Notre Dame Alumni E-Newsletter
February 2016
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Dear , 

It's been a very busy winter so far! Thank you to all of the alumni who took the time to fill out the alumni impact survey that was emailed to each of you last month. I will be meeting with the company to obtain our results later this month. I am excited to receive your feedback and use it to plan and shape the remainder of the year.

On February 23, at 6 p.m., please join us for our next alumni board meeting. Everyone is welcome! We will be putting the final touches on this year's event calendar and making plans for the future. We are excited to welcome, Lisa Healy '98 (NDP) to the alumni board.

The next edition of IRISH will be out soon! Please click here to send in an update! We love to hear about what is going on in your life. 

Irish blessings,

Beth Campbell
Director of Alumni Relations 

Mike Fakhoury '12 (NDP) is in his final year at the University of Michigan. After graduation in May, he's heading to Washington, D.C., to attend Georgetown University's prestigious law school, after which he plans a long career as an attorney.

"Because Georgetown is located in Washington, D.C., within blocks of the U.S. Congress that enacts laws, the Supreme Court that interprets them, and the administrative agencies that enforce them, I think learning from this vantage point will allow me to more fully explore the dynamic legal processes of the nation and world," he said in a recent interview.

But first things first. What is getting him through a successful and fulfilling undergrad stint at U-M thus far, he said, is his experience at Notre Dame.

Time management and the whole person

He said Notre Dame has taught him to manage his time most effectively, something exceedingly important for a student with so much on his schedule in Ann Arbor. 

"Leading multiple extracurricular organizations at Notre Dame, actively serving in the community and balancing a rigorous class load taught me the importance of balancing multiple tasks at any given time, which has been very helpful to me at U-M," he said. 

"In college, I was chairman of the Central Student Government Campus Safety Commission for three years, served as an advisor to the U-M Dean of Students, and was president of the University of Michigan Pre-Law Society."

To read more on Fakhoury, click here.

Jason Lavigne graduated from Notre Dame in 2004. He said he wouldn't be where he is today if not for the time he spent at the school. 

But where is he today? Well, for starters, he's got a pretty important job at FCA, or Fiat Chrysler, as a plant supplier quality engineer at the company's Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit.

"I'm actually a corporate employee reporting to our Technical Center in Auburn Hills, but stationed at Jefferson North," he said. 

"I am responsible for the quality of all current production parts on the Grand Cherokee and Durango."

He said his areas of specialty are chassis and powertrain, but what he and his colleagues do is more akin to being like the "parts police."

"It is our job to ensure that our suppliers are building parts to the current engineering specifications and quality requirements," he said. "If not, it's our job to rectify the situation, and work to bring the supplier back within the requirements to which they are contracted."

When LaVigne's not chasing wayward chassis and powertrain suppliers down, he likely could be found in a local gym preparing to chase more awards as an amateur powerlifter. He said he's relatively new to the sport-he began training in 2012-but got a big start out of the gate.

To read more, click here.

On Dec. 29, a number of Notre Dame alumni who graduated from the school with the International Baccalaureate diploma got together with current NDP IB students at a local coffee shop to share experiences about the challenging yet rewarding curriculum. It's the second time Notre Dame organized the event, which takes advantage of the fact that many NDP alums are home for the holidays. Last year's get together also was held during the Christmas break.

"We started the coffee break a year ago as a way for NDP IB Diploma Program alums and current students to make connections, talk about their experiences at NDP in the DP, college, internships, careers, etc.," said IB Diploma Program Coordinator and Chair of the Modern Language Department Kim Anderson, who coordinated the event. "For our current IB DP students, making connections with IB alumni has been a valuable asset as they explore, decide and then embark on their higher education adventures."

These "coffee breaks" allow the alums to provide a support system for current NDP IB students and also helps them out with sorting out potential colleges and universities, Anderson said. "It's also a good way to simply let current students know that sympathetic ears are available whenever things get stressful.

About 30 former and current students showed up Tuesday at the Rochester Hills Panera Bread, along with faculty members Anthony Butorac, Kyle Lilek and David Osiecki. Anderson said there were even some current student/alumni siblings also in attendance.

