News » Archives » May 2013

In memoriam: Richard W. Conklin, former associate vice president of University Relations

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Richard W. Conklin

Richard W. Conklin, former associate vice president for University Relations at Notre Dame, died Tuesday (May 28) at his home in Mendota Heights, Minn. He was 77.

Conklin, a Minneapolis native, returned to his native region in 2001, having retired from 35-year career directing media relations at Notre Dame. During his tenure as the University’s chief publicist, his responsibilities ranged far beyond routine news writing and publicity advice to include taping an exhaustive series of historical interviews with Notre Dame’s president emeritus Rev. Theodore M Hesburgh, C.S.C.; editing two of Father Hesburgh’s autobiographical bestsellers, “God, Country, Notre Dame” and “Travels with Ted & Ned”; publicizing the dedications of new Notre Dame educational facilities in London and Dublin; oversight of the production of the movie “Rudy,” the first feature to be filmed on the Notre Dame campus since 1940; and supervision of the University’s entrance into the digital information age with the production of a CD-ROM for the University’s admissions office.

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New book explores how Catholic parishes contribute to polarization


church votives

Same-sex marriage, abortion and other cultural conflicts centered on the family have intensified in recent years, particularly among American Catholics. These same conflicts also are widely believed to form the basis for much of the moral polarization in public politics among Americans in general.

A new book by Mary Ellen Konieczny, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, examines how religion and family life are intertwined and how local parishes shape that intersection.

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Notre Dame to host international workshop on molecular and cellular biology of plasminogen activation

Author: William G. Gilroy

A microscope

The University of Notre Dame will host the XIV International Workshop on Molecular and Cellular Biology of Plasminogen Activation from June 4 through June 8 (Tuesday through Saturday).

The co-chairs of the conference are Francis J. Castellino and Victoria A. Ploplis of Notre Dame’s W. M. Keck Center for Transgene Research. The conference is co-sponsored by the Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend and Memorial Hospital of South Bend.

The plasminogen activation system and related proteolytic systems are essential regulators of tissue remodeling events as well as of cell functions through activation of cell signaling pathways. Through early studies involving in vitro biochemical investigations and, more recently, in vivo biological studies involving gene modified technology, the plasminogen activation pathway has been identified as a major participant in the regulation and progression of a number of clinically relevant human diseases. These include cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurological pathologies and bacterial pathogenesis.

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Father Hesburgh celebrated in U.S. Capitol: 'A very wonderful day that I’ll never forget'

Author: John Nagy ’00M.A.

University President Emeritus Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., speaks during a reception celebrating his 96th birthday in the U.S. Capitol University President Emeritus Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., speaks during a reception celebrating his 96th birthday in the U.S. Capitol

It was all for him, a celebration of 96 years of a life well-lived, 70 of them as a Catholic priest from Notre Dame, Indiana.

The personal invitation from U.S. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. The applause as he entered the wood-paneled Rayburn Room on the House side of the U.S. Capitol. The intimate invocation from Theodore Cardinal McCarrick. The surprise appearance of Vice President Joe Biden. The personal anecdotes, heartfelt adulation and hugs shared by a lineup of senators and members of Congress.

Then there was the double-wide chocolate cake, big enough to feed a few hundred Notre Dame alumni and other Capitol Hill well-wishers and cheerfully inscribed, “Happy Birthday, Father Hesburgh.”

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Rev. James H. McCarthy Laetare Address

Author: Notre Dame News

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Rev. James H. McCarthy delivering the Laetare Address

I can’t help but feel on this Feast of Pentecost some writings of Karl Rahner, who said that the spirit is manifested and known in the devastation of Jesus’ heart on the cross. That has always fascinated me, the coming together of opposites. And I feel, and I want to accept this wonderful gift, if you will, of recognition not simply to those who flank me here, but on behalf of all the families and the siblings and the volunteer catechists who have made this a reality for so many.

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Law School’s O’Connell to testify before Congress on citizens’ rights during 'War on Terror'

Author: Shannon Chapla

Mary Ellen O'Connell

Mary Ellen O’Connell, Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law and Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, will testify today (May 22) before the House Judiciary Committee on “Protecting U.S. Citizens’ Constitutional Rights During the War on Terror.”

One of the world’s leading experts on the law respecting targeted killing, O’Connell is author of “What Is War?” and “The Power and Purpose of International Law.” She has testified before Congress numerous times on drones, and again will help clarify the law regarding the Constitutional and human right to life in war and peace. O’Connell’s full testimony is available here.

