Letters to the editor

Author: Readers


Editor’s note: The letters that appeared in the summer 2012 issue are marked with double asterisks.

Fashion faux pas?

**I find the “fashion” issue most disastrous for a publication as fine as yours. It is completely out of character for a great university and a big step down from what we are accustomed to.

Joseph J. Lauber
St. Louis, Missouri

**Your spring issue was 95 pages of decadence — page after page devoted to skin-deep beauty. Are you guys now working for Cosmopolitan, Esquire or Playboy? Lady Gaga on the cover makes me gag. What are you fashion-dressed kids doing to Our Lady of the Lake?

Arthur Parks ’56M.A.
Kenmore, New York

**While I can, to some degree, accept the idea of your having some fun, I do not see any value in the spring issue. While you say that “technically you cannot do a first annual issue on anything,” I hope that this is the only issue of its kind. There are many worthwhile subjects concerning the world, the Catholic Church and Notre Dame. If the spring issue is to be an example of some future issues, then cancel my subscription.

Frank F. Conte ’56
Harwick, Pennsylvania

**Have the people at Notre Dame Magazine taken leave of their senses? Were there any adults in the room when the decision was made to turn a universally respected alumni magazine into something that belongs at the supermarket checkout alongside Us magazine? I must have missed the notice that the inmates would now be running the asylum. Or maybe this is the April Fools’ lampoon issue and no one let me in on the joke. If you must send me any more of this twaddle purporting to represent the University of Notre Dame, please mail it in plain brown paper.

Pete McDade ’67
Ipswich, Massachusetts

**For the first time ever I discarded Notre Dame Magazine without reading it. The University must have money to burn in order to support such superficial matters as the magazine now treats so glossily. Consequently, my desire to contribute has not only been diminished, but extinguished.

Charles G. Conway ’56
Palm Springs, California

**“You have developed a wonderful magazine but, as of today, you are fired.” Those would be my summary words to the editor if I were president of the University, for your hugely erroneous editorial judgment.

Marty Ronan ’61
Alexandria, Virginia

**Congratulations! A wonderful issue. Fun, funny, informative. A real break from the “serious” issues which I usually scan, meaning to read, but never do. This one? Priceless.

Michael Holstein ’64
Ashland, Oregon

*I just wanted to compliment you on the style issue. I really enjoyed seeing the variety of designs students and alumni have worked on. One tends to think of ND students working on science, research and writing. This was so refreshing I read the entire magazine instead of selected articles. Well done. This issue was a nice “step out of the box” moment for you.

Kathleen Maciuba
Skokie, Illinois

**I don’t fault the magazine for deciding to take “a sabbatical from seriousness” to do a fashion-themed issue. Most of the articles in the issue were playful and fun to read, especially Jamie Reidy’s witty and self-deprecating tale about finding an outfit for his stint on the Red Carpet. But was it really necessary for the magazine’s cover headline to read “You Are What You Wear”?

Colleen Mallahan ’07
San Francisco

**Just delightful on several levels. Took me about half an hour to get it, but when I did I was taken away with the creativity of the undertaking as well as the serious treatment of subjects, such as design, not often associated with Notre Dame. I am sure the reactions will be diverse, but hilarious.

William J. Sweeney ’69
Westfield, New Jersey

**Stick to what has earned the magazine its reputation for excellence.

William Werner ’61
Temperance, Michigan

**I have for years been proud of the magazine, and routinely leave my copy in the community library when I have finished reading it. The last issue went straight into the waste basket. I somehow feel uncomfortable with a Catholic school trumpeting on the cover “You Are What You Wear” and devoting an issue to that theme. If this is how the editors have fun, I can understand some of the minor scandals and embarrassments that have issued recently from my alma mater.

John R. Sheehan, S.J., ’68
New York City

**Congratulations on your “first annual” style issue. In three words, it is astonishing, beautiful and inviting. In my 40+ years in the magazine field, including the last 14 at Scientific American, we were always seeking those levels — and you and your wonderful staff reached them in your first try.

