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The University's landladies

Page 2 Vol. 6, No. 16

News for Notre Dame faculty and staff and their families

Fischoff turns 36

April 23, 2009

Page 3

Matt Cashore

Performance management New look for the libraries


Page 2

Page 3

Emil storms Haiti, again

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In The Works

The good neighbor


As director of community relations for six years, Jackie Rucker has been the neighborly face behind the University's long- and short-term plans. As such, she has often been called upon to refute some wild rumors about what the University intends.

Two assets seem to have served her well, says Rucker, whose impact is being recognized May 5 when she is honored at the 30th annual YWCA Tribute to Women.

Asset one: The facts. "When we were working to have Juniper Road closed, (University Architect) Doug Marsh and I met with people to share the University's master plan. When we finished, we would have people cry and hug us. Senior citizens told us `I've lived here for 60 years and nobody ever told me what the University's plan was.'" Too many people believed stories about the University "basically taking over the town" when the plan actually was to contain University support within a distinct boundary. Neighbors became advocates.

Asset Two: Food. Neighbors who live in the Indian Village

community just north of campus were steamed that the football traffic route blocked the entrance to their homes. Notre Dame Security Policy (NDSP) devised a pass system to allow those residents through; passes are distributed annually during an ice cream social at NDSP headquarters. The conflict is resolved, but Rucker scoops in response to a neighborhood plebiscite: "Please don't stop our ice cream social."

Consensus building among neighborhood groups has been a visible part of Rucker's efforts. As the University built support for Eddy Street Commons, Rucker worked with associations and development groups to ensure that the questions of residents were answered and their concerns heard were incorporated in the planning process.

With Notre Dame Downtown offices on South Michigan Street, "presence" is part of her job description. The center is the temporary headquarters of the Innovation Park leadership, so traffic includes many business people. But nearly 250 adults and children also visit the center every month to view art exhibits contributed by the Institute for Latino Studies.

Her most noteworthy efforts have

involved programming. A simple idea to allow Notre Dame students and faculty to serve as a resource to older adults gave rise to the Lunch and Learn program, a popular monthly meal (food again) and seminar that draws a loyal following to the Robinson Community Learning Center to learn about living wills and other healthcare consumer issues.

Her most heartfelt outreach projects involve children and are reminiscent of her own childhood memories of the University.

"When we studied Indiana history in fourth grade, I remember coming to campus. I learned that Notre Dame had two lakes. We never got off that bus while we were on campus. That burned in my mind," says Rucker, a 1983 graduate.

One of her earlier projects was Learn with Us, a children's program built around a dinosaur skull on display in the Eck Visitors' Center. After hosting local children on campus a few times, Rucker observed, "The kids were more in awe of the college kids who helped that program than the dinosaur itself."

The program has since expanded so that every fall, the entire eighth grade class of Edison Middle School visits for a hands-on college science experience and a tour of the performing arts center.

With five colleges and universities in the area, "it doesn't make sense to

me that any child would grow up here and not set foot on a college campus," Rucker says. She and her considerable network of community partners are determined to grow a campus experience for every child.

"What makes my job

interesting is it's different

every day," she says. With

the arrival of Jan Botz as vice

president of public affairs and

communication, Notre Dame and

city partners are collaborating on

a strategic plan for community

engagement, and Rucker says

she is looking forward to the

structure and direction. "I still

expect my job to be different

every day. But I'll know what I

do aligns with the University

She sits on some two dozen community boards, but as


director of community relations, Jackie Rucker relishes the opportunity to engage children.

Program to focus on science

The Science Caf? is the latest initiative of the Office of Community Relations. At 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29, Dean of Science Greg Crawford will lead a community conversation on nanotechnology-based solutions to medical challenges.

The session will take place at Notre Dame Downtown. It is free and open to the public, with

refreshments provided by Chicory Caf?.

This is the first of a series of conversations for the Michiana community that will engage graduate students and faculty members in the fields of science, technology and mathematics. Further information is available by calling the community relations office, 631-3249.

