Author: Notre Dame Magazine

Please define ‘need’

“Generations of Students” (Autumn 2001) contains several references to the “demonstrated financial need” of the undergraduate students. This phrase has become extremely popular in official publications in the past couple of years. I have checked with various sources, and no one seems to know how “demonstrated financial need” is calculated. I have worked with several students from our area and they all argue vehemently that the “demonstrated financial need” is an arbitrary number. Before Notre Dame is allowed to pat itself on the back for meeting the “demonstrated financial need” of the undergraduates, it should be required that the administration explain how those needs are calculated. If the formula is changed each year, based upon admissions and available money, that fact should be disclosed. To do otherwise is to mislead students, graduates, donors and applicants on the availability of financial aid.

Michael J. Milligan ’77
Oklahoma City

The Cardboard Palace

In “Generations of Students” it was reported that Sal LaPilusa “checked into freshman hall.” It was Freshman Hall, capitalized like Grace Hall, but also known as the Cardboard Palace. A former World War I Army barracks, it was also my first residence hall at ND. A two-story frame structure, it had a long hall lengthwise on each floor, perfect for jokers rolling bowling balls in the early morning hours. It was in the extreme northeast corner of the campus, diametrically opposite the dining halls, a cooold journey breakfast-bound in winter.

In those antediluvian times diners stood behind their chairs while grace was said, followed by the noise of several hundred chairs moving back over the floors. Waiters brought in platters of food to the ends of each 12-man table, and dodged back out of the way. The mark of a Notre Dame man was reputed to be the backs of his hands scarred by the forks of his tablemates.

William J. Mathey ’38
Nipomo, California

One hump or two?

Just moments ago I was reading and enjoying John Monczunski’s report on visiting Cuba (“A Passage to Cuba”) when I got to the following passage — “suggesting the two humps of a dromedary” — at which point I came to a screeching halt. By definition (try Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary) a dromedary is a camel with only one hump (although The Oxford English Dictionary offers slight wiggle room, claiming that some Bactrian camels may be trained as dromedaries, despite having two humps). Beware, taxonomy is a tricky business.

Mark Zajac
Notre Dame, Indiana

Stop Complaining

I find it difficult to have much sympathy for the writer of “Missing Persons.” There are thousands of women like her, and like me, who have never had children or never will have children, and most of the ones I know are handling the matter with common sense and acuity. Many years ago I concluded that God had given me many blessings and many of the good things in life. Therefore, I had, and have, no intention of wasting God’s time and mine by whining for the rest of my life about the one thing I haven’t had.

Helen Cripe ’68M.A., ’72Ph.D.
Wilmington, Delaware