John Kirby ’42
Kentfield, California

**This issue of the magazine was an embarrassment and comes at an inopportune time. Notre Dame has always aspired to a certain image, but I never knew it to be one that identified with fashion and lifestyle, as if fashion and lifestyle could define a Notre Dame person. That is not the element of personhood that Notre Dame has been about. I have watched over the years and have, anecdotally for sure, witnessed a drift in the Notre Dame ethos rightward and toward materialism. The mix of creeping conservatism with the growing wealth of the University topped off by a style issue in the alumni magazine prompts me to cancel my subscription.

Michael Coffey ’76
New York City

**The spring issue is a radical departure from past editions where significant topics were discussed, described and questioned. If articles about fashion and how to dress are the new norm, perhaps the magazine could best be sold at grocery store checkout counters.

James P. Burke ’69
Wilmette, Illinois

**While I generally love and respect your magazine for the ways it approaches the world with grace, balance and soul, the spring issue left me feeling empty. For the past two years I served as a volunteer at a small Catholic children’s home in rural Honduras, and I cannot echo the words on your cover — “You Are What You Wear” — to students who show up for school in a broken pair of hand-me-down, plastic flip-flops, or the teenage girls who receive their clothing from donations and constantly struggle with having “less.” I cannot say this to my fellow community members, many of whom wear clothes that are bleach-stained, stretched or even torn after long months of being hand-washed on a rock and hung out to dry in the powerful, strong sun. “You are what you wear” is certainly not a lesson I learned at Notre Dame.

What Notre Dame did teach me is that you are part of a rich, broken, beautiful human family. Your appearance, social status, college degree, material possessions and clothing do not define you. You are more than the sum of your parts. You have the infinite, mysterious blessing of being a member of the human race, for all its wonder and messiness and beauty and pain.

Erin Ramsey ’09
Winter Springs, Florida

**Love that fashion issue. The magazine is always great but this lighthearted departure is fun and unexpected. Thanks for a fresh and unique reading experience.

Arianne Cakarnis ’97, ’03MBA
Lake Oswego, Oregon

**Henry James said that the criteria to judge art and literature is that the piece should reflect the divinity of man. Your style issue does not. Shame on you.

Mary Anne Franklin ’88MSA
Taos, New Mexico

**I’ve had the pleasure of reading 70-some issues of ND magazine. And then there’s the new style issue. Blech! This is the first time I’ve ever finished an issue in less than a week. I was done in about 30 minutes. It’s awful.

Rex Rempel ’93
Kirkland, Washington

**In a word: narcissistic.

William S. Hanley ’61
Brooklin, Maine

**The next time you feel the need to “loosen up and have some fun,” do it at the expense of something other than the reputation and image of the truly fine magazine you have edited these many years. I look to the magazine to bring me articles on serious issues such as the ones you mention in your editor’s column. In these times that objective is more important than ever. In the baseless frivolity of the so-called “style issue” you demean Notre Dame, its serious commitment to academic excellence, the professors and students who are able to keep their focus on serious academic work, the alumni who put academic achievement above all other distractions (including football and the latest style of hoodie) and the many people around the world who look to Notre Dame to set the standard for universities that strive for academic excellence.

Thomas F. Conneely ’61, ’64J.D.
Mill Valley, California

**I’m cool with the style issue idea. It’s not really my thing, but I respect the editorial imperative to go in new directions from time to time. But I have to note my disappointment that the issue gave no mention of the very human efforts of the tens of millions of workers who produce all the fashionable and stylish clothing that adorns our nattily dressed undergrads and helps fuel the creativity of our ND-laureate industry innovators.

I realize the idea was to be fun, but in the future you might consider the role of universities like Notre Dame in shaping the debate on worker rights and sustainable economic development in the textile and apparel industry. This industry has long been looked at as the way forward for developing countries, but it has a poor track record in terms of both economic sustainability and human rights. Efforts to improve labor conditions have been around for decades, and it’s important to remember that it was actually college students who gave these efforts a huge boost in the 1990s by demanding their universities pay attention to the conditions in which their officially licensed products are made.

John A. Hosinski ’96
Falls Church, Virginia

**Loved the style issue . . . so fun and clever . . . loved the cover photo — and copying those Ralph Lauren/Tommy Hilfiger ads. Keep up the good work.

