Notre Dame Alumni E-Newsletter
August 2018
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Dear , 

It's hard to believe that we are already into the month of August! We are so excited to meet with alums in Chicago next week! If you are living in the Chicago area, we would love for you to join us next Thursday, August 8, at Frontier in downtown Chicago! Please click here to RSVP.

The alumni office has been busy working with alumni to schedule many class reunions this fall. Be sure to click on the reunion link in this email. If you do not see a reunion on the list for your class and would like to get something going, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I would love to help you!

As we prepare the Fall 2018 issue of IRISH magazine, we welcome all alumni to share their updates for inclusion in Class Notes. Your classmates will enjoy hearing from you! Email any updates before August 17 to or  click  here  to update through our website.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!

Beth Campbell
Director of Alumni Relations

August 9- Notre Dame does Chi-town! Join us Thursday, August 9, at Frontier Chicago located at 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago 60642 at 7 p.m. To RSVP, click here.

August 17- Blessing of  the New Wing.

August 21- Alumni Board Meeting 1389 Giddings Road, Pontiac, 6 p.m. ALL WELCOME! We are looking for new members! Hoping to have representation from all of our schools!

September 18- Alumni Board Meeting 1389 Giddings Road, Pontiac 6 p.m. ALL WELCOME! We are looking for new members! Hoping to have representation from all of our schools!

September 21- 2nd Annual Tony Martin Memorial Golf Outing. Twin Lakes Golf Course. To register, contact Lauren "Shell" Fowler at

October 6- Oktoberfest, alumni seating available. Please contact Beth Campbell if you are interested in attending.

October 12-13- Homecoming 

5 p.m. Pregame tailgate at the Fr. Colin House located at 1389 Giddings Road, Pontiac
7 p.m. Football game vs. Portland High School at William Kozyra Alumni Field 

October 13- Homecoming Alumni 5K Fun Run/Walk 9 a.m. at the lower division 

Al Smith, a 2012 Notre Dame Prep alum, graduated from the University of Michigan in 2016 with a degree in screenwriting and screen arts. While he was a junior at U-M, Smith was given one of the most renowned writing awards conferred by the university, the Avery Hopwood and Jule Hopwood Creative Writing Award, which is a big deal to win it even once. But for Smith, it was the second year in a row he had won it. Past (one-time) Hopwood winners include Frank O'Hara, Lawrence Kasdan and Arthur Miller. 
Now gainfully employed as a copywriter - natch - with MRM//McCann, an advertising agency in Birmingham, Mich., Smith still gives props to his high school for getting him this far.

"I don't think it's a coincidence I ended up with a career in writing," he said recently, catching up with his high school alma mater. "Having been taught by the Notre Dame English 'dream team' of Butorac, Davis, Dericho and Bembas, the importance of literature and writing was instilled in me all throughout high school. It wasn't until college that I realized what a head start they had given me. Even now, in my career, I use the skills they taught me on a daily basis."

(We think he was kidding when he then said that if he ever makes it really big, that Notre Dame dream team - "will be getting a cut" - but we'll get it on the record, just in case he wasn't. . .)

During his off hours, when Smith isn't writing creative ad copy for many of MRM//McCann's biggest clients, he is writing, recording and performing music with his brother, Gabe, a 2010 Notre Dame alum, in a duo they call - yes, it's also creative in its own special way - "The Smith Brothers." 

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

Notre Dame alum Lara Salahi ('03) is an award-winning multimedia journalist and author. She's also an assistant professor of broadcast and digital journalism at Endicott College, which is located just north of Boston.  

Salahi shoots, writes, and edits her own stories and currently works as an independent journalist focusing on public health, science and medicine. In 2014, she shared a Pulitzer Prize with the staff of The Boston Globe for its coverage of the bombings in 2013 that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others near the Boston Marathon finish line.

The holder of a dual undergraduate degree from Boston University in broadcast journalism and international relations with a concentration in Middle East and North African foreign policy and security studies, Salahi also is the founder of Salahi Media, a multi-platform media production company based in the Boston area.

While she was working toward a master's degree in health communication from Emerson College, she was field-producing stories in the New England region for ABC News shows, including Good Morning America and World News with David Muir, and she has previously worked with the ABC News' Medical Unit, where she produced digital and on-air health stories.

This year, in a book due to be released in November, Salahi teamed up with an award-winning genetic researcher, Pardis Sabeti, who helped tame the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, to tell the story of what happened and what would have to change to prevent the next outbreak from spiraling out of control again.

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


Of the roughly 500,000 kids who play high school baseball in the U.S. today, only 5.6 percent wind up playing on a collegiate team. Of those players, only 10 percent are drafted by a major league organization to play on their minor league teams. And of all minor leaguers, only about 10 percent will ever make it to the major leagues. 

