Student Affairs prepares for new leadership

first_imgWhen Fr. Thomas Doyle was a student at Notre Dame, he didn’t think he was going to pass Calculus — let alone return to campus some day to be the vice president for Student Affairs.“To think that it’s 25 years later, I’m back on campus and I’m on the same spiritual journey with others that I began in 1985, I’m just anxious to continue that journey,” Doyle said. “There is just a great privilege and opportunity to be back … to try to shape and impact something that had such a profound role in my own life.”Doyle said he does not plan to make massive changes when he takes over the position, but instead has three simple goals for his new job.“I hope [to be] a good student, a good and effective teacher and a good priest,” he said. Doyle, who graduated from Notre Dame  and was later­ ordained in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in 1998, said his experiences at the University will be beneficial when he takes over as vice president for Student Affairs this summer. He will replace Fr. Mark Poorman, who has held the position for the past 11 years.“I don’t think God wastes anything at all. He takes all of our experiences and all of our gifts and even takes the mistakes that we make and allows us to continue to sort of use them,” Doyle said.As an undergraduate, Doyle lived in Grace Hall, where he was involved in interhall sports and hall government, attended Sunday liturgy and met his first Holy Cross priest. Most importantly, Doyle said, it was where he made lifelong friends.“I made some of the best friends of my life while I was an undergraduate and living in Grace Hall, including the roommates that I lived with,” he said. “I’m still in touch with most of them today on almost a weekly basis.”After graduation, Doyle worked in Seattle for a few years before returning to Notre Dame to be ordained as a priest. He then taught business ethics in the Mendoza College of Business and served as rector of Keough Hall.“I came brand new with the building,” he said. “Grace had shut down and Keough and O’Neil opened up, so I went to live in Keough Hall with people who had lived in the dormitory I lived in as an undergraduate.“One of the great advantages of living in a dormitory is young people, college students especially, will keep you young. You stay stimulated and not just sort of current issues and current news, but you get to follow all the trends that are going on, whether it is music or video games or just culture in general.”Serving as a rector gave Doyle an insight into the rector’s life, which he said will be helpful in his new position.“I think being a rector in campus ministry helped me to understand what happens in a hall and how hard a rector works and what their dilemmas are and how much they care,” Doyle said. “It will help me appreciate the work they’re doing.”Doyle said when he returns to campus he will live in a dormitory, but he is not sure  in which hall.“I don’t know who is moving in or who is moving out,” Doyle said. “The one thing that’s really important to me is I love living in a dorm.”Since the announcement in November that Doyle would take over as vice president for Student Affairs, he said he has tried to listen and learn as much as possible.“Fr. Mark Poorman has done such a great job in Student Affairs, as well as all the people who have worked with him. So even though this has been announced for a while, I really tried my very best to learn as much as I can about the University,” he said.“I’ve tried to meet as much of the staff as I can, to listen to other parts of the University, to find out parts that are going really well and to find out things that others think we can do better.”Doyle said he is both excited and humbled to take over the position, and said he looks forward to working with fellow administrators and students.“I think we all deeply have the same goal and I want to find a way for us to get there,” he said. “We just really need to stick with things, by each other and extend a lot of courtesy and respect and trust to one another.“We will try to do that in Student Affairs and we will ask that of the students and our colleagues as well.”last_img read more

Mayor will not seek re-election

first_imgSouth Bend Mayor Stephen Luecke will not seek re-election next year, according to The South Bend Tribune. Luecke made the announcement at a Wednesday press conference in his office. He stepped into the role of South Bend mayor in 1997. Precinct committeemen elected him at the time to replace Mayor Joe Kernan, who rose to lieutenant governor that year. For the May 3 Democratic primary, The Tribune reported at least five Democrats have indicated interest in running. They include: Barrett Berry, a minister and financial adviser, Peter Buttigieg, an economic development consultant, Mark Dollinger, a business services representative at Work One, State Representative Ryan Dvorak and Mike Hamann, a St. Joseph County Council member.last_img

