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Quality of Notre Dame education has risen

Letter to the Editor | Sunday, September 2, 2007

I commend Professor Charles Rice for proposing that Notre Dame move to adopt a “no-loan” student aid policy ASAP.However, in his most recent column (“Addressing the tuition increase,” Aug. 29), he repeats one of his recurrent themes, that somehow an undergraduate education at Notre Dame has lessened in quality since 1978, when he says the University first moved to a search for status as a nationally recognized Catholic research university. (I think that particular choice of dates would have surprised the very ambitious CSC priest who was provost at that time.)I graduated from Notre Dame at the end of Father Hesburgh’s first year (1952-1953) as president, and before the 1950s were through, the handwriting “monumental changes ahead” was clearly on the wall, discernible by all but the most myopic. “Bachelor dons,” some of them monk-like, some of them good drinking buddies, were on the way out. An increasingly professionalized faculty, recruited as “best available” to fill the open slots, was becoming the norm. I’m sure Professor Rice was one of them.My oldest child graduated from the University in 1978, my youngest in 1992. There simply is no question that the education they received was infinitely superior to that available here in my generation, particularly in the College of Science, from which I graduated. All the evidence available to me indicates that upward trend in the quality of undergraduate education at Notre Dame has accelerated over the last 15 years.Whether its dollar value is currently greater than Princeton’s is another matter, and Professor Rice and I agree that Notre Dame’s move to a “no loan” policy is imperative.

Ed Manierprofessor emeritusphilosophy departmentAug. 31