News » Archives » 2008

Why Notre Dame?

By Brad S. Gregory


Growing up in northern Illinois during the 1970s, I didn’t like Notre Dame. As a Midwestern Catholic I suppose I should have felt some affinity for the place, but alumni and supporters revered it with a pride that seemed to border on idolatry, with their blue-and-gold “ND” this and their green “Irish” that. Notre Dame was thought better than other schools; it was special. Moreover, when it came time for college I wanted out of the Midwest, so I left behind the small towns and cornfields and Chicago’s suburban sprawl.…

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Looking for the Next Big Thing

By Dale Keiger

In 1998, a young physicist of remarkable energy named Albert-László Barabási brought together his research group at Notre Dame. They had been working on problems of materials science, studying granular media like sand, and the ultra-tiny semiconductors known as quantum dots.

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I Just Knew It Was Funny

By Owen Smith ’95


What am I doing here? Why don’t you ask me the meaning of life while you’re at it? I suppose it’s a fair question, though, considering no one really goes to Notre Dame to be a comedian. There is no Stand-Up Comedy major at ND. Imagine hearing a Domer at a dinner party in the classic navy blue blazer and khakis talking about, “And then I got my B.S. in BS.” Truth be told, I don’t know what I’m doing here, but I always knew I’d be here.…

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Only My Feet Are Numb

By Meg Towle ’07

I teeter as the river’s frigid water swirls around my legs. Treading across a freezing mountain stream in Lesotho, southern Africa, the stinging pains that shock my bare skin fade into a throbbing numbness.

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Millennium Goals

By Notre Dame Magazine staff

The eight Millennium Development Goals, which set the bar for Jeffrey Sachs’ Millennium Villages and indirectly for the Notre Dame Millennium Development Initiative, were aggressive human development targets established at the United Nations’ Millennium Summit in September 2000. They call on member states to work toward the following by 2015:…

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Letter from campus: Happy 90th, Father Hesburgh

By Kerry Temple ’74


One afternoon while we were working on this issue the time seemed right to visit Father Hesburgh. It’s only natural to think of the man who presided over the University for 35 years when you’re asking Notre Dame people to write about what they’re doing here. Hesburgh has spent a lifetime answering that question, and his response has been to combat racism, promote peace, serve presidents and popes, spread justice and determinedly push his school into the front rank of higher education. In doing this (and a whole lot more) Hesburgh became one of the nation’s most prominent leaders and an exemplary citizen of the world simply by performing—he will say time and again—his duties as a Catholic priest.…

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Deaths in the Notre Dame Family

By Notre Dame Magazine staff

Denis A. Goulet, professor emeritus of economics and policy studies, and William and Dorothy O’Neill Chair in Education for Justice, died December 26, 2006, in South Bend. He was 75 years old.

A much admired lecturer with an endearing weakness for puns and wordplay, Goulet taught at Notre Dame from 1979 to 2002. He was profoundly influenced by the writings and example of such intensely religious French intellectuals as Charles de Foucauld, Simone Weil and the “worker priests” of the last century. In his career, the “hunger and thirst for justice” exalted in Matthew’s gospel found precise and compelling academic description.…

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Because Peter Is Here

By Rev. Christopher H. Nalty ’84


As I walked down a hallway on my third day of work as a new official in the Roman Curia of the Catholic Church, the sound of a large crowd outside the office broke my concentration. I expected an anti-Catholic protest might be taking place in the streets. Rounding a corner past the office chapel, I ducked into the Sala di Congressi, a large conference room with windows opening onto the Piazza of Saint Peter, the large square in front of the Basilica of Saint Peter. That was probably the first time it hit me.…

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Biking Cambodia

By John Monczunski


About two years ago Daniela Papi ’00 was bicycling over mountains and through rice paddies and jungles in Cambodia. “The original idea was to do it for fun,” the economics grad says. “Then it became, ‘Let’s bike across Cambodia and visit schools and raise funds and deliver school supplies.’”…

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Traveling Mercies

By Mike Carroll ’68

Scant months after the downfall of Romania’s notorious Communist leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, in December 1989, I stood at the entrance to the Victor Babes Hospital in the capital city of Bucharest.

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We Might Get Arrested

By Bill McKibben

To the crucial question “What am I doing here?” let me add the journalist’s constant concern: “now.” I may not have a philosopher’s deep answer to this dilemma. I do have a personal one. It begins, in some sense, with pursuing a scoop.

As part of their work, reporters, and that’s what I am, or was, need to sense what comes next, to be very much in the now. When I was in my mid-20s—this would be the mid-1980s—I began reading the occasional reference to global warming in one obscure source after another. Scientific journals, mostly, but also the reports from little-attended Congressional hearings. The world, these studies hinted, might not end in the much-feared nuclear bang but in the explosion of a billion pistons every minute. Our greatest crisis might come not from our violent natures but from the cult of consumption that had become the dominant feature of Western life.…

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Made in China

By Jian Yi ’98M.A.

I was born in the mid-1970s into a southern Chinese town known to be the cradle of Mao Tse-tung’s Communist guerrillas in the 1920s.