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Statement from Father Jenkins on tornado devastation

Author: Notre Dame News

Blue and gold academic seal

The following is a statement from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, on the tornado that swept through an Oklahoma City suburb on May 20, 2013, causing numerous deaths and injuries:

“The prayers of the Notre Dame community are with all who have been affected by the devastating tornado that swept across Oklahoma, in particular, as well as Texas and Kansas. To those who have lost loved ones, you have our deepest condolences. To those who have been injured, may God provide you with comfort and healing. To those who have responded with assistance to this tragedy, you have our heartfelt appreciation. And to those who are able, please consider donating to relief efforts through organizations such as Catholic Charities USA and the American Red Cross.”

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Mendoza College offers 10-day program to develop executives in Catholic organizations

Author: Carol Elliott

Mendoza College of Business

The University of Notre Dame Nonprofit Professional Development program, located at the Mendoza College of Business, is offering a 10-day leadership program for executives in Catholic organizations. Held July 8-18 in the Giovanini Commons in the College’s lower level, the Catholic Leadership Certificate Program offers a range of topics vital for organizational development within the context of furthering the Catholic mission.

“The leaders attending this program face some very unique challenges,” said Marc Hardy, director of Nonprofit Executive Programs. “As with any business, they’re responsible for creating a strategy of growth, often amidst limited resources and exponentially increasing demands for services. At the same time, they want to be effective not just in the business sense, but in serving the Church. We supply them with a toolkit of knowledge and skills that help them to meet this twofold challenge.”

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Graduating seniors honored for commitment to postgraduate service

Author: John Guimond

2013 Center for Social Concerns Service Send-Off Ceremony

One hundred sixty-nine University of Notre Dame graduating seniors embarking on a year or more of service in this country and abroad were honored during the University’s annual Service Send-Off ceremony on May 18 (Saturday) in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Leighton Concert Hall.

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, commended the seniors for their commitment to service. Nearly a quarter of the graduates will join the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) or programs that share its model to serve as educators in the nation’s Catholic schools. Others will serve in the Peace Corps and Teach for America. Still others will mentor AIDS orphans in South Africa, cultivate sustainable agriculture in the South Pacific islands, foster spiritual formation in the nation’s parishes, or provide a host of other services that match the mission of Notre Dame.

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Engineering assistant professor Ruilan Guo receives CAREER Award

Author: William G. Gilroy

Ruilan Guo

Ruilan Guo, an assistant professor in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been named a recipient of a 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Development Research Program award. The program, now in its fourth year, is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.

Guo’s primary research interests are focused on development and characterization of novel polymeric materials with applications in areas impacting both energy and the environment. Her research topics include studies on molecular design, synthesis and characterization of new co-polymers for cleaner energy production (fuel cells), high-performance polymer membranes for gas/liquid separations and water purification, structure-property relationship of polymer networks/gels, atomistic study on polymer-free volume, and polymer coatings.

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan Commencement Address

Author: Julie Hail Flory

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Delivered at Notre Dame’s 168th University Commencement Ceremony, held May 19, 2013 in Notre Dame Stadium

Thank you, Notre Dame, for the joy of your company, the gracious invitation, the warm welcome, and the high honor of this degree.

It was so obvious I almost missed it . . .

See, ever since, almost a year ago, Father Jenkins, with characteristic thoughtfulness, invited me to deliver this commencement address, I’ve been mulling over just what to say to you, class of 2013.

Only Friday a week ago I still had not yet completed this talk, and I got on the train in New York City to travel to D.C. In Philadelphia, a distinguished looking man boarded the train and sat next to me.

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Commencement 2013: A Look Back


Graduates at 2013 University Commencement Ceremony

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A chance Mother’s Day encounter with a Jewish alumnus of Notre Dame provided Cardinal Timothy Dolan, principal speaker at the 168th University Commencement Ceremony, with the inspiration for his address: The proud graduate revealed to Cardinal Dolan the “secret” that makes Notre Dame great. (Watch Video / Read Address)

“‘It’s not the library, as first-rate as it is. It’s not the professors and the courses, as stellar as they are. It’s not the campus, as enchanting as it is, or even the football team, as legendary as it is, or even the magnificent service projects,’” Cardinal Dolan told the graduates.

