Letters to the editor

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Author: Readers

Editor’s note: Letters that appeared in the summer print issue are marked with a double ##.

Who we are

##I’ve been reading Notre Dame Magazine ever since it first appeared some 42 years ago. I invariably find something interesting, informative and inspiring to read, but in all those years I have never found an issue as interesting, informative and inspiring as the Spring 2014 number. It is one of the few issues of which I can honestly say I’ve read every single article. And my wife, who is not a Notre Dame graduate but the mother of two, actually finished it before I did. It makes us both proud to be associated with this wonderful institution.

Bill Kibler ’63
Austin, Texas

##Since you invited comments about Notre Dame people that the spring issue missed, I would add those who have no degree from the University but who have given their lives to ND as loyal and noble stewards. I think about someone like our Board of Trustees chairman, Dick Notebaert, who is indeed a Notre Dame man, and his wife, Peggy, who is totally a Notre Dame woman. And I think of other board chairs and about spouses and others who generously give their time, talent and treasure. I also think of people in the mailroom, those in laundry services, the stadium attendants, kitchen aids in the dining halls, in housekeeping, the grounds crew and the professors who are just as representative of “who is ND.” There is a huge absence of many loyal people from the staff, faculty and executive leadership who are not graduates, and it would have been nice to see some of them featured.

Phyllis Washington Stone ’80
Somerset, New Jersey

##The most recent issue was the finest I have ever read. I must admit I had low expectations when I saw the cover, thinking these would be run-of-the-mill success stories about successful alums. Instead, I read the most diverse, fascinating, inspiring stories I have ever seen collected in one issue. The writing is superb as always, but the individuals who were selected is what really makes this issue stand out.

Sometimes I am ambivalent about the University with all the money it spends on what seem to be superfluous buildings, particularly the stadium addition. But this issue got me back on board with the University and its mission to educate leaders who have a moral compass. This issue was life changing. Thank you!

Torie Morgan Arthofer (SMC ’79)
Naperville, Illinois

The crossroads

##As I was reading about the new “Crossroads Construction,” I was struck by “the addition of 3,000 to 4,000 premium seats.” Why premium seats? Why not just good seats? The idea of “premium seats” reinforces my concern and disappointment in what I call the “commercialization of Notre Dame,” which seems to have replaced the fraternal culture of the University. It seems like “raising money” has replaced “doing what’s best for ND grads.” One example of what troubles me shows up in the latest alumni football ticket prices. A seat to see ND vs. Northwestern costs $70. That same seat costs $110 for ND vs. Michigan. Why? My guess is supply and demand. That may be an acceptable business practice, but why should it show up in alumni ticket prices? Aren’t we all Notre Dame brothers and sisters? It’s sad that Our Lady’s University has succumbed to chasing the almighty dollar. After all, Notre Dame is a Catholic institution. I’m sure Jesus never said, “Those of you who put more in the collection basket move to the premium seats.”

John Carr ’64
Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania

Clarence Thomas

##I was very disappointed by the puff piece about our least distinguished Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas. It was certainly not up to the journalist standards I’ve come to expect from our generally excellent magazine. I hope Mr. Thomas’ week at the ND Law School garnered all the controversy and opprobrium this political hack merits. Surely the University could have found a better qualified apologist for the intrusion of religion into American politics.

Paul Thiel ’82
San Diego, California

In light of the enduring controversy of Notre Dame’s handling of allegations of sexual harassment against football players, I was incredulous to learn the University had invited Justice Clarence Thomas to teach at its Law School.

As the writer mentions, Thomas’ confirmation hearing was indeed contentious, although its racially charged nature was more an invention by himself and the media. He was confirmed by a Senate majority, strictly along party lines (52 R, 48 D). Afterward, his accuser, Anita Hill, passed a polygraph test, which Thomas declined to take. As women continue to strive for equality and fairness at the top levels of business and academia, I am dismayed by the University’s decision to bring Thomas into its teaching fraternity.

Michael C. Henry ’79
Saint Petersburg, Florida

##I found the fawning paean to Clarence Thomas to be as clueless as it was cloying. I had never thought of working in a sugar cane field to be a pre-qualifier for an appointment to the highest court in the land. How about a few more relevant qualities, such as judicial temperament, character, acumen and some semblance of interest in the duties of the position? Has the writer heard of Anita Hill? For me the most distressing but fitting irony surrounding his appointment lies in the suspicion that his only real qualification for nomination was the entitled status afforded him by Affirmative Action mandates, the very protection he now excoriates and seeks to eviscerate for younger minorities and disadvantaged job seekers everywhere.

Harry Koenig ’59
Pueblo, Colorado

Encore

##In the recent piece about Paul Appleby ’05, the opera singer spoke about the Bruce Springsteen Tribute Band he and his friends started while in school. I was good friends with Paul and was intimately involved with the band. I thought it interesting that two members of the same band have now been featured in the magazine this past year. The other was the band’s drummer, now a very successful chef in Chicago, Erling Wu-Bower ’05 (magazine.nd.edu/news/40693). Perhaps you should push for a reunion.

Michael Roaldi ’05
Denver

The views were my own

##In the previous issue you printed excerpts from a letter I wrote commenting on an article about global development. Please clarify with your readers that I wrote that letter in my personal capacity and the views expressed are my own — not in my capacity as a USAID official or representing the views of the U.S. government.

Erik Janowsky ’87
Washington, D.C.

Father Dunne

I just read in the Winter 2013-14 issue that Father Dunne had died. I know it’s probably too late for publication but I wish to add my recollection of my class with him.

Father Dunne’s class, “God and Man,” was an eye-opener for me as a young man. I still have the notebook from his class — the only notebook I have saved from my college years. I went to Catholic grade school and high school and got a good grounding in my faith but it didn’t prepare me for the onslaught of materialism and atheism that I was confronted with as a young adult.

In grade school, I always had the feeling that atheists were spiritual perverts who would not accept Catholicism or they just wanted excuses for immoral behavior.

Father Dunne engaged the atheists on their own terms and presented the Christian alternative. From him, I learned about Freud, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus and others.

What impressed me was his willingness to engage the most antagonistic opponents of Christianity without fear but with compassion. This approach has always stayed with me. In looking at my old notebook circa 1964, I see he dealt with many of the issues that the so called “new Atheists” now bring forth to belittle religion.

As then, the ultimate answers are never easy. Father Dunne started me on a quest of faith that remains to this day, a half century later.

I wish our Church would confront the atheist and materialist challenge as he did and not just sweep it under the rug of faith pretending to ignore it.

Michael Hoyt ’65


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