Notre Dame alumna Tess Gunty ’15 has won the National Book Award for fiction for her debut novel, The Rabbit Hutch. Born and raised in South Bend, Gunty majored in English with a concentration in creative writing. “My writing professors from Notre Dame uprooted my literary preconceptions and planted far better ideas in their place,” Gunty writes in the book’s acknowledgments. “I cherished their generosity as an undergraduate, and I continue to cherish it now.”
Mary Katherine Tillman, a professor emerita in the Program of Liberal Studies, died at Wellbrooke Senior Care Residence on Oct. 21, of complications associated with esophageal cancer. She was 81. Tillman was a scholar of St. John Henry Cardinal Newman, writing a book and several extended commentaries on the works of the19th-century English priest, as well as the history and philosophy of liberal education.
Kenneth M. Sayre, a University of Notre Dame professor emeritus of philosophy and an early leader in the study of artificial intelligence, has died at age 94. A member of the faculty for 56 years, he was known for his teaching and research across a broad range of areas, including cybernetics, information theory, philosophy of mind, environmental philosophy, Plato, and epistemology. He authored 14 books, edited or co-edited five more, and published more than 50 articles in scholarly journals.
David Ladouceur, an associate professor emeritus in the Department of Classics, died May 8 at his home. He was 73. Ladouceur joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1976 after earning his Ph.D. in classics at Brown University and his bachelor’s degree at Cornell University. He served as department chair for nine years, leading the Department of Modern Classical Languages and then the Department of Classical and Oriental Languages at a time before regional language groups were separated into their own departments.
Notre Dame theologian James VanderKam, a renowned scholar of the Dead Sea Scrolls, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers. VanderKam, the John A. O’Brien Professor Emeritus of Hebrew Scriptures in the Department of Theology, was among the 261 members in the newest AAAS class, which includes actor Glenn Close, novelist Salman Rushdie, painter Sam Gilliam, New York Times critic Wesley Morris, and mRNA technology pioneers Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman.
Perin Gürel, a Notre Dame associate professor of American studies, has won a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for Research in Turkey, in support of the completion of a book on the international history of comparisons made between Turkey and Iran. Her research will detail the history of comparisons made between Turkey and Iran, but Gürel also intends to critique the intellectual valorization of comparison itself. Sharp distinctions about areas of the world are often made, she said, despite the relatively arbitrary nature of borders between countries — not to mention the ways in which subjectively comparing one thing to another permeates other aspects of life.
Godiya Simon came to Notre Dame needing to learn a language in order to be successful. Now, she’s headed to an elite graduate program in part because of her work to ensure another language never goes extinct. Simon didn’t know just how rare her native language of Kibaku was until a conversation one day with her linguistic anthropology professor — a realization that inspired her to create a cross-continental multimedia effort to preserve and document it. In the process, she’s written a senior thesis, created a children’s book, spent a summer in Hawaii learning research skills, presented at a conference, and developed a clear vision for her post-graduate goals.
John Deak, a Notre Dame associate professor of history, has won a collaborative research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for an ambitious research project that seeks to reshape perspectives on how and why the Habsburg Empire collapsed after World War I. Partnering with historian Jonathan Gumz of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, Deak’s three-year grant will support significant archival work across Europe as the scholars explore how the wartime imposition of martial law crushed local political authority and ultimately wiped a 600-year empire off the map.
With support from two major research grants, Notre Dame associate professor of philosophy Nicholas Teh has been exploring new ideas in symmetry for philosophy and physics. The project is the latest in Teh’s efforts to pursue research at the intersection of science, philosophy, and mathematics. He’s particularly interested in applying philosophical principles to the work of scientists and engineers, offering conclusions and insights that can help them improve their understanding of the foundations of their research.