The happiest senior thesis on earth


Go ahead and snicker, it's not like senior Andrew Nesi hasn't endured his share of eye rolls over his decision to conduct serious research at Walt Disney World.

This was no "Mickey Mouse" college road trip. Nesi, an American studies major and Glynn scholar who maintains a 3.99 cumulative grade point average, received a UROP grant supporting five days of research at "the happiest place on earth" after much strategic planning on his part.

He will present his findings Friday, May 1 during the second annual Undergraduate Scholars Conference.

"During the fall of my junior year, I took Professor Susan Ohmer's course `Disney in Film and American Culture,' as well as `U.S. Environmental History' with Professor Jon Coleman," says Nesi, of Fairfield, Conn. "I decided to combine final research papers

for the two classes by looking at the recreation and representation of nature at Walt Disney World. At the end of the semester, I decided to work with Professor Ohmer to develop the paper into my senior thesis."

Of course, he enjoyed the rides and toured the park's Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. However he also explored behind the scenes, interviewed Disney employees and spent a lot of time in the Orlando Public Library's Disney Archive.

"I ended up focusing on Animal Kingdom and examined the way Disney navigates its often-competing claims of being a space for nature and amusement, as well as the educational and political messages associated with those choices," he said. "I wanted to know how Animal Kingdom could be both an authentic nature park and an authentic Disney park."

Nesi determined that Disney, while aiming high with its environmental rhetoric, offers more entertainment than education and avoids

controversial environmental issues, focusing instead on the dangers of poaching and logging.

"Instead of calling for meaningful change to laws or corporate behaviors, it relies on consumption-- including attendance at the theme park--as the only effective means of civic participation with regard to the environment," he said. "Also, while Disney claims to create a natural space in the theme park, it works to tightly control the movement and interactions of animals with guests and other animals."

Nesi hopes his research sheds light on the environmental and political messages Disney sends and says his time there helped him grasp its massive impact.

"Perhaps no corporation plays a larger role in shaping American and global culture than Disney," he said. "When Disney tackles an idea loaded with political meaning, as it does in Animal Kingdom, it serves as a pedagogical and political tool. By

choosing particular causes to illuminate and telling particular narratives, Disney has the power to shape, reflect and reinforce our consciousness of nature and the place of humans therein."

Nesi, who had

secured an investment

banking position at

Merrill Lynch/Bank

of America, has

decided to defer that

job to explore other

possibilities, including

international and

domestic service

Andrew Nesi looks like he's on vacation at the Magic Kingdom. This

opportunities. In both the

photo actually captures him on a research assignment that delves into how Disney develops themes of nature and the environment.

first year, and this year, of the

have a creative person be the keynote

Undergraduate Scholars Conference, this year because it's important

Cecelia Lucero, assistant director for for students, and really the whole

undergraduate research, has invited University community, to recognize

an alum to deliver a keynote address. the fine arts and other creative works

Last year's speaker, Dava Newman, as part of `undergraduate research,'

was an engineer and space suit

the life of the mind and intellectual

designer. This year's keynote speaker pursuit," Lucero says.

is novelist Michael Collins.

Or, as Nesi might say, there's

"I thought it would be good to

nothing Mickey Mouse about it.

2 | ND Works | April 23, 2009

Carol C. Bradley

From decorating to plumbing, property managers handle it all


The fun part of her job is the shopping, says Nancy Gillespie, manager of visiting faculty housing.

Gillespie manages 40 fullyfurnished on-campus apartments for visiting faculty--24 at Fisher Graduate Apartments and 16 at the Hesburgh Center--and typically refurbishes four apartments per year. That means shopping for new furniture such as sofas and chairs, bedding, towels and silverware.

It's a great draw for the University to be able to offer on-campus living accommodations to visiting faculty, Gillespie says. International visitors don't have to worry about finding a place to live or bringing along household items. When visitors arrive, Gillespie says, "All they need to do is pick up a key."

