In 2012, SportsPro Magazine named Jimmy Small ’08 one of 10 top sports executives under the age of 30. And in December, Small was appointed president of Iowa Speedway, a racetrack purchased by NASCAR last year. At 28, he is believed to be the youngest president of a major racing facility in the nation. At Notre Dame, Small was an economics major in the College of Arts and Letters and a member of the Irish Guard.
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Samantha Lessen, a junior in the College of Arts and Letters, has been awarded the second annual Monteverdi Prize through Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies (PLS). The Monteverdi Prize, a scholarship created by the Cioffi family for PLS juniors, will provide Lessen with funding to conduct research this summer for her senior thesis. As part of the prize, she will live at Monteverdi Tuscany, a hotel and center for the liberal arts in Italy, founded by PLS alumnus Michael Cioffi ’75.
The healing power of music, the joyful celebration of faith—Teach Bhríde (the House of Brigid) seeks to enrich these elements of the Notre Dame spirit in a people who helped form this institution’s mission and heart: the Irish themselves. The House of Brigid began in 2009, when recent graduates of Notre Dame, aided by generous donors from the Notre Dame community and the Notre Dame Folk Choir, started a yearlong service program to assist in spiritual ministry and liturgical music in the Catholic Church in Ireland.
As presiding judge of the Marion County Superior Court, David Certo ’93 doles out his unique brand of ministry from inside a courtroom that is turning heads in Indianapolis for its innovative and compassionate approach to criminal justice.
Ruth Riley, a 2001 graduate of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters and star player of the ’01 Irish women’s basketball national championship team, returns to Notre Dame on April 15 (Tuesday) to deliver the talk “From Professional Athlete to Humanitarian: How I Became Involved in the Fight Against Poverty and Disease.”
Adam Cowden, a 2012 graduate of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, has been selected as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. With the award, he will pursue a master’s degree at the University of Cambridge this fall. Cowden is one of only 40 students in the U.S. to receive the prestigious scholarship, from an initial field of approximately 800 applicants.
College of Arts and Letters alumna Kelley Tuthill will be the keynote speaker at the annual Pink Zone Luncheon on Feb. 9 (Sunday) at the Purcell Pavilion at Notre Dame. The luncheon, organized by the College of Science and the Notre Dame women’s basketball team, will bring together local oncologists, researchers, survivors, and patients and their families. The luncheon will be held before the Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Pink Zone game against Syracuse at 3 p.m.
Brock Switzer ’13, a film, television, and theatre (FTT) major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, began taking dance classes at neighboring Saint Mary’s College during his sophomore year. It was there that he learned of the influence of dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. Using Graham’s techniques, Switzer planned to choreograph a dance for his senior thesis project. With the help of an American Dream grant from Notre Dame’s Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, he attended the Summer Intensive program at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in 2013.
Archbishop Kelvin Edward Felix, emeritus archbishop of Castries, Saint Lucia, who will be made a cardinal by Pope Francis next month, is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Archbishop Felix, who enrolled at Notre Dame in 1965, studied sociology and earned a master’s degree from the University in 1969.
“You can never go wrong having the Great Books of the Western world sort of in your hip pocket in terms of making decisions,” says Tom Franco ’74, a graduate of Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies and a partner at Clayton, Dubilier, and Rice, LLC (CD&R), a private equity investment firm based in New York City. “A lot of business is making judgments and having the context to do that, so I would say that a liberal arts background is a welcome addition to the investment decision making process.”
“The skill set that I developed in a liberal arts context is still the skill set that I use,” says Bryan Samuels, a 1989 graduate with a degree in economics. “There’s a big part of economics that’s about statistics and analytical methods, and ultimately I found a great affinity to them.” Samuels is the executive director of the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago. He is the former commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
During the spring of 2012, Dr. R. Joseph Shonkwiler ’04 reached a crossroads in his career. In a few months he would graduate with a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University, and he needed to decide his next step. Shonkwiler could return to clinical medicine and finish his surgical residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital, or he could pursue a new career in the public policy field.
Breaking into the political world of Washington, D.C. brings its own set of challenges. “How do you talk to someone who is not of the same political slant you are?” asks Anita Rees, a career exploration specialist in Notre Dame’s Career Center. “What do students need to know to find a job in D.C.? How is the protocol there different from other cities?” Thanks to the Notre Dame D.C. Mentoring Program, students can find answers to these questions and get valuable career advice from successful Notre Dame graduates who were once in their shoes.
It’s no secret that Notre Dame alumni go extraordinary places with their degrees. A select few have even made it to the highest echelons of the United States government—working within the White House to support the president himself. Graduates of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters work in the Situation Room, with the Department of Justice, on national security, and as the deputy chief of staff to President Barack Obama.
