Domers in the news

Author: Notre Dame Magazine staff

Elizabeth Scharpf ’99 was featured in an October 20 New York Times Magazine story about “Do-It-Yourself Foreign Aid,” in which private individuals and companies assist people in developing countries. Scharpf recently founded SHE: Sustainable Health Enterprises, which has partnered with Rwandan women’s networks to manufacture inexpensive sanitary pads made from banana leaf fiber. Scharpf began the effort after she learned that females in Third World countries miss a great deal of school and work because they do not have access to good sanitary protection when they menstruate. Last fall, Scharpf was interviewed on the NPR program Studio 360. Her organization also won the 2010 Curry Stone Design Award for designs that “significantly improve people’s lives and the state of the world.” . . . Pam Crane ’06 M.S., ’08Ph.D., a civil engineer who is the Africa field manager for Blood:Water Mission, the NGO founded by the Grammy-award-winning band Jars of Clay to provide clean blood supplies and water in Africa, recently won the social media competition “Give Health Clean Water Blogivation.” Her winning blog,, which chronicles her life and work in Africa, garnered 8,893 votes in the contest sponsored by Procter and Gamble with Crane, who was born in Kenya to two Peace Corps volunteers, won a $15,000 donation from P&G for the Blood:Water Mission program. . . . James Bacon ’37, who chronicled the lives of Hollywood’s biggest stars for six decades, died in September at age 96. A reporter, author and syndicated columnist, Bacon “had a knack for befriending A-list celebrities,” according to The New York Times. “He palled around with John Wayne, shared whiskey with Frank Sinatra, was a confidant of Marilyn Monroe and met eight United States presidents.” . . . In December, Tom Moe ’75M.A. was named by Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich to head the state’s Department of Veterans Services. The retired Air Force colonel, who was captured by the North Vietnamese in January 1968 and released in 1973, later served as professor of aerospace studies and commander of the Air Force ROTC program at Notre Dame. Read his recounting of his five years as a prisoner-of-war in the “Hanoi Hilton.”. . . . The actor Jake Gyllenhaal portrays Jamie Reidy ’92 in the romantic comedy Love and Other Drugs. The film is based on Reidy’s memoir Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman. . . . Mike Lee ’10 won his third professional boxing match with a first-round knockout against light heavyweight fighter Keith Debow in a November 13 fight in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. . . . Thomas Wolfard ’02 and his girlfriend were contestants on the CBS globe-trotting reality show The Amazing Race. . . . Grace Tiffany ’85M.A, ’89Ph.D., a professor of English at Western Michigan University, received the school’s 2010-11 Distinguished Teaching Award. . . . Lisa Freeman ’83, the director of the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, received the VA’s Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award. . . . David J. Conboy ’84 has been promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army. . . . The Catholic Press Association recently awarded Christopher Fenoglio ’80 first place for his column “Reel Life Journeys” on films, faith and family. The column runs in The Tennessee Register Catholic newspaper. Fenoglio also has begun publishing New Catholic Books & Media, a free consumer publication distributed through churches and bookstores. . . . Journalist William McGurn ’80, who served as President George W. Bush’s chief speechwriter and now writes speeches for Rupert Murdoch and a column for The Wall Street Journal, received the 2010 Defender of Life Award from the Human Life Review. . . . An album of composer Claudio Monteverdi’s “Vespers of the Blessed Virgin 1610,” sung by the choral ensemble Seraphic Fire, under the direction of Patrick Dupre Quigley ’00, topped the iTunes classical chart this fall, even surpassing a Lady Gaga album on the all-genre rankings. Quigley was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered about the recording’s surprise success. . . Kreece Fuchs ’01, who co-founded Better World Books, a firm that sells new and used books online while it funds literacy programs worldwide, was featured in a story in Gwinnett Business Journal about “small business success stories.” . . . Don Sharp ’90, vice president and chief information officer of Navistar International Corporation, has been named to the board of trustees for North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. . . . Jim Christensen ’78MFA, who teaches photography at McHenry County College in Illinois, was featured in a story about an exhibit of his photos of stained glass. . . . Edward DeMarco ’82, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and John Walsh ’85, acting comptroller of the currency, have been named to the new Financial Stability Oversight Council, which Congress has charged with providing oversight to the financial industry to prevent future financial crises. The regulatory council will review non-bank financial companies for possible inclusion under the Federal Reserve’s purview. . . . Peter P. Guerrera ’68, superintendent of the Cuyahoga Heights Schools, was named superintendent of the year by the Northeast Region of the Ohio School Boards Association. . . . Mike Kelly ’70, who played football at Notre Dame, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November. The Republican from Butler, Pennsylvania, beat the Democratic one-term incumbent by more than 20,000 votes. . . . The Spanish government named Professor Emeritus Klaus Muller-Bergh ’59 to the Royal American Order of Isabella the Catholic in recognition of his efforts at promoting Spanish and Latin American culture. Muller-Bergh, who was born in Germany but raised in Spain, taught Italian and Hispanic studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago from 1971 to 2006 . . . . Bill Sheedy ’90MBA, group executive for the Americas for VISA, Inc., the world’s largest electronic payment network, was profiled in The Altoona (Pennsylvania) Mirror. . . . Jim Albert ’76J.D., a Drake University Law School professor and chairman of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Board, has established the James Arthur Albert Foundation, which aids schoolchildren in the Central American country of Belize. The foundation has underwritten a women’s night school, a soccer camp, bicycle program and construction of a grade school. In the ’90s, Albert defended the televangelist Jim Bakker, who was serving a 45-year prison term for accounting fraud. The law professor wrote the book, Jim Bakker: Miscarriage of Justice, charging that the judge and jury were biased. . . . Dan Coughlin ’60, who was a sports reporter at the Cleveland Plain Dealer for many years as well as sports anchor at WJW-TV, has written a memoir about his career in sports journalism, Crazy, With Papers to Prove It. . . . Michael Molinelli ’82, the New York architect and cartoonist who draws the Notre Dame Magazine Online comic strip Molarity Redux, recently traveled to Haiti for Haiti Works!, a volunteer organization dedicated to developing permanent affordable housing in that disaster-ravaged country. After meeting with government officials and aid organizations there, Molinelli designed detailed housing plans for several types of low-cost homes that meet U.S. standards for earthquake and hurricane resistance. . . . Iowa Governor Chet Culver has appointed Stephen Jackson Jr. ’88 a judge in Iowa’s Sixth Judicial District. . . . Two ND alums have been elected to leadership positions in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Pat Browne ’86 is the majority whip of the state Senate and Joseph Markosek ’72 is the minority chairman of the House appropriations committee. . . . John Paul Lichon ’06, ’09M.A. is the new director of Catholic student ministry at Southern Methodist University.