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Mallory Meter valedictory address

Author: Julie Hail Flory

Valedictorian Mallory Meter on video screen at 2013 Commencement

Delivered at Notre Dame’s 168th University Commencement Ceremony, held May 19, 2013 in Notre Dame Stadium

Cardinal Dolan, Father Jenkins, distinguished faculty and guests, family, friends and fellow graduates: When I began to consider what I would say in this address, I was overwhelmed by the amount I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. My initial thought was that I wanted it to be unique. So many of these speeches are the same, using cliché after cliché to get one’s point across. As I considered this idea further, I was struck by the realization that these addresses are so often delivered in this way because that is, perhaps, the simplest and most genuine way of communicating a message that is otherwise impossible to articulate. In light of this insight, then, my message to you today will proceed in just three simple steps. It is a message that we can use to find meaning in those thousands of Notre Dame moments, and it is a message, I hope, that we will all carry in our hearts for the millions of little moments to come.…

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Graduates urged to exhibit intellectual curiosity and 'grit' at Graduate School Commencement

Author: William G. Gilroy

2013 Graduate School Commencement

The University of Notre Dame’s Graduate School recognized 438 master’s and 213 doctoral degree recipients and presented several awards during Commencement ceremonies Saturday (May 17) in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Nathan O. Hatch, president of Wake Forest University and formerly provost and the Andrew V. Tackes Professor of History at Notre Dame, delivered the Commencement address.

Hatch focused on the themes of curiosity and grit in his remarks.

“This morning I want to leave you with two simple messages, the first about intellectual curiosity and the importance of learning as an end in itself; the second, about what scholars are now calling ‘grit’ or resilience,” he said.

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Nathan Hatch Graduate School Commencement address

Author: Nathan O. Hatch

Nathan Hatch delivers 2013 Graduate School Commencement address

Delivered at Notre Dame Graduate School Commencement Ceremony, held May 18, 2013 in the Compton Family Ice Arena

It is a double honor to return to this place, which so profoundly nurtured my own sense of calling as a teacher, scholar, and administrator. I arrived here in the fall of 1975 as a newly minted historian of early America. I found the History Department and the College of Arts and Letters an ideal academic home: impeccable intellectual standards, great commitment to teaching, and creative thought about what kind of discourse should animate a distinct place like Notre Dame. I remember fondly the intimidating intellectual presence of Father Marvin O’Connell, the powerful intellects of Marshall Smelser and Fred Pike, the good cheer of Vincent DeSantis, the wisdom of Philip Gleason, who seems to have read every book about any subject, the great teaching of Father Tom Blantz, the
stimulation of other new young colleagues like Jay Dolan, John Van Engen, Tom Kselman, and Diane Murray.

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Father Hesburgh to be celebrated at U.S. Capitol reception

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C.

Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president emeritus, who celebrates his 96th birthday May 25, will himself be celebrated three days earlier at a special reception in the U.S. Capitol.

A reception hosted by John A. Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, will be held May 22 (Wednesday) beginning at 3 p.m. in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol. All members of Congress, both House and Senate, have been invited to the reception, at which both Boehner and Pelosi are expected to make remarks.

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Seven seniors receive national fellowships and scholarships

Author: William G. Gilroy

The Academic Seal

The Fulbright Exchange Program, Churchill and Clarendon and other national organizations have awarded postgraduate scholarships and fellowships to seven members of the University of Notre Dame’s Class of 2013.

The University’s Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement helps students find appropriate fellowships, navigate the application process, write robust proposals and personal statements, and prepare for interviews.

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ND Expert: Creation, destruction of cloned human embryos an 'injustice'

Author: Shannon Chapla

O. Carter Snead

Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University announced yesterday they have, for the first time, succeeded in creating a cloned human embryo, which they destroyed in order to derive embryonic stem cells. The researchers hope that this will advance understanding of developmental biology, and perhaps lead to regenerative therapy for a variety of conditions.

Public debate over the propriety of human cloning remains heated, and University of Notre Dame Bioethicist O. Carter Snead is concerned by this new development.

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Notre Dame to open three new international programs

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Seoul Plaza, South Korea

The University of Notre Dame’s International Studies office has announced that it will offer three new opportunities for study abroad in South Korea, Spain and Switzerland in spring 2014.

Notre Dame and Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, will begin a bilateral exchange program in the spring 2014 semester. Open to undergraduates in all majors, the program does not require knowledge of the Korean language, since its courses will be taught in English. Available courses will include Korean language, Korean studies, business and economics, politics, sociology, engineering, sciences and human ecology.

