Notre Dame turns 90 this year and to celebrate our past, present and future, we are highlighting 90 individuals who have shaped the institution and/or live the College’s mission of personal, professional and global responsibility. These 90 stories will feature administrators, alumni, faculty, staff, students, trustees and others who have helped make NDC the mosaic that it is today.
The order of the stories is in no way a ranking of those individuals by importance or stature. Rather, it aims to paint a picture of the diverse group of Notre Dame College characters who have made a difference on campus, in their communities, and beyond. Check back often to find out whose story we are telling each week. We are sure you will find them interesting and informative.
Imagine starting a sports program from scratch, not having equipment, coaches or a budget. Then imagine winning a national championship within four years and following with two more consecutive countrywide titles. That is the story of the still emerging Notre Dame College wrestling team under Head Coach Frank Romano.
When Tina DiBacco Jurcisin ’85 was named administrative coordinator in the Notre Dame College Office of Professional Development, she added full-time staff member to her current list of connections to the College─that cover the course of a lifetime in learning.
For over 40 years, James Sennett had an extraordinary influence on the College as a board member and generous donor. Known for his reflective approach to decision-making, he helped Notre Dame navigate through major changes including construction projects, the addition of academic programs and its decision to accept men.
The late John J. Dwyer, a board member of over 30 years, was an instrumental figure in Notre Dame’s history. A well-known Cleveland businessman, politician and civic leader, Dwyer was particularly successful at raising money, allowing the College to expand its facilities and academic programs.
Sr. Madonna C. Kolbenschlag, a 1963 graduate of Notre Dame College, was dedicated to educating and empowering women, and educating all, around the world through her work examining social structures and myth. She was a visionary─not just as a women’s rights activist but also as a gender studies scholar and a distance learning pioneer.
Notre Dame College nursing student Sarah Rak is an ambitious senior with an eagerness for helping people, particularly the sick. She has her sights set on a successful career that includes graduating from Notre Dame this May, attending graduate school, and becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner. Nursing is her passion, she says, and one day she would love to work for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Read More
Therese Buettner Hummer ’46 has served Notre Dame College for more than six decades. In addition to her generous contributions to the Christ the King Chapel renewal in 2008, Hummer has been a devoted supporter of the College as president of the Alumnae Association, director of alumnae affairs and a volunteer in the Development Office. The Fidelia Award winner has an endless devotion to the College, the alumni and the nuns. Read More
The Eleanor Malburg Eastern Churches Seminar is an annual dialogue between the clergy, bishops and laity of the Orthodox and Catholic churches in the Greater Cleveland area. The seminar was the first of its kind in the U.S. and has become a prototype for similar efforts. It began with the shared vision of Fran Babic, former director of the Lifelong Learning Center, and the late Eleanor Malburg ’84, administrative assistant in the College's Pastoral Ministry Office. Read More
Sr. Carol Ziegler, SND was hired in 2007 to help Notre Dame maintain its mission fidelity. As the contact person for all mission-related concerns, Sr. Carol holds a wealth of responsibilities. It is her job to make sure the missions of the College and the Sisters of Notre Dame are in sync. Her goal is to nurture that mission sense so that graduates embrace the challenge to live the mission wherever their sphere of influence extends. Read More
Jeanne Christian has been in charge of Notre Dame College's Dywer Learning Center for over 11 years now. With the help of adjunct English faculty, graduate assistants, peer tutors and study groups, she offers comprehensive tutoring services to NDC students. She has created an environment that exists to support students to reach their full potential and become independent learners as they pursue their professional and career goals. Read More
Sr. Mary Cesarie Miday, SND ’31 taught French, sociology and translating at Notre Dame College for 35 years. She was the chair of the foreign language department and established the Professional Translator Program at NDC. Her passion for the country of her heritage also led her to become the College’s first Fulbright scholar. The linguist seemed to speak everyone’s language and touched countless lives during her time at NDC. Read More
Among the individuals remembered during Notre Dame's Founders' Week every year, three stand out as significant leaders in the history of the College. Without them, the College as we know it today would not exist. One of them built NDC from nothing, the other shaped its educational philosophy, and the third ensured its survival during the Great Depression. They are Mother Mary Evarista Harks, Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche and Sr. Mary Odila Miller. Read More
Roslyn Scheer-McLeod, associate professor of health science and psychology, has done what no other lay faculty member at NDC has ever accomplished – teaching at Notre Dame for over 45 years! Entering her 46th academic year this fall, Roz, as she is known by everyone, became the longest-serving professor who is not a Sister of Notre Dame to teach at the College. During that time she has been a phenomenal teacher to thousands of students. Read More
