On Saturday Dom finally convinced me to sign up on Facebook. I’ve already got 28 friends. Lots of people from college I’ve lost touch with are in there. Even some high school acquaintances. Who knew? I can already see why it’s so addictive.


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  • I think UD has always had a “marketing identity” problem – but somehow the professors pulled legendary classes together.  Now they’re getting old, and UD won’t hire it’s own graduates as a general rule.

    Rod (the writer) has a reputation of stirring up the pot as well.

  • I will agree with Roger on this.  The soul of the school is the professors.  You have solid profs you will have a solid school. 

  • Roger,
    Yeah the marketing identity problem has always been there. But I think the materials aimed at students now are much worse than they were when I was recruited.

    I went to look up the UD mission statement online a few years ago for a piece I was writing on education and couldn’t find it. Unfortunately I don’t have any of those old catalogs left. The mission statement I remember reading in the catalog has disappeared from the website and been replaced with something much more banal.

    Yeah, Rod stirs up the pot. He can be pretty hot headed at times and I don’t always agree with his take on things. That doesn’t mean his analysis doesn’t hit the mark a few times. I think here he’s pretty dead on from my observations and insiders’ perspective from conversations with current students and faculty over the past decade. (I actually know Rod a bit. Dom and I met him once and had dinner at his house.)


    I agree that solid professors make a solid school; but how long will the solid professors stick around with an administration that is hostile to them? And what kind of professors are being hired now? What kind will be hired in the future? Will they love UD and carry on with her mission?

    I wish I could be confident that the school I love will be there for Isabella and Sophia to attend. I hope and pray that it will be; but I also fear that the reformers will succeed and I won’t recognize the place in sixteen years.

  • To be clear, I think that UD is still a great school and the core curriculum is still intact. My worries are mostly for the long-term future. I think that most schools struggle with retaining their identity and founding vision as the first founding generation dies off. UD is very young and is just hitting that stage where many of the of the founding professors are retiring or dying. But genuine renewal is possible with good leadership.

    I completely agree about the website. Deplorable!

    And the name Dan Gibbons rings a bell. I think our time at UD might have overlapped and it’s possible we have acquaintances in common.

  • As a grad of Saint Mary’s at Notre Dame and Georgetown Law who is about to send my oldest son to UD in the fall, I am sad to hear these things about UD. I pray that UD will NOT try to follow my almae matri. Neither does enough to recommend her for forming orthodox Catholic intellectuals.

    And just to be clear, the core curriculum was one of the things that most attracted my son to UD over Christendom or Steubenville. TAC definitely has UD beat on architecture and beauty of campus, but the core followed by a specific major is a truly unique part of what UD has to offer. They should emphasize it much more.

    Back in the 60s-70s Saint Mary’s went through a similar identity crisis, even coming very close to a merger with ND. Thankfully, that fell through at the last minute and SMC clarified its identity as a women’s college. They have their own problems now with Catholic identity that need much work. ND is actually doing better in that area.  But the point is that UD should renew her own identity, through emphasis on the core curriculum, as a university for faithful, Catholic intellectuals. This is her strength, as far as I can see.

    I wish UD would hire grads. My brother, Dan Gibbons is finishing his PhD in Renaissance Lit this spring and would be perfect as a prof there. Except maybe he wouldn’t be so thrilled about going back to the Dallas heat and humidity. wink

    The professors do make the school. I pray that the quality is renewed. UD has been an amazing place for all who I know who have gone there.

    As a minor point, UD also needs to work on its website. My son finds it very hard to navigate. And the internet is the primary way he and his peers have communicated with their colleges in the application/admission/enrollment process.