Tommy Hawkins, a basketball All-American at Notre Dame and now vice president for external affairs for the Los Angeles Dodgers, will replace CNN sports anchor Fred Hickman as the keynote speaker at a dinner Thursday (May 10) to open the inaugural conference of the University’s Mendelson Center for Sport, Character&Culture.p. Hickman is unable to attend due to a family illness.p. The dinner will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. at Century Center in downtown South Bend. Parents, coaches, athletes and other interested community members are invited to interact with conference participants, take part in a book fair and hear Hawkins’ talk, titled “Athletics: More than a Game.” The cost is $35 and tickets are available at (219) 631-6691.p. Titled “Sport, Character and Culture: Promoting Social and Moral Development Through Sport,” the conference is on Friday and Saturday (May 11 and 12) and will bring together leading figures in athletics, the media and academia who are committed to the potential of sports to build character but concerned about the growing number of problems in youth, collegiate and professional athletics.p. A concluding highlight of the conference will be a community event in which local parents, coaches and youth-sport athletes are invited to take part at no cost in a session in the Joyce Center at noon Saturday (May 12) titled “Sports for All, Sports for Character.” Children ages 10-14 will hear remarks on sports skills and character development from Notre Dame coaches Mike Brey, Debbie Brown, Bobby Clarke, Muffet McGraw and Tim Welsh as well as members of the Irish men’s and women’s soccer teams. At the same time, Darrell Burnett, a national expert on positive parenting in sport, will conduct a workshop for adults. Call (219) 631-4445 for more information.p. The conference and community activities will conclude with a talk by former Olympic rower Holly Metcalf at 2:30 p.m. and a mini-concert at 3 p.m. by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary, who has founded “Don’t Laugh at Me,” a project that addresses disrespect, ridicule and bullying as root causes of emotional and physical violence among children.p. Hawkins is a 1959 graduate of Notre Dame who twice was named an All-American and served as captain of the Irish as a senior. He played in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals from 1959-69.p. Prior to joining the Dodgers in 1987, Hawkins spent 19 years as a television and radio broadcaster in Los Angeles, hosting news and sports programs and serving as a color analyst on basketball broadcasts.p. Hawkins received the 1999 Sorin Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association for his distinguished service to the University. He is a member of the advisory committee of the Mendelson Center.p. The Mendelson Center for Sport, Character&Culture was established in 1999 to promote sport as a means for developing and expressing various facets of human excellence, especially moral virtue, and to offer a social critique of practices that undermine the potential of sport to build character. Joseph T. Mendelson, Sr., of Santa Barbara, Calif., endowed the center last year with a gift of $2.5 million.