Notre Dame College Honors Alumna for Service to College, Catholic Ministries

A Notre Dame College graduate who has served in Saint Mother Teresa’s missions and with Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker movement has been named the College’s Alumna of the Year for 2017.

Suzanne Gauchat Joseph, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history and government from Notre Dame in 1970, has dedicated most of her youth and adult life to advocating for the poor and marginalized around the nation and world in the spirit of the Sisters of Notre Dame. She was recognized as the College’s Alumna of the Year at the Notre Dame Homecoming and Alumni Reunion Celebration Mass and Brunch. 

Joseph not only has supported Catholic Worker communities but also knew Day as an extended member of her family. She and her parents and siblings visited Day multiple times in New York, and Day often visited them in Ohio. Day, co-founder of the global movement to provide hospitality to the homeless, hungry and others in need and protest injustice and violence of all forms, has been proposed for sainthood multiple times.

The alumna’s connection with Catholic Worker started with her father, Bill Gauchat, who founded the Blessed Martin de Porres Catholic Worker House in Cleveland. Her mother, Dorothy Schmitt Gauchat ‘43A, served at the Catholic Worker House in Cleveland and in a related liturgical artist apprenticeship in Rhode Island, during which she met Day.

With her husband, Benoy, and sons Rajiv and Danesh, Joseph also spent several weeks in Calcutta and Kerala, India, in the early 1990s where the family helped at one of Saint Mother Teresa’s missions.

Joseph worked as alumnae affairs coordinator at the College from 1987 to 1992 and has been active on campus in alumni activities over the years. At the Homecoming and Alumni Reunion 2017 brunch, a scholarship donated by friends and family in her honor was awarded to current student Richard Phillips, a management major and member of the Class of 2019. She also was recognized at halftime of Notre Dame's Homecoming football game, when she and her husband were joined on field by the College's current director of alumni relations Heather Coontz.

In addition to her previous position as alumni coordinator at the College, Joseph has worked as development director at Our Lady of the Wayside Inc., a home for disabled children and adults founded by her mother. She also has been a coordinator and supervisor for the supported living program of the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, associate program director of Advocacy and Protective Services Inc. and community support and residential services director and associate program director for the Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Center of the Geauga County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Along with her service in Northeast Ohio, Joseph has been a client management coordinator for the Association for the Developmentally Disabled in Columbus, as adult services coordinator for the Delaware County Program for the Developmentally Disabled in central Ohio and as executive director of FAITH, a citywide organization for religious education in Dayton.

Joseph earned a master’s degree in educational administration from Illinois State University and has been a member of the Ohio Association of Fundraising Executives.

She and her husband, Benoy, a retired associate dean of academic affairs and professor of marketing at the Cleveland State University Monte Ahuja College of Business, have endowed a scholarship for music and theatre at Cleveland State.

September 2017

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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