In junior Declan Sullivan’s favorite movie “American Beauty,” a minor character said, “There’s nothing worse than being ordinary.” This line was a motto for Sullivan before his death one year ago today, and one his family remembered as they made plans to commemorate his life through the Declan Drumm Sullivan Memorial Fund. Barry Sullivan, Declan’s father, said they wanted to use the fund for a cause that would be special to their son’s memory and their family. “We do want the memorial fund to be an ongoing memorial to Declan, a way to kind of keep his name alive,” Barry said. The Sullivans discussed a number of options for the fund and finally settled on Horizons for Youth, a Chicago organization that provides mentoring and tutoring for students in low-income families, as the primary beneficiary of the memorial fund. “We wanted to have something that was local and maybe something that we can get involved in ourselves, if not right away, maybe sometime down the road a little bit,” Barry said. Horizons for Youth works to give underprivileged students the ability to pursue a college education, he said. “Their mission is really to try to see that children from disadvantaged backgrounds get the kind of education and opportunities that people like me, my wife … have been able to enjoy,” Barry said. As part of the program, mentors help students with schoolwork and also take them on educational trips and work with them during the summer to ensure their academic skills are not lost over the break. The Sullivans also set up an annual fundraiser to benefit the memorial fund and the Horizons for Youth Program. Barry said the event, “No Ordinary Evening,” will be a night of dancing, drinks and auctions to celebrate Declan’s life, and will take place April 28 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. The title of the evening is another reference to Sullivan’s favorite movie quote and his unique spirit. “That was kind of Declan’s mantra, to be anything but [ordinary],” Barry said. “So we kind of came up with that name with that quote in mind.” In commemoration of the one-year anniversary of Sullivan’s death, University President Fr. John Jenkins announced in a press release he will write to members of the Notre Dame family, inviting them to contribute to the memorial fund. Notre Dame also announced an endowed scholarship, separate from the family’s fund, which will assist students with financial need who demonstrated traits similar to those that made Sullivan original. Barry hopes this scholarship, which is set to exist for years to come, will be his son’s legacy at Notre Dame. “Legacy is an interesting word … the idea of students of alumni returning to their parents’ alma mater as legacies,” Barry said. “Declan, he won’t have that kind of legacy.” But Barry said the students who the scholarship assist could serve to keep Sullivan’s memory alive at Notre Dame. “Let this be Declan’s legacy.”
Saint Mary’s students had a unique chance to learn about their school’s history from College archivist John Kovach on Monday. Students gathered in the Student Center Lounge to hear Kovach speak while viewing images of past life at Saint Mary’s College. Photos of old uniforms and boating events on Lake Marian populated the collection. The panels of pictures, stories and poems in the exhibit centered on the life of a 1916 alumna, Dympna Balbach. During his lecture, Kovach described the life of Balbach through the photographs. “These photos tell a very interesting story about a woman that was always very close to Saint Mary’s,” Kovach said. Balbach attended Saint Mary’s to receive both her high school and college education, majoring in music. She had neither a career nor a husband after graduation. For a consecutive 55 years after her graduation, Balbach attended every year’s class reunion, meeting with up old friends and visiting the campus. Because she came to campus so often, the archives had several photos of Balbach and her friends throughout the years. Three days after the 1972 reunion, Balbach died at Saint Joseph Hospital in South Bend. Her will was discovered and she had left her entire estate, valued at more than $1 million, to Saint Mary’s. Balbach’s contribution was the College’s first donation over $1 million. The stories of other alumnae can also be found in Saint Mary’s archives. One 1877 graduate went on to not only perform in Le Opera, but to also become a very influential opera columnist in a Chicago paper. Another graduate became an independent nurse during World War I, and afterward traveled to Algeria, Kovach said. “I’m continually finding new and interesting things,” Kovach said. This exploration of Saint Mary’s history was made possible by the Student Government Association as part of Heritage Week. Other Heritage Week events include the Riedinger Tea, the Heritage Dinner, a scavenger hunt and S’mores with Sisters.
