Alumni Briefs

Author: Notre Dame Alumni Association

Alumni Association Awards

Joseph A. Russo will receive the James E. Armstrong Award on April 25 at the spring Alumni Senate meeting. Russo, who received an honorary degree from Notre Dame in1992, has been the director of Notre Dame’s Office of Student Financial Services since 1978, and is now in his 38th year in his profession. Russo is editor of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrator’s Journal of Student Financial Aid. He has been elected to two separate terms on the College Scholarship Service’s National Council and also served a five-year term as a charter member of the NCAA Committee on Financial Aid and Amateurism. An active participant in student loan reform initiatives, Russo was a member of the Coalition for Student Loan Reform Task Force and has testified on the Direct Loan Program before a Senate Committee.

Katherine A. Kersten ’73 will be presented the Family Exemplar Award at the spring Alumni Senate meeting. Kersten, a writer and attorney, is senior fellow for Cultural Studies at the Center of the American Experiment in Minneapolis. A founding director of the center, she served as its chairfrom 1996 to 1998. Kersten also is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a position she has held since 1996. Kersten has written and spoken on cultural, family and policy issues for several national publications and television programs, and has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Kersten is a member of the advisory boards of the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C., and the Minnesota Association of Scholars. She has been named a Friend of the Humanities by the Minnesota Humanities Commission. of Minnesota, where she was a member of the Minnesota Law Review.

Darrell R. Gordon ’88, ’89MSA, is recipient of the William D. Reynolds Award to be presented at halftime of the Blue Gold game on April 26. Gordon is chief executive officer for Wernle Children’s Home, a residential treatment behavioral health care agency serving youth in Indiana and Ohio. Besides Gordon’s administrative duties, he also works directly with the boys and solicits their feedback concerning the program at Wernle. Gordon is also adjunct professor of sports law at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Prior to accepting his position at Wernle, he served as coordinator of the NCAA’s “Education and Stay in Bounds” program, designed to promote the development of character and good sportsmanship in young athletes. Gordon played outside linebacker for the Irish and was a starter on the 1988 national championship team. He earned his J.D. from Northern Kentucky University’s Chase College of Law.

Franklin E. Eck ’44 will be presented with the Rev. Edward F. Sorin, CSC, Award at Reunion ‘03 in June. Eck is chairman and CEO of Advanced Drainage Systems Inc., producers of engineered plastic drainage pipe. Eck earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1949. He has been a member of the advisory council for the Notre Dame College of Engineering for 10 years and in 1988 was named honorary member of the Monogram Club. His contributions to the University can be seen throughout campus: the Eck Tennis Center was built in 1987; the Frank Eck Baseball Stadium in 1994; and the Eck Center, which houses the Hammes Bookstore, Alumni Association offices and the Visitors’ Center, opened in 1999. In 1984, Eck presented a gift to establish a collection of chemical engineering books at the Hesburgh Library. He is also a major benefactor for the Notre Dame Law School.

Gareth D. Zehrbach ’98, ’00M.S., will receive the Young Alumni Award at the spring Senate meeting. Through the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), Zehrbach served from 1998 to 2000 as a teacher at Saint Anthony’s Middle School in Robstown, Texas, on the border with Mexico. He showed leadership in dealing with issues including a funding crisis, the death of a student and a fire that destroyed most of the school building. Zehrbach earned a reputation as a role model to his students as he gained their trust, stressed the value of education and instilled hope. He is pursuing his Ph.D. in education administration at the University of Wisconsin and is an active volunteer with the Notre Dame Club of South Central Wisconsin.

NDA Today

More than 45,000 Notre Dame alumni are now receiving a monthly electronic newsletter from the Alumni Association. You can join the list of NDA Today recipients by registering for Irish Online at Non-graduates can become subscribers by sending an e-mail to and giving their name, e-mail address, and noting their desire to receive NDA Today. This service is free of charge.

Dinosaur Excavation

Professor J. Keith Rigby, Notre Dame associate professor of civil engineering and geological sciences, invites alumni, students and friends of the University to join him in the Montana Badlands to assist in continued recovery of one of the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex specimens ever found. Four two-week sessions begin June 22 and finish August 15 at a cost of $1,380 per session. One-week sessions are open from July 6 to August 8 for $750. The cost covers lodging, meals, tools and supplies needed for field and laboratory work, and local transportation. For more information, contact Rigby at, 574-631-6245, or visit

Tour Kilkenny

A tour of County Kilkenny, Ireland, will be hosted by Joan and Chuck Lennon ’61, ’62M.A., executive director of the Alumni Association and associate vice president of University Relations, along with Athletic Director Kevin White and his wife, Jane, from July 30 to August 7. For more information, contact Alumni Travel at 800-634-2631 or visit

Reunion ’03

Besides undergraduate and law classes ending in 3 and 5, the following alumni groups are invited to Reunion ’03 on campus June 5-8: the 50 Year Club (1925-1952); undergraduate classes and Law School classes of 1953, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998; architect grads who finished their fifth year in years ending in 4 or 9; Black Alumni of ND; graduate mathematics; and National Science Foundation chemistry graduates. Visit for names of those registered. Widowed alumni spouses interested in attending should call 574-631-6584.

New class officers are elected at the Friday class dinner for classes who choose to hold an election. Alumni interested in nominating themselves or a classmate should contact their class officers. Class officers are listed at