To read more, click here.

Notre Dame alum Walt Szymanski ('72) made his annual trek north during the Christmas holiday season from his current home in Ecuador to his original hometown to play with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at its special New Year's Eve concert at Orchestra Hall. 
According to Szymanski, he loves getting back to Detroit, seeing family and friends again and playing with the DSO.

"The DSO gig helps to finance my trip north, but the show really is great fun for me," he said last Sunday at local jazz/blues club Blue Goose Inn, where sat in with swing band PlanetDNonet at a special holiday celebration. Szymanski actually wrote the arrangements for most of the tunes the band played that day.

Currently a full-time resident of Ecuador, Szymanski says he's "living and enjoying life on the center of the planet where it is 72-80 every day and 55-60 at night, all year long."

He has served as a professor of jazz studies at the University de San Francisco de Quito/IMC in Quito, Ecuador, and has a number of private music students. He also is writing and composing music for a varied clientele worldwide.

Szymanski came to national prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s after the late legendary jazz drummer JC Heard became so inspired by Szymanski's arranging ability that he hand picked him as music director for his newly formed Duke Ellington Repertory Orchestra, the JC Heard Orchestra. 

To read more of Szymanski's story, click here.

Notre Dame Prep 2006 alum Chris Kulesza already has spent six years on the Purdue Graduate Student Government where he served as secretary, president and chair of the grants committee. He said the experience has provided especially keen insight into the workings of a major university.

"It is honestly just something that I love doing," he told The Exponent, an independent college newspaper published by the Purdue Student Publishing Foundation. "I love giving back to my community, and I like working toward improving the lives of the people around me. When I see an issue or a particular problem happening around me, I like to see it get fixed."

On top of all that, Kulesza is currently in the middle of a dissertation that will gain for him a Ph.D. in poly sci from Purdue. A very busy guy, indeed. But he did manage to find some time recently to talk about his high school, which he said, in addition to Fr. Jim Strasz, has had a number of other faculty members with a rather profound impact on his educational journey thus far.

Kulesza said Notre Dame and many of its teachers contributed to an almost seamless transition into college. But he narrows his list of influential teachers down to a select few of them who he says specifically inspired his college major as well as what looks more and more like a career in politics.

To read more on Kulesza, click here.

Please show your support for The Notre Dame Fund and these school legends
by making a gift of $35 to one of four teams. Each team is named for a
Notre Dame legend and led by current faculty and staff members:
TEAM BEMBAS: Bobbie Hall (Bieszki), Molly Campbell (Coldren)
TEAM KOTARSKI: Anthony Butorac, Dan Staniszewski
TEAM STRASZ: Mary Jane Pasko, Kelly Patterson (Cole)
TEAM TESSADA: Jocelynn Yaroch, Kim Anderson
Since the 35th Irish Week is now upon us, the challenge is a one-week,
online race to 35 gifts of $35 or more. The challenge begins on Monday,
March 14 at 8 a.m. and ends on Friday, March 18 at 3 p.m. 
All gifts must be received online at Please include the team name in the space marked "in honor of."

On what is traditionally the annual signing day for high schoolers across the U.S. who are heading to college in the fall to play sports, Notre Dame Prep did indeed host a signing ceremony on campus Feb. 3 for five of its student-athletes.
From left in the photo above, Kory Czajkowski has signed up for baseball at Grinnell College in Iowa; Andy Durkin has committed to join the football team next year at the University of Dayton; Rosella LoChirco will be playing soccer for Kalamazoo College; Erika Wiest will play soccer for the University of Louisiana at Monroe; and Matt Durkin will join his brother Andy on the football team at the University of Dayton.
Congratulations, Kory, Andy, Rosella, Erika and Matt! Go Pioneers, Flyers, Hornets and Warhawks, but never, ever forget to "Go Irish!"

When Notre Dame Prep finally decided on Tuesday, January 12, to withdraw from the Catholic High School League based on student-athlete safety considerations, school administration officials were not quite sure what kind of reaction they would get from its community of students, parents and alumni.
After all, deciding to leave an institution that has been a part of the DNA of the school ever since Notre Dame's founding in 1954 was huge. There are deep roots in the CHSL that are solidly connected to many coaches, teachers and, most especially, alumni.
But Fr. Leon Olszamowski, who is Notre Dame's president and a Harper Woods Notre Dame High School alum, said the decision to leave the league had to be done, without question. 