IFRANE, Morocco – While studying abroad last semester, I was introduced to a new form of transportation: camels. My classmates and I traveled to the town of Erfoud in the Tafilalt Oasis on Nov. 16. We went on historical tours, visited a fossil museum, attended Quran recitations and, my favorite part of the weekend, took a sunrise camel ride into the Sahara Desert. Although we had to wake up at 3 a.m. to catch the caravans into the dunes, the experience of riding a camel into the desert as the sun rose in the distance was unforgettable. There are few words that can describe the beauty of the desert. The landscape looked artificial, but I was quickly shaken into reality when I hopped onto the shaky, two-humped camel. Camels are definitely an interesting form of transportation, but they are not the most comfortable. I think I’ll stick with trains, buses, planes and cars. The Tafilalt Oasis is the second largest oasis in North Africa, behind the Nile Valley. It is manmade and said to date back to the Paleolithic Age. Because of its age, it is considered the best place to buy fossils in Morocco. In fact, the owner of the local fossil museum, Ibrahim Tahiri, is the main exporter of fossils from the Moroccan desert to Europe and North America. The fossil museum was not the only history Erfoud had to offer. Our professor, who organized the trip, arranged a tour of the Qasr al-Fada, a palace complex built by prince Moulay Abd al-Rahman in the early 19th century. Today, curators and descendants of the prince’s slaves still live in the parts of the complex that are not open for public viewing. The weekend reminded me how true and genuine Moroccan hospitality can be. We traveled to many small villages within the Oasis. Each time we walked through the gates of a new town, we were welcomed with Moroccan mint tea and an array of nuts. Our group consisted of approximately 25 people, but Moroccan men and women welcomed us into their homes as if we were old friends. This hospitality continued throughout the weekend when we were received at two different Zawiyahs, places of prayer and retreat. Not only did the people there welcome us as honorary guests, but they also provided us with entertainment, Quran recitations and tasty Moroccan tagine, a type of stew. My favorite part of the evening was the Quran recitations. Although I don’t know Arabic, listening to the men sing the verses was surreal. The verses became more upbeat as the evening progressed, and the musicians even broke out some drums. Islam is sometimes perceived negatively in the Western world, but I was able to witness a side of the religion that is rarely shared with the wider public. Contact Kaitlyn Rabach at [email protected]
After five years of construction, $8,570,000 worth of renovations on Saint Mary’s Madeleva Hall were completed in time for the 2013-2014 school year, director of energy management Ben Bowman said. The renovations, which began in 2008, were composed of three project phases: the interior gutting, east and west side landscape changes and the window project. “We first began by gutting the entire interior of the building,” Bowman said. “We remodeled everything, took out all of the interior walls and even took out the mechanical system. That system includes heating, air conditioning, plumbing and ventilation.” This first phase of the project cost the College $7,000,0000 and was the first remodeling effort done to the building since it was built in 1967, Bowman said. This phase of the project was completed in 2009. “The building was due for a remodeling,” College President Carol Ann Mooney said. “It is now a very different building than it was and is better able to serve faculty and students.” The second phase of the project began in 2010 and started with the remodeling of the west side landscape, Bowman said. “We really revamped the landscape outside of the building during this phase of the project,” he said. “During the west side remodeling, we worked to meet the standard requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.” Work on the east side landscape began in 2011, Bowman said. “This is when we created the outdoor education space that has the labyrinth out there,” Bowman said. “This is a great place for students to meet. I even know of some math professors who roll white boards out there and teach class outdoors.” Bowman said the last phase of the project began in 2012 with the start of the window replacement. “Madeleva is 70,000 square feet, and approximately 50 percent of the building is composed of glass or windows,” Bowman said. “Therefore, it is important that these windows provide good insulation.” Before the window replacement, Bowman said the windows blocked only 40 percent of the sun’s heat. “The original windows were single-paned,” Bowman said. “During the summer, you could feel the heat radiating off of the windows while standing inside, and in the winter, frost would formulate on the inside.” With the installation of double-paned windows, Bowman said the College saves anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of energy costs. “The new windows we went with are one-inch and double-pane insulated with two sheets of glass,” Bowman said. “It blocks 90 percent of the heat gain, so on the inside you only feel 10 percent of the sun’s heat coming into the space, reducing the energy for heating and cooling in the building. Essentially, the