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Students excited for ceremony

Adrienne Ruffner | Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Notre Dame students must choose between attending a historic University event or reveling in two extra afternoons of free time Thursday and Friday.

Classes were cancelled after 1:45 p.m. Thursday and after 11:30 a.m. Friday in celebration of the inauguration of Father John Jenkins as Notre Dame’s 17th president. Though all students are encouraged to attend the events, and received a formal invitation to events such as the academic convocation Thursday and school-wide Mass Friday, the events are not mandatory.

“I would very much encourage students to participate because it is a special moment. It’s one of the ways of showing solidarity with the new president,” said University President Emeritus Father Edward Malloy, who had his own inauguration in 1987. “And the same way students were very good to me … I think they ought to show the same kind of respect for Father Jenkins as he begins his term of service as president.”

Many students acknowledge the immense importance of the activities and plan on attending at least some parts of the Inauguration.

“It’s a very special and meaningful event for the University, and I would like to be a part of it,” said junior John Coyle.

Coyle signed up to volunteer at the inauguration and also plans on attending both the academic forum and the inaugural ball.

“It’s such a rare event that I want to go see it,” said junior Vanessa Valenzuela. “Think about how many students go through here and never get to see anything like this.”

However, with classes cancelled Thursday and Friday afternoons, some students plan to go out of town or relax instead of going to the events.

“I’m certain there will be a number of people who won’t be attending the events,” Coyle said of his fellow students. “For those who are going to the events, it makes it a lot easier having classes cancelled.”

The Notre Dame Forum, an academic panel with international scholars, will be held in the Joyce Center Thursday at 2 p.m. The forum features former NBC Nightly News Anchor Tom Brokaw. Students who attend will receive a commemorative memento, according to Notre Dame’s official inauguration Web site.

The inauguration officially begins Friday at 2 p.m. with a procession from the Main Building to the Joyce Center, where the installation of the new president will occur at 3 p.m.

At 7 p.m., there will be a celebratory ball on South Quad, featuring live music and ice cream.

“I’m only planning to go to the inauguration Friday afternoon,” said Valenzuela. “I’ll probably go to the ball, but [the academic forum] just doesn’t sound like something that would interest me. I haven’t read the book.”

The book Valenzuela referred to is “When Faiths Collide,” by Martin E. Marty. Copies of the book were sent to residence halls and academic discussions with a faculty moderator are being held to talk about the book in preparation for the Notre Dame Forum.

“It seems to me that [the events] are more for an audience that is older than the average college student,” said junior Dave Olson, who plans to miss the events to go out of town for the weekend.

The dress code for the weekend is business-professional, according to the Web site.

“[The dress code] makes me think that the events are geared towards a crowd that excludes the average Notre Dame student,” Olson said.

Sophomore Oscar Garcia is excited for the inaugural events and plans to attend Friday’s events, but also voiced concern over cancelled classes.

“It does throw off the schedules a bit, but they are canceling classes that we paid for,” said Garcia. “We aren’t compensated for that and that’s a bit of a rip-off.”

The last Notre Dame presidential inauguration was Malloy’s in 1987.