Notre Dame historian Ian Ona Johnson received significant recognition this month for his influential research on military history — including an award honoring his first book and a research grant supporting work on his next book. The P.J. Moran Family Assistant Professor of Military History has won the Society for Military History’s 2022 Distinguished Book Award for best first book, Faustian Bargain: Secret Soviet-German Military Cooperation in the Interwar Period, and he will write his next book, tentatively titled Armies of Peace: The United Nations, NATO, and the Korean War with significant support from the Truman Library Institute, which this month honored him with the 2022 Scholar’s Award.
Notre Dame’s College of Arts & Letters is launching a new selective program that will offer specialized coursework, programming, and resources for undergraduates interested in finding deeper meaning in the practice of business through the liberal arts. The Sheedy Family Program in Economy, Enterprise & Society is a rigorous academic experience and collaborative community focused on helping students form strong bonds as they engage in exclusive classes, independent research, meaningful dialogue, and purpose-driven career discernment. The cohort-based program is open to Arts & Letters students with a minor in business economics or a Mendoza College of Business minor, or Mendoza majors who have a major, supplemental major, or minor in Arts & Letters.
Two faculty in Notre Dame’s College of Arts & Letters have won a three-year grant from Humanities Without Walls in support of a project that will encourage Latinx women who have suffered violence during pregnancy and childbirth to share their experiences through art and literature. Led by Vanesa Miseres, an associate professor of Spanish, and Vania Smith-Oka, an associate professor of anthropology, the project seeks to empower Latinx mothers in the South Bend area who often experience disrespect or abuse by medical professionals throughout the birthing process to share their stories through creative expression.
Darcia Narvaez, a Notre Dame professor emerita in the Department of Psychology, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest international body of professional scientists in the world and publisher of the prestigious journal Science. Narvaez is being honored for her distinguished contributions illuminating typical and atypical development in terms of well-being, morality and sustainable wisdom. A total of 39 Notre Dame faculty members are now AAAS fellows.
The Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures at Notre Dame has launched the Globally Engaged Citizens program, designed to reward students for their engagement with language and culture studies and encourage participation by students who are not required to take language classes. Through a combination of coursework and cultural experiences, the program offers Notre Dame students from all colleges and schools the opportunity to demonstrate that they have spent time during their college experience preparing to be a global citizen.
Notre Dame is launching a dynamic new minor in sport, media, and culture (SMAC), a program designed for students interested in careers in sports media and diving deep into critical analyses of sports, representation, and power. Led by the Department of American Studies in partnership with the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, the SMAC minor focuses on the intersection of sports and culture in all forms of media — art, history, journalism, radio, TV, film, and social media. Through an interdisciplinary, scholarly approach to sports studies, students will analyze issues of race, gender, sexuality, class and inequality that shape the modern athletic, business, cultural, and political landscapes.
Notre Dame’s College of Arts & Letters has launched a new minor in health, humanities, and society, an interdisciplinary program designed to help students analyze the wide range of social and humanistic issues connected to health and medicine. Housed in the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, the 15-credit minor will offer courses that give undergraduates interested in health-related careers an understanding of the historical precedent, ethical dilemmas, cultural nuance, social complexity, and political economy associated with medicine — and how to apply those lessons to social health in local, scalable, and transferable ways.
Ava Preacher, a professional specialist emeritus who served for 25 years as an assistant dean in the College of Arts and Letters, died Wednesday, July 14, at her residence. She was 67. Preacher first came to Notre Dame in 1985, teaching in what was then the Department of Communication and Theater for six years, then serving as director of the Gender Studies Program for three years. From 1993 until her retirement in 2018, she served in the College of Arts and Letters’ Office for Undergraduate Studies as an assistant dean, advising hundreds of undergraduates every year, including students from across campus who were pursuing law school.
Daniel Philpott, a Notre Dame professor of political science, has received the 2021 Distinguished Scholar Award from the International Studies Association’s Religion and International Relations Section. Philpott, the section’s awards committee noted, is a key figure in the first generation of scholars to incorporate religion into the study of international relations. His research focuses on the relationship between religion and democracy, ethics, peace-building, reconciliation, and religious freedom.
