Onward to Denver (Monday, July 19)

We are off to Denver today!
Someone asked us last night if there was one word to describe our road trip thus far. There are actually three words: CORN, CORN and CORN! It is an eight-hour drive to Denver from Omaha and as we approach Denver the scenery is changing. The altitude makes it much tougher than training in Indiana making it a great training site as we prepare for the bike ride. Renate and I worked out very hard tonight—the energy and enthusiasm from the alumni club members egging us on. Just five days until we get on our bikes!

Why Notre Dame, why Notre Dame Science—July 1st marked my two-year anniversary at Notre Dame. Many people ask why I came to Notre Dame and while there were a number of factors, the most prominent is the integration of mission and research. Notre Dame Science connects its research to mission in many ways and through many partnerships. For example the new Harper Cancer Research Institute, a public-private institution partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine; the Eck Institute for Global Health focused on alleviating disease, suffering and death caused by infectious diseases; and the Haiti Program which seeks to permanently eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis in Haiti. Our efforts on energy and the environment and our medicinal chemistry group with its many areas of strength including Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC), cancer, and MRSA infections, are further examples of how Notre Dame’s mission couples to science everyday. In the physics department we have one to the top nuclear physics research program in the country, as well as strengths in particle physics and astrophysics. In the mathematics department you will find one of the best ways to train future mathematicians at the undergraduate level as our undergraduates engage in a seminar in pure mathematics and then take a significant number of graduate courses before they graduate.

The College of Science is an amazing place to do research and train the next generation of scientists to take on the big questions of our time. We study those big questions—from evolution, to origins of the universe, to stem cells. Sometimes we get the question: can you do science at a Catholic University? My response is a resounding “Absolutely.” In fact, the coupling of the Notre Dame mission to our science research is a very powerful combination. We approach science ethically and conduct research with compassion. Our fundamental goal is to improve the lives of others.

Undergraduates in the Jordan Hall of Science

Our new and expanded partnership with the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation is a signal to the world on how institutional mission and research go hand in hand. At Notre Dame we are so excited about this new partnership with our Notre Dame family members—a partnership that will enable us to reach out to families affected by NPC. Cindy and Mike Parseghian inspire us as scientists, they inspire us as human beings, and they inspire us in the way they have turned hardship into hope for other families. This new partnership will expand research on NPC while bringing visibility and more funding as we seek to eradicate this devastating disease.

Jordan Hall of Science

When I was interviewing at Notre Dame I toured through the Jordan Hall of Science—Wow. In fact, we show off Jordan Hall to all of our visitors and we often get the same response: Wow. This response comes from everybody, from Nobel laureates to Fields Medalists. Many researchers who come through Notre Dame often comment that they are envious of all of the building and equipment for undergraduate training. We hear all the time that our resources are much better than their research labs at their home institutions. We are so fortunate to have Jordan Hall and so fortunate to have such generous alumni who make this a reality.

I am very fortunate to be here at Notre Dame with so many wonderful colleagues who are enthusiastic about our mission—a place with wonderful facilities and the resources to create programs of excellence.

Go Irish!

2 Comments so far

  1.    Tom Murphy MBA '82 on July 20th, 2010

    Hello Dean Greg & Renata – What a tremendous idea! Best of luck as you commence your ride. Your efforts will provide inspiration for many, and you have already helped to publicize and increase the understanding and awareness of NPC. I hope you will have lots of Domers come out and join you for portions of the ride! May the winds be at your back! Good Luck, Tom Murphy Rye,NY

  2.    Peggy Queen on July 21st, 2010

    Best of luck to you and ride safe! The heat in the desert at 100 degrees is much easier to take than the heat PLUS the humidity at 85 degrees in the Midwest. That being said and I’m sure you already know this, but you will dehydrate quickly out there because our bodies are accustomed to the humidity in the air. I was really surprised at how thirsty I always was in the Southwest. Listen loud to what your body is telling you!!!!I’ll keep everyone in this group in my prayers for a safe trip and will be waiting for you when you come up Notre Dame Avenue!!!!!