FORMER SUBWAY ALUMNI LEADER REFLECTS ON HIS "NOTRE DAME ODYSSEY"


Herb Juliano
(1922-1998)
THE SCHOOL NOBODY KNOWS

In 1990 the Notre Dame Alumni Association published a brochure listing 34 "THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT NOTRE DAME." Here is what they listed:

1. Notre Dame is the most national university in the country, drawing the most geo- graphically diverse student body. Its network of more than 200 alumni clubs in 49 states and 12 foreign countries is the most extensive in American higher education.

2. Notre Dame was ranked 23rd in educational quality among national research universities in the most recent survey of American higher education by U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT magazine.

3. Notre Dame faculty salaries have been in the top 20th percentile in the nation since 1984-85, and one survey factoring in the local cost-of-living shows the University to have the second highest faculty salaries in the nation. Tne University has more endowed faculty chairs established (in excess of 100) and fully funded and occupied (58) than any other Catholic university.

4. Notre Dame ranks among the top 50 universities in the United States in the number of doctorates awarded annually, and it is 18th (first among Catholic institutions) in the number of doctorates earned by its undergraduate alumni.

5. According to a Standard & Poor's Corporation survey, more American business leaders took their undergraduate degrees at Notre Dame than at any other Catholic college or university. Notre Dame ranks in the top 10 of all colleges and universities represented by graduates among the nation's business and industrial leaders. Notre Dame is also among schools with the most alumni listed in WHO'S WHO?

6. Notre Dame is among the top 30 highly selective institutions of higher learning in the country and one of the few not to experience a drop in admissions applications in the past two years. More than 9,900 applied for 1,800 positions open in the 1989 freshman class. 'Thirty-five percent of incoming 1989 freshmen at the University ranked 1,2,3,4 or 5 in their high school graduating class. A record 16 percent of the 1989 entering class are members of minority groups.

7. Notre Dame's retention rate of 93 percent is among the highest in the country.

8. The annual number of merit scholars attending Notre Dame on non-University awards ranks first among all Catholic universities and among the top 20 of all American private institutions of higher learning.

9. Notre Dame was judged among the "best of the best" for its success in "encouraging the development of strong moral character among students" in a recent survey by the Templeton Foundation. Only three schools among 1,400 were awarded this designation.

10. About 67 percent of Notre Dame students engage in some form of volunteer community service at some time during their years at the University, and about one of 10graduates devotes a year or more to social service.

11. Notre Dame is one of 43 universities hosting ROTC programs for the Army, Navy and Air Force, and it has more ROTC scholarships in effect-by individual military service and in aggregate-than any of the others. The University also ranks first in the nation in the percentage of undergraduates (10 percent) enrolled in a non- compulsory ROTC program, and it is the only campus on which ROTC members study the American Catholic Bishops' letter on war and peace.

12. Notre Dame ranks in the top 25 among all American colleges and universities in size of endowment ($542.5 million) and in annual voluntary support ($44.9 million in fiscal 1989). Since 1984-85, the University has ranked first in the amount of money given annually by parents. It has the largest endowment and yearly gift total of any Catholic institution of higher leaming in the world. The $33-million benefaction of the Edward J. DeBartolo family of Youngstown, Ohio, in 1989 was the 18th largest ever donated to American higher education.

13. Notre Dame's Department of Accountancy consistently ranks among the top 10 in the country in quality, according to an annual survey of accountancy department chairmen at some 360 colleges and universities. The University ranks fifth in the number of alumni who are partners of the Big Eight accounting firms.

14. Notre Dame's Arts and Letters faculty is tied for the third best record among American private universities over the past five years in eaming National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships.

15. In ranking Notre Dame's M.B.A. program in its "second 20" graduate business programs in the country, BUSINESS WEEK magazine cited its ethics content and noted, tongue-in-cheek, "Instead of sending insider traders and other white-collar criminals to prison, maybe the government should make them earn an M.B.A. from Notre Dame."

16. Notre Dame has the only operating center for liturgical research and education established officially by the United States' bishops.

17. Notre Dame's doctoral program in Counseling Psychology was recently ranked fifth in per capita research productivity among the American Psychological Association- approved programs in the country.

18. Notre Dame's Nuclear Structure Laboratory is one of only nine government- designated and university-operated accelerator laboratories in the country.

19. Notre Dame's Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering wind tunnel facilities are in- temationally known for their unique flow visualization capabilities. The transonic and supersonic smoke tunnels are the only ones of their type in the world.

20. The Department of Energy-supported Radiation Laboratory on campus has given Notre Dame the largest concentration of radiation chemists in the world, with typically 30 different external institutions represented annually on its research staff. Specialists in radiation from more than 50 countries have done research in the Laboratory since its inception in 1963.

