Farewell to center founder McNeill

By Ed Cohen

The Urban Plunge. Summer service projects. The Center for Social Concerns. Father Don McNeill, CSC, ’58, the man whose hunger and thirst for social justice created a culture of service learning inspired by Catholic social teaching that still beckons more than 85 percent of Notre Dame undergraduates toward volunteer work each year, died Thursday, August 24, at Holy Cross House near the Notre Dame campus. "Padre Don" was 81.

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The Mortgage that Ate My Life

By Ed Cohen

Great new job, beautiful new home, happy horizons in one of America’s most scenic landscapes. Then a crash, and a quandary. An American morality tale.

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Gay-Lesbian Outreach Moves to Masses

By Ed Cohen

The administration hasn’t changed its opposition to recognizing an independent group for gay and lesbian students, but Campus Ministry engaged in some pastoral détente fall semester.

As Masses in the Basilica and the residence halls the last weekend in October, volunteers passed out a card with a rainbow-colored ribbon and pin attached. On the front was a prayer expressing thankfulness for life’s diversity and asking divine help to be more inclusive of gays and lesbians in the Notre Dame community. “I will stand with Christ, in community, with all my brothers and sisters” was the refrain of a pledge on the back.…

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Ideal for complex calculations or as a between-meals snack

By Ed Cohen

When Peter Kogge, a 1968 Notre Dame graduate, makes presentations to his fellow computer scientists about the work he’s doing, helping develop a memory chip unimaginably smarter than anything in existence, he has a surprise waiting for the audience at the end: The miracle chip is already in production.…

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Father Newton off to Africa

By Ed Cohen

If Father Steve Newton, CSC, were a character in a movie instead of the real-life rector of Sorin Hall, the announcement he made at the annual hall banquet last November would have had predictable results.

Newton, a 1970 Notre Dame graduate, chose the occasion to inform residents that this, his 11th year in charge of the campus’s oldest dorm, would be his last. He was moving to East Africa next summer, he told them, to help the Congregation of Holy Cross develop desperately needed education and treatment programs for alcoholism and other addictions in Kenya and Uganda.…

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Letter from Campus: Are You Eating All Right, Dear?

By Ed Cohen

As Tam crossed in front of me, I glanced down at what was on her tray: a slice of pizza.

Where’d she get that? I wondered but was too embarrassed to ask. Besides, she wasn’t breaking stride heading back to our table.

It was about 1 o’clock in the afternoon and we were in the North Dining Hall, not my usual place to have lunch. My usual place is at my desk in Grace Hall, eating a spinach salad and trying not to spatter fat-free French dressing on the galleys I’m supposed to be proofreading.…

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The camera calls

By Ed Cohen

Ask actress Emily Liu ’94 how she knows she’s in the right business after nine years struggling to establish herself in Hollywood, and she’ll tell you about an audition she had a few years back.

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The millionaire who lived at the Y

By Ed Cohen

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Orphaned at age 4. Never owned a home. Lived most of his life in a YMCA.

Those biographical details would be unlikely to qualify a person as a hot prospect in the eyes of fund-raisers. So you can imagine the surprise of Notre Dame’s development department when it found out a man fitting just such a description was leaving the University $1.5 million.…

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In search of Rockne's grave

By Ed Cohen

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Notre Dame has two cemeteries, but the most famous person associated with the University isn’t buried in either.

After Knute Rockne died in a plane crash in Kansas in 1931 his body was brought back to South Bend for burial. He was interred in Highland Cemetery, a few miles west of campus at the intersection of Portage Avenue and Lathrop Street.…

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Fathers Hesburgh and Joyce sculpture unveiled

By Ed Cohen

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Even promoted to 7 feet tall, Father Hesburgh appears appropriately shorter than his friend and partner in running the University for 35 years, Father Edmund P. “Ned” Joyce.

