Changes and Memories
During our student days, dorm conversation that touched on South Bend was often dismissive, our intelligence on the area drawn from a little world marked by Notre Dame Avenue, a few watering holes, restaurants, the often-relocating Senior Bar, and a few venues for dances. Things are changing. Of course, some of the watering holes are gone, along with the manufacture of Studebakers. But at the edge of the campus, as well as in the neighborhoods and cities beyond, there is a stirring of cooperative plans for the formation of new companies that can take advantage of academic research along with attractive housing costs and other features of the area. Classmates who return and visit South Bend as well as the campus seem pleased.
One who returns regularly is Tom McCloskey, whose venture capital firm underwrites the annual business plans competition put on by the business school’s Gigot Center each April. Some of the sharpest questions and most meaningful suggestions put to the entrepreneurs at this year’s event came from Tom’s wife Bonnie, who is a partner in the firm. Three of the McCloskeys’ four children live in San Francisco, which is where Tom and Bonnie now live part of the year. While Chris Murphy and Carmie were tied up with a dinner in honor of a South Bend CEO, Gene Cavanaugh was one of the Irish Angels investors who attended a Thursday night reception as well as other events of the Gigot program. The crowd included undergrads and MBA students who are active in clubs that never existed in our time, clubs that give sophomores chances to invent businesses and bond over things like growth capital.
The business plans event rolled into the Blue-Gold game weekend, which Granger, IN resident Monk Forness celebrated with returning friends, some of them on hand solely for the chance to honor the late Father Bernard H.B. Lange, C.S.C. Monk wrote: “Though not a member of our class, Big Mike McCoy stayed with me for 11 days. He has a ministry and travels the country speaking to Catholic schools and prisons (is there a difference?) to inmates and students (like I said, is there a difference?) on SAD — sex, alcohol and drugs. You have no idea how effective he is. He is one guy who TRULY can keep kids out of trouble/get them back on the right path. I'm not saying Mike eats a lot, but I'm sure I had a three-car garage that's no longer there. The Saturday activities and dinner and everything were spot on, except for the old-timers flag football game. It got canceled because the field was a little wet due to some rain, and the coaches didn't want the field torn up by the old farts. Steve Quinn was really geared up to play in it, as he did last year. Coach Kelly spoke at the dinner Saturday night and he can wow an audience. Ara had an impromptu lunch at the Morris Inn on Friday. The guy is 87, if you can believe that, but his memory is so sharp it's unbelievable. He was talking about certain games, certain plays, down and distance, etc. He said that Cheeseburger Charlie's buyout is $53,000 a month, for more than 23+ years!!! ($18 million, total). Ara, to his credit, said he never would have taken the money. Can't remember all the names of all the guys — and some are not of the class of '68 — but off the top of my head was Coach Parseghian, “Little Jack” Butler (manager), Mike McCoy, Tom O'Leary (retired from Ford Motor Co., living back in his home town of Columbus, Ohio, still married to his high school sweetheart, and taking some courses at Ohio State for the pure pleasure of learning), Mike Burgener, Steve Quinn, John Lium, Dave Casper, Tom Longo, Ron Jeziorski, Pat Steenberg, and the usual gang of Fr. Lange's boys, (me, Mad Dog Burgener, Clint Garber, Tom Kelly, Dan Saracino, Mike Murphy, Paul Gill, Fast Eddie Fitzpatrick, Kent Durso, Mark Vogel, and even Professor Bill Leahy (who is STILL teaching Econ and is completing his 58th consecutive year at ND, from a student, to law student, to doctoral student, to Econ faculty and Dept. Chair).”
Jed Ervin sent Monk this interesting note, something we never read carved on a desk in a lecture hall: A patient of Jed’s, a graduate now in his 70s, has been a lifelong lifter. The two began talking about the Blue-Gold weekend and Father Lange. The grad remembered that “Paul Hornung went to Lange's once and Fr. Lange physically picked him up and carried him out and told him to never return.”
Pat Hermann was swimming at the University of Alabama recently when he noticed someone with an “Irish” cap in the next lane. Did she swim for Notre Dame? Pat asked her. No, but her father went there: Ron Kurtz. Ron Kurtz! Pat remembers Ron as a standup guy who urged him to get out to the track and train. “I just couldn't seem to stick with laps at the Fieldhouse, and gave up after a short time, a lifelong regret (always the things we didn't do, aren't they?) Ended up teaching and writing about medieval lit at UA for 31 years, and coaching cross-country and track here for 11. My son is in the Corps of Engineers at Ft. Bragg, my daughters live in New Orleans and Atlanta.”
Joe Kernan, who serves with President Tom Weyer and Jim O’Rourke as a class officer, had the class’ attention when he and Maggie visited Vietnam for the first time since Joe’s release from imprisonment. According to a newspaper report of the February trip, the Kernans’ experience included a surprise connection with a Vietnamese woman who, as a 15-year old, saw her father and mother save Joe’s life by standing up to angry villagers until military personnel could take Joe into custody. A couple of months later, another event reminded us of that period. Tom Moore and John Walsh were part of a group of family and friends, about 100, who attended a San Diego ceremony commemorating Mike McCormick, killed when his plane was shot down.
Bill Holahan called out of the blue, which led to a good visit over lunch at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. Bill has made Milwaukee his home for 37 years, and is now head of the Economics Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He came for a short-term gig after earning his doctorate from Brown University.
The December, 2009 issue of Leading Lawyers Network magazine has a lengthy and impressive article about the work Chicago lawyer Tom Durkin has taken on as a defender of people such as Guantanamo Bay prisoners.
Jim Hutchinson found a new feature in this year’s coverage of the NCAA tournament: an on-air shoutout to Fred Ferlic from Digger Phelps.
You can post comments, see photos, and read additional details at http://www.ndclass1968.com, our class blog. – Tom Figel, 1054 West North Shore, Apt. 3-E, Chicago, IL 60626, tel. 312-881-7391, firstname.lastname@example.org.