Monday, April 18, 2016
Prof. David Solomon -- a longtime professor of philosophy at Notre Dame -- is retiring at the end of this semester. (Here's a very nice tribute to him that appeared the other day in the campus newspaper.) It's impossible to overstate the importance of Prof. Solomon's contributions not only to the formation and education of thousands of Notre Dame students but also to the University's Catholic character and mission. Among other things, Prof. Solomon was the founding director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics & Culture, which has been for nearly 20 years a center of vibrant inquiry and engagement on issues ranging from bioethics to J.R.R. Tolkien. The Center's annual Fall Conference is, for many of us, among the highlights of the academic year.
When I first came to Notre Dame, in 1999, I met Prof. Solomon through a mutual friend and colleague and, pretty quickly, my daily ritual included a bagel and coffee with David and a few others at Lula's, South Bend's initial effort at a campus-y coffee shop. My first daughter spent a lot of time, as a baby, crawling around under the tables there and wiping crumbs on Prof. Solomon. He welcomed and inculturated my wife and me into the University community and his love for and dedication to the place were inspiring and infectious. It's very hard to imagine life at the University without him, his wit, and his generosity. If you care about Catholic higher education -- and all MOJ readers should -- then you have good reasons to be grateful to David Solomon.
UPDATE: This tribute by Fr. Bill Miscamble is excellent. A bit:
David has loved being a teacher and a philosopher and his labors have allowed him to seek the good and to touch the lives of many students. Of course, as a philosopher he has emphasized the role of the intellect, but this has never been done by him at the expense of the heart. No doubt over time he has come to appreciate ever more deeply and in the manner of St. Thomas that love must have the final word, for only love can truly complete the intellect’s knowledge. He has given of himself for his students, his colleagues, and his friends and Notre Dame is a much better place because of him.