Over the past 11 years, Michael "Mac" McBride has built a men’s soccer program at Notre Dame College that has earned a reputation on the national level. His team has won numerous conference championships and been national runner-up in the NAIA. But despite his successes on the soccer field, McBride points to events off the pitch as highlights of his coaching career. He knows: Being a college athlete is all about balancing athletics with academics. Read More
For Sr. Helen Burdenski ’62, a sharp business sense and social justice don’t have to be a contradiction. You can be successful in business, she says, and still do a lot of good. During her almost four decades as professor of business administration, she taught her students the importance of being interested in the bigger world and using their business skills to make it a better one. Today she continues to live that message as a hospice volunteer. Read More
During her time at Notre Dame, trustee M. Joan McCarthy has demonstrated outstanding leadership and service to the College. She has been instrumental in many of the significant milestones in NDC’s recent history. Among other things, she helped the College build residence halls, buy land, build a parking lot, and acquire the former Regina High School building. In recognition of her fidelity to Notre Dame, she received the 2012 Fidelia Award. Read More
Throughout her 41 years at Notre Dame College, Sr. Mary LeRoy Finn '40 was a constant inspiration for her students, colleagues and fellow Sisters. Considered a visionary by many of her peers, she held many titles including director of lifelong learning, academic dean and acting president. Two of her greatest contributions to the College and the community were creating the Office of Lifelong Learning and establishing the Weekend College. Read More
Alumna Angela Schiebel ’40 was a feisty businesswoman, who used her Notre Dame College education to embark on a successful career in sales promotion that left her with a considerable fortune. Behind her tough exterior was a woman who deeply cared for her friends and her church, and who valued her education all her life. She valued it so much in fact that she left a sizable portion of her estate to the College. Read More
In 1938, Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Brown Syed became the first black student to graduate from Notre Dame College. The talented artist returned to her alma mater in 1950 to teach in the art department before she moved to Canada. Though she never liked to stress race when talking about her accomplishments, Brown Syed represents an important milestone in the history of Notre Dame, which today is one of the most diverse colleges in Ohio. Read More
Over the past 27 years, Associate Professor of Fine Arts Rachel Morris has made many contributions to the Notre Dame College community. She helped establish the Tolerance Resource Center, has shaped the fine arts at NDC as department chair and gallery director, and has impacted countless students as a teacher. She does all this because she believes in the College’s mission that is grounded in the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame. Read More
Since her arrival on campus 24 years ago, Clara Friztsche Library Director Karen Zoller has expanded the library’s collection, connected it to the World Wide Web, and made it the home of the Tolerance Resource Collection. Among Notre Dame students Zoller is known for one thing in particular - her impeccable research and fact-checking skills; and the librarian enjoys utilizing these skills to help students with their projects. Read More
Sr. Mary Marthe Reinhard ’52 served 15 years as president of Notre Dame College, longer than any other fulltime president at NDC. During her tenure she increased enrollment by 50 percent, paid off the College’s debts and enlarged the endowment 16-fold. Among her biggest contributions was establishing the Lifelong Learner Center and Weekend College, which enabled working women to obtain a college degree. Read More
Sr. Mary Cleophas Garvin was in charge of Notre Dame College’s math department for four decades. She was a brilliant mathematician and a visionary who brought the first desktop computer to campus. Sister was also a loving teacher and friend who had a remarkable gift for challenging her students and colleagues to develop intellectually and spiritually. And she was a woman of concern and compassion for the needy and poor. Read More
Since its inception in 2006, seven outstanding graduates have received the Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award. The recipients were chosen by the College president and his staff. At Notre Dame, they demonstrated honesty and trustworthiness, a commitment to excellence, and selfless service to Notre Dame and the larger community. These qualities were evident in the life and service of Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche, after whom the award is named. Read More
As a student, Notre Dame College Registrar Jameka Windham ’99 was drawn to NDC because of its basketball program. But she quickly realized the College had much more to offer. It became a “second home” for her, one she wanted to be a part of even after graduation. Today, the College’s registrar is one of dozens of NDC alumni who work at their alma mater. Many of them work in the admissions office. Windham was the first. Read More
Notre Dame College trustee Stella Corbett Hetzer ’59 has had a special connection to Notre Dame ever since she was a business student at NDC. Over the past 50 years, her passion for Catholic education has motivated her time and again to give back to her alma mater in both talent and treasure. The 2010 Fidelia Award recipient has done so together with her husband John, whom she met 49 years ago at the Alumnae Association Scholarship Ball. Read More
Beth Ford '00, Notre Dame College’s dean of admissions and financial aid, has spent all her working life at College Road. Over the past 12 years, she has built an admissions office that appeals to prospective students because it demonstrates a genuine concern for their future. In the process, Ford and her team have produced record-breaking enrollment every year since 2003. Don't expect Ford to talk about her accomplishments, however. Read More
