Notre Dame College Names Emeritae Faculty at 2018 Opening Academic Convocation

Notre Dame College has honored two retiring faculty members with emerita distinction as part of its formal ceremonial opening to the 2018-2019 academic year.

Sr Eileen Quinlan, SND, Ph.D., was named professor emerita of English and Rachel Morris, M.A., received the title associate professor emerita of fine arts during the College’s Opening Academic Convocation in Regina Auditorium. The traditional ceremony, for which faculty wear full regalia and process, is considered the official beginning of students’ academic careers at the College similar to how Commencement marks the conclusion.

Also at the event this year, Quinlan, the College’s Distinguished Faculty Award winner in 2018, gave a keynote address to the nearly 300 traditional-aged freshmen in the Class of 2022 and about 150 of their parents, family and friends in attendance. Convocation takes place during Notre Dame’s welcome week activities each fall and is followed by a campus-wide picnic on the College commons.

The ceremony features an official acceptance of admission to the Class of 2022 by Notre Dame President Thomas G. Kruczek and an invitation to join the community of learners from the chair of Notre Dame’s Faculty Senate, this year David Orosz, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and Marie Goetz-Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM at the College.

Students also receive a lapel pin of the College seal from the chairs of the five academic divisions at the College, arts and humanities, business, nursing, professional education and science and mathematics.

Distinguished Faculty Keynote Address

In her convocation address, Quinlan described the symbolism of the College’s seal, which depicts an open book for the knowledge and a lamp for the wisdom students gain through their study at Notre Dame.

The emblem also is circular like the “balanced ethical citizens” they will become from the well-rounded liberal arts education they will receive in the tradition of Sisters of Notre Dame, according to the professor. The religious order is represented by the fleur-de-lis and a star for Mary the mother of God, both of which appear on the College insignia.

“This medal means much to me. I am passing it on to you,” Quinlan said, “as a reminder to you of why the College is here, why you are here.”

During her address, Quinlan led the freshmen in an interactive exercise to acquire interpersonal skills as complement to their already well-developed technical expertise. She encouraged the new students to take a cell phone photo of a classmate sitting next to them. Quinlan then instructed them to put down their mobile devices and ask that same person the best and most anxious things about their time on the College campus so far. The professor then asked the students to compare the two encounters.

“Now think a minute about the conversation you just had,” Quinlan said. “Between the tech face and the communication face, which gave you a better understanding?”

She then challenged the new students to continue getting to know their classmates in person, as well as to connect with faculty and to take part in student activities and campus organizations during their College careers to make the most of their higher education experience.

“Your entire job for the next few years it to become the greater you … the person God is calling you to be,” Quinlan said.

Professor Emerita of English

Quinlan, who is herself a 1974 graduate of Notre Dame, retired from the College as professor of English this year, after nearly two decades as a faculty member. She received the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2006 as well as in 2018 and was named Notre Dame’s inaugural President’s Lecturer in 2012.

“It is no surprise … and no question that she deserves the honor of professor emerita as she lives the College mission in the years ahead,” said Amy Kesegich, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of English at Notre Dame, in honoring Quinlan with the emerita title during convocation.

Since joining the Notre Dame faculty in 1999, Quinlan has not hesitated to “throw herself into the necessary business of the College,” according to Kesegich. Quinlan served as chair of the English and communication department and a member of the core curriculum and educational policies and procedures committees at Notre Dame. She has led the College’s annual Books That Change the World professional development literature discussion group.

“She also exemplifies the life of the mind, pursuing her own scholarly and creative interests,” Kesegich said.

Quinlan is author of the newly published novel, “The Whole World for Arizona Dakota: A Story of the Pennsylvania Oil Boom” (CreateSpace Independent Publishing 2017).

In 2017, Quinlan contributed a chapter to and edited a book published to commemorate the 100th anniversary celebration of the city of South Euclid, Ohio. She also guided her students to publish a collection of historical fiction about the city of South Euclid “further strengthening the bond between the school and local community,” according to Kesegich.

In addition to teaching courses for nearly 20 years at Notre Dame, Quinlan is a frequent volunteer and participant at alumni and College events. She also coordinated an Ohio writers’ conference at the College in 2017.

Associate Professor Emerita of Fine Arts

Morris retired from Notre Dame in 2017 as associate professor of fine arts but continues to work as gallery and studio coordinator and an adjunct art instructor at the College.

“We celebrate your many years of dedication to our students and this institution, your creativity and contribution to the arts, your patience and good cheer,” said W. Reed Simon, M.F.A., associate professor and chair of fine arts and graphic design at Notre Dame, in presenting the emerita title to Morris during the Opening Academic Convocation ceremony.

Morris started at Notre Dame as an adjunct in 1985 and was promoted to assistant professor and chair of the art department in 1990. She has served as director of the campus art gallery in the College's Performing Arts Center and has been instrumental in establishing a new student gallery space in the Falcons’ Nest student center on campus. She also has partnered with the city of South Euclid to utilize vacant storefront windows as student art exhibition spaces.

From 1990 to 2010, Morris helped grow student enrollment in the art department at Notre Dame by more than 500 percent. Under her leadership, the College added art therapy, graphic communication, graphic design and video game design programs.

In addition to leading the art department, Morris has served as arts and humanities division chair and advisor to the student art club. She received the Outstanding Teaching Award in 1990 and the Distinguished Faculty Award in 1998. She was acting director of Notre Dame’s Tolerance Resource Center until it evolved into the Abrahamic Center in 2009.

“As a teacher, Rachel has used her knowledge of handmade books to inspire students … to see themselves as visually creative human beings whose thought and expressions are both personal and relevant, especially in times of great change,” Simon said.

Morris is known for own hand-lettered prose and calligraphy as well as her paper art books. Her works have been showcased at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Ingalls Library and the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation in Northeast Ohio. Her works are highlighted annually in Arts Books Cleveland and Northeast Ohio Octavofest exhibitions.

About Emeriti Honors at Notre Dame

Professor emeriti accolades are bestowed in recognition of distinguished academic service among faculty members. The honorary titles are awarded only to a few upon retirement for outstanding careers. Faculty are nominated by their peers and approved by the College’s Board of Trustees.

Quinlan and Morris join 11 others who have been named emeriti faculty members at Notre Dame: Sr. Regina Alfonso, Sr. Mary Luke Arntz, Sr. Helen Burdenski, Sr. M. St. Martha Conrad, Sr. Jeanmarie DeChant, Sr. Helenemarie Gregos, Sr. Frederic Hoover, Sr. Teresemarie McCloskey, Fr. Edward Mehok, Dalma Takacs and Sr. Mary Louise Trivison.

August 2018


About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or

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