Notre Dame College Presents Awards to Four Graduates During 95th Commencement

Notre Dame College has recognized four students in its Class of 2019—two traditional undergraduates, one adult bachelors’ degree graduate and one master’s degree recipient—as models of scholarship, service, ministry and mission.

Norah Barnes, who earned her Bachelor of Arts in mathematics with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, was honored with the Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award. Robert Ellebracht, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in international business and marketing; earned the Notre Dame Mission Award for his service with campus ministry. Janice Lee Cochran, who has worked as a registered nurse for nearly 40 years and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree online from the College, won the Sr. Mary LeRoy Finn Award; and Daniel Karp, who completed his Master of Education degree in mild/moderate intervention specialist, was presented the 2019 St. Catherine of Alexandria Award.

All four graduates received their awards during the College’s 95th Commencement ceremonies. Barnes and Cochran gave keynote speeches at the undergraduate programs, while Karp addressed fellow master’s degree students at the graduate school event.

Bosche Award: Norah Barnes

In addition to her math degree, Barnes also graduated with the Honors Scholar distinction and a minor in financial services management. She has accepted a full-time position as an actuarial analyst at Westfield Insurance.

She won the 2019 Sister Mary Cleophas Mathematics Award as the top graduating mathematics major.

Barnes has served treasurer of both the Falcon Activity Board and Undergraduate Student Government and is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Council. She has volunteered as a Red Cross blood drive coordinator and facilitator.

In addition, Barnes is a member of women’s soccer team and has been team captain the last two years as well as the volunteer coordinator. She has received numerous soccer awards, including academic all-district and academic all-American.

Notre Dame’s Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award, first awarded in 2006, is presented by the vice president of academic and student affairs of Notre Dame to a student who embodies the qualities evident in the life and service of Bosche: honesty, trustworthiness, a commitment to excellence and selfless service to the College and the larger community.

Bosche led student enrollment and student affairs in the early days of Notre Dame. When her student-centered approach was not endorsed by the Diocese, she was ultimately forced to leave the College. She made a providential return when she was appointed provincial superior of the Cleveland province of the Sisters of Notre Dame. Among her responsibilities as superior was serving as the third president of the College.

Mission Award: Robert Ellebracht

While earning his Notre Dame degree, Ellebracht traveled with the College’s international immersion to Guatemala in three consecutive years. He also spent a summer semester abroad studying in Chile.

He has been a regular attendant at the College’s Sunday night Mass for all four of his undergraduate years, serving as a Eucharistic Minister and sharing insights from his faith life during student reflection time. He also worked on campus as a resident assistant and residence hall team leader.

Ellebracht was inducted into the Kappa Gamma Pi national Catholic College Graduate Honor Society and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society for Business, Management and Administration.

The College Mission Award, first bestowed in 2015, recognizes a well-rounded graduating student or students who in special ways display care for others, commitment to spiritual or religious traditions, dedication to global issues and sustainability and demonstrated personal growth made possible through his or her Notre Dame education.

Finn Award: Janice Cochran

A certified oncology nurse who administers chemotherapy to adult patients with the Cleveland Clinic Specialty and Surgery Center in Wooster, Ohio, Cochran became the first among her siblings to earn a bachelor’s degree when she graduated from Notre Dame this year at age 57.

She started her study in the online R.N. to B.S.N. program at the College in 2014. She finished with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.

As part of her degree, Cochran developed and implemented an activity and exercise program for patients undergoing chemotherapy. This pilot was effective in lessening fatigue and increasing quality of life in patients. As a result, a larger scale implementation is planned at the facility where she completed the project.

The Sr. Mary LeRoy Finn Award is named in honor of the woman who worked as a pioneer in adult education and founded the Notre Dame Weekend College, now known as the College’s Finn Center for Adult, Graduate and Professional Programs. Recipients of the award, which honors the achievements of an adult student, must attain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 and embody the characteristics inscribed on the custom-made Wisdom Bowl presented to winners: “Scholarly, Catalyst, Diligent, Resilient.”

St. Catherine Award: Daniel Karp

Karp has been employed as an intervention specialist in the Akron, Ohio, Public School System since 2013 and has served for the last five years as chair for one of the high school special education departments. While earning his master’s degree at Notre Dame, he maintained a caseload of students with learning and developmental differences while also working as a consulting teacher, mentoring and training first-year instructors.

He started his career as a tutor with Coventry Local Schools in Akron from 2001 to 2013. He received his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Akron.

Karp’s research at Notre Dame focused on translating a reading intervention, called the read aloud approach, for use in the secondary supported mathematics environment. His project applied innovation, creativity and evidence-based practices to his work with high need students.

The St. Catherine Award was first given at Notre Dame in 1956, when the College was one of only two institutions to bestow the medal. N

May 2019


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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