All of which means the odds of making an MLB roster today are very long.

That also was the stark reality back in the late 50s and early 60s. Just ask Notre Dame alum George Denyer ('58), one of the best pitchers to ever play for the Irish. After a stellar career at Notre Dame High School, Denyer received scholarships to Michigan State University and the University of Detroit. He decided on U-D, but after one semester, received offers from both the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians to join their organizations.

"I had the offer from Detroit, but I got a little more money from Cleveland, so I ended up signing with them," he said during a recent interview. 
However, when you're talking baseball money back then - especially in the minors, according to Denyer, it wasn't even in the same solar system as today's baseball money.
"The first year I played for Cleveland, which was on their Batavia Indians squad, I got $50 a month," said Denyer, 78, a current Warren, Mich., resident. The last year I played for Cleveland, when we won the Eastern League championship with the Charleston Indians in AA ball, I was making $550 a month."

But back then, he said, players didn't get paid for spring training, they didn't get paid during the off season, so they had to get a regular job when they weren't playing ball. 

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

Angela Adams, a 2015 graduate of Notre Dame Prep, is heading into her fourth year at Albion College in Albion, Mich. She also plays volleyball for the Britons, which, along with her time playing volleyball for the Irish, has helped, she said, make her college experience such a success so far.

"The entire student-athlete experience at Notre Dame was monumental in my transition to college and college athletics," she said. "The discipline, leadership, time management, and mental and emotional strength I gained from my experience in the volleyball program at NDP is the foundation I rely on and build off of as a student-athlete at Albion. 

Adams said not only was her love for the game of volleyball sparked in high school, but her current competitive nature and drive came from her Irish teammates, the NDP coaching staff, and what she says was the endless positivity from the faculty at Notre Dame. 

"All of this combined led me to my future at Albion," she said. "And for that, I am forever grateful."

We asked her about her past at Notre Dame Prep and her present at Albion, but we also wanted to hear about her future plans post-college. She was kind enough recently to spend a little time discussing all of this as well as whether or not her high school alma mater will continue to influence her future, a future that quite possibly might include a career in sports management. 

Academically, I felt extremely prepared going into my freshman year at Albion College. In some cases, the classes I took freshman year were easier than the classes I took in high school. I am thankful for the tough classes and rigorous workload that I experienced at NDP because without it, managing a full college class workload on top of volleyball practice, games, and travel would have been nearly an impossible task.

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

When the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, which is located on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University just north of Saginaw, Mich., wanted to celebrate the 60th anniversary of arguably the City of Detroit's most iconic landmark, museum archivist Melissa (Gerst) Ford had an idea. During a staff brainstorming session, this 2000 ND Prep grad thought that one of her fellow grads could help out with a rather unique way to highlight the "Spirit of Detroit" statue, a signature Fredericks' creation located in downtown Detroit. 

"As we prepared to celebrate this occasion, we began to think of ways in which we could engage the public and get them excited about this historic event," Ford said. "The museum kicked off our celebration with a gala event in downtown Detroit on May 12 at the One Woodward building overlooking The Spirit. As we were discussing other ideas to mark this occasion, one of my colleagues at the museum suggested we create a short animated film to better tie the sculpture to the museum that bears its creator's name. I knew that Bill Holland from my class at NDP did animation work, and I immediately suggested his name as a potential animator for this project."

She said their concept was that the Spirit statue would come to life and then decide to visit the museum up at SVSU in honor of his birthday. 

"As the statue travels up Woodward Avenue and then I-75 to Saginaw, he visits several iconic landmarks, including Marshall Frederick's gravesite in Birmingham. After an enjoyable visit to the museum, he then returns to his rightful home sitting in front of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center."

With a general idea of the animation in hand, Ford then approached Holland, who now runs a video production and motion graphics company in Chicago, about the museum's idea. He was immediately hooked. 

In creating the nearly one and a half-minute animated video, Holland went for a representational interpretation of the sculpture and the various locations since his own work tends to be stylized. As part of his research for the film, Holland visited the Spirit in downtown Detroit, took photos from every possible angle, and recorded how the sun hit certain parts of the figure.

To read more of the story, click  here.


When Sarah LewAllen ('14) graduates from Michigan Technological University next May, she will finish with a double major in medical laboratory science and exercise science. She's also wrapping up four years as member of the Huskies' women's basketball team. But while LewAllen readily admits that college was a lot of work, especially as a student-athlete, she said attending high school at Notre Dame Prep had her prepared for anything MTU threw her way. 

"My transition to college was a breeze," she said. "As a collegiate student-athlete, my free time was limited, and we were often forced to miss weeks of class due to travel during our season. However, I was able to keep up with my coursework because of the knowledge and classroom skills I acquired during my time at Notre Dame."

