Seen & heard on campus

Author: John Nagy ’00M.A.

Springsteen concerts aren’t the only performances selling out in 12 minutes these days. The Keenan Revue’s long tradition of entertaining, shocking and ridiculing audiences continued this year before three nights of packed houses at Saint Mary’s O’Laughlin Auditorium. The 2010 theme, “Keenan RevueS.A. vs. RevueS.S.R. . . . A Cold War Revue,” provided a backdrop of patriotism and thick accents amid lots of red. The revue featured student musical performances and jabbed at a recent former Notre Dame quarterback in the skit “Going Professional.” Audiences groaned at several “too soon” moments, such as cracks at Tiger Woods and a reference to “The Jackson Four,” complete with a sobbing Jermaine and an absent Michael. After more than 30 years of hosting Keenan’s shenanigans, however, Saint Mary’s decided not to renew its contract with the revue, citing incompatibility with the college’s mission statement. Revue organizers have begun their search for a new venue. . . .


The Congregation of Holy Cross will soon boast its first saint in the 173-year history of the order that founded the University. Born in 1845, Blessed Brother André Bessette, CSC, was a simple but prayerful laborer with a devotion to Saint Joseph who joined the congregation in his youth and served much of his life washing clothes, cutting students’ hair and greeting visitors at the College of Notre Dame in Montreal, Canada. Thousands of miraculous healings that occurred during his 91 years were popularly attributed to the intercession of the “Miracle Man of Montreal.” He will be canonized in Rome on October 17. . . . “The Big Dog” is turning pro. Bengal Bouts legend Mike Lee ’09 signed a contract to box for fight promoter Top Rank during a Joyce Center press conference attended by former Top Rank fighter Tom Zbikowski ’07, who put his boxing career on hold with a 1-0 record to play safety for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. Lee enters his professional career with an undefeated amateur record of his own and a reputation for throwing punches so fast his opponents can’t see them. His modest goal? A championship belt. And he’s pledged to donate a percentage of his fight and sponsorship proceeds to the bouts’ longtime charity, the Congregation of Holy Cross in Bangladesh. . . . “Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?” The opening line of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 was especially lovely and temperate as uttered by anthropology Professor Agustin Fuentes on a chilly morning in February. Fuentes and dozens of Notre Dame personalities from University Provost Thomas Burish to former Observer columnist Katherine Khorey, a senior, warmed the air inside O’Shaughnessy’s Great Hall with their readings of all 154 of The Bard’s famous 14-liners in early celebration of Valentine’s Day. The new event, dubbed SonnetFest, is part of the year-round festivities and performances of the Shakespeare at Notre Dame program. . . . Scott Malpass ’84, the University’s chief investment officer for more than two decades, has earned widespread accolades as the wizard behind Notre Dame’s admirable endowment performance in good times and bad. Less well known to Domers outside the Mendoza College of Business is the Applied Investment Management course he founded in 1995. In 15 years, the class has trained more than 700 top ND finance students by giving them the opportunity to manage a live, multimillion dollar stock portfolio using fundamental research techniques, and it has become a model for other leading business programs. As more economists tentatively forecast an imminent end to the current recession, about half of those AIM alumni will reconvene on campus in June to network and discuss urgent issues in contemporary global capital markets. . . . Football Saturdays received a major hospitality overhaul in preparation for the 2009 season, with changes affecting every aspect of the weekend from parking to pep rallies to the creation of the personalized weekend-planning website, Those efforts earned recognition as an industry best practice by the Stadium Managers Association, which represents officials at professional and collegiate outdoor stadiums around the country. Notre Dame’s Game Day guru, associate vice president for events and protocol Michael Seamon ’92, presented the ND model during the group’s annual conference in February. . . . Veterans of Innsbruck gasped a collective “Achtung!” at the January announcement that their beloved study-abroad program would soon exist only in their memories. Citing a dearth of applicants to the once-thriving German language and culture program, launched 45 years ago as the University’s maiden voyage into overseas study, the University shifted from the charming capital of the Austrian Alps that twice hosted the Winter Olympics to its growing presence in Berlin, Germany. . . . The University’s nondiscrimination clause received an extra measure of attention after the January 13 publication of a cartoon in The Observer that made light of violence against homosexuals. The strip prompted weeks of angry letters to the paper’s opinion pages and the resignation of the duty editor. Campus gay and lesbian activists and their allies, who have annually submitted petitions requesting the inclusion of sexual orientation in the official statement, rallied against the cartoon two weeks later and marched to the Golden Dome to deliver a letter to University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, ’76, ’78M.A., again decrying its absence in the policy. Administrators have said that an explicit inclusion of sexual orientation in the policy would compromise the University’s ability as a private, Catholic institution to maintain a distinction between sexual orientation and practice according to Catholic doctrine on human sexuality. . . . Student Film Festival devotees may now feed their fixation on iTunesU, Apple’s educational media sharing service. The 21st annual fest is free in its entirety via, and the festival’s founder, Professor Ted Mandell, is also posting “Best Of” collections from past shows. . . . The 600 Club welcomed women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw after the team’s 78-60 victory over Louisville on January 16. It’s an exclusive group — only 18 other Division I women’s basketball coaches belong. McGraw’s Lehigh teams earned her first 88 victories. She came to Notre Dame in 1987. . . . Explicit support for Catholic teaching on the sanctity of all human life in a policy statement was the first of the preliminary recommendations presented at the beginning of the semester by the ND Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life. The panel, co-chaired by law Professor Margaret Brinig and theology department chair John Cavadini, also counseled policy statements on charitable gifts and investments, better publicity for the University’s supportive stance toward pregnant students, and various forms of encouragement for pro-life witness among students and alumni. Students cheered the presence of Father Jenkins and nearly three dozen members of the faculty at the January 22 March for Life in Washington, D.C., marking the 37th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. In all, eight buses carrying 400 marchers left from Notre Dame for the event. . . . The alarming discovery of a femur by maintenance workers digging under Lewis Hall in February briefly promised a sensation for campus mystery lovers. But the cold-case file trawl and CSI summons never materialized. A speedy forensic investigation confirmed that the long thigh bone came not from a human but from a cow. . . Grief twice spared the Leary family of Erie, Pennsylvania, when this winter’s deadly earthquakes struck Haiti and Chile. Son Joey ’09, volunteering for both the medical relief organization InterVol and the Notre Dame Haiti Program, wrote of his harrowing brush with a violent Port-au-Prince street protest right before the 7.0-magnitude quake hit on January 12. Carolyn, a ND junior, was among 27 students and staff in Chile at the time of the 8.8 earthquake on February 27. All were reported safe, along with members of the Holy Cross community serving in the South American country. The University does not currently send students to Haiti; at press time, no decision had been made to bring the Chile students back to the United States.

Photo of statue of Blessed Brother Andre Bessette, CSC, by Matt Cashore.