Managing visiting faculty apartments is just one aspect of Gillespie's job with the Office of Asset Management. Gillespie also handles third-party commercial leasing for entities such as Anthony Travel and the Notre Dame Federal Credit Union. And her responsibilities are

only one aspect of the Office of Asset Management.

The department's most visible projects may be overseeing the development of new housing along Notre Dame Avenue and acting as the University's liaison to Kite Realty Group, the developer of Eddy Street Commons. But they're equally involved in managing more than 30 rental houses in the neighborhoods immediately south and east of campus.

Those properties are managed by Jeri DeCola, who joined the University in February.

"It's one of those little-known secrets," says DeCola. "People say, `There are houses? You rent them out?'"

The houses are rented only to full-time faculty and staff, she notes. And the housing is popular. "Currently, I have a 21-person waiting list," she adds.

The most frequent question she gets, DeCola says, is "Where am I on the waiting list?" But that's something of a misconception--there really is no "place on the list" per se. That's because the size and location of the houses vary so much, and those on

the list range from individuals to families. "It just depends on the house that's available. It's the luck of the draw."

As the University's landladies, so to speak, Gillespie and DeCola deal with all the dayto-day headaches of property management.

"Plumbing is probably my biggest problem," Gillespie says. "Backed-up sinks. Backed-up toilets."

But it's a little easier than for the

Nancy Gillespie, left, and Jeri DeCola manage housing for visiting faculty and several Unviersity-owned homes that are rented to members of the University community.

average homeowner.

Two staffers--Sherri Flick and Chris Schramm--handle all the hands-on property maintenance for the rental houses, including preparing them for occupancy, doing repairs and fixing plumbing.

"We're lucky that we have a lot of campus entities that support us," Gillespie says. Housekeeping staffers provide weekly cleaning for the visiting faculty apartments. "Facilities staffers are available to take care of

air conditioning repairs and cabinet making in both our on- and offcampus housing."

DeCola, who has a background in real estate, also is responsible for maintenance of the vacant lots the University owns, and handles the occasional demolition of houses on property the University has purchased in the neighborhood. "Some are in bad shape, or it's too dangerous to keep them up," she says. "When that's

Both love their jobs, because of the variety and the people they get to meet--visitors have included ambassadors of countries and other distinguished guests, says Gillespie.

DeCola thrives on the people contact as well, but what she really loves is houses. "I love houses, going in them and seeing them. It's cool that I get to do that and get a paycheck at the same time."

things like electrical, furnace and

the case, we take them down."

Performance management moves online


The performance management review process now in place for all exempt and non-exempt staff and administrators is moving online. The electronic version will minimize paper and paperwork and help employees and supervisors respond to a cycle that makes performance management a useful experience for clarifying job expectations and developing talent.

The online process will take place on a tool already familiar to members of the University community: eNDeavor (online at endeavor. nd.edu). Thus far, eNDeavor has served as an online registration tool for Human Resources training and development classes, and for instructional classes offered by the Office of Information Technologies.

Will the online process be easy to learn? In tests of the tool, several employees who regularly use computers understood it with no training. Beginning May 1, it will be available for all employees to access and test, says Tamara Freeman, director of talent management.

For those who would like assistance, HR is organizing several types of training during May and a follow-up round in August. The training sessions coincide with deadlines for the performance management process. Paper versions of performance management will continue to be used for non-exempt hourly employees whose positions do not regularly involve computer access, Freeman says.

As the tool launched in May, training experiences will be available in several forms.

? Full demonstration sessions with step-by-

step instructions and a take-away reference guide (register at endeavor.nd.edu)

? Open labs, for those who want hands on

training with a subject matter nearby to help with questions

? An on-line tutorial you can take at your desk

The new tool will not just be Internet-based, it will involve automatic features that send employees an e-mail message when a phase of the process needs to be addressed. Behind the scenes,

The performance management process has three distinct phases.

eNDeavor will keep track of which reviews have been completed and which have not.