Professors rank in top 100 chemists

first_imgNotre Dame professors Joan Brennecke and Prashant Kamat were earlier this month recognized in a ranking of the top 100 chemists of the past decade by the Times Higher Education Group. The ranking system considers the number of publications a given scientist produced and the number of citations those publications received. Brennecke was ranked No. 45 with an average of 74.26 citations per composition, and Kamat earned the No. 58 spot with 64.9 citations per composition. Brennecke has been a professor at Notre Dame’s College of Engineering since 1989. Most of her work the Times Higher Education Group consulted was dedicated to developing ionic liquids for energy applications. “An ionic liquid is a salt much like table salt. However, they are in liquid form and kept at room temperature,” Brennecke said. “What is neat about them, and the feature which is essential to our research, is the fact that they contain no vapor pressure, so they do not evaporate.” Brennecke and her team use these ionic liquids to separate carbon dioxide from flue gas from power plants. “We cannot remove carbon dioxide because it is both incredibly expensive and energy inefficient,” Brennecke said. “If we continue using current technology to remove carbon dioxide, 30 percent of the energy would be used from the particular power plant.” Brennecke said the ionic liquids she uses are less energy intensive, therefore making them less expensive. Instead of using 30 percent of the power plant’s energy with current technology, Brennecke’s ionic liquids use 15 to 22 percent. Professor Kamat, a faculty member of the College of Science, focuses his work on light and energy convulsion using mostly nanostructure materials. “The first step in controlling carbon emissions is to develop clean energy technology,” Kamat said. “Our research team uses various nanomaterials and assembles them in an orderly fashion to harvest light energy. We use these assemblies to develop next generation solar cells. The goal is to provide cheaper and more efficient energy conversion systems than our current technology.” Fifth-year graduate student Kevin Tvrdy, who works with Kamat, said the reason for much of his professor’s success is his emphasis on recognizing new trends within the field of chemistry. “Kamat has the ability to recognize new trends in the fields of both chemistry and chemical engineering before most other people realize those trends,” Tvrdy said. “As a result, our group can do the new and up-and-coming research before everyone else does, an accomplishment which designates us as leaders.” Second-year graduate student Sachidananda Krishnamurthy has worked with both Kamat and Brennecke. “They both display a lot of exuberance and enthusiasm for their work,” Krishnamurthy said. “They provide a great example for their students.” Both professors attribute much of their success to Notre Dame. “Notre Dame has had several new initiatives including Provost’s Strategic Research Investment (SRI) during the past 10 years to enable researchers to carry out competitive research,” Kamat said. “Interaction with faculty members in other departments, the efforts of both undergraduate and graduate students, and research collaborations with leading scientists outside of campus have all helped us to establish a leading research program here at Notre Dame.” “This top-100 list comprises chemists across the world,” Brennecke said. “It says a lot about Notre Dame that we have two professors on such a list.” Kamat said that while both he and Brennecke have reached an exceptional milestone, their work is still not done. “It is always nice to have new undergraduates and graduate students coming in to our research laboratory,” Kamat said. “These researchers in the future can make a huge difference in meeting the challenge of finding new ways to convert and store energy.”last_img read more

Students cheer Irish on to victory at FedEx Field

first_imgWhile the Irish “home” game in Maryland this weekend was not technically at home, many fans said it still felt that way. Junior Sam Mitchell said the high number of Irish fans present at Notre Dame’s 45-21 win against the University of Maryland on Saturday made the atmosphere at FedEx Field electric. “You’re taking a metro and stuff there, and it was all Notre Dame people,” he said. “There was a huge contingency of people around the stadium, a lot of energy, a lot of alumni there, too. You almost felt like it was a home game. Obviously, it was [technically] a home game, and it showed.” Junior Joe Beglane said there were many more Irish fans at the game than Terrapins fans and he said the jumbotron in the stadium showed highlights from Notre Dame games earlier this season. “It was surprisingly pro-Notre Dame over there,” Beglane said. Junior Matt Gilbert said he enjoyed that there was so much support for Notre Dame. “There was a big Irish presence, and it was really good to have such a contingent there from Notre Dame,” he said. Junior Mike Dobrovic said Saturday’s game was comparable to last year’s game against Army at Yankee Stadium because both games were played in neutral territory. “Both games had great energy, and the team wearing the green jerseys pumps people up a lot,” he said. “It probably wasn’t as special as Yankee Stadium, though, because that was sort of a special event, it being in a baseball stadium.” Mitchell said he was pleased with the final score.   “We killed them,” he said. “We just dominated the entire time. It was really great to see Notre Dame beating the teams that we should be beating and doing it with some swagger.” Beglane said said he was also happy with how the Irish played Saturday. “The football was great,” he said. “I’m always kind of worried with us, but it was definitely a strong showing. It’s kind of nice to have a game where you’re not freaking out the whole time.” Gilbert agreed. “It was good to see them come out with such a convincing win, and they definitely had the support of the fans,” he said. Gilbert said the festivities surrounding the game extended outside of Landover, Md., where FedEx Field is located. There were many tailgates outside of FedEx Field, and the Band of the Fighting Irish performed on the steps of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. “We were up in Baltimore over the weekend, and there were Irish fans there as well,” Gilbert said.last_img read more

