Seen and heard on campus

Author: John Nagy ’00M.A.

Kevin Healey, 20, a sophomore history major and Sorin Otter, died at his home in Fairview Heights, Ohio, on April 24. Diagnosed with bone cancer as a high school senior, Healey fought hard to live out his Notre Dame dream, studying the Irish language, writing comedy skits for NDtv, serving Mass in the dorm’s chapel and even making the dean’s list while traveling frequently to his Cleveland-area home for chemotherapy. “Whatever our boxers think, he was the toughest Otter I have ever known,” Sorin rector Father Jim King, CSC, said at the May 3 memorial Mass celebrated at the basilica. . . . Breaking with tradition, the University awarded NCAA president Myles Brand an honorary doctorate of laws despite his absence from Commencement May 17. Medical restrictions prevent Brand, 67, from traveling as college athletics’ academically minded reformer battles pancreatic cancer. . . . Also receiving honorary degrees were Steven C. Beering, the chair of the National Science Board and for four decades a leader in medical education and public policy; University trustee and real estate developer Fritz L. Duda Sr.; Mellon Foundation president Don Michael Randel, a musicologist of the Middle Ages and Renaissance; Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard of the Indiana Supreme Court; Patrick J. Finneran Jr. ’67, the chair of Notre Dame’s Advisory Council for Graduate Studies and Research; and Cindy K. Parseghian ’77, “who has transformed personal tragedy into a passionate commitment to find a cure for Niemann-Pick Type C disease, the rare and fatal genetic disorder that has taken the lives of three of her four children,” her citation reads. Parseghian and her husband, Michael ’77, have raised $33 million to research the disease through the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation. . . . The O’Halloran family may hold a unique place in Mendoza College of Business history as the only family whose members have earned all three master’s degrees the University offers in business administration. This year, Brad ’76, regional development director in Notre Dame’s Chicago office, earned his executive MBA degree while son Ryan received his MBA in the two-year program. Brad’s other son, Harry ’04, completed his one-year MBA in 2005. . . . Lupus is unpredictable, inhibiting, frustrating, invisible, incurable, real: Anna Jordan ’09 delivered these messages about the mysterious but noncommunicable autoimmune disease that affects nearly 2 million Americans to campus this spring via posters, bus shelter ads and radio spots. They came from her own experience with lupus as well as from the first-person accounts of others who sent Jordan postcards as part of the research she did for her Bachelor of Fine Arts thesis in graphic design. Lupus causes many symptoms, including joint pain, fatigue, migraine headaches and, in severe cases, organ failure and death. Jordan manages her symptoms with a combination of treatments. “It makes me enjoy life every day. I don’t take anything for granted,” she says. Her project and more information about the disease are available on the web at . . . The Brilliant Dr. Wogan, a short play written and directed by senior Kathleen Hession for her Film, Television and Theatre honors thesis, requires performers to learn between five and 10 roles apiece for a show that could follow one of eight different storylines — depending on choices made by the audience. The audience’s first task is to decide who will play “You” as you try to rescue Dr. Wogan from kidnappers and save the world from nuclear destruction. Hession adapted the tale from a book of the same name in the popular “Choose Your Own Adventure” children’s series. . . . More contagious than the swine flu, which infected only two ND students — including the first reported case in Indiana — was the spread of iPhones across campus. According to the Office of Information Technology, 210 of the eye-catching, all-in-one cell phones arrived with students last September. By exam week in May that number had jumped to 933, though chief technology officer Dewitt Latimer suspects some of those devices may be Apple’s popular iTouch, which supports music and games and does just about everything the iPhone does except place calls. . . . Despite an incorrect answer to the Final Jeopardy question on the last day of the contest, Patrick Tucker ’09 pulled out a win in the 2009 Jeopardy! College Championship. Tucker, from Saint Louis, Missouri, won a cash prize of $100,000 after besting contestants from Emory and the University of Missouri in the finals. . . . “The Quran in its Historical Context,” an international conference held at ND in mid-April for scholars engaged in critical studies of Islam’s sacred text, attracted the attention of The New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, who called it a window into the “beginning of an intellectual reform movement” in Islam. “The Notre Dame conference probably could not have occurred in a Muslim country,” Kristof wrote, “for the rigorous application of historical analysis to the [Quran] is as controversial today in the Muslim world as its application to the Bible was in the 