor in 1978. Stritch was admired for his wide range of knowledge that embraced the arts, architecture, music, even sports. He believed anyone could learn to be a reporter, but to be a great journalist one needed to understand the deeper issues and background. He personally helped infuse that liberal-arts approach into journalism study at Notre Dame while serving as chair of, first, the journalism department from 1946-1957 and then its successor, the Department of Communication Arts. He headed that department until it was reborn as the Department of American Studies in 1970. Among the many popular courses Stritch developed and taught were The Arts and America and The American Character. Students passing his room immediately knew he was the one leading the discussion by his distinctive deep baritone voice. He is remembered by some as the last of the “bachelor dons,” male professors who remained single, lived in the dormitories and became counselors and friends to generations of students. Actually Stritch lived in the annex of Lyons Hall only a short time at the start of his teaching career, hated it and moved off campus as soon as he could afford to. He lived on nearby Eddy Street for decades, and, in the words of one former student, “he loved Notre Dame and everyone associated with it and loved nothing so much as talking about it.” This he did at length in his memoir, My Notre Dame: Memories and Reflections of Sixty Years, published in 1991. The native of Nashville, Tennessee, finally returned there to live in his final years.

JAMES W. CULLITON, the Harvard business scholar who engineered the transformation of Notre Dame’s business college from a finishing school for Catholic gentlemen into an accredited center for teaching and research in business administration, died in January at age 92. Culliton came to Notre Dame in 1951 after more than 10 years on the faculty at Harvard and, earlier, Boston College. Hired by President Cavanaugh himself, rather than by the dean of what was then called the College of Commerce, he soon won permission from Cavanaugh to experiment with new approaches to business education. His Program for Administrators employed case studies and challenged students to think independently and take risks. After being named dean in 1955, he adapted these philosophies to the college as a whole and also set about upgrading academic rigor. Years later he recalled with obvious pride that when he became dean, “90 percent of the football players were in the college, and when I left it was about 10 percent.” In 1955 he launched a program to train managers, mostly religious, of nonprofit organizations. It continues today as the college’s Master of Science in Administration. In 1961 the college changed its name to the College of Business Administration, and a year later it was accepted into the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. Culliton left the University in 1962 to accept an appointment from President Kennedy to the U.S. Tariff Commission. He served until 1968. He then took his family to the Philippines, where he became the first president of the Asian Institute of Management, a joint venture that included Harvard and the Ford Foundation. Culliton came from a working-class background and was the first in his family to attend college. He went on to earn both a doctorate and an MBA from Harvard. He’s remembered for his keen intellect, wit and ability to get people to learn by interaction. In retirement near Chicago he volunteered with the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), helping people launch and develop small businesses.

DENNIS K. MOORE, Notre Dame’s primary spokesman throughout the 1990s, passed away early last December after a year-long battle with prostate cancer. He was 55. “Denny,” as he was known to legions of friends, including the staff of this magazine, was the consummate professional and a genuinely good person. He lived out his convictions on a daily basis, be it helping rebuild poor people’s houses in South Bend or encouraging the University to take a strong public stand against sweatshop labor. “In so many ways Moore embodied the institution he spoke for,” wrote the South Bend Tribune in an editorial tribute. He possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of the University but also, in Father Malloy’s words, “understood the Notre Dame ethos like few ever have.” When a scandal involving the football program and a booster came to light few years ago, for instance, the typical public relations strategy might have been to close ranks and minimize comment or to make excuses. Moore lobbied for candor. In the statement that emerged, the University took complete responsibility and said that if the administration didn’t know what was happening, it should have been more vigilant. He was also among the leaders of efforts that culminated in Notre Dame ‘s becoming the first university to establish a code of conduct for manufacturers of its licensed products and the first to monitor working conditions in factories where those products are made. Moore was a member of the Class of 1970 and of the founding staff of The Observer, but an illness in his family forced him to leave school before he could graduate. After working in corporate relations and as a freelance writer and editor in the United States and in his beloved Ireland, he came to work for the University in 1988 as an assistant director of public relations. Although a devout Catholic, he didn’t wear his religion on his sleeve. Rather, as one friend and colleague said of him, “he was a daily communicant with whom you’d be happy to share a beer and shoot the breeze.” At a special Mass of healing convened on his behalf last summer, he began the proceedings by thanking the overflow crowd for coming and then talked about his belief in the power of prayer. His composure was such that he might have been opening a press conference about a construction project. No one who attended will ever forget it. Among other humanitarian pursuits, he was active with South Bend’s Holy Family Catholic Worker House, and he served on the local board of Rebuilding Together (formerly Christmas in April).

ALBERT H. LeMAY, a beloved professor of literature, primarily Spanish and Latin American, who became known as “Mr. Kellogg” as program coordinator for the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies for most of the institute’s existence, died in December after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 67. LeMay taught at Notre Dame from 1973 to 1982, at Saint Mary’s from 1982-84, and then back at Notre Dame, where he also became program coordinator for the then 2-year-old Kellogg Institute. After retiring from that position in 1999, he directed Notre Dame’s study-abroad program in Puebla, Mexico, which he had helped establish, until May of last year. He was teaching a class in border literature (Canadian and Mexican) last fall when his condition deteriorated. LeMay’s ancestors were French-Canadian, and he often spoke French while growing up in Woonsocket, a heavily French-Canadian wool mill town in northern Rhode Island. While a student at Providence, he continued to focus on French until a priest friend recommended he try Spanish. LeMay was well known for always wanting to make people feel at home, especially scholars visiting from foreign countries. He’s also remembered as a warm, generous, nurturing teacher, beloved by students. He became closely associated with Spanish- speaking students but also reached out to Latino youth and migrant workers in and around South Bend as an outgrowth of his commitment to social justice. His 19 years of service as a commissioner of the South Bend Housing Authority earned him a Key to the City from the mayor’s office. A Kellogg Institute summer research grant is named in his honor.

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