Seen & heard on campus

Author: John Nagy ’00M.A.

Ted Mandell ’86 just wanted to have fun and shake down some thunder with his music video, “We Are ND.” Instead he got Here Comes the Ire as an unexpected Internet firestorm broke out over the YouTube clip. It all started last summer when Mandell, who teaches video production in Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, took his kids to a Reds baseball game in Cincinnati and saw an infectiously entertaining fan video featuring funk artist Freekbass. Fast-forward a few months and Mandell talked Freekbass into his pet project. Along with a hip-hop performance by the Cincinnati musician, the four-minute video weaves in archival stadium footage and cameos by Coach Brian Kelly, former ND lineman and ESPN radio host Mike Golic ’85, stadium announcer Mike Collins ’67, Irish cheerleaders and others. The video was well received when it premiered at the athletic department’s annual spring O.S.C.A.R.S banquet, which recognizes the talents of student athletes. However, when it was posted on YouTube and the University’s Facebook fan page, the initial reaction was vociferously negative. Angry fans, who felt the video wasn’t in sync with tradition, erroneously believed it was an official marketing and recruitment ploy by the University and twittered the word far and wide. Within days the video had more than 200,000 plays and hit number 38 on YouTube’s rankings, ahead of a Lady Gaga music video. It generated stories on ESPN’s website and countless sports blogs, several re-mix parody videos and a “Protest ‘We Are ND’ video” Facebook page that had more than 3,000 members within a week. Just as quickly, a positive backlash to the backlash developed. Former running back Darius Walker ’09 was among those voicing support and a pro-video Facebook page formed soon after the “Protest” page. To see what the fuss was about go to . . . Five seconds into overtime, the men’s lacrosse team’s run at a national title was over. The Irish fell one goal short in their first shot at a national championship when Duke defender C.J. Costabile fired the ball past Notre Dame goalie Scott Rodgers ’10 to put Duke on top, 6-5. Rodgers’ sterling performance in goal was a key part of the upstart, unseeded Irish squad’s appearance in the Memorial Day championship game, the lowest-scoring title match in the 40-year history of the NCAA Division I men’s tournament. Men’s lacrosse enjoyed the highest finish of Notre Dame’s 26 varsity programs in a 2009-10 campaign that saw the women’s soccer and tennis teams both reach the Final Four in their tournaments and the fencing team finish third in the NCAA championship. . . . Notre Dame is No. 1 in the nation in undergraduate business education, according to the editors at Bloomberg Businessweek. The fifth annual ranking, published in March, used nine measures, from surveys of senior business majors and corporate recruiters to comparisons of graduates’ median starting salaries, student-faculty ratios and the hours that students devote to classwork, to assess 111 top business programs. The Mendoza College of Business finished second in 2009 and switched places this year with the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. Explaining the reasons for ND’s emergence, the publication cited factors such as the students’ appreciation of what Dean Carolyn Woo calls the school’s commitment to personal integrity and “the ability to forge environments that promote right actions,” as well as the active involvement of alumni in helping recent graduates find work. A second set of rankings based on seniors’ survey responses, released in May, awarded Mendoza eight Top 10 rankings in 12 specialty categories, more than any other school in the country. Notre Dame took first place in both accounting and ethics and second in macroeconomics. Students also gave high marks to their training in business law, calculus, financial management, microeconomics and sustainability. The rankings and accompanying stories are available at . . . University researchers hit 100 in April, as in millions of research dollars, the first time they have passed that collective milestone. The achievement fulfills a goal University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, ’76, ’78M.A. set in his 2005 inaugural address to demonstrate Notre Dame’s commitment to the expansion of its research enterprise. Robert Bernhard, vice president for research, says growth in the number of faculty grant proposals and the number and size of proposals that secure funding — primarily from state and federal sources — propelled the big jump from the $64 million researchers won just three years ago. . . . Meanwhile, the University’s second round of major internal investment in traditional and emerging research strengths, the Strategic Research Investments (SRI) program, adds another $40 million to the new total, while building research facilities that, it’s hoped, will attract still more funding in the future. In all, the SRI