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ND Expert: Justice served in life sentence for Gosnell

Author: Shannon Chapla


Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, convicted of killing three babies born alive at his clinic (along with various felony violations of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act), waived his right to appeal yesterday (May 14) in exchange for a sentence of life without parole, dodging a possible death sentence.

The news comes as no surprise to bioethicist O. Carter Snead, professor of law at the University of Notre Dame.

“It is not surprising that the prosecutors would have agreed to such an arrangement,” Snead says. “From a pragmatic perspective, it can take decades for a defendant to exhaust all of his appeals from a sentence of death. Given Gosnell’s advanced age (72), it is likely that he would die on death row before this process runs its course.”

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ND Expert: Roots run deep in IRS scandal

Author: Shannon Chapla

Lloyd Mayer

The Justice Department yesterday began a criminal investigation into overzealous scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service of applications for tax exemptions by conservative groups, and the outrage over the IRS admission that it played political favorites is fully justified, according to University of Notre Dame Law Professor Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, who says the problem is even more complex than it seems.

“What has been missed in the furor is the recognition that this problem arose from much deeper sources than the poor judgment or possible partisan bias of a handful of IRS employees,” says Mayer, who specializes in the laws governing nonprofit organizations and politics. “Congress has given the IRS the difficult task of applying an incredibly vague definition of political activity and an uncertain standard for how much political activity tax-exempt social welfare organizations may engage in.

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Notre Dame establishes Office of Postdoctoral Scholars


Graduate School seminar

To ensure that postdoctoral scholars in the early stages of their careers receive necessary resources, training, mentoring and comprehensive professional development support, the University of Notre Dame is forming an Office of Postdoctoral Scholars. The newly formed office will be administered through the Graduate School and is slated to open July 1.

Postdoctoral scholars are researchers who have received their Ph.D.s and who are undertaking additional training before assuming their professional careers, be it in the academy, industry, government or nonprofit setting. There currently are 271 postdoctoral scholars at Notre Dame.

Building on a foundation put in place by the Office of Research — which formerly managed the appointments of postdoctoral scholars — the new office will consolidate services and provide additional professional development training and resources that will allow postdocs to flourish both at Notre Dame and beyond in their careers.

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Robinson Center and Notre Dame students create children's book

Author: Brittany Collins

RCLC students work on "Every Child Has a Story"

With the help of a group of University of Notre Dame undergraduate students, children from the Robinson Community Learning Center worked together to publish a book of their stories and artwork.

Called “Every Child Has a Story,” the self-published children’s book features three stories and drawings that were created by the RCLC students, all between the ages of 7 and 11.

In spring 2011, a group of about 10 undergraduates from Notre Dame’s Student International Business Council decided to create and market a book with the students from the RCLC that could provide continued income to the center. Many of the Notre Dame students in the group, working as the Global Development section of the SIBC, volunteered at the Robinson Center and saw an opportunity to help develop the children’s literacy and creativity skills.

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‘HAWK’ pedestrian safety system installed near Notre Dame campus

Author: Notre Dame News

HAWK signal crossing

The University of Notre Dame, in cooperation with St. Joseph County, has installed a new type of traffic signal that has been proven to increase pedestrian safety when crossing the street. The new signal is known as a “HAWK” signal, an acronym that stands for high-intensity activated crosswalk.

The HAWK signal has been installed near the intersection of Twyckenham Drive and Vaness Street, the first of its kind in St. Joseph and Elkhart counties. HAWK signals were developed by the city of Tucson, Ariz., in 2004. They have since been installed by many other states and in Washington, D.C.

By installing the HAWK signal, the University is bringing proven technology to the campus area to enhance pedestrian safety. Studies have shown that more than 90 percent of motorists properly yield to pedestrians in crosswalks using HAWK signal. The HAWK signal at Twyckenham Drive is replacing a traditional pedestrian crossing. It will be more effective at increasing motorist awareness of pedestrians in the crosswalk.

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Indiana Catholic Poverty Summit: 'People were inspired'

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Our Lady Of Mercy, Geddes Hall

In one of his earliest public addresses, at an audience for journalists, Pope Francis spoke of how, immediately following his election, an old friend and fellow churchman had embraced him, urging, “don’t forget the poor.” The new pope said that he subsequently chose as namesake the saint “who wanted a poor church,” and concluded his remarks by exclaiming, “Ah, how I would like a church that is poor and is for the poor!”

