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The goals of higher education

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I just wanted to express, from the bottom of my heart, how honored I am that the President of the United States is going to speak at my graduation. I can not think of a greater honor this University could bestow on the senior class. Over the last few days I have heard many people toting the phrases “Obama is a disgrace” and, “his values are completely against the values and mission of the University.”

To these people, and to you if you have been worrying the same, I would ask you: what are the most important values of this University? Is the University’s number one mission to rid the world of abortions, stem cell research, and homosexual marriage? While these may be important issues for some of our students, faculty and staff; I can not believe that Notre Dame would be the incredible and successful University it is today if these political and religious agenda’s were the fundamental base of the University’s mission. I was always under the impression that the University was “to cultivate in its students not only an appreciation for the great achievements of human beings, but also a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice, and oppression that burden the lives of so many. The aim is to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.”

Barack Obama is helping to make education mandatory for all children, combating employment discrimination, urging the role of religion (in a pluralistic sense) in politics, and encouraging all young people to participate in service. It sounds to me like Obama upholds the fundamental values and mission of the University. And the true “slap in the face” here is that if this unenlightened debate continues, the Notre Dame Class of ’09 will be remembered for nothing more than protesting a man who has risen to one of the highest, and most honorable, positions our country offers. Thank you.

Kathleen Hession


off campus

March 23