Alumni News

The Notre Dame Drama Club worked very hard since the start of the year to provide us with some much-needed musical and comedic entertainment.   Don’t miss two opportunities available now and through the first week of May.

The Drama Club’s 2021 Musical Wonderland High was a challenging undertaking as they filmed it cinematically.  It is now available via live-streaming.  We are confident you will enjoy it.  Purchase access and enjoy the musical between now and April 30.

    www.showtix4u.com/events/NDWHWonderlandHigh

On May 7, 8, 9, the Drama Club will present the comedy Clue: High School Edition on stage in Collins Auditorium and live-streaming.  Live performances will be limited to 100 guests at each performance. Tickets are available for pre-sale only on ndwhdrama.ludus.com. 

The show will also be streaming at https://www.broadwayondemand.com/series/QzOty2mDxuXI-clue--notre-dame-drama-club

Alumni Speak to ND students in March

Adam Letize ‘01 is the Senior Research Chemist at MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions.  He addressed Carella Barrett-Rafala’s Honors Chemistry class about careers in chemistry. After ND, Letize studied Chemistry at Boston College (BS Biochemistry) and SCSU (MS Chemistry.) Barrett-Rafala commented: “ It was a pleasure having Mr. Letize speak with the students about chemistry beyond the classroom. Students were excited to see that the things they are learning at ND are very applicable to the world around them."

 

On March 23, Thomas Komar ’17 addressed Kelsey Sewell’s Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Class on the topic of Optimizing 3D Models for 3D Printing. Komar graduated from Bentley University in 2020 with a degree in Marketing.  He completed his degree a year ahead of schedule by transferring credits he took at UNH while at ND and by taking extra classes each semester at Bentley.   He is currently a Marketing Operations Specialist at Veracode, Burlington, MA.   “I am living in Ansonia and work remotely.  I was glad to have the opportunity to return to ND and speak in the TED class.  If ND had the TED program when I was a student, I would have liked to participate.” 

Ted Gerarden ‘65 Supports ND’s International Baccalaureate Initiative

On countless occasions throughout Notre Dame’s history, dedicated parents and faithful alumni have come forward with generous gifts of time, treasure, and talent. Ted Gerarden '65 is one such individual.  A 2016 DC alumni event gave Ted an opportunity to promote an idea that, he discovered, was something Notre Dame’s president Robert Curis was already pondering. Should Notre Dame become an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma School? In March, that idea became a reality after a rigorous three-year application and preparation process underwritten with financial support from Gerarden.  

Ted and his wife Ann, a retired academic dean at Georgetown University, have a solid commitment to education and Notre Dame.  In addition to funding the IB certification process, Gerarden supports a Notre Dame scholarship created by his late parents, Anthony and Muriel Gerarden.  

Gerarden traces his commitment to Brother Joseph Zutelis’s legendary English class, which Gerarden took in 1963-64.  When asked to name the person most influential in his life, Ted always responds, “Brother Joseph, no question about it!”

This is high praise indeed.  Gerarden went on to Georgetown University and Georgetown Law School, enjoyed a career in corporate law and government service, and retired as a member of the Federal Senior Executive Service.  Gerarden credits his Notre Dame education as making all that possible.

Ted learned about the IB program when his youngest child participated in the IB at Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington, Virginia.  From that experience, Ted realized the tremendous impact the IB program can have on educational excellence at a school—and how the IB would add significantly to Notre Dame’s reputation as a school of choice for academic success.

Curis, who had worked with the IB at the Whitby School, felt the same way.  It didn’t hurt that Robert and Ted had another connection—both hold degrees from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service!  Gerarden pledged financial support for the rigorous preparation that Notre Dame would have to undertake; Curis set the stage for Notre Dame’s successful application by hiring Ruben Valencia as Vice President for Academics at ND.  Valencia had been deeply involved with IB programs in Florida.

As Gerarden said, “Robert and Ruben generated enthusiasm for this difficult work, and Notre Dame’s faculty embraced the training and curriculum changes needed to meet IB degree requirements.  I am thrilled that Notre Dame will begin IB courses in the 2021-22 school year!”
 

Tim Boyce '72 Presentation will highlight May Alumni Gathering 

Notre Dame will host a virtual alumni event on May 4 in place of what usually would

have been a Washington, DC event.  Tim Boyce '72 will be the featured presenter recounting the stories of two Holocaust survivors. Registration for the event is now open here

In 2010, Boyce walked into his local bookstore, where a book entitled, A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy caught his eye. Written by Thomas Buergenthal, this memoir dove into the horrific details of a devastating childhood, as he told his story of being an incarcerated Jewish boy during the Holocaust. In the memoir, Buergenthal frequently mentions encounters with a man by the name of Odd Nansen. 

Nansen was a Norwegian arrested in 1942 and subsequently transferred to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Germany, where he met Buergenthal. Boyce found Buergenthal's story fascinating and decided to do some more research on Odd Nansen. While Buergenthal wrote his memoir long after his childhood, Nansen kept a secret diary that was translated to English and published in 1949. Although the diary had been out of print for 60 years, Boyce obtained two copies. Thus began a six-year odyssey that resulted in the re-publication of a deluxe, fully-annotated edition of Nansen’s diary in April 2016. Thomas Buergenthal, now 86, has written a preface for the new edition, which also contains sketches by Nansen and diary entries never before available in English.

Remarkably due to Nansen's compassion, Buergenthal survived his time at Sachsenhausen, immigrated to the United States, studied law at Harvard, and eventually served as a judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.  A resident of Washington, D.C., Buergenthal recently asked Boyce to write his biography. 

 

Exploring Mars with David Mayer '03

The students in Kelsey Sewell’s Technology, Engineering, and Design recently worked together to build a Hexapod robot, which is similar to the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover that is scheduled to land on the Red Planet on February 18.  As a follow up to their assignment, they had the opportunity to meet via Zoom with ND Alumnus David Mayer '03.  


Mayer works for the National Geographic Survey at the Survey’s Astrogeology Center in Flagstaff, AZ.  He and his NGS team have been working with NASA engineers on a Mars mapping project that will determine the optimal place for the February landing.   He shared high-resolution pictures of the planet’s surface and explained in detail what the students were seeing and how particular aspects of the surface came about.  He also detailed some of the challenges the two agencies faced in completing the project.  Mayer is the son of Eugene Mayer '71. Mayer is seen in the second row, right.