Colleen McCarthy ’77
Erie, Pennsylvania

**I was very disheartened when I saw “You Are What You Wear” on the cover of Notre Dame Magazine. I realize this silly comment was not to be taken seriously, but I feel that it and this issue sent the wrong message. The idea that we are defined by the clothes we wear is fundamentally at odds with the core values of Our Lady’s university. In the face of an increasingly superficial, material world Notre Dame is supposed to stand for something larger, something more important.

I was also concerned by the series of Tommy Hilfiger-like photos that obviously evoked a sense of elitism reminiscent of an Ivy League prep school. I feel that we are slowly slipping away from what made Notre Dame great: the fact that it was a place which championed a hard-working, blue-collar mentality, representing the average person and standing up for the dignity of the downtrodden. It was because of this identity that millions of people (like my grandparents, who never attended college) felt like they were part of Notre Dame. If those people saw this issue of the magazine, I doubt they would feel the same way.

Andy Mullen ’12
La Jolla, California

**The issue on style is really fun, especially those zanies assembled in “Look of the Irish,” shuffled and reshuffled in chic and mock-chic. I would like to sit in that red leather chair dressed in my roaring Gatsby ascot, while the young women, in their transformed short-skirted version, climbed around the chair.

Joseph Ryan ’59
Notre Dame, Indiana

More on fashion

Kerry, what have you done with your excellent Notre Dame Magazine? One look at the latest cover made me thing it was one of Abby’s women’s magazines. How could you conjure up a fashion and style issue for our Lady’s great university? The reason I read your magazine and write you occasionally is that you address serious issues of importance to the Notre Dame family, alumni, friends, and the world at large. Humor and lightness are all well and good and have their place, but not in this case. Basically, the only thing worth reading for me is The Classes, esp. my 1955 Class as recorded by our superb Class Secretary, Paul S. Fullmer. I’ll be very interested in the reaction from your readers on how they accept this extreme publication. I normally exchange my ND Magazine issues with good friends from Purdue and Cornell and their university magazines, but I’d be embarrassed to show them this issue. It goes against my grain, and I hope you don’t continue along these lines.

Robert E. (Bob) Moore ’55
Wallingford, PA

I just received the Spring, ‘12 issue (the “First Annual Style Issue”). I looked at it for about 15 minutes. It is now in my garbage. I did not put it in the recycling bin, because it is not worthy of that. No, it belongs in the garbage. It’s a superficial and stupid concept, and was poorly executed at that. Is it possible for an institution such as Notre Dame to be guilty of narcissism? I was not sure, until this issue of your magazine. It is truly an embarrassment.

Tom Needham ’81.
Chicago, IL

I must tell you that I find the current issue fails to meet your high standards.

Bob McConn

Worst issue ever.

William G.Kane ’74

I am a big fan of Notre Dame Magazine. You and your team do a wonderful job. As for the First Annual Style Issue, I really hope it is the last. I believe it detracts from a wonderful magazine.

John Ronayne ’60
Greenfield, Wisconsin

Very rebel of you. Very break out. You attempt a bump in the road (you put the adjectives in) and you do a fashion magazine? Really? Wow. Cool.

Laura Sullivan

The first annual style issue should also be the last. Stick to what has earned the magazine its reputation for excellence.

William Werner ’61

I’d just like to compliment the magazine staff on the latest edition: I read it with greater interest than many previous editions (which I do quite enjoy but don’t usually have the time for the longer articles — pathetic, but another matter — and admittedly some of the typical subjects are just less interesting to me than others).

While I could tell by the letter from the editor on the inside cover that you all were nervous about dedicating the magazine to so much “fluff,” I truly enjoyed all the coverage of alums who have been affecting the world in substantial ways yet maybe AREN’T furthering the Catholic mission, directly. Their work is still valid and interesting — and to some a little more accessible than coverage of, say, my friend Daniela’s NGO in Cambodia (which I do of course hope is written up someday, nudge, nudge). For example, I had no idea that the editors of GQ and the founders of Loeffler Randall were alums, and those brands are — sorry — much more likely to come up in a random conversation I find myself in (my ND education led me to the design industry), and now I realize I can name drop my alma mater when they do. …I have a big mouth, so I will!

While there may be less in the current issue to inspire the wealthy alums to open up their wallets for the school or another related good cause, there’s definitely a substantial benefit in widening Notre Dame’s appeal and raising awareness of who’s doing what out there.

