A Notre Dame preview

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

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Jeff Klein is a 16-year-old high school student from Tyler, Texas, but over the next 20 minutes in Siiri Scott’s summer acting class he’s going to try to become Konstantin, the soul-lost playwright in Anton Chekov’s The Seagull.

Klein’s job this early July morning is to convince Scott and 20 of his peers that his feelings for his errant teenage sweetheart are so powerful that he’s ready to shoot himself if she doesn’t return to him. So he begins: “Nina. I cursed you. I hated you.”…

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Notre Dame’s Pre-College Programs at a Glance

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

The Office of Pre-College Programs at Notre Dame runs four academic summer programs for outstanding high school students who are preparing for their junior or senior year. Three of these programs, the African American Scholars at Notre Dame program, the Latino Community Leadership Seminar and the Global Issues Seminar, last one week, and the University covers the students’ expenses.…

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Platform for tomorrow

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

It might make science majors cringe, but a useful metaphor for understanding the extraordinary change in undergraduate science education taking place in the opening this autumn of the Jordan Hall of Science is to call it a quantum leap.

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Properly, this would mean the smallest possible change as electrons zipping around in an atom shift from one energy level to another. But the conventional use of the term is most appropriate to the Jordan—progress that is sudden, enormous and illuminating.…

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Notre Dame offers virtual classes

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Alumni who yearn for the kind of intellectual stimulation they received during their days on campus have reason to celebrate. Notre Dame has joined a growing educational endeavor that holds significant potential benefits for alumni, faculty and students and self-guided learners the world over.

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Season tickets secure stadium’s salvation

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Put the words “Notre Dame” and “historic preservation” into the same sentence, and Notre Dame Stadium, as buildings go, won’t likely make most people’s A list. The “why” is simple: It looks like a stadium. The architecture isn’t a standout—the building was but one of many designed by an engineering firm that specialized in large stadium projects during the 1920s.…

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Daughters trades polarizing politics for sobering dose of reality

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Sexual assault is an exceptionally difficult problem to talk about on the campus of a conscientiously Catholic university. Academic panels and “awareness” weeks have broached the topic in the past but did little to break the culture of silence on sexual matters that, according to many students and some professors, perpetuates some real problems. Then there was the matter of the polarizing play The Vagina Monologues

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Jilted scholar finds academic home at Oxford

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan resigned his appointment to teach at Notre Dame in December 2004 because the U.S. State Department refused to grant him a work visa, but it did not take him long to find a new job. Two new jobs, in fact.

After an additional year and a half of legal wrangling, the State Department dropped its initial grounds for rejecting Ramadan this past summer.…

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Oasis of hope

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

It’s an odd setting for an interreligious discussion of Christianity and Islam: a barroom on the campus of a Catholic university 11 days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Alcohol, after all, is forbidden to Muslims, and the man whom Campus Ministry has invited to lead this session of its Theology on Tap speaker series is one of Notre Dame’s leading scholars of Islam and an imam at the local mosque.…

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Prayercasts package ND spirituality

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Campus Ministry is good at keeping up with changes in communication technology. Now it is inviting Domers to keep up with the prayer of the Church by visiting ndprayercast.org.

On Ash Wednesday—February 21—Notre Dame spirituality became downloadable from the new website in 20-minute “prayercasts.” The audio-only files, accessible through most computers and MP3 players, include readings, psalms, a homily from a Holy Cross priest and the kind of sacred music many will remember from the 11:45 Sunday Folk Choir Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.…

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Student Film Lampoons Roseland Politics

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

A piece of local political circus generated more than the usual buzz around the annual Notre Dame Student Film Festival.

Welcome to Snyderville, which took its name from the greeting on the road sign for Roseland’s Pizza King restaurant, captures the zero-tolerance approach to municipal governance espoused by Roseland Town Council member David Snyder and his wife, former town council president Dorothy Snyder, who works at University libraries.…

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Scrabble Club channels a passion

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

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Take your time on this one—up to 25 minutes if you like: What’s a “cooee"?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary online, it’s an attention-getter, a call beckoning others to come, a Down Under colloquialism that out in the bush can take the place of “hello.” Word lovers dazzled by the flexibility of English may like to know that the word derives from the language of the Australian aborigines and found our tongue shortly after James Cook claimed New South Wales for the crown. To Americans, it would mean something like “within shouting distance.”…

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A Partnership with the Poor

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

In the global fight against extreme poverty, the most important weapon may be humility.

Such is the hypothesis of Father Robert Dowd, CSC, ’87, the political scientist charged with leading Notre Dame’s distinctive involvement in a serious international push to eradicate global poverty by 2025.

Dowd, a scholar of East African political culture, is the director of the Notre Dame Millennium Development Initiative (NDMDI

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Classics revival in the 21st century

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Ovid lurches across the stage, slurps from a bottle and caterwauls the chorus of “Afternoon Delight.” A Siren—that comely mythic monster—blunders through her rendition of another pop song. Apollo is appropriately smarmy in his parody of American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. And Paris, flirting with Helen from his seat on the judges’ panel, is positively on fire.…

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A rigorous record of research

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

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Sometimes the mark of a great idea is that it occurs to more than one person at a time. Such is the case with the Journal of Undergraduate Research, a student-driven, peer-reviewed annual in the College of Arts and Letters. Three years ago Hugh Page, then an associate dean, announced his interest in a publication that would recognize the best undergraduate scholarship in the college and promote interest in graduate study. That afternoon, in walked history major Marianne Magjuka ’05 with a vision for the new journal already worked out.…