Here's how automation will complement the performance management process:

The first cycle is goal setting. This year, employees will receive an e-mail notice around May 1, inviting them to begin this discussion. This phase involves a conversation between supervisor and employee that helps clarify for the employee how his or her job relates to the goals of the division and the University. Some goals may involve ambitious new directions, others may reflect traditional job expectations. The purpose is to foster an understanding of how an employee's job fits into the University, Freeman says.

Goal-setting normally is scheduled to take place in March. Those who completed goal setting this past March should input those plans in eNDeavor.

The second step is a mid-year review that examines progress on goals and provides feedback on behaviors relative to the University's core values: integrity, accountability, teamwork, leadership in mission, leadership in excellence. An electronic reminder to start the mid-year review will be issued September 1.

Shortly before the mid-year review a second round of training also will be offered, Freeman says. The mid-year and final review processes are similar, so mastering the tool in September should prepare employees and supervisors to use it again for the final review, in February.

Kara McClure

Community initiative receives national award


Acash-strapped municipal botanical garden received life-affirming support from researchers and staff in the University's Center for Research Computing (CRC).

For their creative problem-solving-- and a research protocol neither plants nor plant-lovers may appreciate--the CRC is a recipient of 2009 Green Enterprise IT (GEIT) Award, presented by the Uptime Institute and co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Award winners were announced Wednesday, April 15 at a ceremony at Uptime Institute's 4th Annual Institute Research Symposium in New York City. The institute is a knowledge-based non-profit consortium supporting the world's largest enterprise data centers.

GEIT Awards honor companies and organizations that have made significant strides in creating reliable, sustainable and energy-efficient data centers. The CRC's honor occurred in the category "Beyond the Data Center." The award recognizes innovations and leadership that introduce sustainability initiatives to computing and data centers.

Notre Dame's initiative is multidimensional, but the component generating the most community awareness focused on reusing wasted heat produced by computing equipment. In the big picture, this is recycling that could benefit wastewater treatment, bio-fuel production and other heat intensive applications. In South Bend, it benefitted a botanical garden in danger of being discontinued because of expenses that included heat.

"One of the biggest challenges was the relocation of this relatively low-grade heat production closer to the target application," says Paul Brenner, lead scientist on the project and recipient of the award on

Notre Dame's behalf. "Our solution was to deploy our groups of computers in small `portable data centers,' a design which is both sustainable and distributable. The small footprint of the installation allowed us to effectively locate the computers close enough to the secondary process to efficiently reuse the waste heat."

More simply, heat generating equipment, stashed in the desert display of the botanical gardens (yes, we mean cacti), helped ease the cost of creating an appropriate environment for the plant life.

"We congratulate and honor Notre Dame for its pioneering work in reducing energy consumption in its data centers," says Kenneth G. Brill, founder and executive director of the Uptime Institute. "These successful initiatives serve as a great example to its industry peers of the realistic impact and feasibility of energy efficiency initiatives."

"Most research that complements `green' or `sustainabilty' goals focuses on improving the nuts and bolts of computer processessing and data center effienciecy," says Dewitt Latimer, chief technology officer and co-principal investigator on the project.

The ND project enters new, collaborative territory. "There is virtually no research focused on efficiently capturing and reusing the waste heat generated by computing," Latimer says.

The botanical gardens project accomplishes more than aiding the survival of a local and government funded entity. "We've found a second life for waste heat which reduces carbon emissions by eliminating the need to generate an equivalent amount of energy through burning fossil fuels," Latimer says. "We want to leverage that concept and apply it to more practical applications like lowering operating costs at the South Bend wastewater treatment facility. We hope to go live with that phase later this fall."