Lastly: it was also great to see Bob Brandt’s work get some press. He’s a treasure.

Elizabeth McNicholas ’01, ’06MArch.

Do I fail the Sidewalk Style test if I pick the squirrel as the best looking one of the group?

Bill Muno ’71
Wilmette, Illinois

There are misogynist elements among the older alumni who will be discomfited by anything pertaining to women, other than mothers. No doubt you will hear from many of these.

Don Brophy ’56
New York, New York

Thank you for the magazine over the years – I eagerly anticipate new issues and I (usually) share them with my own students. The current issue is an exception. I understand the desire for frivolity – we all want to be light and easy sometimes. However, given the magazine is for the alumni, I cannot figure out why the issue appears to be geared toward undergrads. Further, although the purported topic is “style”, the cover and several other images inside are just the cover model’s face. I’m horrified to see my alumni magazine buy into the unhealthy messages regarding canonical (i.e.,blond, blue-eyed) beauty. During my time at ND it certainly did not escape me that there was a very conformist sense of acceptable “style”, including physical appearance, and it makes me sad that a publication that ordinarily rises above the shallow has deliberately sought out “style” over substance. This issue will not make it into my lab for my students.

Mariann Weierich
New York, New York

As a Notre Dame senior, I have skimmed numerous Notre Dame Magazine issues and have never felt drawn to read the pieces they have featured. This most recent issue, however, was such a pleasant surprise. I’ve already glanced through a friend’s copy and was blown away! Thank you so much for doing such a fresh and youthful piece, I cannot wait to get my own copy. All of the photos were excellent and eye-catching, I would love to have a poster version of the recreated Tommy Hilfiger ads. The cover features such a beautiful photograph of such a beautiful ND alum, it looks like it could be a Vogue Beauty cover! I look forward to reading about other notable ND alumni in the fashion world. Thanks again for such a great issue!

Jaclyn Cotton

This is in reference to the format on the ND Magazine for spring. I can’t think where Notre Dame is going with such a cover as this. The back page would have been more acceptable. Whoever dreamed this up should take a closer look at where they are working. The only bright spot was the article about Dan Reagan and his retirement.

Carolyn Harper

I just received my copy of ND Magazine in the mail. As I removed it from my mailbox, it was back cover up, which looked nice enough, but when I turned it over, I just laughed at the front cover. My initial impression is very positive. Well done! How refreshing this issue is.

As always, I immediately read my submission for Biological Sciences in the Graduate Schools section in “The Classes” to see what mistake I missed in the several reviews of my submission before sending the report to Liam (an inappropriate preposition was present this time). After that I read your editorial (a section I have more respect for after my short stint as publisher of American Scientist magazine). I fully support what you and your colleagues have done with the spring issue. I especially got a kick out of your comment about Liam’s sense of style.

Please pass my best wishes on to John Monczunski on the occasion of his retirement along with my compliments for a job well done.

Phil Carter ’71Ph.D.
(corresponding secretary for Biological Sciences)
Raleigh, North Carolina

Hi there! I was thrilled to see that the Spring issue of ND Magazine was a style issue. I would really love to be involved in the next one, if at all possible. I am an ND MBA, class of ’09 and a fashion blogger. I have been looking for opportunities to write more and would love to contribute. Please let me know how I can get involved!

Nina Rand ’09MBA

I am not happy with the Spring 2012 issue of Notre Dame Magazine. A cover that looks like Vogue, articles on fashion and Lady Gaga. etc. notches down the academic and humanist character of this fine publication. Please don’t make this an annual issue.

Tom Plevyak ’60

John, Kerry, Love you guy for many years. But the posters are so important! Then this Mag looks like a girly deal this month. Any way I am old-school 62 years and want ND to move forward. Love you guys.

Rick Foos

A full issue on “Fashion”! Really?! I have nothing against the topic, my mother was in the fashion industry and I have even designed a few things in the past but a FULL issue on fashion? Give me a break! Nice section on Design ND. Did I miss something? Is Lady Gaga an alum?

