Alumni Association to present five awards

Author: Arts and Letters


The University of Notre Dame Alumni Association will present five awards during ceremonies on campus this month.

Kerry Temple , a 1974 graduate and long-time editor of Notre Dame Magazine, will receive the James E. Armstrong Award, which recognizes outstanding service to the University by an employee.

A native of Shreveport, La., Temple assumed the editorship of Notre Dame Magazine (one of the most respected publications in higher education) in 1995 after 10 years as its managing editor. He joined the magazine staff in 1981 after working as a writer in the University’s development office and in public relations. He has taught writing courses at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College, won nine national writing awards and has been cited seven times in Best American Essays for stories that have appeared in Notre Dame Magazine. Temple is the author of “Back to Earth: A Backpacker’s Journey into Self and Soul” and “Celebrating Notre Dame,” which features the work of University photographer Matt Cashore.

The William D. Reynolds Award will be presented posthumously to the family of Michael Sennett , a 1991 graduate and captain of the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team his senior year. Sennett, who is honored for his work with young athletes as a coach and mentor, died last April.

In 1991, Sennett moved to St. Louis to pursue a career with Northwestern Mutual and founded and volunteered as head coach for the lacrosse program at DeSmet Jesuit High School, where he coached for 16 seasons. One of the state’s most successful and highly regarded coaches, he founded leagues, camps and clinics for youths and high school players and, in 2005, was named an inaugural inductee into the Missouri Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Under his tutelage, DeSmet won six state championships over 16 seasons, and Sennett encouraged his former players to give back by coaching lacrosse at the youth and high school levels. Most recently, he founded a lacrosse program at Matthews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club in downtown St. Louis.

Sennett, who also served as a volunteer firefighter for the Boles Fire Protection District and was an active member of St. Clement’s Parish, hailed from a family of Notre Dame alumni. His father, John (1955); three brothers, Tom (1983), Tim (1985) and Matt (1987); and his sister, Julie (1988), attended the University.

Paul Hurley , a 1956 graduate, will receive the Rev. Louis J. Putz, C.S.C., Award for his dedication to improving the lives of others.

For more than eight years, Hurley has led a weekly religious service for prisoners at the Gretna Jail in Jefferson Parish, La. His congregation consists of inmates both awaiting trial and convicted of serious crimes, who are not eligible for bail. He uses a lectionary titled “Sunday Service in the Absence of a Priest” and prepares a homily suited to the prisoners. For nearly three years, he conducted a similar service on Sunday mornings at a minimum security state juvenile facility housing adolescent males. In addition to his work with inmates, he serves as a lector and Eucharistic minister at his church and visits sick parishioners. He also serves on the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission, which has had major responsibilities in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Hurley served in the U. S. Navy for more than 10 years and currently supports numerous business and civic associations with spiritual service activities.

The Mike Russo Award will be presented to Notre Dame sophomore Charlie Gardner in recognition of exemplary leadership qualities, academic achievements and dedication to spirituality and service on campus.

A liberal studies major with minors in Italian and Catholic social tradition, Gardner has earned Dean’s List honors for the past three semesters and was elected to the Student Advisory Committee for his major. As part of the Freshman Peer Leaders Group, he joined weekly, faith-based discussions and has been involved with Campus Ministry, the Center for Social Concerns and the ND Right to Life initiative. Additionally, Gardner has served as a Eucharistic minister for the Folk Choir Mass and currently is one of three Eucharistic minister coordinators.

In his role as service commissioner for Knott Hall, Gardner has led the CROP Walk, Aidan Project and Lenten Rice Bowl Campaign on campus. In December, he organized “Christmas on Campus,” which brought 25 children from the Center for the Homeless and Hope Rescue Mission to Knott Hall for a day with the residents. He ran a similar event for Easter.

For the past two years, Gardner has been active with Friday Night Activities, spending time with children at the Center for the Homeless each week, and will assume leadership responsibilities for the project next year. He participated last fall in a service trip to Appalachia, where he helped repair homes, clean up a school and assist disabled couples. He also has worked with the youth group at Incarnate Word parish in Chesterfield, Mo., and plans to serve the group again this summer.

The Young Alumni Award will be presented to Gage C. Dungy , a 2000 graduate and president of the Notre Dame Club of Central California, for serving as a leader and inspiration to alumni through club participation.

An attorney with the firm Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, Dungy earned his law degree from the University of California at Davis, where he served as student body president during his third year. After moving to Fresno, Calif., he became involved in the Notre Dame Club, organized Irish football game watches during the 2004 season and was elected president in 2005. Under his leadership, the club evolved into an active organization, successfully practicing the core values of all Notre Dame clubs: camaraderie, Catholic spirituality, continuing education, community service, current student support and communications.

In addition, Dungy participates in several community service, spiritual, and social organizations and activities. He also is a member of the University of California at Davis Law Alumni Association Board of Directors and Rotary Club of Fresno.

Contact: Angela Sienko, Alumni editor, 574-631-7005,

Originally published by Angela Sienko and Shannon Chapla at on April 17, 2008.