Seen and Heard, Spring 2001

Author: Notre Dame Magazine

Notre Dame is suing the companies responsible for the design, construction and plumbing work in the addition to Notre Dame Stadium. The University wants the companies to pay the cost of fixing cracks and other problems that became evident soon after the stadium expansion was completed in 1997. No specific dollar amount is attached to the suit because repairs are continuing and the bills are still accumulating. . . . The final total for contributions to the Generations campaign was $1.061 billion. The campaign’s goal was $767 million. . . . Of universities that play big-time college football and play it well, Notre Dame is among the very best at graduating players. Last year’s late-season Bowl Championship Series computer rankings showed just how different Notre Dame is. The rankings identified the Irish as the nation’s 11th-best football team at the time, but the University’s average graduation rate placed it No. 1 among the top 15. Eighty-two percent of Notre Dame players enrolled between 1990 and 93 graduated. That was 23 percentage points better than the second-best university, Florida State, and 77 points better than last season’s eventual national champion, Oklahoma. . . . A group of undergraduates from Notre Dame, Boston University and the University of Toronto have launched what they hope will become a worldwide student organization focusing on such bioethics issues as the Human Genome Project, stem cell research and cloning. The International Student Bioethics Initiative convened its inaugural meeting in March at Notre Dame in conjunction with the third-annual National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference. For more information on the group, e-mail . . . While the website of Notre Dame’s Philosophy Club was under construction, its home page tells visitors, “Stay tuned for something better than this. In the meanwhile, go sit in a corner and think about the meaning of life.” . . . The men’s ultimate Frisbee team goes by the name Papal Rage. . . . Winter was especially somber on campus this year. At the end of January two young people — Zahm Hall junior Conor Murphy (see “Letter from Campus”) and Scott Delgadillo, a 14-year-old from San Diego — both succumbed to leukemia within a few days of each other. Delgadillo visited campus the weekend of the Purdue game last September courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He met the players and coaches and at Coach Davie’s suggestion addressed the crowd at the pep rally. The teen inspired everyone with his courage and determination. Later, in a letter to The Observer, he thanked people for their letters and prayers. He wrote, “I know that one day I will go to the University of Notre Dame and this illness will just be a thing of the past.” Before burial in California, his body was flown to campus for a funeral Mass in the Basilica. Six members of the football team served as pallbearers. . . . Some students found themselves finishing a final exam at midnight last fall semester. The unusual 10 p.m. start time for some tests resulted when the University was forced to close campus one day during finals week because of heavy snow. It was either cram more finals into the remaining days or extend finals week to Saturday, which would have conflicted with Christmas travel plans and nonrefundable tickets for some students. . . . A rule change effectively drained the humor out of the student government president’s election this year and maybe forever. Last fall the Student Senate voted to raise the number of signatures required to get on the primary election ballot from 150 to 300. Would-be kings and warlords now had to venture outside their own dorm to collect enough signatures, and apparently none did. The measure was designed to curtail not only gag candidates but the overall number of names on the ballot. Last year there were 10 pairs of candidates for president and vice president, this year six, all of them serious. . . . There were some rumblings that this year’s 25th anniversary Keenan Revue would be the last permitted to be staged in Saint Mary’s College’s O’Laughlin Auditorium. Unflattering stereotypes of Saint Mary’s women have long been fodder for the show, along with all manner of crotch humor. And this year’s show — the 21st in O’Laughlin — was no different. Cognizant of possibly getting the boot, Revue organizers did extend an olive branch in the show program, writing, “We kid because we care” — before immediately adding, “So when you are watching a skit tonight and you hear the despicable comment ‘Saint Mary’s girls are easy,’ the real translation is, ‘We respect Saint Mary’s women a tremendous amount.’ And when you hear the completely false statement, ‘Saint Mary’s girls have the intelligence of a newborn donkey that ate too much of its own fecal matter while in the womb,’ we wish that you hear, ‘Saint Mary’s women are brilliant, classy, and among the finest humans to have ever graced the earth.’” Despite such sweet talk, the Saint Mary’s student body later voted overwhelmingly to let the Revue stay. . . . The commuter airline affiliate of American Airlines, American Eagle, ceased serving South Bend in January, and Continental Airlines’ Continental Express announced plans to pull out in September. One new carrier has been added: American Trans Air (ATA). . . . The Associated Collegiate Press named The Observer its Newspaper of the Year among papers at four-year colleges that publish more than once a week. The press association is the oldest and largest organization for college student media in the United States. It includes close to 600 student newspapers. Second place went to the student paper at Indiana University; UC-Berkeley was third. . . . Father Ted is running out of records to break. In January Notre Dame’s 83-year-old president emeritus said Mass aboard a Navy attack submarine 500 feet below the surface of the Pacific. Since subs don’t have chaplains, it was probably literally the deepest Mass ever offered. The celebrated priest was already thought to have celebrated the highest-altitude Mass, 60,000 feet in the air over the Andes in a corporate jet. Hesburgh was a guest aboard the S.S. Portsmouth on a voyage that began January 16 in San Diego and ended seven days later at Pearl Harbor. It was same kind of sub as the U.S.S. Greenville, which sank a Japanese fishing boat in early February during an emergency surfacing exercise. But the Portsmouth remained below surface the entire seven days, and there were only three guests aboard: Hesburgh, his brother Jim (a former naval officer 16 years his junior), and Pat Casey, director of Notre Dame’s Navy ROTC program. The priest, who had complete run of the ship, says his favorite part of the trip was the sense of isolation. He was impressed by the food (“better than anywhere in the world probably”) and the dedication of the crew and was amazed by the almost total lack of cussing. . . . Most people understand that money raised by the annual Bengal Bouts helps the Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh dramatically. A couple of the boxers in this year’s tournament got a bit carried away in trying to make the fund-raiser sound even more dramatic. In a letter to The Observer, the co-presidents of the boxing club exhorted people to buy tickets to the bouts and “cheer for the fighter who takes his licks for a kid who can’t get a break in Bangladesh . . . study the veteran who boxes with precision for the student learning the fundamentals of math and science at Notre Dame College in Dhaka” and “grimace for the young man spilling his blood to fill the mouths of children he will never know.”