SMC expresses gratitude

first_imgAs they await the much-anticipated announcement of the ticket lottery winners, Saint Mary’s students said they are thankful to be included in the student body pool for the BCS National Championship Game against Alabama on Jan. 7 in Miami. Junior Kat Sullivan said she has been a Notre Dame football fan since before she could walk. Her dad attended the University and her mom is a Saint Mary’s alumna. Sullivan said her friendships in the joint community are an important part of her experience in the student section. “Cheering for the Fighting Irish is something that will always be a part of who I am,” Sullivan said. “Some of my best memories of college thus far have been watching the Fighting Irish go ‘onward to victory.’ We all share one common bond – our love of the Notre Dame football team. At the end of the day, the only people who should be fighting are the Fighting Irish.” Saint Mary’s students receive access to a “proportional” quantity of BCS National Championship Game tickets that is equivalent to their percentage of the total combined Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s student population, according to an email statement from the Notre Dame Ticket Office. There are 2,500 student tickets available in the lottery, the results of which will be announced Monday. “However, their win rate can be no higher than that of the Notre Dame student lottery. Any excess Saint Mary’s tickets would go to the Notre Dame lottery,” the statement reported. Senior Autumn Nelson said she hopes the student bodies can remove any sense of entitlement from the lottery drawings and just provide the football team with the support and excitement of a home game. “I feel like the things that Saint Mary’s has contributed and will continue to contribute have played an integral role in the community that is Notre Dame,” Nelson said. “It’s about supporting a team and supporting each other in this time of overwhelming joy and victory. I hope whoever gets a ticket will cheer just as loud as me, if not louder.” For senior Meghan Casey, the chance to go to the national championship game and cheer for her team alongside Notre Dame students is just one of the experiences both Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame have shared for years. “I hope that we can look past the differences in the schools and notice that we are all part of the Notre Dame community and camaraderie between the students is what really matters in this situation,” Casey said. “Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame have great traditions that stem from the 1800s and the unity between the schools is what is so beautiful about this place.” Like Casey, senior Caroline Gallagher has a great love for the traditions between Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame that have been present in her life since she was a little girl. “I cannot remember a time that I didn’t cheer for the Notre Dame football team,” she said. “My grandfather so proudly passed on his love, for not only Notre Dame football, but for the University as a whole. Although I may not be as fortunate as others in being chosen for the student lottery, I’m going to be cheering on my football team as I celebrate my last Notre Dame game as a student, regardless of whether I am sitting in the student section of the Sun Life Stadium or sitting in a Miami Gardens bar.” Until the notifications arrive Monday, students at both schools can only wait and hope that they are one of the lucky ones who will receive a ticket from the lottery. “Notre Dame is ranked No. 1 in the nation and playing in the national championship,” Sullivan said. “I know what I’ll be watching on Jan. 7.” For Gallagher, she said times like this football season make her extremely grateful for both Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame.  “In continuing the traditions and relationship alive between two wonderful institutions, I am extremely proud to be a part of the Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame family,” Gallagher said.last_img read more