Sr. Mary Luke Arntz ’35 spent 76 years with the Sisters of Notre Dame and 25 years at Notre Dame College. “For us Sisters, Notre Dame is our whole life,” she once said. She loved the community the Sisters offered and she believed in their educational mission – a mission she helped shape as both a teacher and administrator for over half a century. In both capacities she demanded excellence from her students and colleagues. Read More
Sr. Mary Inez McHugh served Notre Dame College for over six decades. During that time she took on many different roles. She was a professor, a mentor to the student council, director of student activities, dean of academic affairs, moderator of the Alumnae Association, and president of the College. But if you asked some of the NDC students who knew Sr. Mary Inez over those 60 years, they would tell you that above all she was a teacher and a friend. Read More
Frances Burger Noetzel ’41 was a talented pianist. During her time at Notre Dame College, the music major delighted audiences with solo performances of Bach’s “Sonata No. 12,” Scarlatti’s “Italian Concerto” or Scriabin’s “Nocturne.” But what really set the tone for Noetzel’s life was her commitment to make a difference and to serve others, particularly those of faith, on campus, in Cleveland and across the country. Read More
Helen Foose Petersen ’38 was a smart and sophisticated economics student at Notre Dame College. She held several leadership positions on campus and was respected by her classmates. Petersen credited Notre Dame for preparing her for an illustrious career as an officer in the Foreign Service of the U.S. State Department. To show her appreciation, she left the College $1.19 million in 2001. It is the largest gift in Notre Dame's history. Read More
Professor Sr. Eileen Quinlan ’74 teaches her students how to live a good life by applying the knowledge they gain in class to issues of social justice in the world they live in. The purpose of a liberal arts education and the mission of the College, she says, are to help students become a transformative presence in their community. And that is exactly what Sr. Eileen has become on campus since joining Notre Dame College 13 years ago. Read More
Christopher Bastijanic’s life is an inspiration for others. Diagnosed at age 3 with highly malignant brain cancer, Bastijanic fought through years of grueling radiation and chemotherapy. Today he is a sophomore at Notre Dame College with a 3.7 GPA, who pays forward the gift of life he was given as a little boy. Majoring in information systems, his goal is to pursue a career writing programs that help doctors all over the world to access information more efficiently. Read More
Leaders are often inspired by others to do great things. For Notre Dame College trustee Marilyn Cunin inspiration came from two family members who are no longer with her - her daughter Mary Catherine and her husband John. Both put Cunin on a path of service that honors their memory and has made a difference in the lives of disabled individuals and students, in particular at Our Lady of the Wayside and at Notre Dame College. Read More
Over the 25 years he served as bishop of Cleveland and in the years since, The Most Reverend Anthony M. Pilla has shown steadfast commitment to Northeast Ohioans in need and has built bridges of understanding in the diverse diocese. He has also been a strong supporter and friend of Notre Dame College. A scholarship fund in his name has enabled low-income students to realize their dreams of a college education. Read More
Barbara Herzog Patterson ’56 lived a life of giving. An educator, administrator and fundraiser, Patterson not only believed that philanthropy brought good fortunes your way, she was also committed to effecting change through personal and professional giving. In the process, she made a name for herself in Northeast Ohio’s philanthropic community. She had a remarkable career and was always committed to her alma mater. Read More
Nursing student Keith Cavey spends 13 hours a week in Notre Dame’s Registrar Office, where he works as a representative for the College’s 30 plus veterans. He manages their information and notifies the assistant registrar if their GPA falls below a certain point or if they are not taking enough credits to be considered full-time. The point is to prevent veterans from losing benefits. Cavey knows the importance of those benefits. He is a veteran himself. Read More
For 44 years Sr. Mary Louise Trivison, SND '50 taught Spanish, Latin, theology and Holocaust studies at NDC. Since joining the faculty in 1964, she left her mark on the College and its students. She served as chair of the theology and philosophy department; she served on every major academic committee; she published many scholarly papers; and she won numerous awards. Her biggest contribution was launching the Tolerance Resource Center. Read More
In the poem “Quinnie,” alumna Rita Brady Kiefer ’53 celebrates the memory of the late Dr. Frances M. Quinlivan and the profound influence she had in shaping her students’ minds at Notre Dame College. For anyone who knew the long-time English teacher, Dr. Quinlivan exemplified presence. Under her reserved exterior, she was insatiably curious, relentlessly logical, devoted to her causes, and indomitable. Graduates applaud her name to this day. Read More
For many Notre Dame students, alumni and employees, he is the spiritual father of the College. He hears their confessions, visits them when they are sick, marries them, and baptizes their children. He has been at Notre Dame College for half a century and has celebrated daily and wekend liturgies in Christ the King Chapel for two decades. Father Edward Mehok belongs to Notre Dame much like the iconic tower of its Administration Building. Read More