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Saint Mary’s seniors to host ‘Navy Dance’

Justin Tardiff | Friday, November 11, 2005

The Sisters of the Holy Cross and the United States Navy have long had a close connection, so it was only natural for them convince Saint Mary’s to host a party for the midshipmen visiting the area for Saturday’s traditional football game.

The relationship stems back to the Civil War, when the Sisters served as naval nurses. Two sisters living in the campus convent served in the Navy prior to joining the Order.

Sister Rose Anne Schultz, vice president for mission, said the subject of a party was brought up two years ago when Notre Dame played the Naval Academy at home.

Sister Jean Louise Forkin and Patricia Heiberger – directors of the confirmation program for midshipmen at the Naval Academy – contacted Schultz and Assistant Director of Student Activities Francis Bruder to see if the administration and students approved the idea.

“This is not a frivolous thing,” Schultz said. “This has been planned and communicated between the schools for a couple of years now.”

The Navy drum and bugle corps, cheerleaders and glee club will arrive in South Bend today and make up the majority of midshipmen attending the dance.

Schultz said while many students from the Naval Academy will be in town for the game, not every midshipman is able to attend the historical matchup this weekend. Those allowed to travel were chosen based on their academic standing at the Academy.

Senior class president Lauren Condon said everyone was excited when the idea was first presented to the board. The board unanimously approved the event and eagerly anticipates the opportunity to host the approximately 200 midshipmen, senior Lynn Sikora said.

Senior Meghan Daley said although she can’t go to the dance, she wishes she could, as she is “a big fan of men in uniform – for patriotic reasons of course.”

Leeann Godfrey, Jackie Paunicka and Monica Beil planned the event, which will take place tonight from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. in the Saint Mary’s Student Center Lounge.

Though the dance was initially for seniors only, Condon said the first 50 juniors to purchase a $5 ticket to the event can attend.

Tickets are on sale today until 4 p.m. for $3, with the cost increasing to $5 when purchased at the door. Students are allowed to bring friends who do not attend Saint Mary’s and dates as long as they too are juniors and seniors in college.