Seen and Heard on campus

Author: Ed Cohen

Notre Dame has reached an agreement to sell WNDU-TV for $85 million. The buyer is Gray Television Inc., an Atlanta-based company that operates 34 other local TV stations. Notre Dame founded WNDU, South Bend's NBC affiliate, in 1955. Last year University officials announced that they were considering selling the station because it didn't fit with Notre Dame's core business, education. . . .Workers are about to began a four-year project to repair the concrete in the original (lower) seating bowl of Notre Dame Stadium. The work will be done during off-seasons. The concrete has been damaged by freezing-thawing cycles over the stadium's 75-year history. The cost of the project had not been determined at the time it was announced, in October. . . . The pep rally in the stadium the night before the USC game not only drew a record crowd—an estimated 45,000—but another 25,400 watched it live over the Internet. . . . Because of overflow attendance at the pep rallies early in the football season, members of the public had to start getting tickets for the events ahead of time. The procedure was instituted for the final three home games. As in the past, all students had to do was show up with their IDs. The tickets were free and could be picked up at 3 p.m. the day of the rally. . . . A couple wed in the parking lot south of the Joyce Center the morning of the USC game. A judge united Cory Swartz and Stephanie Jillisky of Mishawaka in holy matrimony as they stood with friends and family in their traditional tailgating space. . . . Research funding continues to set records. Faculty earned more than 400 research awards and $80.8 million in externally sponsored research funding during the 2004-05 fiscal year. . . . Carolyn Plummer, associate professor of violin, played a duet with her identical twin sister, Kathryn, last spring over the Internet. The Notre Dame faculty member played in DeBartolo Hall while her sister bowed a viola at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Kathryn serves as Blair Associate Professor of Viola and chair of the strings department at Vanderbilt. The concert was part of a faculty conference at Notre Dame on Internet2, a nationwide high- performance network reserved for member institutions. See and hear a recording of the performance at Tom Weber '66 noticed an item in the last issue of this column about Bud Schmitt, 80, of East Peoria, Illinois, having attended every Notre Dame home football game for 50 years. Weber wrote to say that his father, Stanley Weber, 82, of Tiffin in northwest Ohio, has missed only one game since 1949. "That was because he was in the hospital suffering from a brain aneurism. He planned to leave the hospital and go to the game, but my mother stole his clothes so that he couldn't leave the hospital. It was the closest my parents ever came to divorcing." . . . Marshall Anthony's attendance streak runs only about 10 years, but he travels all the way from Los Angeles. _South Bend Tribune _ columnist Jason Kelly '95 introduced readers to Anthony, who owns a window-cleaning service in Los Angeles and is neither Catholic nor an alum. The 74-year-old says he didn't give much thought to Notre Dame football growing up in Indianapolis in the 1930s and '40s and only became a casual fan while a student at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. One day at college, he said, he placed a bet on Notre Dame, based on name recognition alone, to defeat Oklahoma. Only after he made the wager did friends inform him that the Sooners had a 47-game winning streak going. Notre Dame won, and Anthony became a lifelong fan. As far as traveling to games from California, he says, "One day I just decided that you're not going to take any of this money with you, and Notre Dame is good, clean, wholesome fun. Except when they lose. I take it kind of bad, I really do." He told the columnist he rarely has arrived in town with tickets in hand but always manages to find what he needs. . . . Notre Dame is the seventh-fittest college in the United States, according to a survey of students conducted by _Men's Fitness_ magazine and the Princeton Review. The Review, not affiliated with Princeton University, regularly compiles rankings of various dimensions of college and university life based on surveys of students. Named fittest college was Brigham Young. The fattest: University of Louisiana, Lafayette. . . . Hurricane Katrina's arrival found Brother Walter Gluhm, CSC, 70, and two Holy Cross priests—Father Bob Brennan, 71, and Father Tony DeConcilis, 64—holed up in the rectory of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in the heart of New Orleans. Brother Gluhm, associate pastor and director of religious education at the church, kept a journal of what happened next. The morning after the storm the three descended to the first floor of the church and found pews bobbing in four feet of water. They had to wade through it to get outside. Eventually they were evacuated to the Superdome, where they passed a night that included gun shots and a fire. Read Brother Gluhm's entire account at . . . Brendan Loy, a second-year Notre Dame law student and tropical-storm afficionado, drew the attention of national news organizations after it became known that he had warned New Orleans officials to evacuate the city days before city officials gave the order. Loy issued the warning on his blog, which he launched in 2002 to spout opinions on college football. Eventually it grew to include other interests of his, including storm-tracking. Loy told news organizations that he simply analyzed what he was seeing on the National Hurricane Center's website. . . . Some of the students who succeeded in convincing the University to sever its ties with Taco Bell in protest of wages paid by to migrant tomato pickers have turned their attention to the wages the University pays its staff. The Campus Labor Action Project bills itself as a coalition of students, staff, faculty, community members and alumni who want to "hold the University to a higher moral stand and to secure a living wage for Notre Dame staff." A University spokesman said there have been discussions with the students involved in CLAP and that these are expected to continue throughout the year. To learn more about the group, visit . . Tensions heightened between students and the South Bend community this fall after six Turtle Creek Apartments residents were evicted by the complex. They had run afoul of the city's toughened "disorderly house ordinance." Police raided a party at the students' apartment and found underage students consuming alcohol. . . . A new feature at Turtle Creek this year (in addition to apparently reduced tolerance) is a privacy fence spanning the northern edge of the development along Vaness Street. . . . A new website,, lets students shop for and bid on local houses for rent off campus. . . . In a long article in the _Scholastic _ about student spending , junior Larissa ZavalaMejia admitted to buying shoes online "about once a week." . . . _Scholastic_'s Judgment Calls column gave a thumbs-down to the recently completed monumental campus entrance at Angela Boulevard and Notre Dame Avenue. "It's a little fascist, isn't it? Plus, we miss the 'ND' made of flowers." . . . The men of Siegfried Hall took out a full-page ad in _The Observer_ on October 11 "in loving memory" of their hall benefactor (in more ways than one), Ray Siegfried '65. A longtime member of the Board of Trustees, Siegfried died in early October at age 62 after a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease). Besides the residence hall, Siegfried and his wife, Milann, underwrote construction of the Siegfried wing of the Mendoza College of Business building and established the Ray and Milann Siegfried Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies. Until recently he would host an annual dinner for the men of Siegfried Hall, and he reveled in the success in the hall's intramural teams. Terrence Rettig, professor of physics, was instrumental in having an asteroid named after Siegfried in recognition of Siegfried's support for Rettig's curriculum and to honor the alumnus's courage in coping with his illness. . . . Junior Lisa Fetta from Northbrook, Illinois, finished second and won $11,060 on a College Road Trip edition of _Wheel of Fortune_. Fetta told _The Observer_ she filled out an application online several years ago and then competed against 300 people at an audition from which 30 contestants were selected. . . . The student identified as Stephen Iwanski in the 2005 _Freshman Register_ (aka the Dogbook) is actually the late Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams. Iwanski, a BoSox fan from Tiverton, Rhode Island, submitted Williams' 1939 rookie-year photo as himself, cropping it so just the head and part of the cap showed. He says his father, Thomas Iwanski '79, told him that back in his day students would submit photos of famous historical figures or aunts and uncles, even dogs. "He told me how much he wished he had used a gag photo, and so, to redeem the family name, I did."