Now that's some graduation gift

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Author: Ed Cohen

Senior Johnny Walsh was so pleased with his four years at Notre Dame that as he neared graduation he decided to give something to the University.

$25,000.

The gift is earmarked for the University’s Office for Students with Disabilities.

Walsh has had a hearing deficiency since birth and started to lose his sight at age 15 as a result of a progressive genetic disease, Usher syndrome. At Notre Dame he was able to take tests at the Office for Students with Disabilities and was given extra time to complete them, he says. The office also provided note-takers for lectures and students to read text books aloud, among other assistance. Walsh says he wants other students with disabilities to be able to come to the University and be provided the help they need.

The money for the donation, he says, came from a kind of trust fund set up by his parents that he and his three older siblings can tap to support charitable causes of their choosing.

The senior from Madison, Wisconsin, has met another student with a vision disability who was successful at Notre Dame: Tim Cordes ’98. It happened two years ago at a send-off party in Madison for area high school graduates heading to Notre Dame as freshmen. Cordes, who is blind, became a valedictorian at Notre Dame and earlier this year earned his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Walsh’s father is a lawyer, and Johnny Walsh says he plans to work as a researcher at a law firm next year with the intention of beginning law school the following year.

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