Seen & Heard

Author: John Nagy ’00M.A.

Contrary to what Notre Dame Magazine published in the Autumn 2008 issue (“Thinking Globally, Acting Locally”), the University has not committed to a reduction in its net carbon emissions over the next five years. . . . The director of ND’s graduate program in the history and philosophy of science can recreate a Notre Dame classroom in your car or living room with “Albert Einstein: Physicist, Philosopher, Humanitarian,” a series of 24 half-hour lectures. The Teaching Company, which has published Professor Don Howard’s course on DVD and a variety of audio formats, also offers courses by ND historians Brad Gregory (“History of Christianity in the Reformation Era”) and Thomas Noble (“Popes and the Papacy: A History” and other titles) in its popular and acclaimed Great Courses series. . . . Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court has been a Fighting Irish football fan since his childhood in northern Indiana, so it was little surprise that he enhanced his one-day tenure as the John J. Clynes Visiting Chair in the Notre Dame Law School by dropping by a football practice and attending the September 13 win over Michigan. Roberts told students during his closed-door presentation that he didn’t know he wanted to be a lawyer until he entered law school at Harvard, and that he drafts his legal opinions no fewer than 20 times before issuing them. . . . Charles Darwin, or the ideas he made famous 150 years ago in the publication of On the Origin of Species, will be spending a lot of time over the next two years in South Bend and Rome. Notre Dame, the Vatican and six pontifical universities have teamed up to create Project Evolution, a series of international conferences and workshops to promote a dialogue between evolutionary theory and faith. . . . Slippery when wet: Flashbulbs popped during the first overtime of the Pittsburgh game, but not for Coach Charlie Weis’ Jersey buddy and ’80s rocker Jon Bon Jovi, who had already left the building. Rather, sprinklers had sprung up on the field’s north end, stopping play on the south. The well-photographed hosedown lasted roughly a minute before cutting off to raucous applause. At halftime, the marching band had played a tribute rendition of Bon Jovi’s 1987 No. 1 hit, “Living on a Prayer” and later sent the man home with one of its uniform caps. The band had already played 2000’s “It’s My Life” and spelled out “Bon Jovi” on the field during halftime of the Michigan game. . . . Libertarian Bob Barr was the lone presidential candidate to accept a speaking invitation from the University during the 2008 campaign. Barr addressed a half-full Washington Hall on the topic of leadership the day before the Stanford game. Arriving half an hour late, he disclosed that he had graduated from the University of Southern California and, in an apparent coincidence, struggled to be heard over the sounds of the Victory March rolling in from the steps of the Main Building during the Q&A. . . . Barefoot students in black hoods and orange jumpsuits braved a chilly October afternoon to protest the imprisonment of classified “enemy combatants” at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Protest organizers from Human Rights-ND, a student group, held that the treatment of detainees at the prison violates human rights and undermines U.S. efforts to fight terrorism. . . . President-elect Barack Obama may have handily defeated Arizona Senator John McCain in October’s mock student election — the final tally was 53 to 41 percent, with turnout up nearly five times over the 2004 mock contest — but McCain’s running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, won the “Who would you rather have lunch with?” Observer poll, drawing 58 percent of the responses in a four-way race with the other major party candidates’ spouses. Her husband, Todd Palin, similarly trounced the male candidates for president and vice president when students were asked with whom they’d rather spend a night on the town. . . . Global economic woes aside, Innovation Park at Notre Dame, the hi-tech research and business incubator wedged between Edison Road and Indiana 23, is on schedule to open its first building in autumn 2009. Locals and luminaries attending the September groundbreaking regaled Indiana Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman with a hearty, impromptu rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” at the behest of Notre Dame’s provost, Thomas Burish. Skillman announced that as a state-certified research park, the facility is eligible to capture up to $5 million in payroll and sales taxes generated there. . . . Rocco Ameduri, the Italian POW who immigrated to South Bend after World War II and gave generations of Irish football fans and other patrons Rocco’s Pizza, died in September at age 90. . . . Joan Lennon, wife of longtime Alumni Association executive director Chuck Lennon ’61, ’62M.A., has been named an honorary alumna of the University. The rare distinction has been awarded only 37 times since Ara Parseghian received the first such honor in 1974 to people whose contributions have earned them a special place in the ND family: benefactors, coaches, athletic directors, professors, administrators — and one Dick Vitale. A survivor of breast cancer, Lennon in 2001 founded a volunteer group that provides support for cancer patients in Saint Joseph County and has raised more than $400,000 to pay for mammograms for women who cannot afford them. . . . Membership denied in the Clean Plate Club: Undergraduates toss out an estimated five ounces of food per meal — the equivalent of a few carrot sticks or a slice of deli meat —at North and South Dining Halls, ND Food Services discovered after weighing food waste during Energy Week. That projects to about 575,000 pounds per year, or a ton each day the dining halls are open. . . . University Architect Douglas Marsh ’82 has been out of school a few years, but he can still pass a test. Marsh, five of his colleagues in the architect’s office and representatives from utilities, maintenance and the Office of Sustainability have been accredited as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design professionals. The LEED designation, awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, acknowledges expertise in environmentally sustainable building concepts. The University has applied to have current projects such as the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, Stinson-Remick Hall, Geddes Hall, Ryan Hall and the first phase of Innovation Park placed on the LEED registry and expects to design important future projects using LEED guidelines. . . . Susan Youens is ND’s J.W. Van Gorkom professor of music — and a character in a new play. Let Me Down Easy is a one-woman exploration of grace in the human experience, written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith. Smith interviewed Youens about her scholarship on the composer Franz Schubert and worked her notes into a dramatic monologue in which she impersonates Youens. Smith’s other personas in the play include former Texas governor Ann Richards, opera singer Jessye Norman and the director of a Johannesburg orphanage. . . . The average SAT score for the freshman class of 2012 was 1405, marking the first time that figure has crossed the 1400 mark. . . . Here come the Chileans? Notre Dame and the government of Chile have agreed to a special exchange program in which as many as 50 Chilean graduate students and visiting faculty will receive government funding to study at ND each year. The program also will enable ND doctoral candidates and professors to conduct research in the South American nation. . . . Leprechaun for school board! Kyle Chamberlin ’06, who performed various mascot duties during his junior and senior years, is now a second-year student in the Law School who campaigned unsuccessfully for one of two at-large seats on the board of the South Bend Community School Corporation. Chamberlin finished sixth in the balloting, behind the two ousted incumbents and physics Professor Gordon Berry, who finished fifth.