Seen and Heard, web extra

Author: Ed Cohen

The founding and long-time director of the Center for Continuing Education, Thomas P. Bergin ‘45, died in May of 2003 at age 79. Bergin joined the business faculty in 1947 as a specialist in economic growth and development and later served as head of the Department of Business Administration. In 1964 President Hesburgh appointed him founding dean and director of the Center for Continuing Education, where he remained in charge until 1991. A leader in economic development efforts and in arts promotion locally and beyond, Bergin received four presidential appointments to positions with the Department of Commerce and National Endowment for the Arts. . . . In the latest survey, Notre Dame has the highest percentage of students participating in study abroad programs among American research universities, according to a report from the Institute of International Education. For 2000-01, the most recent academic year for which statistics were available, 39.2 percent of Notre Dame students participated in study programs in other countries. Yeshiva University in New York City was second with 38.8 percent, followed by Cornell (28.2), Duke (26.5) and Georgetown (26.5). . . . Three seniors this year graduated with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages and had their names read at commencement. Students applauded in wonder and admiration and sounded even more awed when it was announced that two of the three, Daniel Connell of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, and Vanessa Pruzinsky of Trumbull, Connecticut, had majored in chemical engineering. Engineering is widely perceived by students to be a brutal major. Adding to Pruzinsky’s marvels, she was also an Academic All-American on the women’s soccer team. The third perfectionist was Nick Holovaty of South Bend, a graduate of the Arts & Letters college (Program of Liberal Studies), as was Valedictorian Margaret Laracy, (psychology) from Jersey City, New Jersey. Laracy had a 3.97 GPA. The valedictorian is selected from among a number of outstanding candidates with GPA being only one consideration. . . . Many campus e-mail users received an unsolicited message or “spam” this spring advertising a certain product for sale. The text implied that the offer had been sanctioned by the University, which it hadn’t. The product? A teeth-whitening kit. . . . Martial arts clubs come and go all the time on college campuses, but Notre Dame’s has been around for more than 20 years now. Jim Hoff ‘87 says the club has always been student-run but benefits from plenty of support from alumni, many of whom show up each April for black-belt testing. . . . For the second straight year, Notre Dame MBA students won grand prizes and good money at the Arthur W. Page Society’s corporate communication seminar in New York. Two students shared a $5,000 cash award for their case study of a pharmaceuticals company while four others split $2,500 for “Hershey Foods, Inc.: It’s Time to Kiss and Make Up.” . . . The economics department is undergoing a split. This fall the existing program will be renamed the Department of Economics and Policy Studies and continue its traditional less-quantitative approach to the science. A new department, Economics and Econometrics, will focus on mainstream mathematical or neoclassical economics. . . . At the end of the winter sports season, Notre Dame stood fifth in the national, all-sports Directors Cup competition, the highest position the Fighting Irish have ever been at that point in the college sports calendar. . . . The CSC celebrated its 20th anniversary in April. Part of the commemoration involved a prayer led by four priests, includling Father Hesburgh, who was supposed to conclude by simply saying “In the name of Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Instead he first offered impromptu remarks about how the CSC’s efforts often appeared disorganized but that the staff’s hearts were in the right place. The president emeritus’s comments drew laughs but also turned some staff members’ faces red. . . . Speaking on campus in early April, former Clinton administration attorney general Janet Reno described growing up in a household of modest means in South Florida. As Matt Bramanti reported in_ The Observer,_ Reno said that when her family outgrew their small frame house, her mother built a new one—with her own hands. After Hurricane Andrew swept across Florida in 1992, Reno said, the old neighborhood looked “like a World War I battlefield, but the house had only lost one shingle.” Reno later joked about her appearance on Saturday Night Live opposite comedian Will Ferrell, who often impersonated her as mannish and sometimes lovestruck. Reno complimented Ferrell’s versatility but added, “It was a ghastly impersonation.” . . .“Modern societies have a way to incapacitate people without imitating their violence," Dead Man Walking author Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, said in a talk on campus in late March. She was referring to Pope John Paul II’s position that capital punishment be reserved for cases in which society cannot otherwise protect itself from an individual. . . . The pack, equipment and spacesuit astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt took into space weighed 375 pounds — on Earth. On the moon, where it he wore it during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, it weighed only 61 pounds, Schmitt said in a talk on campus in February. Among other details Schmitt divulged: astronauts refer to the round, blue NASA logo on their uniforms as “the meatball,” under his pressurized suit wore water-cooled underwear, and no one ever ate the salmon salad the agency stubbornly included in flight rations. . . . Students voted online for student body president and vice president this year for the first time. About 50 percent of students voted, compared to about 40 percent normally, a student government official told The Observer. . . . You probably don’t know that Notre Dame numbers a Hollywood director among its alumni. He graduated nearly 100 years ago. Earlier this year the Walter Reade Theater in New York screened a sampling of the work of Allan Dwan, who earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1907. Dwan’s movies include such well-known titles as Heidi (1937), Suez (1938), Brewster’s Millions (1945) and Sands of Iwo Jima (1949). During his college years he acted in many plays, played on the football team, and after graduation he remained at Notre Dame as a physics and math instructor and football coach. He died in 1981 at the age of 91. . . . Philip Quinn, O’Brien Professor of Philosophy, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, regarded as nation’s leading learned society. It was founded during the American Revolution by John Adams, John Hancock and others. . . . Kathleen Collins ’93, assistant professor of political science, was one of 13 scholars nationally to be named a Carnegie Scholar. She’ll receive $100,000 over the next two years to work on her research project, exploring the relationship between Islamic identity and violent conflicts. . . . An unusual feature of this year’s commencement was a commemoration of 30 years of undergraduate coeducation at Notre Dame. The salute included English professor Sonia Gernes reading one of her poems and a reflection by one of the first woman rectors, Sister Jean Lenz, OSF, ’67 M.Th., ’98 Ph.D.