Posted on April 8, 2013 by Tony Spence
The 1963 Ramblers of Loyola University Chicago. The Ramblers will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in November. (Photo from Loyola University Chicago)
Last week and this mark two of America’s great national obsessions: baseball’s Opening Day and college basketball’s Final Four. Seasons in North America — and just about everywhere — are marked as much by the hallmarks of sports as by the first days of weather seasons and religious holidays. Most people know that Christmas is on Dec. 25, and most Christians know Easter follows Lent, but they would be hard pressed to tell you when exactly it falls. But the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup and the Masters — those are another story. The rise and fall of civilizations would have to be scheduled around these.
Such is the power of competition and sports. Sports can get a black eye across the board — we spend too much time, too much money and too much capital of youth on our international obsession. We sure do. But sports is also a bellwether of social change or, even more importantly, an agent.
Such was the case with the remarkable 1963 basketball team the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers. In November, the Ramblers will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
In the 1963 NCAA tournament, the Ramblers faced off against the Maroons (as they were then known) from Mississippi State University. No one would blink today, but then the Ramblers had four African-American starters. Members of the Maroons were all Caucasian and were barred from playing integrated teams. It was a historic meeting.
Reporter Steve Christian talks in Inside Loyola about what has become known as the “Game of Change.” How did the game turn out? Check out the story. It was a remarkable example of sportsmanship on both sides, and a handshake that perhaps changed college basketball for good.
This month also marks the anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s landmark “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” (CNS will have a couple of stories about this great moment in history later this week.) It’s good to remember that there were giants of the civil rights era, and sometimes, there were a few college kids from Illinois and Mississippi who changed the world.
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Posted on January 30, 2013 by Tony Spence
This work depicting Mary and the Christ Child, by Chicago artist Melville Steinfels, hangs in the Madonna della Strada (Our Lady of the Way) Chapel on the grounds of Loyola University Chicago. (CNS photo/Bart Harris, courtesy of Loyola University Chicago)
This month Best College Reviews released a ranked list of what it says are the 30 most beautiful college chapels and cathedrals in the world. Of the Catholic worship spaces, six are in the U.S. and five are located on international campuses. Now beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but all of these are real stunners. They range from the relatively small Baughman Center at the secular University of Florida to the very modern and critically acclaimed Christ Chapel of Lutheran’s Gustavus Adolphus College, and from All Saints’ Chapel at the Episcopal Church’s University of the South in Tennessee to the incomparable Primate Cathedral of St. Mary of Toledo in Spain, a World Heritage Site. Some serve strictly as college chapels, some are parish churches, and some are bona fide cathedrals.
In the United States, the chapels on Catholic campuses in the ranking are the Madonna Della Strada Chapel of Loyola University in Chicago, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, Immaculata Parish of the University of San Diego, Saint Ignatius Church of the University of San Francisco; St. Mary’s Chapel of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and St. Thomas of Villanova Church of Villanova University in Philadelphia.
The international churches and cathedral ranked are Cathedral of Santiago de Compestela in Galicia, Spain; the Chapelle de la Sorbonne in Paris; the Church of Saint Yves at La Sapienza in Rome; the Sanctuary of Arantzazu in Onati, Spain; and the Toledo Cathedral.
There are many other beautiful campus chapels in the U.S. and around the world that didn’t make the ranking but are works of art in themselves. Seattle University’s Chapel of St. Ignatius is an architectural masterpiece, so is the abbey church of St. John’s University in Minnesota designed by the great Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer. Notre Dame Chapel of Trinity University in Washington is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture and was visited by Pope John Paul II. Perhaps one of the most dramatic college places of worship in America is the Chapel of St. Basil of the University of St. Thomas in Houston. It was designed by one of the greatest U.S. architects, the late Philip Johnson.
You can see photos of all the Best College Reviews ranked churches and read a brief description of each one by visiting the website linked above.
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Posted on September 4, 2012 by Tony Spence
Seven Catholic colleges and universities were among the nation’s largest schools, and five are among the fastest growing, according the the 2012-2013 Almanac published Aug. 31 by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The annual Almanac uses reports on diverse academic situations such as enrollments, faculty and staff size and salaries and tuition based on data through the end of the last academic ending in 2011.
Benedictine University is the fastest-growing research institution in the U.S., according to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2012-2013 Almanac. (Photo from Benedictine University)
In the top 20 private doctoral universities, DePaul University in Chicago is the country’s largest Catholic campus with 25,145 students enrolled. It is followed by St. John’s University in New York with 21,354 students. St. Louis University’s main campus is third largest with 17,709 students, and Georgetown University is the fourth with 16,937.
Among the 20 largest campuses of master’s-level universities, Saint Leo University is the largest Catholic campus with 15,565 students enrolled. It’s followed by Regis University in Denver with 11,069 students and Pennsylvania’s Villanova University with 10,605.
While Catholic colleges and universities educate thousands of graduate and undergraduate students across the country, they are dwarfed by public institutions. According to the Almanac, “nearly twice as many students were enrolled in the 20 largest public doctoral universities as were enrolled in the 20 largest private ones.”
But Catholic colleges are enjoying impressive growth, even in a sluggish economy. Four Catholic were among the top 20 fastest growing research institutions in the U.S. from 2000-2010. Benedictine University in Illinois is the fastest growing campus in the nation jumping up a whopping 142.5 percent to 6,892 students. Immaculata University in Pennsylvania grew by 52.5 percent to 4,456 students. New York’s St. John Fisher College grew almost as fast by 46.6 percent to 4,020 students. And Georgetown University grew by 35.7 percent to its 16,937 enrollment.