21.Forty percent of the federal research grant proposals submitted by Notre Dame faculty members are funded-a very high percentage.

22. Notre Dame's Department of Preprofessional Studies ranks 11th in the nation in the number of students matriculating at medical schools each year, and its acceptance rate is 85 percent, compared with the national rate of 55 percent.

23. Notre Dame's Institute for Medieval Studies was the first in the United States, and the University also founded the first publication series dedicated specifically to medieval topics.

24. Notre Dame's Department of Chemical Engineering was the highest ranked in the recent national graduate-education survey of any department of any Catholic university and was ranked fourth in an American Chemical Society survey in the number of doctoral degrees awarded per faculty member.

25. Notre Dame is ranked 23rd among the nation's research universities in the number of papers published in the most prominent chemistry journals.

26. Notre Dame has the largest Catholic academic press in the world.

27. Notre Dame established the first educational programs in law, engineering and architecture at a Catholic institution of higher leaming.

28. The University recently completed the most extensive study of post-Vatican II parish Catholics ever attempted, emulating the pioneering study of Catholic education done by Notre Dame in 1965.

29. When built in 1963, the Theodore M. Hesburgh Library was the largest collegiate library building in the world and with a current endowment of $15 million is among the most heavily endowed in the country.

30. Among scientific and technological innovations historically associated with the Notre Dame campus are the discovery of the formula leading to synthetic rubber, the first exposition of the aerodynamics of glider flight, the first transmission in the United States of a wireless message and the first disintegration of the nucleus of an atom by electron bombardment.

31. In 1967 Notre Dame was the first Catholic university to effect a changeover to lay governance. The Holy Cross Fathers, who founded the University in 1842, initiated the change.

32. Notre Dame has one of the highest undergraduate residential concentrations of any national university, with 85 percent living in 26 halls. Some 50 Holy Cross religious continue to live and provide a pastoral presence in residence halls.

33. Notre Dame has made the most extensive use of satellite television of any educational institution in the world and is the only university supplying programming on a regular basis to a cable television network. It is the only private university in the world to own a commercial television station.

34. Since 1965, about 98 percent of Notre Dame grants-in-aid football players who finished their eligibility at the University were graduated, and the rate since 1971 for basketball players is 100 percent. The University has been awarded the College Football Association award for the highest graduation rate four times since the award was established in 1981, and 27 Irish athletes from all sports have received NCAA postgraduate scholarships-the second highest among NCAA institutions.

Albeit impressive facts and figures, it was not always that way. In 1946, the year of the legendary scoreless tie with Army in Yankee Stadium, with Frank Leahy filling the shoes of head coach and athletic director, "Moose" Krause acting as one of six assistant coaches, the Fighting Irish at the threshold of four consecutive undefeated seasons, and yours truly, newly discharged from the Army Air Corps, enjoying a brief fling in the Philadelphia Athletics baseball organization, and still four years away from walking the hallowed grounds of this beloved campus, it was a different story.

That year, the Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., was president of Notre Dame and was quoted as saying: "A man is a success when he knows what God wants him to do and has the discipline to do it." Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, the University of Notre Dame du Lac was founded in 1842 by a French priest who knew that God wanted him to lay the groundwork for a great institution of higher learning. The priest, Father Edward Sorin, C.S.C., disciplined himself to accomplish his objective. He did so at the cost of much hardship and sacrifice, and despite poverty, war, sickness, fire and other obstacles which devilishly seemed to combine in an attempt to discourage him. When he died, in 1893, he had successfully laid that groundwork.

Notre Dame in 1946 was known to the great majority of the American people. Largely because of its colorful football teams, it had earned a unique distinction. A prominent newspaperman at the time wrote: "it has become the alma mater of the non-college football fans-the college they attend in spirit."

But, paradoxically, Notre Dame was still the school nobody knew. Except for its alumni (20,000 at the time) and students (4,500 at the time) few even of its most ardent supporters knew the real Notre Dame, the Notre Dame behind the athletic headlines, the Notre Dame which from humble beginnings 104 years earlier in what was then the Indiana wilderness had flourished ever since, contributing its share to the spiritual, patriotic, cultural and intellectual achievernents of our country. To know and appreciate the REAL Notre Dame, one needed to know the proud heritage of sacrifice that had been handed down from the university's founder.

To this day, when on occasion I feel the need for privacy to meditate in peaceful, serene surroundings, I visit the Holy Cross cemetery beyond St. Mary's Lake where Father Sorin and other priests, brothers and seminarians of the Indiana Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross are laid to rest. So many of the uniform white crosses that mark the graves bear names that are familiar to me. So many of these wonderful men touched my life with theirs, and to walk among them today fills me with a peace and serenity that is difficult to put into words. More than ever, during these sojourns to Holy Cross cemetery I wonder about my decision, over four decades ago, to abandon my role as a postulant for the Holy Cross Brotherhood and to enter the radio-television sports field. I wonder, too, how much this impacted my decision in 1990 to organize SERV, Students Encouraging Religious Vocations, and possibly help- ing some present-day student to avoid making a similar mistake.