Orlando T. Maione ’57

WORST mag. ever published by you!
Jim Murphy ’53

Editorial Staff: Glad you enjoyed your sabbatical. At least someone did.
Jim Gates ’75

Wow . . . you guys think out of the box and end up in a whole new galaxy. I loved the style edition including the cover (who knew people put eye makeup there). It was hardly frivolous and showed lots of Domers doing lots of interesting things. It was meatier that six Russian supermodels tied together!

Gail Hinchion Mancini
South Bend, Indiana

Notre Dame Magazine Style Issue? What were you smoking!!!

Mark Wells

When the ND Magazine arrives I look forward so spending a few hours paging through it leisurely. The Spring 2012 Issue took me 10 minutes to page through it and ask myself “What the hell were they thinking?” It was a waste of my time.

I can only hope that the First Annual Style Issue (and maybe our last) becomes true. It was a waste of my time and of your postage.

Enough said.

John Ulrich
San Luis Obispo, California

What a shame.

With the latest edition ND Magazine, an end of an era has been reached.

I guess I understand the economics of the situation for ND’s magazine, but to go so abruptly from a monthly magazine about the life and times of the students and educators at the University of Notre Dame to a “glamour” magazine is truly sad. You really should seek a new publisher. The format, appearance, and feel of the magazine is now of the caliber of something I would expect to see at a Walmart check-out station.

I now regret paying my contributions to the magazine which I just began paying last year (in hopes that it would continue with the same look) and I am truly disheartened to see such a fine publication take such a giant step backward into the future and the money pit.

This is just my opinion, of course, and perhaps I am the only one who feels this way.

Thomas Gardner ’68

I never write to any publication about anything but, please, no more “Style Issues.” I love the way it has been written and presented.

Bill Boland ’60

Your recent issue entitled “First Annual Fashion Issue” was received, reviewed and, regretfully, the source of my writing you this letter.

I hope the first is also the last.

I look forward to reading the magazine each quarter, not just because my column has appeared in there as class secretary since they discovered dirt, but because the articles are genuinely educational, insightful and worthy of a prestigious publication. Not this last issue.

I suspect you will be receiving many letters like mine. Perhaps there will be some who appreciated it and are canceling their subscription to Vogue, GQ and publications of a similar ilk.

I look forward to the next issue where your publication returns to a scholarly, provocative and informative issue.

John A. Slevin ’57
Peoria, Illinois

Well, we have all had a chance to digest The First Annual Style Edition of Notre Dame Magazine. And, with the 2012 graduation behind us, it is now time to turn our attention to serious concerns. I am fairly confident that your upcoming edition will do just that.

Of particular concern in the presidential election year is the HHS health insurance mandate. As we remember, Father Jenkins took many months to work out the issues surrounding the university’s award to President Obama at graduation 2009. Fr. Jenkins and President Obama staunchly defended “dialogue” on serious issues.

I hope your upcoming edition, in time for this fall’s presidential election, will clearly cover the university’s response to this critical HHS mandate. Fr. Jenkins and President Obama suffered greatly to explain and defend dialogue. Now is the time for the university’s response.

As my devout Christian friends continue to chide me, “Who ARE ND??” I anticipate my ability to now present “WHO ARE ND!!” I hope to be able to say, confidently, “THIS is ND.”

Douglas Marvin
Bethel Park, Pennsylvania

The Spring 2012 edition of Notre Dame Magazine was undoubtedly fun for the staff to put together. It had all the requisite sections: Class Notes, Campus News, Letters, etc. Please don’t do this again anytime soon.

Gary Evins ’75

Kudos for your current issue of Notre Dame Magazine. I’d like to see more of this editorial style and recommend that you showcase alums who have interesting careers or lifestyles like you did in this issue. It might increase your subscription rate as well as reader interest.

John T Kelly ’71BFA

Allow me to express why I am writing this email.
My father, a doctor and alum of Notre Dame, receives your magazine on a regular basis. Naturally, as someone aspiring to go to a university, I too, enjoy your publication. However, as I was thumbing through the mail today, I was shocked and saddened by the cover. As a matter of fact, I didn’t recognize it – I thought that our neighbor’s copy of Seventeen that had accidentally been slipped into our mail box. When I realized that I was, in fact mistaken, I was entirely disturbed that such an esteemed university would DARE to publish something such as shallow as a “style” issue in what is meant to be an ACADEMIC and intelligent publication.