Molly Hayes, a 2008 graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, has been awarded a 2014 George Mitchell Scholarship. Hayes, who studied English and Arabic while at Notre Dame, will use the Mitchell Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in Irish literature at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. She is the first Mitchell Scholar from Notre Dame since 2007.
Laura Miller ’08 grew up in a big, loving family, but her research at Notre Dame focuses on children who were less fortunate. A new faculty hire in the Department of Psychology and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Miller says her work integrates the quantitative and qualitative evaluations of children’s reactions to traumatic experiences, including exposure to violence.
“After graduating Notre Dame, would I have ever said, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be a TV writer in Hollywood?’ Never in a million years,” says Linda Gase, a Notre Dame graduate with a degree in English. She is currently co-executive producer of Switched at Birth, a one-hour drama on ABC Family. Gase has also written for ER, The District, Crossing Jordan, and Army Wives. She credits her strength as a writer to the time she spent at Notre Dame developing her critical thinking skills and examining her point of view. “The biggest challenge of a writer is to trust your voice, and I feel that at Notre Dame, I really honed my voice.”
“I felt like my background at Notre Dame could not have prepared me better,” says Constance Barker ’73, a commissioner for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C.
Timothy J. Roemer, former U.S. ambassador to India, will give a lecture titled “Twitter, Buffett, and Darwin: India and the United States Relationship,” at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 in the Jordan Auditorium of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. The event is free and open to the public. The lecture, which is co-sponsored by the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, is part of the Liu Institute’s Distinguished Speaker Series and Notre Dame International’s International Education Week.
When Caitlin Myron ’13 first came to Notre Dame she had an interest in the Irish culture from her childhood, but never imagined it was something she would have the opportunity to study. Four years later, she is beginning a master’s degree in Modern Irish at the National University of Ireland.
“My liberal arts education has really been a blessing in many ways,” says Chris Down ’93. Down is vice president of design for Mattel, Inc., a toy manufacturing company headquartered in El Segundo, Calif. He feels that the design education he received from Notre Dame prepared him in a way that set him apart from other designers.
“As a singer, I spend all my time dealing with texts. I sing poetry, I sing theatre, I’m singing in different languages, and all my training at Notre Dame helped me immensely for that,” says Paul Appleby ’05.
“I wouldn’t have traded my English major at Notre Dame for any other major,” says Greg Miller, ’87, a managing director at Greenhill and Company, an investment bank in New York City.
Donald and Marilyn Keough have made a $30 million gift to the University of Notre Dame to underwrite the construction of a new building for its international institutes. To be named in honor of Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the structure will be conjoined to Nanovic Hall, a recently announced facility to be built on Notre Dame Avenue south of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies.
Charles Leavitt, who received his Ph.D. in literature from Notre Dame in 2010, has accepted a position at the University of Reading as a lecturer in Italian studies—equivalent to assistant professor in the American university system. Located in Reading, England, the school is ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world.
It’s no secret that students in the United States lag behind their global peers in math. Nicole McNeil, ACE Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame, believes the problem starts with basic arithmetic, where students develop a misunderstanding of the equal sign.
Robert S. and Elizabeth Nanovic of North Yarmouth, Maine, have made a leadership gift to the University of Notre Dame for the construction of a new social sciences building in the College of Arts and Letters. Nanovic Hall will be built on Notre Dame Avenue, south of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies, and will house the Departments of Economics, Political Science, and Sociology. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2015 and be completed by August 2017, prior to the start of the academic year.
Exposing Notre Dame history students to a diverse array of career options and connecting students to successful alumni are the goals of the Department of History’s successful “History 20/20” speaker series. “The alumni we invited back to campus represent well the wide spectrum of vocations pursued by history graduates: investment bankers, social entrepreneurs, lawyers, sports journalists, political consultants, and teachers—and that’s really just the tip of the iceberg,” says Director of Undergraduate Studies Daniel Graff, who launched the series in fall 2012.
“I’ve always been intrigued with the study of the human person and the way that we interact with others in society,” says Catherine Reidy ’13, a psychology major and anthropology minor from Greenwood Village, Colo. A Rhodes Scholar finalist, Reidy was recently awarded a Clarendon Scholarship for graduate work at the University of Oxford. She will use the highly selective award—covering full tuition, fees, and living expenses—to study for a master’s degree in African studies beginning in October 2013.
The 2013-14 Notre Dame Forum, titled “Women in Leadership” will include a variety of events focusing on the roles and realities of women who are leaders in their fields, beginning with an event this month featuring two leaders in the U.S. Department of Defense.