All About Family

Ethel McGuigan ’48 Receives Fidelia Award, Announces Scholarship

By Al DiFranco

For Ethel McGuigan’48, Notre Dame College is all about family. The alumna has two daughters, a granddaughter, three sisters in-law and a daughter in-law who also graduated from NDC. But her family’s connection to the College goes deeper than that. When McGuigan raised her seven children near the 40-acre campus, its apple orchard was their playground and Christ the King Chapel their place of prayer. McGuigan’s four sons even had their own altar server hooks in the chapel. 

The College, however, was more than the McGuigans’ playground or place to go to Mass. The Sisters of Notre Dame were McGuigan’s spiritual sisters. They cultivated a spirit of giving and serving that complemented her natural generosity. So it was no surprise that, when McGuigan returned to her familiar “second home” to be honored with the 2011 Fidelia Award on Sept. 22, she announced the establishment of the Ethel and Edward McGuigan Scholarship.

Ethel McGuigan '48In her acceptance speech to the audience gathered in her honor, McGuigan told stories of raising her family near the campus and “falling in love with the apple orchard in our backyard.” Thanking the College for what it has meant to her and her family, she said she hopes the scholarship will help future students enjoy the opportunities she and so many members of her family were able to experience at Notre Dame.

“Notre Dame is deeply grateful for Ethel’s support,” said Dr. Andrew P. Roth, president of Notre Dame College. “She embodies the College’s mission of personal, professional and global responsibility and is a true exemplar for our students of how to live a good life.”

McGuigan received the Fidelia Award, one of the College’s highest honors, for her many contributions of time, talent and treasure to her alma mater. Under Ethel’s leadership, the McGuigan family gave generously to support the Christ the King Chapel renewal project in 2008. Without her support, the renewal would not have been possible, as McGuigan also spearheaded the class of 1948’s 60-year reunion fundraising effort that resulted in the restoration of the stained glass window overlooking the altar.

Always a strong and loyal advocate for the College, McGuigan served on the NDC Alumnae Association Board in the 1960s and 1970s. She was president of the Alumnae Association in 1971 and 1972. In 1995, she was named the Notre Dame College Alumnae Association Woman of the Year in acknowledgement of her faithfulness to her family, her church, her profession and her alma mater.

“Her devotion to the College deserves our utmost respect,” Dr. Roth said. “We are proud to award the 2011 Fidelia Award to Ethel McGuigan.”

Notre Dame College presents the Fidelia Award to those who have rendered distinguished service and demonstrated outstanding fidelity to the College. The Fidelia Award was first presented in 1981 to Joseph H. Keller, patron of NDC’s indoor recreational facility.

Al DiFranco is the director of development at Notre Dame College.

If you are interested in establishing a scholarship to honor your family or someone who has had a special impact on your life, please contact the Notre Dame College Development Office at 216.373.5234 or

E.g., 06/23/19
E.g., 06/23/19