Pope Francis’ words were invoked early on during the Indiana Catholic Poverty Summit at the University of Notre Dame last month, and the paradox of Catholic doctrine — the imperative to alleviate the poverty we encounter in others while trying to become poor ourselves — was appreciable in the gathering.

Having heard nation- and statewide overviews of the worsening plight of the poor and the increasing inadequacy of communal response, the summit participants received more intimate views of urban and rural Indiana poverty from diocesan social workers at work in Evansville, Tell City and South Bend before breaking into five respective diocesan groups to discuss the use of education, advocacy, service and prayer in battling Indiana poverty.

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Notre Dame adds two Fellows and three Trustees

Author: Dennis Brown

The Academic Seal

Two members of the University of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees were elected Fellows of the University, three individuals were elected to the Board, and three Board members were elected to emeritus status May 3.

Rev. José E. Ahumada F., C.S.C., and John J. Brennan were elected Fellows, filling the vacancies left by Rev. E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., and Patrick F. McCartan, both of whom reached retirement age and were elected emeritus members of the Board.

Father Ahumada is the rector of Saint George’s College, a 2,600-student Congregation of Holy Cross primary and secondary school in Santiago, Chile, and the president of a consortium of more than 70 private schools on the east side of Santiago. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Notre Dame and graduate degrees from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., and the Catholic University of Chile. He was ordained a priest in 1983.

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China’s new leadership: Notre Dame examines what changes mean



Assembled for the first time at an analytical forum at the University of Notre Dame, a distinguished group of journalists, activists and academics will move beyond conventional scholarly ways of framing debates and address the dramatic changes in China’s leadership in relation to the global community.

To explore what those changes mean for ordinary Chinese citizens and for people around the world connected to China through globalization, “China, the Chinese and the World: Trajectories of Change,” will be held May 13 and 14 (Monday and Tuesday) at Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies.

Unlike most scholarly conferences, the forum will not include paper presentations by scholars. Instead, it will take the form of a wide-ranging “global conversation” focused on the rapid change currently taking place in China and subsequent analysis of potential future trends.

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Nobody likes a 'fat-talker,' study shows


Two women talking

Women who engage in “fat talk” — the self-disparaging remarks girls and women make in relation to eating, exercise or their bodies — are less liked by their peers, a new study from the University of Notre Dame finds.

Led by Alexandra Corning, research associate professor of psychology and director of Notre Dame’s Body Image and Eating Disorder Lab, the study was presented recently at the Midwestern Psychological Association annual conference.

Although fat talk has been thought of by psychologists as a way women may attempt to initiate and strengthen their social bonds, Corning’s research finds that fat-talkers are liked less than women who make positive statements about their bodies.

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OpenCourseWare program recognized for excellence

Author: Gene Stowe

OCW Consortium

The University of Notre Dame OpenCourseWare (OCW) program has received the Landmark Site Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence from the OpenCourseWare Consortium. The award recognizes an OCW site of exemplary quality in its presentation of educational content (in breadth, depth and creativity) that has been in existence for more than one year.

Notre Dame OCW was a founding member of the OCW Consortium and launched its site in 2006. The site now includes more than 50 Notre Dame courses in 24 subject areas and was visited by more than 300,000 people from around the world last year, an increase of nearly 50 percent from 2011. OpenCourseWare is a free and open educational resource for faculty, students and self-learners throughout the world. The courses provided are typically static content, although a small number have been updated by faculty members over time.

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Innovative-Thinkers Camp returns for second year

Author: Notre Dame News

Students working on a project at Innovative Thinkers Camp Students build lamps from recycled materials during Innovative-Thinkers Camp 2012.

The University of Notre Dame is partnering with several local organizations to host the second annual Innovative-Thinkers Camp, a two-week summer experience created to encourage youth in grades seven through nine to obtain skills that will create a mindset for individual achievement in their academic and future career interests. The camp also attempts to cultivate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Michiana region by nurturing the pipeline that feeds local economic development.

This summer, 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend, Indiana Black Expo, Ivy Tech Community College, La Casa de Amistad, Mount Carmel Baptist Missionary Church, The Salvation Army, the South Bend Community School Corp., and the YMCA Innovation Delta will partner with Notre Dame to host a second camp Mondays through Fridays from June 10 through June 21.

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