Theology major receives $40,000 Simon Fellowship

Author: Arts and Letters


Catherine Herman, a University of Notre Dame senior theology major from Baldwin, N.Y., has been awarded the William E. Simon Fellowship for Noble Purpose to start a community home for the elderly in New York City.

Herman received the Simon Fellowship’s top prize of $40,000. Students from Harvard and Yale Universities received $5,000 Simon Fellowships. The awards recognize students who demonstrate passion, dedication, a high capacity for self-direction, and originality in pursuit of a goal that will strengthen civil society.

Herman, who will graduate in May with a 3.8 grade point average, plans to attend nursing school and eventually explore master’s programs in geriatric nursing and pastoral counseling as part of her dream to help the elderly.

“I pray that in years to come I might commit my own nursing and pastoral skills to this small community home for the elderly,” she said. “Perhaps then, having acquired the necessary practical knowledge, I might also be able to more fully respond to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the elderly.”

Herman has been involved in numerous service initiatives during her time at Notre Dame. She works at the Center for Social Concerns, serves as a student leader for Community of Sant’Egidio (an organization committed to community, friendship and solidarity with the poor), has tutored student-athletes, serves as a resident assistant in Welsh Family Hall, and volunteers at South Bend’s Cardinal Nursing Home and Catholic Worker House. In 2004 she spent the summer working with mentally and physically disabled orphans at Casa Hogar San Pablo in Quertaro, Mexico, and currently provides direct care aide for one of her classmates who suffers from muscular dystrophy.

Additional information on Herman’s fellowship is available at

The Simon Fellowship, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, is named in memory of William E. Simon, the 63rd secretary of the United States Treasury. Throughout a lifetime of active public service, Simon demonstrated the power of a sacrificial life dedicated to helping his fellow men and women.

The Templeton Foundation was established in 1987 by international investment manager Sir John Marks Templeton. The foundation is committed to a broad spectrum of activities, including studies, award programs and publications that promote character development of young people in secondary schools, colleges and universities.

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on April 24, 2006.