The Renewal of Christian Higher Education
David Solomon, H. B. and W. P. White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame and former Visiting Distinguished Professor at Baylor
Excerpt ... When a university decides to be really good, moving up through the rankings, a logic takes over that is not unlike the logic of recruiting for big-time athletics. Notre Dame likes to have guys named Flanagan or O'Rourke on the football team, but that is something we can seldom do. Christian character is almost always a casualty of the pursuit of athletic excellence, and some comic incidents have resulted from our attempts to integrate Catholic practices into the life of our largely non-Catholic athletic staff and teams. Our worthy, but Protestant, new football coach, Tyrone Willingham, was presented with a miraculous medal at some occasion early in his career at Notre Dame, and he has been seen with it laced into his sneakers that he wears to practice. This is no doubt the way new religious practices are born. I look forward next year to religious medals on the chin straps of the player's helmets and holy water in the Gatorade bucket.
But Christian character is also frequently a casualty of the pursuit of academic excellence. The philosophy department at Notre Dame is ranked thirteenth in the country. At our last outside evaluation, the evaluators were instructed by our administration to tell us what we need to do to be in the top ten.
But I doubt that Notre Dame can be in the top ten and retain our commitment to be a Christian philosophy department...