building is more eco-friendly.” Bowman said the window project marked the finish of the five-year renovations, but the department is looking to renovate the north side landscape of the Hall. “The only side we didn’t touch is the north side of Madeleva,” Bowman said. “What we are looking at now is renovating this space into what would be called Sr. Madeleva Gardens. We currently have a dedication for her at this entrance and it would be nice for this dedication to extend outside.” Bowman said he has been working with grounds services to draw up visions for the garden, but as of now, these plans are only potential donor opportunities. “We have a strict policy of not starting construction projects until we have raised the money,” Mooney said. “That is the reason we won’t have any major visible construction projects on campus during this school year.” Contact Kaitlyn Rabach at [email protected]
The University will hold 19 diploma ceremonies in addition to other special events for campus groups and parents on the weekend of its 169th Commencement, University registrar Chuck Hurley said. Steph Wulz and Lesley Stevenson | The Observer Hurley said Thursday’s senior class prayer service and last visit to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the Grotto, as well as the service send-off ceremony and the Commencement Mass on Saturday, stand out as popular events for the weekend.“Undergraduates typically look forward most to their Sunday afternoon college or school diploma ceremony,” Hurley said. “That is the opportunity students and families have been waiting for all weekend. It is the chance to walk across stage, have one’s name read and actually receive their diploma.”“Personally, my favorite moment annually at Commencement is the Mass,” he said. “It is an extraordinarily holy event. “The Holy Cross clergy organize a wonderful celebration of the Eucharist for our students and families. Moreover, [director of bands] Dr. [Kenneth] Dye, the student musicians and the choir provide us with arrangements that are second to none.”Hurley said the weekend demands a large amount of planning from The Office of the Registrar to coordinate every event and welcome about 25,000 guests of the 3,000 graduates to Notre Dame Stadium for the commencement ceremony.“Planning for commencement typically begins in late summer,” he said. “Due to the sheer size of our Commencement, planning is happening nearly year-round.”Hurley said The Office of the Registrar focuses on the logistics of academic ceremonies. “The Office of the Registrar coordinates the academic events of commencement weekend,” he said. “We help students and faculty obtain their academic regalia. The office provides the diplomas to all graduates. We reserve and coordinate event locations and schedules.”A full list of events throughout Commencement Weekend can be found at http://commencement.nd.edu/commencement-weekend/schedule-of-events/Tags: 2014 Commencement, ceremony, commencement mass, logistics, Prayer service
Notre Dame Ph.D. candidate Maria Gibbs was recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as one of the 2015 New Faces in Civil Engineering on Dec. 2.According to an ASCE press release, the award “promotes the bold and humanitarian future of civil engineering by highlighting the achievements of young civil engineers, their contributions to and impact on society.”One-of-10 recipients of the award, Gibbs said she researches the effects of wind on suspension footbridges, specifically those built in developing countries by the nonprofit organization Bridges to Prosperity.The press release said ASCE will officially recognize Gibbs for her work with Bridges to Prosperity at the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Gala in March.Gibbs said she is honored by the award and by the opportunity to “spread the work of the team of Bridges to Prosperity.”“The civil engineering profession is recognizing that this is really important work and hopefully spreading the word that you don’t have to choose between a career in international development and a career in civil engineering,” she said. “There are ways to figure out how to mold your passion into a more traditional, conventional civil engineering career path.”Gibbs said she first became involved with Bridges to Prosperity, an organization that builds footbridges to provide safe transportation to people living in isolated regions, during her undergraduate studies at Duke University.Now a board member of Bridges to Prosperity, Gibbs said the “main focus” of her doctoral studies is determining the structural soundness of the footbridges built by the organization.“Before I leave here, I will have an answer about if Bridges to Prosperity’s bridges are susceptible to wind, and if they are, a solution to making them safer,” she said.Gibbs’ doctoral advisor, Notre Dame’s Robert M. Moran Professor of Engineering Ahsan Kareem, said Gibbs’ newfound way to utilize smartphones, a relatively cheap technology, in bridge-testing distinguishes her research.“I think her real recognition by ASCE … is primarily for this innovation which she has implemented in looking at the performance of these bridges,” he said.Smartphones have the two-fold benefit of providing a cost-effective way to test bridges and of allowing testing by non-experts, Gibbs said.