1800s.” . . . Organizers of The Vagina Monologues announced in April that Notre Dame students would not perform the play for the first time in eight years. Producers told The Observer that the controversy surrounding campus performances of the play turns it into “more of a scandal than an action piece.” . . . Lovers of campus sculpture can now take a virtual walking tour of 13 of Notre Dame’s more prominent outdoor pieces, from the statue of Father Sorin at the foot of God Quad to the Clipper Ship in the south-facing courtyard of the Mendoza College of Business. Students in Professor Chris Clark’s “Applied Multimedia” class created the four-to-seven minute commentaries accessible at through any computer or portable digital media player. Fifty “SniteCast” commentaries done by Clark’s students and museum staff similarly feature prominent works in the Snite Museum of Art at Click on “collection” and again on “museum podcasts.” . . . Father’s Day came in April this year for the Shine family of Fort Wayne, Indiana, by way of an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The segment honoring single fathers led with dad Larry, who adopted eight children after his wife, Kate, died 19 years ago. Larry’s biological son, Henry, is a rising ND junior studying finance and Chinese who admits to pangs of jealousy when he was younger. “I grew to appreciate my father’s generosity and selflessness,” Shine told Notre Dame Magazine. These days, Henry, still the only other Shine with a driver’s license, takes on the chauffeur role when at home. . . . Football Saturdays now have a man in charge. Starting this autumn, Michael Seamon ’92, assistant vice president for University events and protocol, will add “director of gameday operations” to his job description and oversee the implementation of University regulations and services on football weekends. Details are forthcoming about other recommendations made by the Committee on Safety, Security and Hospitality that University president Father John I. Jenkins, CSC, convened after guests and students complained about what some called a “crackdown” on tailgating and fan behavior at home games last year. . . . Traditional architecture transcends conventional boundaries of religion and culture, as the life’s work of this year’s $200,000 Driehaus Prize winner can attest. Presented annually by ND’s School of Architecture, the most prestigious award for architectural classicists recognized the Egyptian Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil as “one of the leading voices in contemporary Islamic architecture” who has used traditional design principles and building practices to create mosques, civic buildings and homes “that are both timeless and for our time.” His design for the Oxford University Centre for Islamic Studies was noted as a successful blend of Islamic design into Oxford’s architectural vernacular. . . . Otto A. Bird, the founding director of Notre Dame’s Great Books program, known today as the Program of Liberal Studies, died June 5 as the magazine went to press. He was 94. . . . The Law School has a new leader to go with its new building. Nell Jessup Newton was appointed the Joseph A. Matson Dean of the school in March and began her job July 1. An expert in American Indian and constitutional law, Newton most recently served as the chancellor and dean of the University of California’s Hastings School of Law and has also held the top law school post at the universities of Connecticut and Denver. . . . Imitation javelins sang through the chilly March air during Duncan Hall’s inaugural “Highlander Games.” The new men’s dorm’s first signature event took place on a cold Saturday afternoon. Festivities included a water balloon launch and, perversely, a dunk tank. . . . Terry Eagleton, the Marxist critic described by as “the man who introduced millions to literary theory” will teach and deliver public lectures at Notre Dame for three weeks each semester over the next five years, courtesy of an English department appointment. Raised Catholic, Eagleton, who has written critically about the Church, has lately been a leading jouster with atheist public intellectuals Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, whom he derisively referred to during lectures he delivered last year at Yale University as “Ditchkins.” . . . Gold actually beat Blue, 59-56, when mechanical engineering students conducted the first Fighting IBots Mechantronic Football Competition at Stepan Center. The robotic gridiron contest took place the same Saturday as the annual Blue-Gold football game and featured printer-sized robots remotely controlled by the students. The game was part of the Mechanical Engineering Senior Design course taught by professors Michael Stanisic and Mihir Sen and included touchdown celebrations complete with Victory March and aerial push-ups. . . . Shiny domes were visible all over campus after this year’s freshman class fundraiser. Some 140 people (including four women) had their heads shaved in the LaFortune Student Center to show support for child cancer patients and raise money for the nonprofit Saint Baldrick’s Foundation. The event collected $25,000 for childhood cancer research, more than double the target.