University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

Philadelphia, June 3, 1961

The present plight of the American inner city is due primarily to the cheap construction in the second half of the last century.

[The stroll through the slums of Philadelphia was my first shock experience of the American reality. It made me aware of the special problems of the American inner cities.]

Philadelphia, June 11, 1961

The Catholic Church now has a big chance as well as a great task for the future.

Philadelphia, June 12, 1961

Building Activities on American Colleges and University Campuses

The amount of building currently in progress on virtually every college and university campus is one of the outstanding developments I have noticed so far. There is no doubt; America is assuming a leadership role in research and university life in the world today.

Faculty-Student Ratio

Where one professor teaches only ten students, individual attention can be given to each one in class, but where the professor lectures to five hundred students or more, as is the case in many European universities, the student body unfortunately degenerates into a collective, whereby their best qualities are wasted.

Philadelphia, June 13, 1961

Segregation and race relations will still put the civilized world to a severe test.

[Together with a group of fellow Fulbright-scholars I was invited in June to a meeting in Washington. There was a reception in the Library of Congress at which also members of the government and the U.S. Supreme Court were present.]

Washington, June 16, 1961

At a reception in the Library of Congress today I met Senator Fulbright and Supreme Court Justice Douglas.

[J. William Fulbright, U.S. Senator from Arkansas, 1945-74, founder of the international exchange program that bears his name; William 0. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice, 1939-75.]

Philadelphia, June 23, 1961

As long as the European nations do not find themselves together in a union, Europe will more and more be at a disadvantage compared with the rest of the world.

Philadelphia, June 25, 1961

Impressions of Washington

Washington, more than any other city I know, gives the impression of being the pulsing heart of the world today. It is an active, beautiful and alert city which is assuming ever more the qualities of the nerve center of an empire.

National Gallery of Art

The collections of the National Gallery of Art are less impressive on a second visit than on the first. They are still uneven, assembled haphazardly, filling large halls with little content. The architecture of the building, however, is of imposing beauty; the entrance hall is particularly memorable.

[The large neo-classical building of the National Gallery of Art was completed in 1941. The main entrance leads into the Rotunda, in whose center stands, surrounded by marble columns, the statue of Mercury by Giovanni Bologna. The hall impresses by its well-balanced design.]

The Rembrandt Collection

The Rembrandt Collection in the National Gallery of Art struck me as the most beautiful group of paintings assembled in any one place. It was there that I developed a predilection for Rembrandt. What a climax in the portrayal of the human soul - it is the deep humaneness that emanates from the characters which renders his paintings unsurpassed among the long gallery of works in the art of portraiture.

[Two rooms of the National Gallery of Art are devoted exclusively to the paintings of Rembrandt - one of the most significant collections of his works in the world.]

Philadelphia, June 26, 1961

What is the idea of the educated person today?

He/she is not only the connoisseur of art and literature, versed in Latin, Greek, and several European languages, but is also someone who has achieved a fuller understanding of the world in which he/she lives. This may give Western education a new sense of direction.

The essential issue of higher education today is still humanism, a cultivation of the human mind which instills a broader outlook of the present world. Humanism in this sense is not merely introspective but essentially an act to “bring man into communion with man again.”

Philadelphia, June 27, 1967

This is a country of contrasts: While a super jetliner cuts majestically through the air above the statue of William Penn on the top of City Hall, a group of Highway Tabernacle Mission singers preach the Gospel to the tired homeless below.

Philadelphia, June 30, 1961

For better or for worse, English has become the lingua franca of the world today.

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