Campus Watch

Tolkien Bequest

MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY, Dec. 1 — The Jesuit university has received the bequest of what is believed to be the single largest body of secondary sources on the author J.R.R. Tolkien available. The vast collection of Tolkien material and research came from the estate of Richard Blackwelder.

Blackwelder, who died earlier this year, worked as an entomologist and zoology educator, and devoted much of his retirement to building and organizing the collection. He began turning over his collection to the university in 1982. The university maintains the J.R.R. Tolkien Collection of original drawings and galleys with the author's handwritten corrections. The library has a permanent exhibit on view devoted to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien's best-known work.

Free to Protest

TOWNHALL.COM, Dec. 24 — The shouting-down by students of a commencement address critical of the Bush administration, delivered by Sacramento Bee newspaper publisher Janis Heaphy, at California State University Sacramento in early December was regrettable and rude. So says Debra Saunders in a column that was picked up by the opinion Web site. It also prompted the columnist to take note of an apparent double standard: “When audiences criticize publishers, they're hecklers. When they drown out conservatives, they're ‘protesters.’”

Humanitarian Institute

FORDHAM UNIVERSITIY, Dec. 10 — The Jesuit university in New York has formed the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs to train people to work in crisis negotiation, human rights and health and human service issues.

The center is a joint effort of Fordham and the Center for International Health and Cooperation whose president, Kevin Cahill, will direct the Fordham program. Cahill, a New York physician active in many church-related activities, served as personal physician to New York Cardinals Terence Cooke and John O'Connor. Fordham's new institute will take an active role in forging partnerships with relief organizations, publishing books and hosting symposia related to humanitarian aid issues.

Pennies from the Poor

THE CATHOLIC REVIEW, Dec. 2 — The newspaper of the Archdiocese of Baltimore reports that eight people maimed during Sierra Leone's 11-year-old civil war were flown to the U.S. this fall to receive prosthetic limbs, thanks to $3,000 in pennies collected by students from one of the poorest neighborhoods in Maryland.

“We appreciate what you have done. … We love you,” said Damba Koroma, 9, whose left arm was cut off by rebels. “May God bless you.” The effort, which began as a Lenten outreach program three years ago, was assisted by the nonprofit Friends of Sierra Leone.

Selling Darwin

THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, Dec. 21 — Despite decades of almost universal acclaim by scientists, Darwin's theory of evolution enjoys less-than-universal acclaim with the public, says higher education's leading trade publication in a feature story on the growing popularity of the theory that the universe is the work of an intelligent designer, usually assumed to be God.

“A recent Gallup Poll found that 45% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years,” says the Chronicle, “and 39% believe that Darwin's theory of evolution is not supported by evidence.”