Rep. Johnson works to develop a culture of peace

first_imgWhen Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30) became the first woman in state history to lead a major Texas House committee, the Labor Committee, her supporters knew this would not be the only barrier this Texas native would break. Johnson, who graduated from Saint Mary’s in 1956 with a degree in nursing, was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1972. She said her first stint running for office in the Texas State House was largely motivated by timing in her home state and the support of community organizers. “In Texas that year, it was considered the year of the women,” Johnson said. “We had outstanding female candidates for governor, and it was really seen as the year of encouragement. That encouragement extended to my community, and I was pushed to run.”  After a successful stint in state office, Johnson said President Jimmy Carter appointed her in 1977 to serve as regional director of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare because he recognized her advocacy for workers, children and families.  “I left the administration after President Carter was defeated, and I remained active in the community,” Johnson said. “I had many people suggesting that I get into office again, so that is the reason I ran for the State Senate.” In 1986, Johnson said she was elected a Texas state senator, becoming the first female and African American from the Dallas area to hold this office since the Reconstruction. In 1992, she retired from the state senate because she was encouraged to run for Congress. Johnson began her term in the House of Representatives in January 1993.  ‘Confident about the education I received’ Although she said she does not believe Saint Mary’s as a whole prepared her for a career in politics, she said the College allowed her to feel confident about her educational background. “I think it is important that anyone who decided to run for office have a good educational background,” Johnson said. “I feel very confident about the education I received at Saint Mary’s and am very proud of everything I achieved there.” As the first nurse elected to the House of Representatives, Johnson said her background in psychiatric nursing gave her the skills to work well with people.   “The main thing I learned in nursing was the importance of paying attention to detail,” Johnson said. “With this career and training, I developed a strong habit of doing homework and a focus on planning, which I believe has helped me throughout my political career.” Johnson, who serves on the Committee of Science, Space and Technology, said her background in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields gave her the knowledge and ability to contribute to discussion on the committee’s legislation. From 2000 to 2002, she was the ranking member of the subcommittee on Research and Science Education. While on the subcommittee, she said she emphasized education in STEM disciplines. “I really think it is time for America and American women to understand that all professions should be, and for the most part are, open to women,” Johnson said. “Many of the professions that require very strong background in STEM courses have been dominated by males, but we need all the brain power that we can muster to meet the challenges of a global society.”  Because of the many strong role models present at the College, Johnson said she was exposed to a strong commitment to social justice on both domestic and international levels. “I had excellent role models among the various nuns, and, of course, we had some professors that were not of order, but the idea of that commitment to people, to the nation, was very impressive,” Johnson said. “Students from all over the world were welcomed, and I think that because of this, I had a very rich experience at Saint Mary’s.” Commitment to peace As an African-American woman in the political sphere, Johnson said she has experienced discrimination. “Sometimes I’ve wondered whether I should identify first as an African American or as a woman,” Johnson said. “I have certainly felt and experienced discrimination along the way. I have tried my best to not allow it to get in the way, but rather attempt to practice ways in which I may help those who are prejudice understand that we all – for the most part – want the same things.” Having been involved with several different caucuses, Johnson said she believes all are calling out for peace and equality.  After experiencing the 2001 terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C., the congresswoman said she felt she had to do something to reduce war and violence in the world.  In order to do so, she believes women have a very special role as peacekeepers in the world. “Throughout my time in office, I have seen the faces of war firsthand in Bosnia and the Congo,” Johnson said. “After 9/11, I decided I needed to do something, however small, to try to develop a culture of peace in the world. “I had seen on the cover of Newsweek magazine two boys from Liberia who were 12 and 14 years old all dressed in war gear with machine guns, and I just thought enough was enough.” Johnson said in 2001 she founded the “A World of Women for World Peace” initiative, which includes conflict resolution programs for women and girls of all ages. By using several different avenues, including radio, travel and Skype, Johnson said she has been able to communicate with women across the world. “I have learned that, generally speaking, people all over the world really do want peace, even when leadership in those countries seem like they are just there for war, the majority of the people, for the most part, scream out for peace,” Johnson said. “So what I try to do is touch the women to make sure they can speak up and gain leadership positions in those countries to focus on peace and conflict resolution. These women can promote respecting differences instead of war.” Going back Although it has been years since Johnson attended Saint Mary’s, she said she still goes back for reunions and has periodically served on different boards, one of which is the board of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL). Over the past two summers, CWIL has hosted a State Department-sponsored program titled “Study of the United States Institute.” The program brings international women to Saint Mary’s for four weeks of intensive training on women’s leadership. The institute concludes in Washington, D.C.  Johnson said she had the opportunity to meet the young women studying at the institute in July 2012 and July 2013. “I was impressed with the questions [the women] asked, and I thought it was an excellent example of how internationally, women can be connected, how to encourage networking and how we can work to fit into this global society that we are in,” Johnson said. Johnson said she is thankful for her experience at the College and stays in touch with other Saint Mary’s alumnae in Congress, particularly, Congresswoman Donna Christensen, U.S. representative for the Virgin Islands. “[Congresswoman Christensen] and I meet up sometimes,” Johnson said. “We know the experience of Saint Mary’s. … A little while back, Father Hesburgh was in D.C. and honored for an award, and we were excited to tell him we were from Saint Mary’s.”  Contact Kaitlyn Rabach at [email protected]last_img read more

