Cool Classes: One's Life Story

Abigail Piper | April 30, 2018

In the busy classroom hub DeBartolo Hall, among the students milling around from class to class, one will also find President Emeritus Rev. Edward “Monk” Malloy, CSC, ’63, ’67M.A., ’69M.A. His office is situated at the end of the third-floor hall, and can often be found with an open door.

Even though his tenure as president ended in 2005, Malloy maintains a strong presence on campus, working near the students in DeBart and living with them as a priest-in-residence in Sorin Hall. But a select group of 18 first-year students each semester also knows him as their professor. They meet for two and a half hours on Sunday nights to take “Biography and Autobiography: One’s Life Story,” Malloy’s famous University Seminar (USEM).

“Wait, the Father Malloy?” first-year student-athlete Maryclare Leonard asked her advisor when she suggested the class. Yes, that Father Malloy.

Malloy began teaching an early version of the class, focused on multicultural fiction and movies, after his first year as president of Notre Dame. He continued for the remaining 17 years in office, took a year off while on sabbatical, then resumed instruction of the class as president emeritus. Do the math, and that makes about three decades. “These things just happen to you and you just keep moving along, and next thing you know you have a number of years behind you,” Malloy says.

Writing his own three-volume memoir, Monk’s Tale, inspired him to change the seminar’s focus to biographies and autobiographies. Over the course of the semester, students read eight books and watch two movies that reflect different parts of the world, cultures and experiences, writing papers on them each week. The syllabus changes year to year, but reoccurring titles include Left to Tell, about the Rwandan Holocaust, and What Though the Odds by Haley Scott DeMaria ’95, who was in the women’s swim team accident in 1992. “I was never bored reading the books,” Leonard says. “You wanted to get away from your other homework to read them.”

Read more here.

 by Daily Domer Staff

Posted In: ND Magazine