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Taking engineers to the zoo

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

A comedian once joked that a Donald Trump-guided tour of New York City would begin, “Own it. Sold it. Built it. Own it. Buying it.” A tour of South Bend’s Potawatomi Zoo with Lloyd Ketchum has a similar feel, minus The Donald’s egocentrism. It’s not that civil engineer Ketchum has become a wildlife tycoon in his retirement from full-time teaching. It’s just that the fingerprints of the students in his Civil Engineering Service Project seminars are everywhere.…

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Domer's Index

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Buildings erected on campus since the Class of 2007 entered in fall 2003: 6
Season and tournament goals scored by Irish hockey team en route to first-ever CCHA championship: 139
Shutouts suffered by team: 1
Teams in the ’07 Bookstore Basketball Tournament: 655
Seniors on Irish women’s track and field team, which won its first-ever Big East outdoor championship: 9

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Deaths in the family

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

REX J. RAKOW ’82M.S., whose 22 years of service as the director of the Notre Dame Security Police were marked by the same humility and grace with which he fought his 18-month battle with cancer, died in March at his home in Granger, Indiana, surrounded by friends and family. He was 55.

Rakow, a Mishawaka, Indiana, native, served under three presidents of the University, having joined the campus security staff as assistant director in 1979. He coordinated security details for the visits of nine U.S. presidents and 11 foreign heads of state, building a wealth of experience that he shared generously with colleagues as a leader of local and international professional organizations, as an instructor and as a friend. Phillip Johnson ’81, ’99MBA, Rakow’s successor at NDSP

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Notre Dame architects in high demand

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

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Graduates from the School of Architecture had to work awfully hard this year not to get a job. Eighteen firms purchased a $20 CD-ROM collective portfolio the school produced to feature students’ work. Another 65 firms showed up at the 2007 career fair in March. All to woo a pool of 52 undergraduates and master’s candidates.…

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Commencement: A class in ruins

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Lives ruined and complicated: such are the fruits of four years at Notre Dame, according to Class of 2007 valedictorian Michael Rossmann.

“You probably didn’t save for years and take out loans with the explicit intention of being ‘ruined,’ but Notre Dame has changed us, has ruined the ‘us’ that came here in the fall of 2003,” the theology and economics major told parents and students at the University’s 162nd Commencement Exercises on May 20. “We cannot see things the same way, and our lives are more complicated because of engaging the world with the resources of faith and reason.”…

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Growing up, pushing out: As it turns 25, the Center for Social Concerns pioneers new horizons

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

It’s hard to think of an institution closer to the core of Notre Dame’s collective consciousness than the Center for Social Concerns, unless it involves a gridiron and a pigskin or has a last name like Hesburgh. Considering that Father Hesburgh, CSC, has had more than seven decades to make an impression at Notre Dame and the football program even longer, that says a lot.…

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A Center for Social Concerns sampler

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns supports a breadth of experiential and service-learning opportunities for students. Some of the more visible include:

Urban Plunge—A 48-hour winter seminar that introduces students to problems faced by American cities and their residents. The center currently lists 32 plunge sites in 26 cities from Boston to San Diego.…

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Letter from campus: The news from Blacksburg

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

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On a rare, sunny April morning that had followed a lot of unseasonably cold ones, I sat in my office at the magazine thinking about our student advisory board. I had convened them a few evenings before, and, munching pizza and arguing amiably about cover art and feature content, we’d had our usual lively discussion about things Notre Dame.…

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Irish motor pool toeing green

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

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When the British rock band Queen recorded “I’m in Love with My Car”—its sensual, satirical paean to the muscle machines popular in the 1970s—it sure as Shinola wasn’t singing about the Toyota Prius.

Times have changed, and so has the feel most consumers have for their automobile. Pumpin’ pistons are out, energy efficiency and low emissions are in. So in January, Notre Dame took an experimental step toward an all-hybrid motor pool when it took delivery on a Toyota Prius after nine months on a waiting list.…

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nd.edu: There's no place like the home page

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

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Visitors to the University’s website home page on the morning of August 28 didn’t find the familiar navigation menus, plain white background and images of campus they’ve seen since that basic lineup was first formulated in 1997. Instead, they were greeted by . . . the smiling face of chemistry Professor Olaf Wiest?…

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Notre Dame's Media Magnets

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

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They take calls about lips on Valentine’s Day, the cross on Easter and gas prices on Memorial Day weekend. They share expertise on solar power and lunar landings, Woody Guthrie and Irish dance, Church politics and selective conscientious objectors. They appear for live interviews on CNN

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An extraordinary liturgy returns to campus

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

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The Mass is celebrated publicly about 176 times each week at Notre Dame when the University is in session, says Father Richard Warner, CSC, the director of campus ministry. Different Masses meet different spiritual needs. Congregants may pray together in English, Spanish or Latin and choose from a sampler box of musical styles and aesthetic surroundings. All of these Masses are celebrated according to the reformed Roman Missal of Pope Paul VI introduced in 1970.…

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Sifting through a stressful system: immigrant students

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

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The immigration issue at Notre Dame goes deeper than the policy debate that crystallized on campus in October’s academic forum. For hundreds of foreign-born faculty, staff and students, the stakes and stories are personal. Just ask Adela Penagos.

It took Penagos, a First Year of Studies adviser who holds a faculty appointment in romance languages, 10 years to earn her doctorate and half that many to obtain permanent residency status in the United States. Her diploma and identification card arrived within a month of each other last summer, and while she’d always known discipline would get her through the dissertation, the residency process was far more stressful.…

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How blue and gold make green

By John Nagy ’00M.A.

Shortly after Edison made incandescent light practical for use outside the laboratory, Notre Dame became the first university in the United States to generate electricity—reportedly up to 10 kilowatts powering eight lights in the Main Building. It’s pumped the juice ever since. The combined heat-power (CHP

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