I was inflamed by the words, on the cover in large print “YOU ARE WHAT YOU WEAR.” This merely reinforces the negative and false notion that your clothes define your worth. This is entirely untrue and EXTREMELY offensive. Are you insinuating that members of third world countries are worth…nothing? I found this VERY offensive and upsetting.

Then, the two people you spotlight are a PAGEANT queen and LADY GAGA? I’m sorry, but not only is that exceedingly amateurish, it caused me grief and a lack of respect for your publication. Don’t you realize that’s exactly what magazines aimed at 12-year-olds feature? I found the entire issue to be condescending and narrow minded. I noted that the “styles” and “fashion” you featured where entirely one-dimensional and discriminatory to other cultures and their religions. The magazine offered anecdotes and stories relating to only one demographic – the wealthy white one. Can you tell me how you INCLUDED or appealed to the Muslim race? What about the Jewish people? African-American? No, you cannot, because you DID not.
The issue was shallow and frankly, lazy on your part. It is your first style issue and I sincerely wish that it be your LAST.

Mary Di Valerio

Bold, daring and delightful issue.

But I might not have left ND to join the Benedictine monks if we had pretty ladies on campus. Being now legally blind I can at least look at the pictures.

New classification from VA is “Catastrophically disabled” after military service with all four branches (at ND, AFROTC, Cade Colonel, 1951, later Navy Chaplain, & served some with Marines; Army duty was between frosh and soph years.48-50, occasioned by Berlin Airlift. .

Looks like a great issue, but surely needed a double take.

Keep up the great work, Kerry and staff.

Father Paschal “Bernie” Baute ’57

You know, if I had wanted to attend the University of Abercrombie & Fitch, I would have enrolled there. I thought ND had a lot more going on than that. So if the “first annual style issue” really does become a yearly event, just skip my address when that edition comes out.

What are you thinking? I am all for a sabbatical from seriousness as described in the editor’s letter, but you can be less serious in a hundred better ways. Fashion? It’s flat out embarrassing.

John Koeppel ’69


Kevin J. Buckley ’79
Richmond, Virginia

Is this what the magazine has come to? I am so disappointed.

Amy Reese ’01MFA

I do hope your First Annual Style Issue also is your Last Annual Style Issue. Your magazine looks like a supermarket tabloid.

At first I thought it was a joke — a parody of life at ND. Now I see this is the result of the editors’ desire to “have fun” (the good little boys and girls of ND gone wild). But this is misguided, to say the least. More particularly, it is both unfortunate and embarrassing. Unfortunate because it feeds into the current popular view of ND as a wealthy school for the bright and over-privileged. That is, it makes ND students seem frivolous — concerned with what they wear while students at other schools struggle to pay tuition and wear what they can afford. It’s embarrassing because it is at odds with the established view of ND as a citadel of college sports, football in particular. Readers might conclude that ND has been relatively unsuccessful in football lately because it has turned into a school for rich and glamorous coeds and metrosexuals.

Please assure us that this will be your one and only foray into the world of fashion.

John Cooney ’63

I love the Style Issue. You guys rock!

Ron Blubaugh ’60

Going to the dogs?

I just got the latest ND mag, the one on style. Back in March I met Kim Schaftter at the dog show here in Indianapolis. She is from Dayton, Ohio. That same day, she was telling me, one or two of her dogs were at ND for a shoot with the Irish Guard. She has no connection with ND and was surprised to have gotten called.

I was disappointed that your professional photographer failed to contact any of the nearby ND Alumni Clubs, like the Indy Club. Kim’s dog in the magazine is a nice puppy, but rather small and looking diffident, not proud and bold. My Liam Dubh stands 38" at the shoulder and weighed 193 pounds last Monday. As a representative of the breed and of Irish spirad and fleasc, my ‘William Black’ might have been a better choice. Next time, you might consider asking the local clubs if any alums have wolfhounds, eh?

John Mader ’62

Sister Jean

While I was saddened to hear of the passing of Sister Jean Lenz, my and my family’s association with her brought back many fond and joyous memories.