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Called to Ground Zero (web only expanded story)

By Patrick Burns ’86


On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was in the Norfolk, Virginia, office of Commodore Scott Jones when someone came in and said, “Hey, you’re from New York. A plane just hit the World Trade Center.” We ran to the TV. The commodore and I had recently worked the joint forces fly-overs as part of the president’s International Naval Review held on the Hudson River on July 4, 2000. We knew the traffic patterns to Newark, LaGuardia and JFK

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Called to Ground Zero

By Patrick Burns ’86


On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was in the Norfolk, Virginia, office of Commodore Scott Jones when someone came in and said, “Hey, you’re from New York. A plane just hit the World Trade Center.” We ran to the TV. The commodore and I had recently worked the joint forces fly-overs as part of the president’s International Naval Review held on the Hudson River on July 4, 2000. We knew the traffic patterns to Newark, LaGuardia and JFK

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A Tyrant on Trial

By Evan Maher ’03

Stepping off a military helicopter with several Iraqi judges and prosecutors at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison compound, we were ushered into a makeshift courtroom by U.S. Army officers who were unfazed by the fact that we were nearly an hour late.

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Whoa! What Am I Doing Here?

By Kerry Temple ’74

We’ve all had them—those panicky predicaments. You’re stuck and don’t want to be.

I call them “Help, Mister Wizard” moments. No one ever gets the literary allusion. No one seems to know what I mean when I punctuate some personal, cliffhanger narrative with, “It was, you know, one of those ‘Help, Mister Wizard’ moments.” Actually, it is not a literary allusion at all. It refers to a long-gone cartoon that was pretty obscure even in its heyday.…

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The Stories That Save Us

By Brian Doyle ’78

What I am doing here is dishes, mostly. And gobs of laundry. You wouldn’t think three kids would have so much laundry, I mean, how many shirts can three kids possibly wear?

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Notre Dame alumni briefs

By Angela Sienko

Visit the New Prayer Website

Several new features have been added to the website website, which provides access to the University’s spiritual resources. The site offers a daily prayer and Gospel reading, information about retreats and seminars and words of inspiration. To set the tone for the spiritual experience, the site includes a video of serene campus settings. The “Sacred Spaces” videos were created by Adam Fairholm ’07 and set to music by Jack Sacco ’78.…

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Called to Action

By Ed Cohen


The call came in to the Washington office of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. It was Good Morning America.

The producers wanted to set up one of those typical morning-news-show’s verbal slugfests—two people dueling from opposite sides of an issue. In this case the debate that summer of 1987 was over legislation to enshrine English as the official language for public business. No more bilingual accommodation to speakers of Spanish or any other language.…

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Books by ND people

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.

I Like Food, Food Tastes Good: In the Kitchen with Your Favorite Bands, Kara Zuaro ’01 (Hyperion). It’s clear that mac-and-cheese is a favorite dish of many indie band members, but some prefer to dress up their comfort food with lobsters, truffles or hot sauce. Spiced with behind-the-scenes vignettes of bands from Umphrey’s McGee, whose members are ND graduates, to Ted Leo (’94) and the Pharmacists to Violent Femmes, this cookbook offers more than 100 kitchen-tested recipes, made lively by the musicians’ quirky instructions.…

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Hip new magazine captures niche market

By Carol Schaal '91M.A.


ESPN and sports pages across the country are replete with those conversational gems beloved by jocks, whose physical prowess doesn’t always translate to eloquent expression. “Sportswriters too often hear cliches,” says Sean Callahan ’87.

That wasn’t the case, Callahan found, when he and fellow feature writer Steve Boman began interviewing senior athletes for Chicago’s Daily Southtown

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Announcer's voice creates a ‘theater of the mind'

By Eric Butterman


Anne Maxfield ’79, whether she likes it or not, is always surrounded by men. It started with male-dominated radio. Then it got worse by specializing in über-male-dominated sports radio. Then she went and added a husband and son. But, truthfully, she’s thrilled with the excess testosterone, whether it’s picking up her boisterous 9-year-old from school or yapping on air about the Chicago Bears with radio host Mike North, who sounds like the lovable Super Fans skit on Saturday Night Live

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Letters to the editor

By Readers

Editor’s note: The letters that appeared in the Spring 2007 print issue are marked with a double asterisk (**).

Father Hesburgh . . .
**Your “Letter from Campus—Happy 90th” recalled just a few memorable events in which Father Hesburgh played a key role. Whether it was the 1967 Land O’Lakes Statement, the lay board of trustees, the March for Peace (in which he walked with students), service on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the “15-minute Rule,” the enrolling of women undergrads in 1972 and so many other significant events, he remained a person of conviction, values, leadership and vision. His commitment and dedication to Notre Dame was reflected in all he did. As was declared in the 1967 statement: “The Catholic university must be an institution, a community of learners and scholars in which Catholicism is perceptibly present and effectively operative. . . . [T]he Catholic university of the future will be a true modern university but specifically Catholic in profound and creative ways for the service of society and the people of God.”…

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