Artist discusses political aspects of work

first_imgSaint Mary’s welcomed visiting artist Curtis Readel for a special lecture and class event Monday in Vander Vennet Theatre, art department chair and this semester’s visiting artist coordinator Krista Hoefle said.Readel received his BFA from the University of Iowa and an MFA from Northern Illinois University with an emphasis in printmaking, and exhibits his work nationally from Brussels to Estonia, Hoefle said.Readel said his ongoing studio practice addresses themes and ideas focusing on social and political issues. From distorted images, his art explores societal downfall, government corruption and self-indulgence in mediums such as printmaking, collage and drawing, he said.“I started out as a print-maker and I consider myself a printmaker through and through,” Readel said.Readel worked and posed his friends with a certain historical and religious reference in mind for his first series, “Business As Usual,” he said.“I lifted [a pose] from Dante’s ‘Inferno,’” Readel said. “The engravings were these very detailed and psychologically in-depth with the idea that people were wanting money and wealth. I started thinking about how this hunger for money could be conveyed. I decided that I needed to undergo it myself to not only feel the psychological toll, but the physical toll as well.”He didn’t have access to the type of printer he needed for his work, but he continued to save his art for when he would, he said.Readel said aside from his experimentation with graffiti stencils, he uses little color in his work for the sake of his message.“It’s not that I don’t know how to use color,” Readel said. “By ridding [the piece] of it, I’m bearing the graphics of it.”Readel’s graduate professors emphasized an appearance of professionalism in displaying his work, he said.“I spent a lot of money framing my work so it looked really well done,” Readel said. “With my proximity to Chicago at the time, I would take my work into galleries and shop around for representation.”One of his most successful pieces is a disfiguration of a degutted, all-seeing eye on the back of the one-dollar bill with the Latin phrase “sic semper tyrannis” engraved above it, he said.“It’s actual translation is actually, ‘And thus, always tyrants,’” Readel said. “You can interpret this as maybe the eye of the tyrant and now we’ve dealt with that tyrant, or was the eye blind to the fact that tyranny exists. This is also the first time that I’m used subliminal messaging in my work.“I teach graphic design and I’m really interested in what are known as imbeds which are targeted to primal feelings. I wrote ‘buy me.’ I wrote it backwards and forwards. I also wrote a lot of four-letter words. So all the chatter and secondary mark-making in the eye is actually all distorted. I attribute it to having done some good studies.”Readel said several United States Federal Reserves supply him with shredded dollar bills collected in small plastic bags for his artwork. Another favorite element Readel incorporates within his artwork is the image of the human skull, he said. The skull is a prominent proponent within his series, “Dead White Guys From History,” where he disfigures the faces of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln from the front face of U.S. currency with skulls, he said.With a tongue-in-cheek approach, Readel’s work is often accused of being unpatriotic, he said.  He refers to himself as a political atheist, saying he work is meant to interpret what the Founding Fathers originally envisioned for the United States, he said.“In my research of history, especially empires throughout history, every known empire has failed. Rome, the Aztec and at one time or another, they were the largest, wealthiest superpower,” Readel said. “By their own demise, they weren’t. I feel the United States is a world power on the great precipice of having to make an important decision. We can either go the route of other empires and stretch ourselves too thin economically, or we can focus on what’s best for the long term. I personally don’t see that happening now. I hope my work can start a discussion about that.”Tags: Curtis Readellast_img read more