In the school's original news release on this issue, Olszamowski said it's not about wins and losses; it's about keeping faith with a commitment to students and parents on athlete safety. 
Exacerbating a real safety problem 
"We have to remember that these young athletes are still children, still growing and still developing both physically and mentally," he said. "Our philosophical and practical approaches to football mismatches - and the possibility of head injuries in particular - has motivated our internal activities and public face on this issue. We simply have not agreed with the Catholic League's current approach with regard to football crossovers, which we feel simply exacerbates a real safety problem."
Olszamowski told the Notre Dame community on Jan. 13 that at the day-earlier meeting of Executive Athletic Board members of Detroit's Catholic High School League, the board voted to deny Notre Dame Prep's appeal to allow it to withdraw from the Catholic League "in football only" for one year while league alignments and football matches-and potential mismatches-are reviewed by a special committee. 

To read more, click here.
For more Notre Dame news,  click here.

Notre Dame's Parents Club Presents 
The 19th Annual Fashion Show
Come enjoy a festive evening celebrating all things Detroit.
Cocktails, fashion and a strolling dinner inspired by iconic Detroit restaurants.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
6:00 p.m.: Cocktails, Dinner, Silent Auction
8:00 p.m.: Fashion Show
Ticket price: $65 

Come experience Detroit's best at:
Great Oaks Country Club
777 Great Oaks Boulevard, Rochester Hills, MI 48307
To purchase tickets, click here.
Notre Dame Alumni Association on Facebook, Twitter


"Like" the Notre Dame Alumni Association Facebook page to receive news and updates. Follow us on Twitter too! 


All alumni are encouraged to join the conversation and post your own memorable photos and videos from your time at Notre Dame or one of the predecessor schools. Or you can post recent status updates and photos to let other alumni know what you're up to!  

Don't forget to utilize the alumni business directory


Be sure to check out our alumni business directory. If you would like to add your business to our list please contact Beth Campbell at

For a list of upcoming class reunions   

Considering planning a reunion for your class? The alumni office can help you get started. Call (248) 373-2171, ext. 3, or email for details. 

We pray for those who have died:

Jerry Brooks- '65 (NDHS), brother of Roger, '71 (NDHS) 2-2-16
Thomas Walsh- Father of Gregory '71 (PC) 1-28-16
Eleanore Trantowski- Mother of Edward '82 (NDHS) 1-25-16
Robert Grozenski- Father of Robert '72 (NDHS), Terry '79 (NDHS), grandfather of Chelsea '03 (NDP), Eric '05 (NDP) 1-24-16
Angeline Humenny- Mother of Ron '71 (NDHS) 1-24-16
Gerald Gera Verno- '40 (St. Michael's) 1-20-16
Marie Galante- Mother of Andrew, '60 (NDHS) 1-16-16
John Locricchio- Brother of Bill '74 (NDHS), Louis '76 (NDHS), Anthony '77 (NDHS) 1-14-16
George Gianankopoulo- Father of Steven '81 (NDHS) 1-10-16
George Ciosek- Grandfather of Angela '08 (NDP) 12-24-15
Thomas Lauinger- '60 (SM), brother of Richard '48 (SM), Virginia '49 (SM), Elizabeth '49 (SM), Rose '51 (SM), Ed '58 (SM), Frank '66 (SM), brother-in-law of Dan Shadrick '63 (SM) 12-22-16
Constance Korolden- '43 (SM) 12-21-15
Raymond Berlin- Father of Adam, '86 (NDHS) 12-16-15
Rosemary Roach- '44 (SM) 12-16-15
Roy William- Father of Daryl '76 (NDHS) 12-15-15

Prayer List: click here
Email your prayers and petitions to
NDP = Notre Dame Prep; NDHS = Notre Dame High School; OC = Oakland Catholic; PC = Pontiac Catholic; SM = St. Michael; SF = St. Frederick.