ND Works, Notre Dame's faculty and staff newspaper, is published by the Office of Public Affairs and Communication. The views expressed in articles do not necessarily reflect the views of ND Works or the administration. ND Works is produced semimonthly during

the academic year when classes are in session, and monthly during June and July. Online PDF versions of past ND Works can be found at nd.edu/~ndworks. Submit story ideas to ndworks@nd.edu or by calling 631-4314. The deadline for stories is 10 days before the following 2008-2009 publication

dates: July 24, Aug. 14, Aug. 28, Sept.18, Oct. 2, Oct.16, Nov. 20, Dec. 11, Jan. 15, Feb. 5, Feb. 26, March 5, March 26, April 9, April 23, May 7, May 21, and June 18.

EDITOR IN CHIEF Gail Hinchion Mancini


LAYOUT EDITOR Wai Mun Liew-Spilger

COPY EDITORS Kate Russell Jennifer Laiber

April 23, 2009 | ND Works | 3

New logo `says it all' for the Libraries


It began last year when the University Libraries were renamed the Hesburgh Libraries, giving the several different libraries that serve on-campus constituencies a stronger sense of unified identity. Then came the challenge to express that identity in a shared logo.

A library faculty/staff committee, chaired by Felicia Smith, convened and conferred with visual arts and marketing communications experts from AgencyND in the Office of Public Affairs and Communication.

Now, the logo is ready to be unveiled, and its meaning is ready to

be celebrated.

"We wanted to build an identity around the man whose contribution to the University is unparalleled," says Smith. "With the library system now named after Father Hesburgh, the choice to use his image seemed not only a logical choice, but more importantly, the appropriate one."

As president emeritus and as a major figure in the history of American higher education, Father Hesburgh has come to represent the forwardlooking commitments to research, scholarship and dynamic student life that are lived out every day in the libraries of the campus.

He has also come to represent the complete, interdisciplinary

approach to education that Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, described as educating the heart as well as the mind. It's appropriate for Father Hesburgh to be the unifying image for libraries that reach out to varied communities of interest and specialization around the University and contain such a bounty of varied information, beckoning to faculty and students alike.

Even the type font used in the logo deserved to have special meaning at this time when the Hesburgh Libraries are honing their

identity more sharply and spreading their messages of service and relevance more widely.

The font that was chosen, from among three choices provided by Agency ND, is cakked Perpetua. A principal reason for the choice is close to home. It is a design created by Eric Gill in the 1920s, says Sara Weber, who was also on the Libraries' Marketing Committee. The Hesburgh Libraries happen to hold a collection of Eric Gill designed materials, including both proof sheets from the design of Perpetua and a copy of the earliest book printed using that typeface,

showing off its "classic elegance" combined with a "more modern appearance" than some other choices, she explains.

With the logo's color choice linking it to the University Mark, the "brand identity" of the Hesburgh Libraries will now combine distinctiveness and solidarity with the University's legacy, its values as a learning community, and its appreciation of a "classic" figure whose vision helped to launch the main library building and helped to set the entire library system on a track toward a bright future.



Unless otherwise noted, all events take place in the Marie P. DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit performingarts.nd.edu or call 631-2800. Ticket prices are for faculty and staff, senior citizens and students. For free but ticketed performances, call the box office for reservations.

Notre Dame Jazz Bands and New Orleans Brass Band 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, Leighton Concert Hall Performing works from Bach, RimskyKorsakov and Shostakovich Visiting Artist Series $30/$29/$15

Notre Dame Collegium Musicum 7 and 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, Reyes Organ and Choral Hall Sacred music of the Renaissance and Baroque Presented by the Department of Music $3/$3/$3

Eric Bibb 7 p.m. Friday, May 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 2, Decio Mainstage Theatre Grammy-nominated blues guitarist Visiting Artist Series $30/$29/$15

Pianist Jeffrey Jacob 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 3, Leighton Concert Hall The internationally known performer and composer performs Schubert and Beethoven Presented by the South Bend Symphony Orchestra $25/$23/$5

La Cenerentola The Metropolitan Opera: Live in HD 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9, Browning Cinema Elina Garanca in Rossini's "bel canto Cinderella story" $22 adults, $15 students; subscriber discounts apply

Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 8 through 10, DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts Competition rounds Friday, Saturday and Sunday free and open to the public. Final rounds on Sunday, May 10 include a senior competition, 11 a.m. to 1:40 p.m., and a junior competition from 2 to 3 p.m. The Grand Prize Play-Off Concert and Awards takes place at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the Leighton Concert Hall, with a reception to follow. Tickets


for the playoff concert are $8 for faculty, staff and senior citizens, $5 for students.


