Seen & heard on campus

Author: John Nagy ’00M.A.

The future is still uncertain for star wideout Michael Floyd, whose blood-alcohol level was nearly two-and-a-half times the legal limit when he was arrested near campus March 20 on drunk-driving charges. Floyd, whose 171 catches and 28 touchdowns have put him at or near the top of every major Irish receiving category, had already been cited twice for alcohol-related offenses since enrolling at Notre Dame in 2008. At press time, Floyd’s attorney had said he expected to work a plea deal for the rising senior on charges that could carry up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Meanwhile, Floyd was allowed to participate in workouts after an open-ended suspension had barred him from team practice in the spring. “If he changes the way he’s lived his life, he’ll play every game for us,” head coach Brian Kelly told the South Bend Tribune. “If he doesn’t, he won’t play one down here at Notre Dame.” . . . Family and friends said goodbye to two members of the Notre Dame faculty who died this spring. Professor John E. Renaud, 50, joined the aerospace and mechanical engineering faculty in 1992 and had served as department chair since 2008. His research on materials that will improve the blast resistance of U.S. military combat vehicles was featured last fall in “Fighting for those who serve,” a TV ad that first aired during the Army game and may be seen on YouTube. Professor emeritus Norlin G. Rueschhoff, 81, taught accounting at Notre Dame for 37 years until his retirement in 2006 and chaired his department from 1979 to 1983. An expert in international accounting and accounting for nonprofit institutions, Rueschhoff won an award for excellent undergraduate teaching in 2002. . . . Saint Joseph County prosecutor Michael Dvorak dropped misdemeanor trespassing charges against the “Notre Dame 88” after the protesters, who objected to the honorary degree awarded President Barack Obama in 2009, signed an “agreement not to sue” the University or the county. Abortion politics are still active on campus. Forty professors have formally joined the Notre Dame chapter of University Faculty for Life, a national organization of scholars. The Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life honored Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. bishops’ secretariat of pro-life activities with its first Evangelium Vitae medal, named for Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical on life issues. Meanwhile, the Faculty Senate rejected by a 22-8 vote a resolution that would have affirmed the witness of University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, to the school’s “commitments both to intellectual inquiry and debate and to the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life.” The proposed resolution urged the administration to embrace “the full spectrum of Catholic social teaching, including especially the promotion of communal solidarity and a preferential option for the poor” and endorsed the recommendations of Jenkins’ Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life. Objections included concern that the measure would be perceived as partisan “payback” for the Faculty Senate’s endorsement of the Obama invitation two years ago. . . . Eddy Street Commons will have a slightly different look from the campus side of Angela Boulevard this fall. Kildare’s Irish Pub is out and O’Rourke’s Public House is in now that the restaurant’s alumni-driven investors decided to break with the Pennsylvania-based Kildare’s and develop a unique identity for their establishment. But is it still Irish? Apart from the name and the menu, general manager Rick Stoner says his place is the top seller of Guinness stout in Indiana. . . . Women’s rugby was so foreign to campus last spring that Notre Dame’s newest club sport barely had enough players to practice. Now the club is a force to be feared. This spring, it emerged from a tournament field of 16 teams to vie with Radcliffe College for USA Rugby’s Division II national collegiate women’s championship. The Irish led early in the May Day title match in Pittsburgh, but fell 22-10 to the more experienced side from Cambridge, Massachusetts. . . . Funny things happened to the Roman Forum in the centuries after Rome’s fall. The buildings that housed ancient Rome’s political life were taken apart and either put back together or used in churches and fortifications before the place became a dump — architectural and otherwise. Nowadays you need look no further than Bond Hall to see the Forum in its glory. Professor Gilbert Gorski’s forthcoming The Architecture of the Roman Forum showcases his skills as a leading architectural illustrator, presenting buildings and monuments as they looked in the 4th century. Meanwhile, Professor Krupali Krusche and her students have documented the ruins — now a World Heritage site — with methods that included the use of a 3D laser scanner. Their work generated digital images and watercolor renderings showing the precise location and condition of buildings today. The scholars are talking to UNESCO and Italian authorities about a possible exhibit in Rome of Forum illustrations made over the last 200 years. . . . An Irish-themed green soda appeared on Huddle Mart shelves April 12, just in time to capture student palates before final exams. Twist O’ Luck started as a business class team project for five Saint Mary’s students, who created its formula, label and marketing plan. It sold so well at Saint Mary’s that the partners took their shamrock-hued, citrusy beverage to select Michiana vendors and LaFortune’s convenience store, where it sells for a cool $1.99 a bottle. . . . Spring shearing is part of the routine for leaders on the football team these days. Dayne Crist and Mike Golic Jr. were just two who lost everything up top at this year’s The Bald and the Beautiful event, which has raised as much as $40,000 for pediatric cancer research. Coach Brian Kelly did not participate but promised to get clipped next year if his squad wins a BCS bowl game this season. . . . The so-called Hesburgh Challenge, a drinking game in which participants consume one alcoholic beverage on each floor of the library, was no laughing matter for housekeepers who have had to clean up after the debauched for the last eight years and found as many as 1,300 beer cans in the stacks two years ago. Incidents typically spike just before final exams and last through Senior Week. This year eight students had been caught drinking in the tower when officials curbed the practice in April by checking patrons’ bags at the door. . . . Years ago Skaneateles, New York, long a popular Finger Lakes getaway, became a bedroom community for professionals in the Syracuse area. Growth pressures threatening the hamlet’s rural character and historical appeal for residents and visitors alike were the target of “Strategies for Sustainable Skaneateles,” the work of graduate students in architecture Professor Philip Bess’ urban design studio. Their project won the Grand Academic Prize at the Congress for the New Urbanism’s 11th annual charter awards, the highest honor for students in their field. . . . Wanna start an argument in an Irish pub? Take a side in the Irish language debate — living treasure or waste of time? — says Brian Ó Conchubhair, associate professor of Irish Language and Literature. Once on the cultural endangered species list, Irish has enjoyed a youth resurgence in Ireland and on the campus of Notre Dame. “It’s a hot-button issue,” Ó Conchubhair told Chicago’s WBEZ radio before St. Patrick’s Day. “Always has been, always will be.”