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.
Two faculty from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters — Declan Kiberd and Dianne Pinderhughes — have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers. They are among more than 200 members of the 239th AAAS class, which includes former first lady Michelle Obama, author Jonathan Franzen, gender theorist Judith Butler, former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, NPR host Michel Martin, and neuro-oncologist Robert B. Darnell.
Donald Crafton — a Notre Dame film, television, and theatre professor widely considered the pre-eminent scholar on early animation — received the Distinguished Career Achievement Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies last month. “Don Crafton’s work has set a high standard for historical scholarship and also has contributed vitally to the study of animation within our field,” said Heather Hendershot, an MIT professor of film and media, in her introduction of Crafton at the awards ceremony.
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, an assistant professor of English at Notre Dame, has been named a finalist for the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the country’s largest peer-juried prize for novels and short stories. The honor is for Van der Vliet Oloomi’s 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. Literature is at the heart of the novel — the protagonist, Zebra, considers books central to her identity, has personal literary theories, and at times literally devours certain pages of books.
David A. Smith, a Notre Dame professor of psychology, has been elected chair of the American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation. His term, which began in January, involves leading the 32-person commission, which is charged with the accrediting of nearly 1,200 doctoral, internship, and postdoctoral programs in clinical, counseling, and school psychology.
Donald P. Kommers, the Joseph and Elizabeth Robbie Chair in Government and International Studies and a concurrent professor emeritus of law, died Dec. 21 at his home in Holy Cross Village. He was 86. A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1963, he was a renowned scholar of German and American constitutional law.
Gerald “Gary” N. Knoppers, the John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, died Dec. 22 from pancreatic cancer. He was 62. Knoppers’ research specializations included Hebrew scriptures, ancient historiography, ancient Near Eastern and biblical law, inner-scriptural exegesis, textual criticism, and the history of early Jewish and Samaritan relations.
Christian Smith, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology at Notre Dame, has won the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion’s 2018 Distinguished Book Award. The honor, conferred upon the most outstanding book published by an SSSR member in the past two years, lauded the “impressive accomplishment” of Smith’s Religion: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters. Smith’s book aims to help the social sciences better understand and explain religion by building an innovative theory of religion that builds on developments in science, theory, and philosophy.
Notre Dame psychologist Darcia Narvaez is helping lead a $3.9 million Templeton Religion Trust grant that will support new research on civic virtues. The “Self, Virtue and Public Life Project,” which began this week and runs through 2021, will fund research projects, conferences, edited volumes, and community outreach activities. Narvaez will be working with Nancy Snow — director of the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for the Study Human Flourishing, where the project will be based — to steer the grant and guide its educational interventions.
Nicole Woods, a Notre Dame assistant professor of modern and contemporary art history, has won a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Arts. One of 21 grants awarded from a pool of more than 700 applications, Woods will use the funding to complete her book on American artist Alison Knowles, the sole female founding member of the influential artist collective Fluxus. Like many female artists of her era, Knowles had limited storage space and little professional recognition, creating a challenge in surveying the breadth and impact of her work.
Notre Dame philosophy professor Meghan Sullivan has received an $806,000 grant from the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to expand her popular God and the Good Life course and adapt it into a curricular model used by faculty across the country. The three-year award will allow Sullivan to build a network of professors interested in developing or refining their own courses that teach philosophy as a way of life. It will also spur the expansion of God and the Good Life to four to five sections per year — encompassing 600 to 700 students, or one-third of the freshman class.
Notre Dame political scientist Sarah Zukerman Daly is one of 31 nationwide recipients of 2018 Andrew Carnegie fellowships, the Carnegie Corporation of New York announced April 25. Each Carnegie fellow will receive up to $200,000 toward the funding of significant research and writing in the social sciences and humanities — the most generous stipend of its kind. Her book supported by the Carnegie award seeks to explain a surprising feature of post-conflict environments around the world — after suffering wartime atrocities and winning peace, millions of people around the world elect to live under the rule of political actors with deep roots in the violent organizations of the past.
Erika Doss, a Notre Dame professor of American studies, has been named to the first-ever Society of Fellows for the Norman Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies. Established to bring leading thinkers to the study of nearly 200 years of American illustration art, the group hopes to more fully develop the language and discourse of an academic discipline devoted to published art.
The presence of a prominent female officeholder has a positive effect on the number of women running for lower offices in her state, according to new research by University of Notre Dame political scientist Jeffrey J. Harden. A state with a female governor or U.S. senator will see an increase in the proportion of women seeking state legislative office by about 2 to 3 percentage points, Harden and two co-authors wrote in an article published this month in the American Journal of Political Science.
Roy Scranton, an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of English, has won a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation in recognition of his fiction writing. Since 1989, the foundation has given literary awards and fellowships to both established and emerging writers “of distinctive literary merit who demonstrate potential for continued outstanding work.”
Nikole Hannah-Jones, a 1998 Notre Dame graduate, has won a fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation — commonly known as a “Genius” Grant. Hannah-Jones, who majored in history and African American studies (now Africana studies), is an investigative reporter for The New York Times Magazine, covering issues of racial inequality, especially in education. In 2015, she produced three Peabody Award-winning radio stories for This American Life illustrating how school desegregation can lessen the achievement gap between white children and students of color, and her first-person article, “Worlds Apart: Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City,” won a 2017 National Magazine Award.
The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economics Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame has received a nearly $350,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health in support of a major research initiative on homelessness prevention. The funding will support LEO’s efforts to measure the impact of emergency financial assistance on those at risk of homelessness. By studying the aid provided by homelessness prevention call centers, which process more than 15 million calls each year, LEO’s research will allow policymakers to make more informed choices in directing limited resources to the most effective programs.