Unless otherwise noted, films are screened in the Browning Cinema, DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts; tickets are $5 for faculty and staff, $4 for seniors and $3 for students. Visit performingarts.nd.edu or call the box office, 631-2800. Contact the box office to reserve tickets for "free but ticketed" events

The Angelus Student Film Festival (2009) 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30 A film festival that cultivates and honors future filmmakers as they create works that respect the dignity of the human person Co-sponsored by the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture Free but ticketed

The Class (2008) 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 1 and 2 Fran?ois and his fellow teachers face culture clash in the classroom, a microcosm of contemporary France French language with English subtitles

The Deer Hunter (1978) 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2 Michael Cimino's classic film, winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. PAC Classic 100 English, Russian, Vietnamese and French with English subtitles

Gomorrah (2008) 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 22 and 23 Power, money and blood are the


values that residents of Naples and Caserta confront every day Italian, Mandarin and French languages with English subtitles

Hunger (2008) 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 29 and 30


The Provost's Office has announced the 2009 winners of Dockweiler Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising and Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

The Dockweiler awards annually recognize three members of the full-time faculty or exempt staff who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to undergraduates through mentoring, academic advising or career counseling services.

Winners are Frank Connolly, professor of mathematics, and founder of the Seminar for Undergraduate Mathematical Research (SUMR); Ava Preacher, assistant dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Arts and Letters, an academic advisor who initiated and administers the Dean's Fellows program for developing scholars within the college, and Juliette Mayinja; associate director of international studies. Mayinja has been instrumental in launching the

The last months in the life of IRA Republican hunger striker Bobby Sands. Directed by Steve McQueen


Reading by author Ben Marcus

University's program in Kampala, Uganda.

Father Joyce teaching excellence awards recognize the profound influence faculty can have through sustained, exemplary teaching. Faculty committees in each of seven disciplinary areas review the peer and student nominations. Recipients are:

Carl B. Ackermann, finance; Gary A. Anderson and Sister Mary Catherine Hilkert, O.P., theology; Noriko Hanabusa and Sylvia L. Lin, East Asian language and culturals; Joshua B. Kaplan, political science; Ian Kuijt, anthropology; David K. O'Connor, classics; David F. Ruccio, economics and policy study; William J. Schmuhl Jr., American studies; Robert Sedlack Jr., art, art history and design; John J. Staud and Henry M. Weinfield, English, and Susan L. Youens, music.

Also, Seth N. Brown and Paul Helquist, chemistry and biochemistry; Gary A. Lamberti and Michelle A. Whaley, biology; Dennis M. Snow, mathematics, and Mihir Sen, aerospace and mechanical engineering.

7:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore Marcus, a member of the creative writing faculty at Columbia University, is the author of three works of fiction, including "Notable American Women" and "The Father Costume." A questionand-answer follows. Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program

Creative Writing Program MFA Final Thesis Reading 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 1, LaFortune Ballroom The final event of the semester features a short reading by each 2009 MFA recipient


Blood Drive, sponsored by the Army ROTC through the American Red Cross, 1 to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, April 27 and 28 in the LaFortuna Student Center ballroom. Please sign up online at , zip code, 46556 to schedule a blood donation appointment. Bring your donor card or I.D. when you come to donate.


The University welcomes the following new employees who joined the faculty and staff during March.

