Seen and Heard

Author: Ed Cohen

This year’s Notre Dame Award for international humanitarian service went to Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan—except he couldn’t come to campus to pick it up. The award was announced in late March, by which time the prince had curtailed his travel, a statement said, because of the war in Iraq. The war was then about a week old. As of late May the ceremony had yet to be rescheduled. Hassan is the younger brother of King Hussein, who reigned in Jordan from 1952 until his death in 1999. He served as the king’s political adviser, confidant and deputy, and founded and has been active in numerous educational, developmental and humanitarian institutions in his own country and internationally. . . . Also preempted by the war—and also not yet rescheduled—was a talk by ABC News anchor and former Clinton administration adviser George Stephanopoulos. . . . Father Sam Peters, CSC, ’01M.Div., who was featured prominently in a story in this magazine’s spring issue on Holy Cross vocations, was fired as rector of Sorin Hall this spring for having what a University spokesman termed an “inappropriate sexual relationship” with an adult female. The spokesman declined to say whether the woman was a student. The announcement came during finals week. The Indiana Province of Holy Cross said after the firing that Peters—ordained in September 2002, a year after becoming rector of Sorin—remained a priest but was not being permitted to exercise public ministry. The statement said the province felt a responsibility to get appropriate help for the priest but was “equally concerned for all parties who have been hurt by his actions or who lose confidence in Church officials by this public disclosure of violation.” The province added, “We are deeply sorry and apologize for the betrayal of the trust that the People of God place in those whom we ordain for sacred duties.” . . . College applicants and parents today see Notre Dame as one of the nation’s top 10 “dream schools,” according to a survey. The Princeton Review, a New York-based company that sells its services and books to assist college applicants in improving performances on standardized tests and in navigating the admissions process, asked 1,003 college applicants and their parents, “What is your dream college—the school you’d most like to attend (or see your child attend) if acceptance or cost weren’t issues?” Notre Dame finished eighth in the unscientific survey, behind Stanford, NYU, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Duke and Columbia in the top 10 and ahead of Brown and MIT. . . . Many of today’s students arrive on campus having already banked a boatload of college credits, thanks to their having taken lots of advanced placement courses in high school. They typically don’t use the head start to scale back, however. Forty percent of students enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters double-major, and the figure is 20 percent Universitywide. This spring The Observer ran a story about Dan Brunner, who graduated in May with a degree in computer science after only three years of study. He arrived on campus with 50 hours of college credits. By cutting a year off his college career instead of coasting or double-majoring he saved his parents about $30,000, he told the paper. . . . In the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings of MBA programs, Notre Dame stands at No. 29. Four years ago the program was unranked. . . . The next time you’re at Notre Dame and want to prove it, go to the Eck Visitors Center. A postcard kiosk in the lobby allows you to take a picture of yourself and e-mail it instantly for $2. (You get two chances at the picture-taking, in case you don’t like the way you look in the first.) If you’d rather not send a picture of yourself you can e-mail a photo of the stadium, Main Building, the Visitors Center or Father Sorin’s statue. . . . What appeared to be a marriage proposal *in the April 29 issue of The Observer was actually a prank. Senior Joey Hickey’s roommates took out the ad, which read, “Last week I won Bookstore, this week I win your heart—Melissa, will you marry me?” It ran one week after the annual Bookstore Basketball tournament and was in response to a blithe comment Hickey had made a week earlier. He said that if he won the tournament he would ask his girlfriend, Melissa, to marry him. Unexpectedly, Hickey’s team, RBC, brought home the championship, and his friends held him to his word. The bogus proposal drew attention from many, including Hickey’s mother, who heard about it from a friend before she knew it was a prank. Melissa reportedly recognized it as a prank the moment she saw it. . . . *The Alumni Hall Wake came and went this year without the traditional decorations, priest-bearing coffin, and boxer-shorts-and-necktie-only procession. The annual week-long event, originally a commemoration of the ban on beer kegs in dorms, began in 1978. It underwent many changes this year following the Student Affairs’ decision last year to discontinue in-hall dances. A diluted version of the event, held April 12, included a dance in the LaFortune Ballroom and a solemn procession in which only dorm leaders and staff were allowed to participate. The participants were fully dressed and the coffin was empty. . . . Saint Joseph County Council rejected a proposal by a developer to build a permanent tailgating park in a residential area a few blocks east of campus and south of Douglas Road. Go Park Enterprises reportedly wanted to subdivide the site into 576 oversized parking spaces and sell them for $10,000 to $15,000. Neighborhood residents pressured the council to vote down the proposal. . . . Designers of the Marie P. DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts, scheduled for completion next year, are going to extremes to keep noise from leaking into the building’s five theaters and musical performance venues from the outside or from the other venues. Each space is constructed on its own foundation, and the roof is lined with six-inch-thick concrete slabs (the entire roof is almost a foot thick). The gothic-looking structure at the south end of campus has already acquired a nickname in the community: The Castle. Plans call for Angela Road to be straightened and a public park to be built on the south side of the building, facing the Northeast Neighborhood . . . . A new book by scholars at the Carnegie Foundational for the Advancement of Teaching says today’s colleges and universities generally underemphasize moral and civic education—except Notre Dame. The authors repeatedly cite the University as an example of an institution that fosters such learning, particularly in the Center for Social Concerns. The book is titled Educating Citizens: Preparing America’s Undergraduates for Lives of Moral and Civic Responsibility. . . . Saint Mary’s College is building something Notre Dame doesn’t have—apartments for students. Groundbreaking for a three-story apartment building was scheduled for June. “The goal . . . is to provide more independent housing to students who might otherwise move off-campus,” Saint Mary’s spokeswoman Melanie Engler told The Observer student paper. . . . James Seida, assistant professor of accountancy, testified before the Senate Finance Committee in February on an investigative report into Enron Corporations’ use of tax shelters. . . . Some faculty now have students choose an ID number to put on their writing assignments instead of their names. The professors feel it insulates them from showing any bias toward papers stemming from students’ classroom behavior. The students tell the professor their number at the end of the term so the faculty member can total scores. . . . At every commencement, after officially bestowing degrees on graduates, Father Malloy takes a few minutes to offer his trademark extemporaneous remarks. This year he confided that it’s his custom on the night before graduation to go down to the Grotto around 11, take a seat on a bench, and watch family members, students, first-time visitors. The night before, he told the audience at commencement, he had seen people kneeling and praying and reflecting on all that had happened and all that lay ahead. “I really wasn’t there checking to see if they were paying for the candles, as I was suspected,” he said. . . . Monk had an even better line, unintentionally, earlier in the program. In introducing the principal speaker, Richard Lugar, Indiana’s senior senator, Malloy instead called him “Indiana’s senior citizen.” A murmur went through the crowd. The white-haired Lugar, 71, stepped to the lectern and declared, “It’s true.”