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Scholar Series kicks off home game weekend

Ken Walsh | Friday, September 10, 2004

Burgers, brats and books – this unlikely combination can be found before home football games for the third-year running, thanks to the return of the Saturday Scholars series. Before kick-off, professors from a spectrum of disciplines within the College of Arts and Letters will gather with students, staff, faculty and alumni to give lectures and facilitate discussions on a variety of topics.Mark Roche, dean of Arts and Letters, said that a main reason for creating the series is the concern that alumni coming back for football weekends see the beautiful campus and their old friends, but fail to recognize the intellectual conversation that is the heart of the University. “In a certain sense it is a special outreach to the alums. Students have plenty of opportunities to take courses with these people with the selections on campus,” Roche said. “The alums are here and we want to remind them what is attractive about Notre Dame.” Although the lectures are open to everyone, current student interest seems questionable. “Everyone I’ve talked to thinks the one on “The DaVinci Code” sounds really interesting, but I’ve never gone in the past. I don’t think the timing works out too well,” said senior Melanie Vrable. Senior Kathleen Kincaid agreed, adding that the series seems to pose too much of a time conflict with pre-football game festivities. Sociology professor Maureen Hallinan, who will lecture on the differences between Catholic and public schooling system systems, disagreed.”The lectures are scheduled for football Saturdays precisely for the convenience of those people who come to the games,” she said. “They take place at a convenient time in the morning, before most game festivities begin.””It would all depend on how interesting the topic was,” senior Laura Fanning said. She would be willing to forego pre-game activities if the lecture at hand seemed more than mildly interesting she said. The speakers will represent those at the forefront of their field, said Roche. “We have a good number of faculty members who are not only extraordinary scholars, but also work on topics that are interesting to our audience,” Roche said. Scheduled topics include The Dead Sea Scrolls, an analysis of “The DaVinci Code,” Joseph P. Kennedy’s film career, the life and teachings of theologian and preacher Jonathan Edwards, the difference between Catholic and Public schooling and marital conflict and its effect on children. All sessions begin three-and-a-half hours before game time and will consist of a 30 to 45 minute lecture, followed by a discussion group in which all in attendance are invited to participate. The series will take place in the auditorium of the Hesburgh Center and is free of charge.