Speaker advocates for relationship violence awareness

first_imgIn his final lecture after 18 years of speaking engagements, Tom Santoro spoke to Saint Mary’s students on Thursday about the warning signs of dating violence and his personal experience with issue.Santoro said his daughter, Lisa Santoro, was killed by her ex-boyfriend, who had never previously shown signs of verbal, emotional or physical abuse. However, after Lisa’s murder, the Santoro family found out he had been stalking Lisa for months and had beaten someone the day they broke up — both signs that indicated he was an abuser.Santoro showed a video about his daughter, which featured her delivering a prayer to her high school class for all victims of violence.“She wanted to pray for violence in her day, for the end of it,” Santoro said. “Lisa’s not here to carry out her prayer and her dream. So if I reach one person in this room today, I did something for Lisa, but I also did something for all the victims of domestic and dating violence.”Santoro said abuse almost always starts out with verbal abuse.“A little name calling, making fun of you, putting you down in front of your friends, [that is] outright verbal abuse,” Santoro said. “When they do that to you, and they do that over and over again, a person starts to believe what they’re being told.”Santoro said victims of relationship violence go back to their abuser an average of seven times. He said this is because victims block out the bad parts of their relationship and focus on the few good aspects.Additionally, he said, many victims believe themselves to be in love, the result being that no matter how badly they are treated, victims find it hard to let go of their abuser. Santoro also said although women are on average more likely to be the victim of relationship violence, men can also be affected by the issue.“When someone does something to hurt you, and they do this to you over and over again, there’s your red flag,” he said. “There’s your warning, and that’s when you should step back.”The two most important parts of a relationship are respect and trust, Santoro said. “Find a partner who is going to respect you and trust you,” he said. “I know it takes time to build up respect and trust, but when you find it, you should be in a healthy — and even more importantly, you should be in a very safe — relationship.“You have to trust your partner. You cannot stop them if they want to go do something. A girl should never have to worry about getting caught talking to another guy because she’s scared her boyfriend will get mad.”Santoro said the most important thing to do if a friend is in an abusive relationship is to be supportive and to remind that friend that it is not his or her fault. Although victims of abuse may try to push away anyone who tries to help, Santoro said, it is important not to give up on them.Tags: abuse, dating violence, relationship violencelast_img read more

Former Texas senator Wendy Davis advocates for women’s health

first_imgIn June 2013, Wendy Davis fought for the protection of abortion rights in an 11-hour filibuster in the Texas state senate. Nearly three years later, she continued her advocacy for women’s health with an hour-long talk and discussion at Notre Dame. Hosted by the Notre Dame College Democrats, the event was co-sponsored by Women in Politics, Progressive Student Alliance, BridgeND and the department of gender studies. Grace Tourville | The Observer Davis said her own personal experiences with women’s health issues has colored her views on the issues, especially in regards to her beliefs on abortion.“The issue of [abortion] is not to impose our ideas on other people — particularly when we may not understand the position a person is in, and the decision she is making,” she said.According to Davis, she made the decision to terminate a pregnancy.“[I was] post-20 weeks of pregnancy of a much-wanted pregnancy that I had waited years to have, and … our very much-wanted child was suffering from a fatal fetal brain abnormality,” Davis said.  “What we were told was that if our child survived delivery, which she would likely not, that she would live a life of tremendous suffering — if she lived long at all — and we made a decision out of love.”She said her abortion prompted her 2013 filibuster in the Texas senate to block a bill, which banned abortions after 20 weeks and greatly restricted women’s access to abortion clinics.“That was my decision to make; it wasn’t a decision that a legislature made for me,” Davis said.However, abortion only addresses one facet of the issue, Davis said. Many women still face barriers to climbing the social ladder, such as the large cost of childcare, she said.“For so many women in this country today, whether they are married or single, entering the workforce or entering the academic arena so that they can earn the kind of income that would help make their lives better, can be impeded by the obstacle that is unaffordable child care,” Davis said.The lack of access to high paying jobs is another barrier women face, according to Davis.“In spite of the fact that more than 50 percent of college graduates are women, two-thirds of minimum wage workers in this country are women and one-third are raising children on a minimum wage,” she said.Due to these facts, Davis said it is vital to have a discussion on these issues.“I think it is very important that, as we have these conversations about women regarding equal opportunity in this country, we necessarily put together [the] connection between reproductive autonomy and economic opportunity in this country,” Davis said.In order to have these conversations, however, Davis emphasized the need to embrace feminism.“We’re on a college campus, and, as I look around the room, I see a dramatic number of women,” Davis said. “Feminism is responsible for that. I think it is important for us to embrace and not hide from that word.”Davis said her political views on the lack of opportunity women experience in the United States were impacted by experiences her family had during her early life. “[My mother] and my grandmother, like so many women in this country today, strapped on or laced up their shoes, with a single purpose — to lift up their children to have a better future than each of them had,” Davis said. “But they lacked an education and an opportunity to fulfill these dreams for themselves.” Davis said she enjoyed certain opportunities that allowed her to climb the ranks her mother and grandmother could not.  One of the most important of these, Davis said, was her access to a local Planned Parenthood clinic.“It was my access to the only healthcare that I had for four years, at a Planned Parenthood clinic near my home,” she said. “That clinic provided me my woman care, my cancer screening and diabetes screening. But it also was a place where I could get counseling.” Tags: Planned Parenthood, Wendy Davis, women’s healthcare, women’s rightslast_img read more