Among the top 20 private master’s institutions, Saint Joseph’s College in New York expanded enrollment by an amazing 336.5 percent to 5,897.
All enrollment figures include full-time and part-time graduate and undergraduate students.
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Posted on August 22, 2012 by Tony Spence
College campuses are trying harder all the time to go green and stay there. Sustainable practices help keep universities control waste and cost and teach students the importance of lifelong care of their environment. Every year, the Sierra Club, one of the nation’s chief environmental advocacy organizations, publishes a list of America’s greenest colleges.
While no Catholic university or college made the top 10 list, six ranked in the top 100. They are Loyola Marymount University, No. 26, Santa Clara University, No. 32, Aquinas College (Mich.), No. 41, Seattle University, No. 70, University of Dayton, No. 76, and Marywood University, No. 91.
Colleges were required to self report in a rigorous survey. “To place high, schools had to rock every one of our survey’s categories, from waging war on emissions to serving sustainable foods to teaching a verdant curriculum,” examiners said. “None was perfect.” But out of more than 2,000 U.S. four-year colleges and universities, making the list is a real accomplishment.
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Posted on August 17, 2012 by Julie Asher
Illustration depicting Jesuit Father Mateo Ricci, 16-century missionary to China. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)
Australian Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke, assistant professor at Boston College,has launched a searchable website he calls “Beyond Ricci” that gives scholars and researchers online access to newly digitized books containing historical narratives, maps, correspondence and musical compositions in five languages that depict life in China in early modern history and the East-West exchanges initiated by the early Jesuit missionaries. The site was launched in late July.
“This website takes knowledge and information that is rare and beautiful and puts it into the academic domain providing an interdisciplinary resource for scholars and students of disciplines ranging from history and geography, to Latin and Chinese,” Father Clarke said in a statement.
His project was funded through a grant from the Academic Teaching Advisory Board and the Office of the Provost at Boston College. It was a year in the making, with the priest working with the Jesuitana Collection at the university’s Burns Library.
Father Clarke calls it “a labor of love and an act of homage to my Jesuit brothers and their Chinese counterparts whose remarkable scholarship is preserved in these rare books that will now be available to visitors from Chestnut Hill to Canberra, San Francisco to Shanghai.”
Here’s a sampling of items that can be accessed on the site: melody lines from the Chinese Imperial Court transcribed by the Jesuits in the mid-18th century; a translation of Confucian texts by the Jesuit missionaries that represented the first introduction of Confucius to the Western world; and an extensively detailed 18th-century atlas.
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Posted on August 16, 2012 by Tony Spence
Statue of founder on University of Notre Dame campus. (CNS photo)
Forbes magazine has issued its annual U.S. college and university rankings. Six Catholic schools made it into the top 100 out of the 650 schools listed this year.
The colleges listed in the top 100 are University of Notre Dame, No. 12; Boston College, No. 26; Georgetown University, No. 38; College of the Holy Cross, No. 41; University of Santa Clara, No. 72; and Villanova University, No. 83.
According to Forbes, the rankings list America’s best undergraduate institutions. The list “focuses on educational outcomes, not reputations.” Forbes also looks at the best bang for the undergraduate buck.
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Posted on June 19, 2012 by Barb Fraze
Students in the Sociology of Sports class at The Catholic University of America have joined a project to try to commemorate the massacre of 11 Israeli Olympic team members at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
In addition to posting this video on YouTube, in December the students wrote Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, and Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Organizing Committee, urging a moment of silence during the opening ceremony July 27. CUA President John Garvey supported the students’ letter in his own letter to the officials, dated May 31.
Members of the sociology of sports class at The Catholic University of America advocate one moment of silence during the opening ceremony of the Olympics to commemorate the Munich Massacre. (CNS photo/courtesy of David Bauman, CUA)
In the letter, the students said although they were not born at the time of the massacre, “We are the Sept. 11 generation … we are confident that we have (an) understanding of the magnitude of the attacks that occurred on Sept. 5, 1972.
In their video, the students ask others to sign a petition for the moment of silence.
“This is not about politics, this is not even about religion,” said one student.”This is about 11 victims who lost their lives by an act of terror.”
In 1972, members of the Palestinian group Black September kidnapped the Israeli team members and demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners. The Israelis, a West German police officer and eight members of Black September were killed. Israel is widely believed to have retaliated against those suspected of involvement, beginning with military operations in 1973.
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Posted on September 21, 2011 by Tony Spence
Author Flannery O’Connor lingers long in Southern Catholic letters. One of the best-known and strongest Catholic apologists during the 20th century, along with fellow Southerner Walker Percy and only a handful of others, she remains today widely read and taught. She was a prodigious writer of novels, short stories and essays.
Born in Savannah in 1925, of parents from two of Georgia’s oldest Catholic families, she spent the latter part of her life in Milledgeville, Ga., where she struggled with a debilitating disease, systemic lupus erythematosus. Her father had died of it in her youth, and the disease would claim her in 1964 at age 39.
There is an entire academic industry around O’Connor. Next month, Loyola University Chicago will hold a three-day symposium on her life, work and influence on modern Catholic thought.
In New Yorker magazine’s The Book Bench, writer Mark O’Connell posted a blog this week about O’Connor and turned up a rare recording of her reading an excerpt from her acclaimed short story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” The reading is from a 1959 writers’ conference at Vanderbilt University.
It is a remarkable find of the voice of a remarkable Catholic writer, possibly the finest of her generation.
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