Jorge A. Bustamante, the Eugene P. and Helen Conley Professor Emeritus of Sociology, died March 25. He was 82. A sociologist whose research centered on the dynamics of international migration, Bustamante’s work advanced public and academic discourse regarding circumstances at the U.S.-Mexico border. His devotion to advocating for human and labor rights for immigrants worldwide led to his native Mexico nominating him for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.
Joyelle McSweeney, a Notre Dame professor of English and Creative Writing Program faculty member, has been named a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award, a prominent prize honoring work by a mid-career poet. The honor comes in recognition of McSweeney’s double poetry collection Toxicon and Arachne (Nightboat Books, 2020) — the first part written in the years leading up to the birth of her third daughter, Arachne; and the second part written in the spring following Arachne’s brief life and death.
Brian Fogarty, director of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Science Research, has received a Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant from the National Science Foundation to study the prevalence of belief in voter fraud and to identify ways of restoring confidence in U.S. elections. Fogarty, who is also a concurrent associate professor of the practice in the Department of Political Science, sought the grant in order to develop research that could assess public opinion at a critical moment in American history.
Patrick Griffin, a scholar whose work explores the intersection of colonial American and early modern Irish and British history, has been named the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at the University of Oxford. The prestigious fellowship, created in 1922, is awarded to a distinguished American historian who then spends a year teaching, researching and leading seminars at Oxford’s Queen’s College and Rothermere American Institute.
Sarah A. Mustillo, a professor of sociology and the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, has been inducted into the Sociological Research Association. The prestigious honor society for scholars of sociology was founded in 1936 to recognize leading researchers in the discipline. It selects up to 14 new members each year from across the United States and Canada.
The University of Notre Dame has launched the Initiative on Race and Resilience, a new interdisciplinary program focused on the redress of systemic racism and the support of communities of color both within and beyond the Notre Dame campus. Led by the College of Arts & Letters with additional support from the Office of the Provost, the initiative will bring together scholars and students in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and other disciplines to challenge systemic racism and promote racial equality through research, education, and community empowerment.
Klaus Lanzinger, professor emeritus in the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures, died Dec. 5. He was 92. A native of Austria whose research focused on American-European literary and cultural relations, Lanzinger served as chair of the department from 1989 to 1996. In the early 1960s, he was instrumental in creating one of Notre Dame’s two inaugural study abroad programs — in Innsbruck, Austria. Lanzinger later served as resident director of that program on three occasions.
Notre Dame anthropologist Alex Chávez has been named one of 10 Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The award supports junior faculty whose research focuses on contemporary American history, politics, culture, and society, and who are committed to the creation of an inclusive campus community for underrepresented students and scholars.
Agustín Fuentes, the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Chair in Anthropology, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers. He is among more than 250 members of the 240th AAAS class, which includes singer-songwriter Joan Baez, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and filmmaker Richard Linklater.
The University of Notre Dame is launching a bachelor of arts in computer science major, offering undergraduate students the opportunity to obtain rigorous training in the rapidly advancing areas where computer science intersects with the arts, humanities, or social sciences. Housed in the College of Arts and Letters, the program will involve significant coursework in the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering while offering enough flexibility for students to enroll in an Arts and Letters program — a major, supplementary major, minor, or 15-credit hour course sequence of their own design.
Richard “Dick” Lamanna, an associate professor emeritus in the Department of Sociology, died Wednesday (May 22) at his home in Holy Cross Village. He was 86. A Notre Dame faculty member for more than 35 years who served as department chair on multiple occasions, his research focused on urban sociology, race and ethnic relations, religious beliefs and practices, and urban poverty.
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, assistant professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, has won the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the country’s largest peer-juried prize for novels and short stories. She won the prize for her second novel, "Call Me Zebra," which follows a young heroine as she leaves New York and retraces the path she took with her father from Iran to the United States.