The Maker of Notre Dame

By Richard Conklin '59M.A.

In his 35 years at the helm, Father Hesburgh transformed Notre Dame into an institution of international distinction, shoving and steering a place smartly described as a university trying to keep up with its president.

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Over at Our Place

By Richard Conklin ’59M.A

As I left Mass one Sunday in May, the first words in my pastor’s parish bulletin column got my attention: “I am ashamed of my University.” My pastor and I share Notre Dame.

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Minneapolis, Minnesota

By Richard Conklin '59M.A.

_For years, successful men have reckoned_

_By this system, trained the self_

_To follow Lyndale and hang a Ralph_

_At Fiftieth, into a neighborhood_

_Where homes are stable, children good,_

_Earnings are high and soundly invested_

_In products_ Consumer Reports _has tested,_

_Where life is not paranoid, moody or radical,_…

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Academic freedom and Catholic values

By Richard Conklin '59M.A.

Against the backdrop of two controversial campus events, Notre Dame's president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, has proposed a rethinking of what constitutes academic freedom in a Catholic institution of higher learning.

Speaking to separate open meetings of faculty and students in January, Jenkins took up the nettlesome issues of _The Vagina Monologues_, a nationally performed play about female sexuality and identity, and the erstwhile titled Queer Film Festival. _Monologues_ was about to have its fifth annual performance on campus, while the gay film event was scheduled for its third season. In a key point, a total of eight academic entities in the College of Arts and Letters—six departments and two programs—were involved in sponsorship of the two events, both publicly opposed by Most Rev. John M. D'Arcy, bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend.…

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How Catholic the Faculty?

By Richard Conklin ’59M.A.

The Catholic identity of the University depends upon, and is nurtured by, the continuing presence of a predominant number of Catholic intellectuals.

That sentence from Notre Dame’s mission statement is simple to parse grammatically but difficult to parse politically.

The question of just how Catholic are Catholic colleges and universities arose in the 1960s when these institutions moved into the mainstream of American higher education, influenced by the ecclesial “window-opening” of Vatican II. Lay governance became the trend in institutional reorganization, and the key document in defining the contemporary mission of Church-related colleges and universities was the landmark Land O’Lakes Statement orchestrated in 1967 by Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC

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The Picture of Purpose

By Richard Conklin '59M.A.

Updated: Feb. 27, 2015: This article makes an erroneous reference to John Cody, later Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, who was Apostolic Administrator in New Orleans at the time. We regret the error.


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Father Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, answered the phone on the morning of June 21, 1964, a date that would become famous for the murder of three young civil rights workers in Mississippi. Martin Luther King’s crusade had moved north to Chicago, and a massive rally was scheduled in Soldier Field that day. The caller told Hesburgh that Mayor Richard Daley and Cardinal John Cody had turned down invitations. Would Hesburgh, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, show the flag for church and state?…

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Can the Fighting Irish Excel at School and at Play?

By Richard Conklin '59M.A.

The University wants national championships in athletics and international prestige in academics.

By Richard Conklin ’59M.A.

In the Joyce Center’s Sports Heritage Hall, surrounded by souvenirs of a revered athletic past and framed by photographs of football glory, is a small showcase reminding the visitor of a tension running through intercollegiate athletics. In it are fine-grained wooden trophies won by Notre Dame for graduating the most football players. They are less imposing than others in the concourse marking national championships and bowl triumphs, and some observers are starting to wonder whether the two types of trophies are even compatible anymore.…

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Keep the Faith, Change the Church

By Richard Conklin '59M.A.

Two decades ago, cardiologist Jim Muller ’65 helped launch an effort of American and Soviet physicians to oppose nuclear warfare, a movement that resulted in a Nobel Peace Prize. Now he wants to reform the Catholic church.

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Real-life Work for Human Rights

By Richard Conklin '59M.A.

Barbara Frey, a 1978 Notre Dame graduate, has never owned or discharged a firearm, but she can confidently refer to “hand-held under-barrel and mounted grenade launchers” and is among the world’s leading experts on how small arms and light weapons impact international human rights.

The 47-year-old attorney is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota and director of the human rights program in its Institute for Global Studies. In 2000 she became an alternate to the 26-member United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. Thus began her education in such matters as heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles and mortars of calibers of less than 100mm.…

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