Elda P. Acevedo, sociology

William B. Bressler, golf course operations

Allan Greenberg, School of Architecture

Nalan Guray and Recep Taygun Guray, physics

David J. Jaeckel, customer support services

Douglas P. Knepper, College of Engineering

Justin Kurtich, utilities

Michael L. Lambrecht, biology

April Nadolny, vending

Amanda Piekarski, Catering by Design

Mia Reini, Office of the General Counsel

April 23, 2009 | ND Works | 4

Emil Hofman includes students in his trips to Haiti as a means of inspiring an enduring relationship with science. From left are seniors E. Brennan Bollman, Class of 2009 valedictorian, and center, Chris Stewart. Caroline Grady, right, is pictured at a work table checking blood samples for signs of disease. The 2000 graduate is now enrolled in medical school. Dr. Russ Farrell, a 1972 graduate and Memorial Hospital emergency room physician, is pictured with Stewart.

`Emil's Army' on the march

Above, Emil Hofman shops for Bon Sel Daviti, a salt project fortified with a deworming agent and iodine, a vital nutrient for brain development. Notre Dame has been involved in the production of Bon Sel. Below, Hofman films a surgery.


Emil T. Hofman traveled to Haiti in March, and he'll be on his way back the day after graduation.

At 88 years old, Hofman is a man with a mission--bringing volunteer physician support to Notre Dame's Haiti Program, which, under the direction of Rev. Thomas G. Streit, C.S.C., seeks to prevent lymphatic filariasis, a mosquito-borne disease affecting 25 percent of the population, as much as 50 percent in some areas.

"I was in my 80s when I started this," Hofman says. "I wanted to do something worthwhile with these final years of my life."

The Haiti program, supported by multiple grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, focuses on prevention of lymphatic filariasis, Hofman observed.

The epidemic disease causes what's commonly called elephantiasis, the disfiguring and disabling enlargement of arms, legs and genitals of those affected.

The Notre Dame program lacks the resources to offer formal medical treatment to sufferers. But Hofman, dean emeritus of the First Year of Studies and professor emeritus of chemistry, taught an estimated 32,000 students in his career--more than 8,000 of whom went on to become physicians.

Why not invite them

to travel to Haiti with him, become involved, and--ultimately--return to donate their medical skills to treat those afflicted with the disease?

Thus the birth of "Emil's Army," groups of physicians and health professionals who have accompanied Hofman to Haiti on what he calls "reconnaissance missions."

The object of the missions, Hofman says, is to give people a clearer understanding of the people of Haiti, "the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere. And an appreciation of the words of St. Matthew, `As you do this for the least of our brothers and sisters, so you do it for me.'"

On trips earlier this year, Hofman filmed surgeries performed by "Emil's Army" volunteer surgeons, to create presentations for physicians and others interested in the Haiti Program.

"I scrubbed, dressed and shot the film in the room while surgery was being performed," he says. Most American doctors have never seen anything like the shocking deformity produced by lymphatic filariasis, he adds, "Not even in textbooks."

Hofman is returning to Haiti in May on a reconnaissance mission with a group of seven physicians. He hopes those who travel with him to Haiti will be moved to support the program with their time and their donations. "We always need funds," he notes.

His mission trips also perform another important function: passing his zeal on

to the next generation. Biology major E. Brennan Bollman, recently named Notre Dame's 2009 valedictorian, served as a research assistant to Father Streit, conducting fieldwork in Leogane and Port-au-Prince.

Accompanying Hofman on other recent trips were grandchildren Courtney, a Notre Dame senior, and grandson Colin, a junior, as well as junior history major (and football team offensive lineman) Chris Stewart.

Hofman taught many students over the course of his career at Notre Dame--including two who were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine. He's proudest of those who "followed the example of the Lady on the Dome, and became good mothers," he adds.

But he wants to emphasize how proud he is of another former student--Father Streit--and the work that Streit is doing in Haiti.

"He is an inspiration to me," Hofman says. "The teacher learned from his student."

Emil Hofman visits a surgery where procedures ease the symptoms of disease. Below, students line up for a ride from Chris Stewart, who is on the Notre Dame football team.

Haitian school children from the St. Rose of Lima School, where Haiti project leader Rev. Tom Streit, C.S.C., lives.

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