“What I’ve been doing with smartphone apps and these little miniature computers called Raspberry Pis is just figuring out a portable, low cost way to go test these bridges, because the way we do it here in the U.S. is you send a team of engineers and it’s very expensive,” she said. “It requires a lot of expertise.”Gibbs said she came to the University to work alongside Dr. Kareem, who researches the susceptibility of tall buildings and long-span bridges to wind and earthquakes.Kareem said he enjoys working with Gibbs inside the laboratory and in the field. Kareem accompanied Gibbs on a trip to Nicaragua with Bridges to Prosperity last summer where he witnessed firsthand the impact of her research, he said.“After going to Nicaragua I could see the difference,” Kareem said. “I couldn’t tell that from here—how important those bridges are for those people. It’s not typical engineering. I think it’s more like Notre Dame engineering, where you have a service-oriented contribution to science and technology.”Tags: American Society of Civil Engineers, ASCE, Bridges to Prosperity, New Faces in Civil Engineering, Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) Gala
Photo courtesy of Gaju Gatera On Saturday afternoon, approximately 50 students participated in a silent march to raise awareness for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses, following the path of the Notre Dame Marching Band as it marched across campus toward Notre Dame Stadium before the football game against Massachusetts.Organizer Madeline Lay, a junior at Saint Mary’s, said the march was also meant to show solidarity with all those who have been impacted by sexual assault.“It wasn’t meant to be antagonistic,” she said. “We just wanted to take this in a positive direction, because we feel like a lot of times protests or marches or whatever — they’re very angry and vicious and they’re directed toward the perpetrators. In this case, we wanted it to be about the people trying to change things. We wanted this to be supportive and make this a positive thing.”Participants in the march wore white bandanas over their mouths to symbolize and honor the voiceless victims of sexual assault, Lay said, and carried signs with information and statistics about sexual assault on college campuses.“We really wanted to encourage people in the community to stand up for these individuals, for the survivors, for the allies and just for people who are passionate about this and for people who are making strides already at their universities, whether it be for policy change or through other groups,” she said.The majority of the responses to the march were positive, Lay said.“It was really incredible because I’ve been working on this for months — all of us have. It was kind of amazing to finally see it come to fruition. … People were clapping and they were saying ‘Keep doing what you’re doing, never stop fighting,’” she said. “People were really supportive, and it was incredible, actually.”Lay said she believes the march achieved its goal of bringing awareness to the issue of sexual assault.“When we finally stood in front of the stadium and we were looking out facing the library, you could just see people holding their thumbs up,” she said. “As we were marching, people were reading the signs and you could hear the shock in their voice, like ‘Oh my God, how did I not know this?’ … I think it’s going to start a lot of conversations, and that was kind of the point of it.”The march was the first event sponsored by the organization I’m Someone, Lay said.“[The organization] was started by six individuals who were really passionate about this cause because we live in this environment,” she said. “This was one thing we all agreed on, that we felt passionate about stopping. We really want to put an end to it, and we felt like the best way to do that was to really get out there and talk about it.I’m Someone is not affiliated with Notre Dame or Saint Mary’s, Lay said.“We really wanted to make it not about any particular school. … We’re not affiliated with any club, college or university, and we are made up of students from Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross, Notre Dame, IUSB [and] members of the community.”Tags: march, Notre Dame, saint mary’s, sexual assault awareness
Emma Farnan | The Observer Students returned from winter break to a campus covered with snow and bustling with construction, including renovations to Hesburgh Library and the construction of two new residence halls. Construction began on Corbett Family Hall and Duncan Family Hall, both part of the Campus Crossroads project, in the fall of 2014 and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017. Construction on the Music and Sacred Music Hall, also part of the Campus Crossroads project, began in the fall of 2015 and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017.Doug Marsh, associate vice president and University architect, said in an email that the projects continue to progress on their anticipated timelines.“Work actually continues throughout winter and only stops during the coldest and snowiest or rainiest of days,” he said. “The concourse space of the Hesburgh Library will be re-opened the week after spring break. McCourtney Hall and the two new residence halls will open in August.”Marsh said the projects are meeting all their anticipated milestones, including those for costs.“There are no changes anticipated in the construction impacts on the surrounding campus for the Spring Semester,” he said.Construction on McCourtney Hall began in the summer of 2014 and will be expected to be completed in the fall of 2016. Jenkins Hall and Nanovic Hall began last summer and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017.More information regarding construction projects and renovations taking place around campus can be found at construction.nd.eduTags: Campus Crossroads