Bishop to dedicate the Murdy Family Organ in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart

first_imgThe Murdy Family Organ will be dedicated by Bishop Daniel Jenky on Friday, the culmination of a 10-year-long project.Fr. Peter Rocca, rector of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, said once the Murdy family donated funds to begin construction of the organ it took around 40 months to complete.“I would say it’s been almost 10 years that we’ve been working on this project,” Rocca said. “And then it was in 2012 that we finally sealed the deal with the donation by the Murdy family to begin the construction of the organ.” Michelle Mehelas After ten years of organizing and work, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is dedicating a new organ.The goal for a new organ in the Basilica came about due to certain restraints created by the previous organ, Rocca said.“They’re not frequently replaced,” he said. “We had difficulties with the previous organ. The previous organ had acoustical limitations and high maintenance costs. … I think this is perhaps — we’ve had a number of organs in the Basilica and I think this might be the fifth or sixth organ.”Rocca said the Murdy Family Organ is better suited to the Basilica than the previous organ due to the high quality of the new organ.“This organ is probably one of the best you’ll find in the United States — if not, in the world,” Rocca said. “It has a great versatility. It will enable organists to play a whole repertoire of literature that the previous organ would not necessarily permit because it is quite a bit larger than the previous organ. So there is more variety in terms of the stops and the sounds.”The increased size of the organ will also enhance Mass and other celebrations in the Basilica, Rocca said.“It will be able to support the Basilica when it’s full,” he said. “All will be able to sing more effectively being able to be supported by the pipe organ.”Rocca said he hopes the improved organ also draws in more students who intend to study sacred music at the University.“It will also be an organ that will be very attractive to students who wish to learn how to play the organ and to become proficient in organ playing,” he said. “We have a master of sacred music program and a doctoral program, both with organ majors. So this will be a very attractive instrument for them to practice on and to perform on.”In addition to attracting organ students, Rocca said, the Murdy Family Organ offers greater opportunities for visiting organists to play recitals at Notre Dame.“We hope to bring in concert performers from around the world who will be very anxious and happy to play and perform on this organ,” he said. “So it’s — both liturgically and professionally — this organ will be attractive for a whole host of reasons.”Rocca said Jenky being the one to bless the organ will be a highlight of the dedication and recital.“We have bishops here all the time to celebrate Mass,” he said. “But for a bishop to come to bless an organ? That’s, I would say, pretty rare.”Above everything else, Rocca said, this new addition to Notre Dame’s campus would not be possible without the generosity of the Murdy family.“We’re eternally grateful and indebted to the Murdy family for this very generous benefaction of this organ,” he said.The dedication will take place at 8:15 p.m. in the Basilica, followed immediately by the dedication recital. Organ professor and University organist Craig Cramer will perform the recital.Tags: Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Murdy Family Organ, Organ Dedicationlast_img read more