I served as Academic Vice-President at the then College of St. Francis in Joliet from 1972 to 1975. When Sister Jean left us in 1973, she left a real gap in the college’s family, though I had mixed emotions, since I am an alumnus of Notre Dame.

When my wife, Carol, who died in 2005, was somewhat concerned about taking a driving test to secure a driver’s license, Sister Jean gave her some advice. “Look at the trooper’s ID badge. I did, just to be friendly, and though there was no way I should have passed the driving test, I did. He must have thought I was an inspector.”

Years later, in 2005, when my son Chris ’82 and I were walking across campus, with thousands of others, on the occasion of his son Bob’s graduation, we discussed how Sister Jean had been very important in the Pre-Cana program of Chris and his wife, Bridget (St. Mary’s ’82), as well as also giving him some extremely important advice, and how highly Carol, who had died just a few months before, had thought of Sister Jean. As we were discussing her, Chris turned around and announced, “And here she is.” And, indeed, there she was. We shared with her the news of Carol’s passing, and she spoke of how much they cared for each other. I still think her appearance at that time was a sort of minor miracle, perhaps arranged by Carol.

Harry A. Blanton ’58
Cape Girardeau Missouri

An unfair share

I was disappointed ND Magazine chose to publish Lori Barrett’s highly partisan political piece, “My Fair Share.” Considering the references to WS Occupier slogans, “Gordon Gekko”, Elizabeth Warren’s campaign rhetoric and “GREED,” it should have been obvious from the outset that Ms. Barrett was less interested in an objective discussion than in trumpeting the party line.

ND Magazine’s editors and contributors would do well to heed the advice of John Sexton, President of NYU. In today’s increasingly polarized political environment, Dr. Sexton urges universities to play a role in furthering civil discourse by rebuking simpleminded and dogmatic solutions and raising the level of debate beyond sound bites and insults.

I think Dr. Sexton’s advice is particularly relevant to issues involving social justice where it’s tempting to believe your compassion entitles you to claim the moral high ground, ignore inconvenient facts and demonize your opponents. In addition, some editors may feel that simply by publishing works on social justice, they demonstrate a social awareness that reflects positively on ND Magazine and the University. The test, however, is in the content. Presenting even a broad spectrum of one-sided, combative views contributes nothing positive to the debate. Restrained, thoughtful discussion that recognizes and respects the moralities inherent in opposing views and searches for common ground should be the test of value.

Bill Huber 62
Hamilton Ohio

Church ownership

The statement “unlike Protestant churches which are owned directly by the congregation” in “Miserly Catholics” will come as a surprise to Episcopalians, United Methodists and Presbyterians, whose church buildings are owned not by the local congregation but by the regional judicatory (diocese, annual conference, presbytery).

John D Grabner ’78MA, ’83PhD

More than a ceremony

I would like to second the comment of Allyn Amato regarding marriage (Spring 2012, page 4). The history of marriage is an interesting one, codified for Christians by the Church in the Middle Ages and tweaked since then for many reasons, mostly related to the requirement for a member of the clergy to officiate. That put the Church in charge of the legitimacy of a Christian marriage, of course, which affected property ownership and other aspects of life. Civil (non-Church) unions are accepted by many people today.

My wife and I were married 33 years ago by a judge, so we are married in the eyes of the state and that marriage also is recognized by our children, our bank and our friends. I am continually surprised by the lack of education on the part of the ignorant or uncloseted homophobes who do not recognize the difference between “normal” and “average”. Whereas “united in a ceremony” makes sense logically, it does not mean anything to anyone except those sheep who are afraid when something different comes into their lives. Most of the rest of us just don’t care.

Charles H. Calisher ’61 M.S..
Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Glory days

I have been remiss in telling you how much I enjoyed the article in the Winter 2011-12 issue on character actor Richard Riehle, who cites his appearance in the Civil War film Glory as his “big screen break.” I’ve gone for two decades under the mistaken impression that I was the only Domer involved with making that historical epic. Unlike Mr. Riehle, who continues to work as an actor, that was my first and last experience with Hollywood.

Whenever a new issue of Notre Dame Magazine appears in our mailbox, it just seems to brighten my day. My wife, who is also possesses her Ph.D. from Notre Dame, feels the same way. Keep up the good work

Greg Urwin ’84Ph.D.