She also said time management and diligent study habits developed at NDP were a big help as well. 

"Notre Dame's rigorous academic curriculum really prepared me for college-level courses," she said. "The faculty at NDP is so good at developing their students to become critical thinkers and the opportunity to take AP and IB courses in high school helped me not only earn college credits before I got to Michigan Tech, it also was a good preview for the level and workload of college classes." 
As a basketball player at Michigan Tech, LewAllen said that her experience playing sports for the Fighting Irish also laid a great foundation for college athletics.

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

Chasing a dream to work in journalism within the fashion industry may seem like a common pursuit for many young men and women, and perhaps it is. But connecting that dream to reality usually takes a healthy dose of luck and lots of time for most. 

But then you meet Notre Dame alum Katarina Kovac ('16). She's not only well on her way to attaining her dream, she's done it during her first two years at Oakland University.

"During my freshman year of college, I spent a lot of time going back and forth between various majors," she said. "I knew what I was passionate about, which was writing and journalism related to the fashion industry, but I initially also felt that I should pursue the economics or business route as a fallback."

However, after taking a few economics classes, she knew that her heart wasn't all in. 

"I remembered something I was told about future careers during my high school years at NDP: that one should take a look at what one does in his or her free time, and try to 
turn that into a career," she said. 

And that's basically all it took.  

"I stepped back and began to think about what it was that I did in my free time, and the fashion industry was at the forefront," she said. "I was reading all of the big glossy fashion magazines and I memorized every single masthead."

She said she'd rip out pages of the magazines and decorate her bedroom with them, her grey walls soon overtaken by Calvin Klein campaigns, Dolce & Gabbana ads and editorial stories that took place in seemingly exotic lands. 

To read more of the story, click here.

Notre Dame Head of School Andy Guest '84 (NDHS) had the opportunity recently to be interviewed on Bloomfield Community Television (BCTV) by Bill Seklar, who is the president and CEO of The Community House.

In the approximately 15-minute video below, which also was broadcast throughout the Birmingham-Bloomfield area in southeast Michigan, Guest gives an overview of NDPMA as well as an explanation of the school's new science, art and technology wing, scheduled for completion this month.


The Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy announced that it has raised more than $600,000 in gifts for its 2017-18 Notre Dame Fund campaign, which began July 1, 2017, and wrapped up on June 30.
The fund total of $603,420, which is comprised of gifts and pledges from more than 700 alumni, parents, faculty and other friends of the school, represents more than an 18% increase over the 2016-17 NDF and is the highest amount in school history. The fund also received its largest gift ever when a generous donor contributed $50,000 to the school.

"The incredible generosity of the Notre Dame community was evidenced once again," said Atif Lodhi, director of The Notre Dame Fund. "Gifts to the fund, which ranged anywhere from $10 to $50,000, allow us to live out our mission of nurturing Christian people, upright citizens and academic scholars, and give more than 1,000 students an educational experience of a lifetime. Notre Dame truly would not be the same without the support of its school community."

Lodhi also said that more than 170 donors, including 34 new members, joined the St. Peter Chanel Society of The Notre Dame Fund, another record. 

"The St. Peter Chanel Society is comprised of those who have provided annual gifts of $1,000 or more," he said. "It is named for Peter Chanel, a Marist priest, missionary and martyr who lived and served in the 19th century and was canonized in 1954."


Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy announced that 49 students successfully earned the International Baccalaureate diploma for the 2017-18 school year. It's the highest number of IB Diplomas ever earned in nine years of previous IB-DP graduating classes at Notre Dame Prep and for this year works out to a 74.2% success rate.  

Although International Baccalaureate has not yet released the total 2018 worldwide success-rate average, in 2017, the global average was 69.8%. 

Kim Anderson, who is the IB Diploma program coordinator at NDPMA and chair of the modern language department, said that the 2018 results were stellar. "I could not be more proud of this class," she said. "Not only have these these kids proven once again that they are academic scholars, they are also artists, musicians, actors, singers - you name it!"

Anderson also noted that Notre Dame did not have a single student in its IB Diploma program fail the Theory of Knowledge course or the extended essay, a rare accomplishment for two very critical components of the program.

In 2018, more than 607,000 examination papers - the largest number since the introduction of the Diploma Program in 1968 - were processed in 75 languages, according to International Baccalaureate. As of February of this year, there were 3,182 schools offering the IB-DP in 153 different countries worldwide.

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

Paul Sick- '60 (NDHS) 6-30-18

Richard Quick- Father-in- law to Ron Yanik '78 (NDHS), Grandfather to Ryan '10 (NDP), Tyler '12 (NDP) and Mary '18 (NDP) 6-18-18

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.