Tower Tributes

Notre Dame College created several new customs this commencement.

In addition to celebrating the largest undergraduate class with two separate degree ceremonies, the College presented its first Mission Award. Laurie Mae Shorts and Doniel Gambrell Jr. were honored for persisting through uncommon circumstances and displaying personal maturity by means of their education at the College.

The Mission Award joins the traditional Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award, presented this year to Allison Merten, and the Sr. Mary LeRoy Finn Award, bestowed to Mark Principi. Both are awarded to undergraduates.

The St. Catherine of Alexandria Award, which recognizes a student graduating with a master’s degree, was given to Anna Ball.

Nominators, presenters and others in the extended College community share their accolades for the 2015 commencement award winners. 


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“A large man with a larger heart, Doniel carried five classes and an internship in his final semester and maintained a GPA of nearly 3.0, even during football season when the draws on his time and strength were exhaustive.”

Notre Dame College Commencement Program


Mark shows a keen inquisitiveness in all his liberal arts studies no matter the discipline and demonstrates a passion to excel in his graphic design major. He understands dedication, perseverance and curiosity, and he balances these attributes with a keen sense of humor.”

Mary Ann Schneider, Ph.D., dean of the Finn Center for Adult, Graduate and Professional Programs and professor of education at Notre Dame


“Unselfish and dedicated to serving her fellow men and women, Laurie’s years at Notre Dame have inspired all who knew her. She has an innate care for others and finds the good in all.”

Notre Dame President Thomas G. Kruczek


Anna undoubtedly defines what one would consider a successful leader both in the classroom and on the field. I have always known Anna to go above and beyond what is required and far exceed anyone’s expectations.”

Jillian Gigliotti, assistant coach for Notre Dame softball Notre Dame


“Today 11 tower tributes Allison has fulfilled all of her commitments with a generous spirit and an enthusiasm that enriches and encourages those who work with her.”

M. Patrice McCarthy, Ph.D., chair of the Notre Dame Division of Nursing


“Throughout all he has done on and off the field, Doniel demonstrates the mission of the College in his life, his maturity and his acceptance of responsibility.”

Notre Dame President Thomas G. Kruczek


“One of Anna’s strengths is her ability to adapt to any situation and her ability to work successfully with a variety of individuals. She is able to see the strengths in her teammates and peers, and as a student, applied her knowledge and understanding of the students to assist them and ensure their success.”

Fran Ulrich, Ed.D., Notre Dame associate professor of professional education


Mark has great leadership skills and inspires others to be dedicated to a cause as well. He does this by example. He rolls up his sleeves to get the job done, cajoling and encouraging others to assist as well.”

Rachel Morris, M.A., Notre Dame associate professor of fine arts


Allison’s commitment to enacting the values and obligations of the nursing profession are evident in everything she does with her classmates, her mentors and teachers and, most importantly, in her care of patients and their families. She has demonstrated an uncommon courage in her commitment to the standards of professional practice as a patient advocate and has been commended by nursing leaders for her professional demeanor in this regard.”

Nicholas R. Santilli, Ph.D., Notre Dame vice president of academic and student affairs and professor of psychology


“Serving others is what Laurie does. During her time at Notre Dame, she was involved in many activities that touched the lives of fellow students, all levels of the Notre Dame community and, through her involvement in theatre and music, the broader community as well.”

Notre Dame College Commencement Program


Anna pushes the student-athletes on her team to go beyond their limits. She creates opportunities for her players to learn tough lessons. Neither good nor better is enough; she wants her players to be the best on the field—and as young women learning to be young leaders.”

Nancy Baird, Ph.D., Notre Dame assistant professor of education and director of graduate programs  



May 20
11:30 AM
Monday May 20, 11:30am
Softball Field
E.g., 06/19/19
E.g., 06/19/19