Michel O’Brien, the valedictorian for the class of 2012 has enjoyed a full and rich Notre Dame experience. He will graduate this month with a political science major, a philosophy minor, and an International Business Certificate. Originally from St. Charles, Ill., O’Brien lived in Keenan and Siegfried halls during his years at Notre Dame. In addition to copious research and many academic pursuits, O’Brien also served as the president of the College Democrats, a vice president of Circle K, and an editor of a journal, Beyond Politics. Here he answers a few questions and reflects on his time at Notre Dame.
For the past 45 years, Notre Dame students have worked to bring distinguished and forward-thinking writers to campus as part of the annual Notre Dame Literary Festival. Junior Arnav Dutt describes the festival as “one of Notre Dame’s best-kept secrets and one of its most storied traditions.”
One weekend last month, members of the Notre Dame community sat down to watch 16 films, ranging from comedies to dramas and documentaries, in one evening. But these movies weren’t made in Hollywood. That’s because the 23rd annual Student Film Festival showcased the work of many students in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre.
Dan O’Brien ’99 has always considered himself an actor and now he is a successful professional. As a lead on the NBC sitcom Whitney, he can share his passion for performance with all of America. O’Brien says he did not major in theater at Notre Dame because he knew already that his passion was for acting and he was not particularly interested in the technical and behind-the-scenes work which the major entailed. Instead, he participated in the College of Arts and Letters’ Program of Liberal Studies and took as many acting classes as he could.
At 6 p.m. on the eve of the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Benedict XVI picked up his iPad and, with Thaddeus “TJ” Jones ’89 by his side, revolutionized Vatican media with the launch of News.va and the first Papal tweet. Jones, who majored in American Studies and Italian, is the project coordinator for News.va and worked with all of the various media sources, as well as the company that developed the portal, in order to create the site as it exists today.