process begun in 2007 has awarded $80 million in multiyear grants to 14 Notre Dame projects. Prominent are alternative energy research into nuclear, solar and wind technologies, and cleaner fossil fuel processes as well as impact studies of environmental changes on water and species. Other projects will explore pioneering treatments for HIV and hepatitis C; the impact nanoparticles may have on human health and the environment; the creation of a massive “computational community,” headquartered at Notre Dame, to model and mitigate hurricane activity; and the interactions between Islam and Catholicism amidst contemporary global cultural, political and social challenges. Check out for in-depth profiles of the proposals and lists of participating faculty. . . . Have you read The Princess of Cleves? Several dozen ND students and faculty have, picking up the 1678 novel by Madame de La Fayette in spite of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s stern denouncements of its value. Sarkozy famously mocked the inclusion of a question about the book — France’s first historical novel — on a public service exam, suggesting several times that it had no place in the education of a productive work force. Since then the book has become a best-seller — and a symbol of dissent against Sarkozy’s economic policies. Sharing in this literary political protest, campus Francophiles wore simple white buttons stamped with the slogan “Je lis La Princesse de Clèves” like those that had sold out at a prominent Paris book fair. . . . The dancing Irish, or, as it’s known to members and their supporters, the Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s College Irish Dance Club, carried home the Ceili Club Championship trophy from the All-Ireland Dancing Championships held this year in Killarney, Ireland. Senior Erin Madison and sophomores Colleen Gerth and Caitlin Walsdorf represented Notre Dame on the eight-member team, the first ND-Saint Mary’s ceili to compete in the prestigious annual competition. . . . Thirty-five years and still getting it done: Track and field and men’s cross-country coach Joe Piane holds seniority among Irish head coaches by 10 years (over Tim Welsh of the men’s swimming program). Piane’s men’s track and field team won its third straight Big East Outdoor Championship in May, and he and his assistants earned conference coaching staff of the year honors in recognition of their collective efforts. . . . Georgian architecture and urban design took its 18th century inspiration from Renaissance and Baroque Italian interpretations of classical principles and was especially popular in the colonial towns of British North America. The transmission of that tradition to the United States, bridging the gap between old and new, helps explain why Professors Richard Economakis and Samantha Salden ’08M.Arch. see the period as important to the training of Notre Dame architecture students. Last summer they led a team of 10 students and alumni to Bath, England, long recognized as a model of architecture and planning in the Georgian style. Their infill plan for an area near the historic city center was warmly reviewed by British architects and Bath residents alike — including the mayor and members of the city council — and recently earned honorable mention at the Congress for the New Urbanism’s 2010 Charter Awards. A short video about the project appears at Click on the link for Bath Summer Studio 2009. . . . Weekend Student Adventures’ vision of educational tours and getaway travel packages for college students studying abroad took the $15,000 first prize in the Mendoza College’s 10th annual McCloskey Business Plan Competition. Perhaps it’s just in the blood of Andy Steves ’10, son of travel entrepreneur and guru Rick Steves, who is one of four principals in the startup company. And who knows but future travelers may choose to wear comfortable fitness apparel manufactured out of recycled plastic bottles by Morph & Thro, which won the parallel $15,000 Social Venture Plan Competition. The two contests drew entries from more than 101 teams, the


largest in their respective histories. . . . Stressed-out students on the library’s 12th floor during the last week of classes aren’t newsworthy, of course, unless they’re fashioned out of plastic wrap and packing tape. A librarian found a sculpture of two such figures, one hunched over a study carrel and the other standing nearby, and brought them downstairs, thinking they were a practical joke. In fact they were the work of freshman Bre Stachowski and sophomore Jenna Spizzirri, students in Professor Molly Morin’s sculpture class, who said the standing figure represented social pressures looming over students’ heads. Library officials loved them and during exam week placed the sculpture prominently on the 2nd floor, inviting a lively, scrawled and cathartically vulgar debate over the divination of meaning from art and prompting one afternoon the playful placement of a ball cap on the oppressor’s noggin.