The famous duo, separated by Joyce’s death in May 2004 at age 87, are reunited in bronze in a new sculpture installed on the south side of the Hesburgh Library.…

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Indiana's ex-governor joins ND political science faculty

By Ed Cohen

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A former governor is teaching at Notre Dame this semester

Former Indiana Governor Joe Kernan is teaching “The Executive Branch and Public Policy,” a one-credit political science course focusing on such issues as state and local budgets, welfare, economic development, health care, capital punishment, urban development and crime…

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'Jesus' actor appears at Grotto

By Ed Cohen

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Notre Dame students flocked to the Grotto in October to hear actor Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in the Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ. Caviezel was quoted in The Observer, the student newspaper, as announcing, “I came here to Notre Dame to tell you students to have the courage to step into this pagan world and shamelessly express your faith in public,” and he said he believed Notre Dame was called to a “major act of faith right now.” Caviezel also said he didn’t like the fact that the stadium expansion obscured some views of the Word of Life (“Touchdown Jesus”) mural on the side of the library. “The image needs to be resurrected so everyone can see it.”

The actor’s appearance was sponsored by the Right to Life club, Student Government, Children of Mary, Knights of the Immaculata and the Orestes Brownson Council.…

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Speak like an Incan

By Ed Cohen

Contrary to popular perception, not everyone in South America speaks either Spanish or Portuguese. Millions speak Quechua, the language of the ancient Incas. Now Notre Dame students can learn to speak it too.

The University began offering classes in Quechua (pronounced KAY-chew-uh) last spring, becoming one of fewer than a dozen universities in the United States to do so. Only a few others in other countries offer it either, according a faculty member in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. So far a handful of Notre Dame students have given the language a try, including two graduate students in Latin American history, both from Lima, Peru.…

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A satirical look at ND football

By Ed Cohen

The satirical online magazine the Onion reported this past fall on Notre Dame’s plans to improve its storied football program—retroactively. (Note: this is all a joke.)

“Although we have great hopes for the future of our football program,” genuine Athletic Director Kevin White was fictitiously quoted as saying, “Notre Dame has great hopes for a facet of that program that is far more important to our university: our past.”…

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Rockne sculpture unveiled

By Ed Cohen

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A new larger-than-life bronze statue of Knute Rockne stands outside the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown South Bend.

The 7-foot-1-inch figure, weighing 700 pounds, is the work of Jerry McKenna, a 1962 graduate of Notre Dame. He is the same sculptor who did the Frank Leahy statue on the Juniper Road side of the football stadium and a cigar-holding Moose Krause, who sits on a bench alongside the Joyce Center across the street from Leahy.…

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Are ND student athletes' academics slipping?

By Ed Cohen

In past years Notre Dame was always among the top performers in the NCAA’s graduate-rate reports. Under a new formula designed to track student athletes’ academic progress toward a degree, the University doesn’t shine quite as brightly. But it’s apparently no cause for concern.

All 22 Irish athletic programs easily exceeded the new Academic Progress Rate (APR

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Where the Fiesta Bowl money is going

By Ed Cohen

The University will use its $14.5 million payout from the Fiesta Bowl—less the expenses of traveling to the game—to support student financial aid, library acquisitions and scientific instruments for the new Jordan Hall of Science, opening late in 2006.

Under Bowl Championship Series rules, Notre Dame, as an independent, got to keep its entire share of the bowl proceeds this year. Teams in conferences had to share their payout with the other schools in their conferences.…

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Fiesta Bowl ticket demand sets record

By Ed Cohen

Here’s an indicator of how excited Notre Dame alumni were about this year’s football team before the season even started: The University’s ticket office had to mail $5.2 million in refunds to losers in the annual alumni ticket distribution lotteries, a record high.

Alumni who contribute at least $100 to Notre Dame can put in to buy up to two tickets to as many home and away football games as they like, but they usually have to be lucky. A pool of about 33,000 tickets is set aside for contributing alumni to purchase for each home game. Any time the number of tickets requested exceeds that supply, a lottery is held.…

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Coach Weis fulfills child's last wish

By Ed Cohen

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Fans watching the Notre Dame football game at Washington last September may have been struck by Coach Charlie Weis’s daring in calling a pass play with the team at its own 1-yard-line to start its first possession.

