In the lobby of the Baltimore Sun offices, beneath a photo of the newspaper’s late, legendary journalist and essayist H.L. Mencken, there is a quote: “As I look back over a misspent life, I find myself more and more convinced that I had more fun doing news reporting than in any other enterprise. It is really the life of kings.” To University of Notre Dame history alumnus Mike Leary ’71, those sentiments feel about right. “I’ve never done anything else, nor would I want to,” says the Pulitzer Prize winner.
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As a history and economics major at Notre Dame, David Finocchio ’05 wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life, but he felt certain it would not involve sitting at a desk and crunching numbers. Instead, he took a shot and created bleacherreport.com, now the third most-visited sports website in the country. Last summer, Finocchio and the site’s two other founders sold the company to Turner Sports for $200 million.
A conversation with American Studies Professor Emeritus Ronald Weber helped change the life of Notre Dame alumnus Jim Greene ’85, today a homelessness policy adviser for the Boston Public Health Commission and director of the Boston Emergency Shelter Commission.
Nancy Ruscheinski, chief innovation officer and global vice chair at Edelman—the world’s largest public relations firm—returned to the University of Notre Dame recently to deliver an unlikely message to undergraduates: it’s okay to not have a plan for your future right away. As an Arts and Letters student, Ruscheinski ’84 explored a broad range of interests while developing a versatile—and valuable—skill set.
Derek A. Webb, who received his Ph.D. from Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science in 2008, was recently honored at the U.S. Supreme Court for his paper titled “The Original Meaning of Civility: Democratic Deliberation at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention.” Webb’s essay won the American Inn of Court’s prestigious 2012 Warren E. Burger Prize, named for the late Chief Justice and the founder and first president of the Supreme Court Historical Society.
Douglas Griffiths ’86 has been a professional globetrotter for more than two decades—not collecting postcards but rather serving his country in U.S. diplomatic outposts all over the world. Griffiths, who received his B.A. in government from the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, was appointed U.S. ambassador to Mozambique in July.
Three University of Notre Dame graduates were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday’s election. College of Arts and Letters alumnus Joe Donnelly of Indiana is the second graduate to be elected to the Senate, but the fourth to serve.
James O’Connell, M.D., a 1970 University of Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters graduate and founder and president of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, was recently awarded the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism. Presented by The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, this prestigious award recognizes O’Connell for his advocacy and direct service to people experiencing homelessness. The Schweitzer Prize is given to an individual whose life example has significantly improved the health of people in the United States or abroad, and whose commitment to service influences and inspires others.
With the critical November elections now upon us, the work of political theorist James Fetter couldn’t be more timely. Fetter, who earned his Ph.D. from Notre Dame in Political Science in 2012, studies and writes about the virtues of political leadership.
In the fall of her first year at Notre Dame, Stephanie Fitzhugh ‘91 sat nervously at her desk in an O’Shaughnessy Hall classroom, awaiting the start of her Composition and Literature class. Fitzhugh, who always excelled in math and science, felt uneasy taking a course focused on subjects that usually gave her trouble: literature and writing.
The European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize—despite current economic woes and social unrest—for transforming most of Europe from “a continent of war to a continent of peace.” But political scientist Joshua Bandoch, who received his Ph.D. at Notre Dame this year and is now a post-doctoral fellow at Brown University, argues that the 27-member-nation European Union is trying to form too close of a union. “This is problematic because the diverse peoples of this union are more different than their leaders seem to want to acknowledge.”
Project Hopeful, a documentary 2012 University of Notre Dame graduates Grace Johnson and Kelsie Kiley made for a course in the Department of Film, Television and Theater (FTT), is about a new kind of modern family: one where an Illinois couple with seven biological children doubles the size of its family by adopting orphans with HIV/AIDS and special needs.
Dr. Bob Arnot ’70 has worked as an Olympic physician, served on the boards of Save the Children and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, worked as the chief medical correspondent for NBC and CBS News, covered most major humanitarian disasters, served as MSNBC’s chief foreign correspondent in Iraq and Afghanistan, and written a dozen best-selling books on health and nutrition. As host of the television show Dr. Danger, he navigates treacherous assignments in Somalia, Sudan, and other global hotspots. Arnot also spends four months a year on humanitarian projects in Africa and the Middle East, and just completed a PBS documentary on starving children. His passions, he says, took root in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
Of the many lessons Kathleen Blatz ’76 took from Notre Dame, the one she says mattered most was not learned in a specific class or from a certain professor. Rather, it was the entirety of her educational experience—from studying abroad in Rome to diving into art history to exploring anthropology—that broadened her perspective on life and helped shape her own path.
Two essays published in Notre Dame Magazine last year have been named to the “Notable Essays of 2011” in this year’s collection of The Best American Essays, edited by David Brooks and Robert Atwan. Both essays were written by graduates of the University’s College of Arts and Letters.
