Student Stories

Notre Dame endeavors to be a place where each student can grow individually in both mind and heart, and become a part of something larger than themselves. By celebrating the unique gifts each student brings to our shared community, student life is enriched immeasurably.

The stories below share just some of the ways Notre Dame students are celebrating and taking advantage of the wonderful diversity on our campus – through both scholarship and development and formation outside the classroom.

Statement from Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., on the passing of baseball legend Hank Aaron

Notre Dame News

“When Notre Dame bestowed an honorary degree on Hank Aaron in 2005, our citation referenced his legendary baseball career and concluded that, most importantly, he had done it all ‘fair and square.’ His many records, particularly in the face of racial prejudice, make him one of the greats of the game.

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Assistant dean's family has welcomed dozens for Thanksgiving each year

New York Times

Dr. Jan Sanders was the first Black pediatrician to have her own practice here. Her husband, Leo McWilliams, is an assistant dean in the University of Notre Dame engineering department and a “quadruple Domer.” For decades, the couple have been the unofficial parents for many Black students at Notre Dame. This year, that family is scattered, reflecting on the year’s crises.

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'21 Okanlami Family Fellow: Justen Lewis

Kanami Kitagawa

“Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.” –Steve Prefontaine For Justen Lewis, the distance from Flint, Michigan to South Bend was much longer than 210 miles. His journey began in a city with high poverty, crime, and most recently, the water crisis. “I have humble beginnings and although my family did not...

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Alumnus Alan Page, trailblazing jurist and Hall of Fame football player, to be featured speaker at MLK Day event

Erin Blasko

Retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, a 1967 University of Notre Dame graduate and the first African American justice to serve on Minnesota’s highest court, will join G. Marcus Cole, the Joseph A. Matson Dean of Notre Dame Law School, for a virtual “fireside chat” at noon Jan. 18 (Monday) as part of the University’s commemoration of Martin Luther...

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Peace Studies student works alongside first-of-its-kind organization addressing police torture in Chicago

Hannah Heinzekehr

When searching for an organization to work with during her second year of studies at the University of Notre Dame, Helina Haile knew that she wanted to work alongside an organization focused on systemic racism in the United States. Her search led her to the Chicago Torture Justice Center (CTJC), a first-of-its-kind organization dedicated to supporting survivors of police violence.

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Alumni Spotlight: Nancy Nguyen '17 is a Product Manager in a Drone Technology Startup

Gene Stowe

Boston native Nancy Nguyen, who earned a degree in chemistry at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, was considering an offer for a lab chemist job at Massachusetts General Hospital when a professor urged her to consider Notre Dame's ESTEEM graduate program. After a visit with David Murphy, Executive Director of Student Entrepreneurship and the ESTEEM program, she agreed. 

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Notre Dame launches interdisciplinary Initiative on Race and Resilience

Josh Weinhold

The University of Notre Dame has launched the Initiative on Race and Resilience, a new interdisciplinary program focused on the redress of systemic racism and the support of communities of color both within and beyond the Notre Dame campus. Led by the College of Arts & Letters with additional support from the Office of the Provost, the initiative will bring...

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Alumni Spotlight: Janaeé Wallace '16 is Investing in STEM Founders

Gene Stowe

Janaeé Wallace knew she wanted to help finance STEM-based businesses so they could grow the economy in The Bahama Islands and across the Caribbean before she knew what incubators and venture capitalists were. ESTEEM taught her.  “I wanted to build something that would help get STEM-based businesses financing to grow their business and the economy throughout the Caribbean,” she says....

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Shaping History: The sculptor who turned the social movement of his time into art

Notre Dame Magazine

Frank Hayden’s art was of its time and timeless, attuned to current events and to eternity. Closely associated with the civil rights movement, he created sculptures in honor of those who bore the crosses of that struggle, as well as actual Church-commissioned crucifixes — an American Black Catholic artist in a time of civil and spiritual unrest.

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