Campus Watch

Bridesmaid BC

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, July 1 — Boston College has been turned down for membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which opted to admit only Virginia Tech and University of Miami to its ranks.

With Miami gone, that leaves the Jesuits’ BC as the only school with a major football program in the Big East conference. For the Big East to be able to “hold together,” the AP said, it will need to retain its spot in the Bowl Championship Series, which leads to the selection of a national champion, as it looks for another member with a major football program.

Tenacity Needed

NATIONAL CATHOLIC EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, June 29 — Catholic schools and individual students in poor areas “have to have good relationships [with public schools]” because all federal money goes through the district first, said educator Steve Perla at an association conference in Boston.

He urged Catholic educators to apply for direct funding from their state's Department of Education; to speak to superintendents in urban areas who, under Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act, have a certain amount of money set aside for private schools; and to form coalitions with groups who have similar interests.

Polar Priest

CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, June 17 — Jesuit Father Henry Birkenhauer, 89, president of John Carroll University in Cleveland in the 1970s and a seismologist who spent 15 months with a team of scientists at the South Pole, died June 13.

Father Birkenhauer, who earned a doctorate in geophysics with an emphasis on seismology, became known as the “polar priest” because of the 15 months he spent in the late 1950s as chief seismologist and chaplain with a team of 28 American scientists conducting studies of the polar ice cap in Antarctica.

Strict Policy

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, June 30 — The North Carolina daily used the vacancy in the presidency of Belmont Abbey College as the starting point for its story about the widely noted Niagara University study on the backgrounds and qualifications of today's Catholic college presidents.

In addition to reporting on the likelihood that Belmont Abbey's next president would be a layman — an increasingly common phenomenon for Catholic institutions — the North Carolina newspaper also reported a little-known fact about one of the country's most famous Catholic universities:

“Notre Dame University … has strict requirements for its presidents, who must come from the Indiana Province of the Holy Cross order of priests.” It added that few colleges have a similar policy regarding their sponsoring religious communities.

Urban Wildlife

USA TODAY, June 29 — Fordham University student Chris Nagey, 25, is leading a project to introduce screech owls into New York City's Central Park. So far, the park service has released eight of the owls, the national daily reported.

The project is part of BioBlitz, a larger effort to survey and record the numerous life forms that exist in the park and to introduce others where possible. So far, the newspaper said, the owls “seem to be enjoying their new digs.”

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.