Daring had nothing to do with it.

Weis was fulfilling a promise he’d made a few days earlier to a 10-year-old boy named Montana Mazurkiewicz. Fighting an inoperable brain tumor, the boy had been told earlier in the week by doctors that there was nothing more they could do for him. The avid Irish football fan, named for Joe Montana, asked if a player could visit him. Weis came to the family’s home in Mishawaka instead.…

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Seen and Heard on campus

By Ed Cohen

Notre Dame has reached an agreement to sell WNDU-TV for $85 million. The buyer is Gray Television Inc., an Atlanta-based company that operates 34 other local TV stations. Notre Dame founded WNDU, South Bend's NBC affiliate, in 1955. Last year University officials announced that they were considering selling the station because it didn't fit with Notre Dame's core business, education. . . .Workers

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Enrollment Trends

By Ed Cohen

*Too many students are choosing the same academic paths. What's a college to do?*

It's not often you hear an administrator canonize a flow chart, even at a Catholic school.

But talk to Carolyn Woo, dean of the Mendoza College of Business, about enrollment trends and you're likely to hear her invoke a saint's name in reference to a particular info-graphic.…

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Cleveland, Ohio: It's No Joke

By Ed Cohen

Everybody knows about Cleveland, the city with a river so polluted it once caught on fire. You remember the story. Some guy was walking along the river, flicked his cigarette into the water, and _phoom_ the whole thing went up like a line of gasoline.

See, this is the kind of nonsense we Clevelanders have to put up with. The lies, I mean. We also are cursed on the order of Job or Sisyphus or Charlie Brown. More about that in a bit. First, the lies, one whopper in particular.…

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Domers in the news

By Ed Cohen

*Tom Flanagan '65*, a University of Calgary political science professor who was born in the United States, is newly elected Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief policy advisor. . . . Jack Snow '65, an All-American end at Notre Dame who played for the Los Angeles Rams, died in January from complications due to a staph infection. For many years the legendary receiver had been a radio analyst covering the Rams. His son is Boston Red Sox first baseman J.T. Snow. . . . Former Wheaton College assistant professor of philosophy Joshua Hochschild '97M.A., '01Ph.D.

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A member of the family

By Ed Cohen

Sometime toward the end of my first week on the job here at the magazine, more than 10 years ago, I received a phone call from Father Malloy’s office.

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Called to Action

By Ed Cohen

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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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What's in those cans besides beer?

By Ed Cohen

It can now be revealed why bottled beer and beer from a tap tastes different from beer in a can.

Be forewarned: if you’re a six-pack enthusiast, you’re not going to like the explanation.

When you sip a can of your favorite brew, you are savoring not only fermented grain and hops but just a hint of the same preservative that kept the frog you dissected in 10th-grade biology class lily-pad fresh: formaldehyde.…

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NDToday.com Clicks

By Ed Cohen

First came The Scholastic, then The Observer, now NDToday.com.

Started last fall by three juniors in O’Neill Hall, this nifty, irreverent interactive website has quickly become one of the campus’s most popular sources for information and entertainment, as well as a lively forum for debate on everything from the presence of the ROTC

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A Billion Dollars in Nine Months

By Ed Cohen

It’s late April, 2000, and Scott Malpass, vice president for finance and senior investment officer at Notre Dame, convenes a meeting of his investment staff.

He needs their help to finish preparing for the regular meeting of the Investment and Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees, four days hence. It’s a meeting, he knows, at which the Investment Office will have some explaining to do.…

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A timely save by John Houlihan

By Ed Cohen

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By the time John T. Houlihan, a 1966 Notre Dame graduate, joined Timex Corporation in 1979 as manager of design for digital products, he’d already put his stamp on some memorable products.

After studying automobile design at Notre Dame, he was hired by General Motors and played a key role in the Chevy Vega station wagon. As he recalls with some pride, the miniature car’s styling was “pretty cool” for its day.…

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