When Father Sorin and his devoted assistants, six Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross, began to construct the first college building their total capital was $400. This was soon exhausted. They became so impoverished that once there were not sufficient shoes to go around and no funds to buy new ones. So, when one man went outdoors that winter another had to stay inside. On another occasion they were forced to sell a cow to raise fifty cents to buy a much-needed axe.

The Civil War took its toll of teachers and students who enlisted, to the point where the university was almost forced to close. One of those who enlisted was Father William Corby, C.S.C., whose statue on the Notre Dame campus, in front of the hall named for him has often been affectionately referred to as "Fair Catch Corby" because of its one raised hand. Father Corby was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1833. During the Civil War he was serving as a chaplain of the famous "Irish Brigade" under General Meagher. Father Corby was twice President of the University of Notre Dame-first from 1866 to 1872, and again from 1877 to 1881. Thus he was the third and the sixth president of Notre Dame. During his second presidency, he was responsible for rebuilding the university after the disastrous fire of 1878 leveled the heart of it. Father Corby died in 1897. Corby Hall, to this day the residency for most of the administrative priests at Notre Dame, was named in his honor. Another statue of Father Corby, identical to the one at Notre Dame, is located at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The war's drain on manpower notwithstanding, Father Sorin somehow kept the university open. Years later plague nearly wiped out the small teaching community. Again, the survivors carried on. Then, when Father Sorin was almost within sight of his objective, the aforementioned fire destroyed the Main Building and much valuable equipment. While the ruins still smouldered, Father Sorin set the example for his colleagues by helping laborers to scrape the hot bricks clean of cement so that they could be used for a new building on the same site. As he wheeled away the first barrow of these bricks to launch a rebuilding program headed by Father Corby, the president, he spoke the oft quoted words, "if it were ALL gone, I should not give up." In those wonderful and enlightening hours spent in conversation with the older priests on campus (some still living and some gone to their reward), I was told that Father Sorin insisted, during the planning of a new Main Building, that it be capped with a golden dome topped by a statue of the Blessed Virgin. When his colleagues argued that such a dome would be too expensive (if not frivolous), Father Sorin went into isolation, even refusing food and drink, until his wishes were granted. I cannot confirm the validity of this incident, but Father Sorin's own words could be exploited as a continuing source of inspiration and a lesson in the strength of humility, a timeless reminder that there would be no Notre Dame but for the indomitable will and toil of its Founder and his breed. Such is only part of Notre Dame's heritage from its founder.

Notre Dame is built on a site hallowed by the early explorations of Marquette, LaSalle and Tonti. The first priest ordained in America, Father Stephen Badin, constructed a Log Chapel there in the 1830's, to minister to settlers and Indians. He is buried at Notre Dame in a present-day replica of that chapel.

The original ten acre college tract had been expanded by 1946 to 1,700 acres of beautiful campus, studded with forty-five buildings, over 5,000 trees, spacious lawns, an 18-hole golf course, athletic fields and two lakes.

Notre Dame's fine literary tradition stems directly from the New England School of Longfellow, Lowell and Charles Dana, and also from Robert Louis Stevenson, through his friend, Charles Warren Stoddard, who taught at Notre Dame for years. Orestes Brownson, Maurice Francis Egan, G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Jacques Maritain, Etienne Gilson, Arnold Lund, Franco Bruno Averardi and other world-famous scholars also have served on the Notre Dame faculty.

As early as 1946, graduate students from all over the United States were coming to Notre Dame to study at the Edward Lee Greene Herbarium, a magnificent collection of more than 100,000 botanical specimens, with a special library of 4,000 books on botanical subjects. Supplementing it was the Julius A. Nieuwland Botanical Library of nearly 3,000 volumes. Two other noteworthy collections at Notre Dame in 1946 were the John A. Zahm Dante Library, consisting of 3,000 books on the immortal Italian poet, and the Hibemiana Library, which comprised several thousand volumes on Irish culture, history and literature. One could argue that in 1946, as is the case today, the school that everybody knew is the school that nobody knows. It wasn't until twenty years later, however, in 1966, that the director of libraries emeritus, Victor Schaeffer, founded the International Sports and Games Research Collection. Designed to address a critical need in academia, a major research resource for the scholarly study of sport, INSPORT was unlimited in scope, either categorically or geographically, and was to have a major impact on my life.

To read previous installments of Herb's archive please click below:

September 1998

October 1998