Natalie Weber | The Observer Sr. Mary Prudence Allen delivers the sixth Annual Human Dignity Lecture on Tuesday. Allen traced the philosophy of gender throughout the ages.She said Plato was the first philosopher to acknowledge all four of these elements in discussing gender relations. He first initiated a philosophical understanding of gender with his “unisex theory,” which proposed that men and women have no significant differences and are therefore equal in dignity. Aristotle, contrasting Plato, believed males to be naturally superior to females across all four of the gender concept categories — opposites, generation, wisdom and virtue — Allen said.“Aristotle’s ‘sex polarity theory’ drastically opposed Plato’s foundations of thought,” she said.Allen argued that while Aristotle was an empiricist, he did not possess a scientific understanding of the male and female bodies. “Aristotle didn’t understand female ovulation, and therefore speculated that males provided the seeds of life, while women merely represented the material for life to grow,” she said. In this way, Aristotle believed women to be defective forms of men, whose irrational powers could not be governed by the rational, Allen said. She said Aristotle asserted that women should remain silent in public and under men’s control. “While Aristotle was consistent in his beliefs, he was consistently wrong,” Allen said. While many of his beliefs relied on faulty biological assertions, Aristotle did assert that each human being consisted of both a physical body and a soul, Allen said.“His metaphysics of hylomorphism discussed that the human consists of matter and form, that each human being possesses a composite identity consisting of soul and body,” Allen said. The development of this idea influenced the studies of gender during the medieval period, she said. Medieval philosophers identified men and women as complementary — rather than opposed — beings, she said. “Philosophy during this time relied on the Bible, and specifically the book of Genesis, to strengthen ideas of gender,” Allen said. Allen said philosophers related passages from Genesis to demonstrate that although men and women have significantly differing bodies, they are equal in dignity and possess a synergetic relationship. “In addition, the two genders function together in order to establish intergenerational fruition,” she said. She said medieval notions of gender claimed the incarnation of Jesus Christ, his passion, death, resurrection, ascension and invitation to eternal life have the ability to be shared by all human beings, despite gender differences. “St. Thomas Aquinas strengthened this view by developing a hylomorphism with the soul consisting of both form and spirit,” Allen said. In the Renaissance and early humanist philosophic understanding of gender, Allen explained, an inevitable conflict arose in which the complementarity of gender was either threatened or defended. “During this time, four areas of discourse were traced, including academic, satirical, religious and humanist views of gender,” she said. While some traditional polarity satires devalued women, complementarity was defended by others. “This complementary view of gender slid into a reverse polarity of gender, which actually devalued men as inferior to women,” Allen said. These conflicting ideas of gender pushed into modern philosophical developments of gender, she argued. “Cartesian unisex dualism was introduced during this time, which shattered the unity of the human being, but strengthened the equality of man and woman,” she said. Gender in the 20th and 21st centuries has transitioned to an understanding of complementarity in men and women, Allen said, expressing concern that this view has been stretched to distortion within recent years. “There have now been perversions, corruptions and decays in the idea of the human person as a result of changing views in its relation to sex and gender ideologies, secular feminism and philosophers turned atheists,” she said. Allen said with new concepts of gender, feminism and atheistic philosophy arising, notions of gender have altered drastically. “Gender reality includes the whole person, while gender ideology has focused on metaphysical identity and invented self-concepts of one’s gender,” she said. “Each person is created with dignity and should be seen as their whole person.” Tags: 6th Annual Human Dignity Lecture, gender, philosophy of gender Sr. Mary Prudence Allen discussed the dignity of human gender at the sixth annual Human Dignity Lecture on Tuesday night. In the talk, she mapped out the history of gender constructions throughout time, beginning with ancient Greek philosophy and developing to notions of gender in the 20th and 21st centuries.She first identified the four elements in the concept of women, which was introduced in 384 B.C. as a part of Plato and Aristotle’s studies. “The four elements across which gender theories center include opposites, generation, wisdom and virtue,” Allen said.
