Two Notre Dame College graduates who committed to local and global community service have been recognized with the College’s Mission Award for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Jake Finkenthal, who created an opportunity for Notre Dame students to join with him in helping individuals with autism spectrum disorders, and Stacey Kovacic, who became the first in her family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and who twice participated in the College’s international immersion to Guatemala, both were recognized in the Notre Dame collectible commencement program. Each also received a Mission Award statue, a glass sculpture of the global community.
Notre Dame’s Mission Award recognizes a graduating student or students who exemplify the College mission by living the ideals of personal, professional and global responsibility in their daily life (lives). An in-person College graduation celebration has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finkenthal graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in sport management in May 2020, while Kovacic completed her bachelor’s degree in biology in December 2019.
The College’s Mission Award also honors a well-rounded student or students who in a special way display a commitment to global issues and sustainability, care for others, commitment to spiritual or religious traditions and personal growth made possible by their Notre Dame College education.
While at Notre Dame, Finkenthal demonstrated his commitment to the College’s values by initiating a new service opportunity for students. He connected the College campus with Friendship Circle, a Jewish organization that works with people with autism spectrum disorders. He maintained contact with the site, recruited others to participate and led the group several Sundays each month.
Finkenthal, who speaks confidently of his Jewish heritage and is always willing to talk openly and honestly with others, has been one of the most active participants in Notre Dame Campus Ministry service activities. He was always a reliable participant and leader, and as a junior, he volunteered nearly 20 times, including in an after-school program at the Salvation Army among Northeast Ohio and the nation’s most poor in East Cleveland.
During the shortened 2019-2020 on-campus academic year due to the pandemic, Finkenthal continued to volunteer several times. In addition, he has been employed at an after-school program in Cleveland and at a summer camp, leading fitness activities for people with disabilities.
Kovacic has served as the president of FirstGen, the College’s center that provides support to first–generation college students. She has been a leader in Campus Ministry service activities and a two-time Guatemala immersion participant.
She had signed up to participate in a third Guatemala immersion in spring 2020. When she realized that this year’s trip was going to be cancelled due to the pandemic, Kovacic still wanted to make an investment in the community she had visited and signed up to financially support the school there.
Kovacic consistently finds ways to use her experiences to connect with and support others, even as a worker at the campus Falcon Café. She is interested in serving veterans in her future career.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.