Notre Dame College has honored three undergraduates and one graduate student at commencement ceremonies in December 2021 and May 2022 for accomplishing scholarly work and service and advancing their careers.
Alexandra Ann Minadeo graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with majors in accounting and finance and a minor in business management. She received the 2022 Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award. Mikel El’Mizzel Wilson, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, won the College’s Mission Award this year. Cathleen M. Walter-Carden completed a Bachelor of Arts in management and earned 2022’s Sr. Mary LeRoy Finn Award. Kristin Smith Butterfield became a double alumna of Notre Dame with a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction. She was honored with the St. Catherine of Alexandria Award for 2022.
Three of the four recipients received their awards during the May 2022 98th commencement. Carden was unable to attend in person. Both ceremonies took place in Regina Auditorium with presentations livestreamed on the Notre Dame website.
Bosche Award: Alexandra Ann Minadeo
Alexandra “Lexi” Ann Minadeo, a first-generation college student and a second-generation American, graduated summa cum laude with a 3.97 GPA. Minadeo previously was honored with the James Strouse Memorial Scholarship and Elizabeth Unkefer Business Awards in 2021. This year, she became a member of the Sigma Beta Delta Business Honor Society.
“She is never too busy to help a fellow student,” a nominator wrote.
During tax season, Minadeo spent three days a week as a financial analyst intern and a tax intern at Parker Hannifin for the past year and also volunteered three days a week as the site coordinator for the Cuyahoga EITC Coalition Tax Center at Notre Dame. She additionally managed the tax clinic providing services to low-income residents for the past two years. Minadeo would have served in 2020, but the clinic was not available due to the pandemic.
“In my opinion, every person has a moral responsibility to help those less fortunate,” Minadeo said. “The most valuable thing to give others is your time.”
Minadeo is among a select few Notre Dame students to complete 150 college credits in four years to qualify for the Certified Public Accountant (C.P.A.) exam. She plans to take the test this summer and already has a full-time job available as a staff accountant at Cohen & Co., a national accounting firm.
“We can always count on Lexi to make the right choices as they relate to herself, her classmates and the community that she is a part of,” a nominator wrote.
Notre Dame’s Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award, first bestowed in 2006, is presented 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 was the first dean and third president of Notre Dame. The student award winner is nominated by faculty members and approved by academic leadership.
Mission Award: Mikel El’Mizzel Wilson
Mikel “E.” El’Mizzel Wilson graduated this year as a first-generation college student. He plans to earn a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling and later a doctorate in clinical psychology.
“I want to bring more awareness about mental health to the Black community and to other communities that are disadvantaged,” Wilson said. “I want to make a positive impact on my surroundings, whether it’s small or large.”
While at Notre Dame, Wilson was a member of the TRIO Student Support Services program and earned its presidential award. For more than three years, he worked as a Resident Assistant (RA) in campus housing and became vice president of the Residence Hall Association.
In addition, Wilson works at Bellefaire JCB in Cleveland, a residential youth treatment center in which he helps adolescents develop social skills, financial literacy and emotion management.
Wilson also helped found “Rhythm & Blues,” an organization that facilitates discussions with Notre Dame students and campus police.
“What is most impressive to me is how Mikel can see many different sides of an issue and how he relates to many different people. He is not afraid to speak his mind but also willing to be challenged and changed…I have no doubt that his work will benefit our world in important ways in the future,” a nominator wrote.
The College Mission Award, created 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 personal growth made possible through their Notre Dame education.
Finn Award: Cathleen M. Walter-Carden
Cathleen “Cathie” M. Walter-Carden graduated in 2022 with a 3.7 GPA more than 30 years after she began her college career. She is the fourth member of her family to become a Notre Dame alumna. After moving to Surf City, N.C., and during her final year at the College, Carden completed her courses online, despite several challenges that included the worldwide pandemic.
“Cathleen was nominated by faculty for this award not only for her academic achievements, which are notable, but for her determination and drive to succeed,” a nominator wrote.
Upon working in financial services nearly 20 years, Carden has broadened her career options by working with students of all ages at the College.
“This is the path I intend on taking after graduation–finding meaningful ways to engage and help humanity. It’s not difficult to be respectful, courteous and kind, while incorporating compassion,” Carden said.
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 Finn Center for Adult, Graduate and Professional Programs. Recipients of the award are adult students who 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: Kristin Smith Butterfield
Kristin Smith Butterfield became a double alumna of the College when she graduated in December 2021 and won the 2022 St. Catherine of Alexandria Award. Butterfield started her undergraduate studies as a Weekend College adult student at Notre Dame, earning a Bachelor of Arts in marketing in 1999.
Besides her role as a graduate student, Butterfield currently works for the Notre Dame Online Bookstore and also is a member of the College Student Success Team. The team focuses on helping students complete their degrees, as well as offering support to faculty.
In 2009, she received the Notre Dame President’s Appreciation Award. She now belongs to the Kappa Gamma Pi Catholic Honor Society, National Association of College Stores and Ohio Open Ed Collaborative.
“She is such a critical presence at Notre Dame. Kristin gives and gives and gives of herself and her time for students and faculty,” one nominator wrote.
In her research project for her graduate degree, “Sophomore Year Success: Supporting Second-Year Students,” Butterfield has discovered ways Notre Dame could guide, enhance and enrich sophomore students’ experiences and demonstrated different paths for second-year college achievement.
“So many students have looked to her for support through the years. I believe that many of them wouldn’t have completed their programs without her,” a nominator wrote.
The St. Catherine of Alexandria Award was first presented at Notre Dame in 1956 when the College was one of only two institutions to bestow the medal. The award is given to outstanding master’s degree candidates in the graduating class. The recipients are chosen by the graduate faculty based on leadership, scholarship and service to and support of the College and community-at-large.
Kimberly T. Krozser ’17 contributed to this article.
About Notre Dame College
Notre Dame College is a private, Catholic, liberal arts college in South Euclid committed to teaching students how to make a good living and live a good life. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, 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. For more information, visit NotreDameCollege.edu.