Rosie LoVoi | The Observer Professor Rosemary Kelanic said the Trump administration’s foreign policy has been driven largely by the president’s self-perception. Kelanic presented as part of a “Pizza, Pop and Politics” panel hosted by NDVotes.Kelanic was one of two professors who discussed the Trump administration’s foreign policy in a “Pizza, Pop and Politics” panel hosted by NDVotes on Tuesday evening. As to what will drive U.S. foreign policy decisions under the Trump administration, Kelanic said the president‘s ego will be a determining factor.“The underlying logic is what is good for [Trump’s] ego at any given point in time, and how does he view himself?” she said.President Trump’s identity as a dealmaker is also a driving force in his foreign policy agenda, Kelanic said. As a result of these traits, Kelanic said American foreign policy may become largely determined by President Trump’s personal relationships with other world leaders. “He’s likely to favor those who flatter him and disfavor those who criticize him,” she said.Michael Desch, a professor of political science and director of the International Security Center at Notre Dame, agreed with what much of Kelanic said. Foreign policy is also shaped by public opinion, especially under the current administration, Desch said, as Trump has taken advantage of a major shift in public opinion. “President Trump ran for office and was elected at a time in which the political culture of a significant fraction of the American public had changed,” Desch said. “A new sort of approach to politics in general, and foreign policy in particular, had emerged.” Desch identified this new trend in American foreign policy as “Jacksonian,” after President Andrew Jackson. Some of the key tenets of this political philosophy are high levels of nationalism, populism and a pessimistic view of international politics. During a question-and-answer session, Kelanic and Desch addressed the U.S. foreign policy with regards to North Korea.The situation with North Korea might not allow Trump to be as aggressive as he may wish he could be, Desch said.“The president very clearly came into office thinking that what he wanted was a military solution to the North Korean nuclear program because diplomacy had clearly failed,” Desch said.But as it became clear to Trump that any military option in North Korea would have severe repercussions, he seems to have settled for continued pursuit of diplomatic solutions, Desch said.Desch also addressed American foreign policy with regards to the situation in Israel and Palestine. Trump’s view of himself as a dealmaker may provide him with the necessary motivation to pursue a deal between Palestine and Israel — a deal which many have deemed to be almost impossible to achieve, Desch said. “You say [it’s] too big a deal to Trump, and it’s like waving the red flag in front of the bull,” he said.Tags: Foreign Policy, NDVotes, Pizza Pop and Politics, The Trump Administration Though President Trump has promised to put America first, professor of political science Rosemary Kelanic said in reality, the current administration’s policies are closer to “Trump first” than they are to “America first.”“I think that [Trump] conflates his personal interests with the interests of the United States,” Kelanic said. “He doesn’t really draw a distinction between what is in the national interest and what he thinks and likes and doesn’t like, and what he desires and doesn’t desire.”