As a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff in Washington, D.C., Matthew Walsh ’06 conducts policy research, makes policy recommendations on Africa and development strategy, and contributes to speeches for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “One of our jobs is to provide the Secretary of State with second opinions on policy issues,” says Walsh, who majored in political science and peace studies at Notre Dame. “It’s an exciting job that goes to the heart of almost every foreign policy debate and can have a real influence on policy.”
As an undergraduate economics major in the College of Arts and Letters, Bill Kennedy ’90 took an Asian history class to fulfill one of his academic requirements. That class, he says, is part of the reason he is now a top portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments in London. “I fell in love with international business because I’d taken government requirements and then a fascinating Asian history class,” he says. “My professor got me really excited about the opportunities in Asia. My career grew right out of my Arts and Letters degree; I became fascinated with things that are now relevant to my career and what I do every day.”
Christopher Porter, who recently completed the joint Ph.D. in logic and foundations of mathematics at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship.
Plenty of American office workers have used a Keurig coffee maker for a boost by now, and they can thank a Domer for the ubiquitous caffeine machine. Chris Stevens ’74 is one of the original four co-founders of Keurig Premium Coffee Systems. Launched in 1998, the company is now the largest seller of coffee brewers in America. Stevens, who majored in economics, is the vice president of corporate relations for Keurig.
James Bullard, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and a prominent contributor to U.S. monetary policy, will share his perspective on the state of the economy in a September 20 speech at the University of Notre Dame’s Washington Hall. Titled “U.S. Monetary Policy in the Aftermath of the Great Recession,” Bullard’s talk is the inaugural event in a speaker series designed to show students how economics can be applied to a broad range of fields.
As a documentary filmmaker, a faculty member in College of Arts and Letters’ Department of Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT), and a producer for Fighting Irish Digital Media, Ted Mandell ’86 quite literally sheds light on the University of Notre Dame’s traditions of social justice and student athletics. What unites his approach to these roles, says Mandell, is a commitment to show the human side of every story—and help his students learn to do the same.
Mothers aren’t the only ones who are biologically adapted to respond to children. New research from the University of Notre Dame shows that dads who sleep near their children experience a drop in testosterone. Previous research from humans and other species suggests this decrease might make men more responsive to their children’s needs and help them focus on the demands of parenthood. In a recent study, Notre Dame Anthropologist Lee Gettler shows that close sleep proximity between fathers and their children (on the same sleeping surface) results in lower testosterone compared to fathers who sleep alone.
While working as a national sales planner at Univision Television Group in 2009, Melissa Fisher ’07 began to feel restless. She wasn’t sure what direction to take next but knew she had to think more about what she wanted to do with her life, even if that meant taking a leap into the unknown. And so that’s exactly what she did: She quit her job and bought a one-way ticket to Cambodia. “I wanted to challenge myself and live in a developing country where I didn’t know the language,” says the former political science and Spanish double major. “I felt like I needed to do something challenging, to grow up and be on my own.”
Timothy Fuerst, one of the most-cited economists in the world, is joining the University of Notre Dame this fall as William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Professor of Economics. Fuerst’s appointment is the “crown jewel” in a series of recent hires that will bring even greater depth and diversity to the rapidly growing Department of Economics, says Chair Richard Jensen, the Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor of Economics.
Like many other veterans, Michael Zacchea ’90 returned from service in the Iraq War after an injury and struggled at times to readjust to life outside of the military. Now, the English and classics major is helping other disabled American troops on the same return journey to civilian life.
With her graduate thesis project, University of Notre Dame alumna Charlotte Lux, M.F.A. ’11, set out to redesign a stressful diagnostic procedure women who might have breast cancer undergo in the hopes of making it less traumatic. The resulting design has earned Lux recognition in the 2012 Core77 Design Awards, where she was named student winner in the strategy and research category.
Anne García-Romero, an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, has been accepted to the prestigious Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference this summer. One of just eight playwrights selected out of nearly 1,000 applicants, García-Romero will spend the month of July at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut, working with acclaimed theatre professionals to workshop her play Provenance. Also among the honorees is Notre Dame English alumna Theresa Rebeck ’80, an award-winning playwright and creator of the television show Smash.
Moneyball. True Grit. The Social Network. Black Swan. If you watched a trailer for any of these movies, then you’ve seen the work of Notre Dame alumnus Scott Mitsui ’92. A communications and theatre major, Mitsui has spent the past 12 years as producer and vice president of operations at Mark Woollen & Associates in Santa Monica, Calif., a company responsible for some of the most noteworthy and award-winning film trailers in Hollywood.
Notre Dame Magazine, the University’s quarterly alumni publication, received five medals in the annual Circle of Excellence awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), including the silver medal in general excellence and three awards in CASE’s Best Articles of the Year: Higher Education category. All three were written by alumni of the College of Arts and Letters.