Domers in the news

Author: Carol Schaal '91M.A.

As a child, Craig Counsell ’92 would hang out at the Milwaukee Brewers’ County Stadium clubhouse and run on the field while his father, John Counsell ’64, oversaw community relations for the team. Craig played twice for the Brewers during his 16 seasons as an infielder in the major leagues, which included stints on the World Series championship teams of Florida and Arizona, and being named the 2001 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player. In May, he was named manager of the Brewers. “I think I’ll be better at this than I was at playing,” he quipped. . . . A former CNN Headline News anchor and the founder of the Atlanta-based consulting firm TriPath Media, Patti Tripathi ’88 wants girls around the world to realize that leadership positions aren’t reserved only for men. So she set up Saris to Suits, a nonprofit campaign that yearly publishes a calendar featuring successful South Asian women and the quotations those women found inspirational. Sales benefit charities that provide support for women who have been abused or assaulted. . . . In a winter 2013-14 story for Notre Dame Magazine, Josh Ozersky ’96M.A. wrote with joy of his first visit to the University’s South Dining Hall: “What bounty! . . . I was dumbstruck, overwhelmed, a Somalian refugee looking at his first supermarket.” The Esquire columnist, food and culture historian, and founder of the outdoor culinary festival Meatopia died May 4 in Chicago, where he was attending the James Beard Awards. He was 47. . . . This spring, South Bend native Eugene Staples ’12, aka Genie Deez, who attends the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, was awarded a Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship for producing the children’s musical web series Hangin’ with Genie. The series also won a College Television Award from the TV Academy Foundation. The son of a preacher man, Staples performed with gospel musicians as a youth and says he loved seeing the impact music had on people. His passion, he says, “is to create quality entertainment that the family can watch together.” . . . Music also plays a big part in the life of Ralph Jaccodine ’81, who was awarded the 2015 Dean’s Award for Innovation and Service at the Berklee College of Music, Boston. The adjunct professor in the music business/management department also runs a record label and artist management company. Sharing his business experience with his students is “the most exciting thing about being a teacher. I am getting so much from the students. It’s a two-way street,” he says. . . . Julie Henderson ’00, who played basketball while at Notre Dame, is part of a new team. Last year the New York model and four other women founded the collaborative movement ALDA, which means “wave” in Icelandic. The goal of the group of plus-size models “is to use their resources in the fashion community to empower women and change the perception of beauty.” Henderson, who has appeared in ad campaigns for Talbots, Lane Bryant, Kohl’s, Target, T.J. Maxx and other companies, says, “Fashion dictates so many things in our lives, and little girls grow up thinking that this is what beauty is. . . . And what ALDA does is say ‘Listen, every woman is beautiful.’” . . . At age 11, he really was shot in the eye with a BB gun, but fortunately Konrad Billetz ’13M.A. didn’t lose his eye. He did, however, have to wear corrective lenses, and he eventually grew frustrated that he couldn’t change frames as easily as he would shirts or shoes. So a couple years ago he opened Frameri (, a Cincinnati-based interchangeable frames and lenses company. The snap-in, snap-out technology means users can buy one set of lenses and pop them into a variety of frames, which are handmade in Italy. Billetz’s vision earned him a place on the 2015 Forbes 30 under 30 manufacturing list and a May appearance on Shark Tank. . . . Pope Francis will join several thousand people in Philadelphia for the September World Meeting of Families, a week of celebration, discussion and learning. The event’s theme, chosen by the pope, is “Love is our mission: The family fully alive.” And the official hymn of the gathering will be “Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom,” written by Father Andrew Ciferni, O. Praem., ’78Ph.D., with music by Normand Gouin. Ciferni, who grew up in South Philadelphia, has been a priest in the Norbertine Order for more than 50 years and is the director of the Center for Norbertine Studies at St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin. He told the Green Bay Press-Gazette that even though he had never written a hymn from scratch, he penned the “Sound the Bell” lyrics in two days. . . . Several months ago, when he heard that Archbishop Oscar Romero was to be beatified in May, Rob Hahn ’91 decided it was time to record a song he had written 20 years earlier about the martyred archbishop of El Salvador, who was assassinated in 1980 while saying Mass. Hahn, a resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, says he learned about Romero in a theology course he took as a senior at Notre Dame and was fascinated by the man’s character and leadership. In April, Hahn’s “Romero” was recorded by musicians from St. Paul and released. Hahn describes his rock ’n’ roll paean to Romero as “a celebration of his life and incredible actions.” It can be heard and downloaded at . . . He has long been captivated by church architecture, and Domenic A. Narducci III ’80, a principal with the architectural firm Freestone Inc., arranged to share that interest with others by launching and conducting Freestone Tours. The Waterbury, Connecticut, church tours feature Immaculate Conception, an example of Renaissance Revival architecture, the Shrine of Saint Anne for Mothers and St. Patrick. Along with offering “a vehicle to share these wonderful architectural works in an inviting, educational and exciting hands-on way,” the free-will donation tours also are “a small fund raising effort to help these parishes maintain these buildings.” . . . William Gormley ’68, a former New Jersey state senator, set up a Skype gathering in April of students at St. Sylvester in Chicago with students at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Atlantic City to celebrate Our Lady’s updated technology lab, which was made possible by a donation from Jimmy Dunne ’78, a University trustee and head of the Sandler O’Neill and Partners investment firm. The technology partnership of the students from the inner-city Catholic schools will feature, among other things, a set of architecture lessons taught by Tom Sykes ’74 via video conference. Daniel Bennett ’01 is principal of St. Sylvester. . . . In March, Air Force Colonel Gianna (Ahearn) Zeh, M.D., ’89 was deployed from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida to serve for a year as commander of the 455th Expeditionary Medical Group in Afghanistan. The pediatrician will oversee Bagram Airfield’s Craig Joint Theater Hospital, a 50-bed facility that serves U.S and coalition service members and helps local Afghanistan citizens. . . . His students describe him as amazing, engaging and passionate, and the national website NerdScholar included Michael Faggella-Luby ’00M.Ed. in its second annual “40 under 40: Professors Who Inspire” list. The associate professor of special education in the College of Education at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, told NerdScholar that his favorite nerd is Mr. Rogers and that his wish is to see his children “grow up in a world that educates each child to become interdependent, self-determined, lifelong learners.” . . . The 64-year-old Nature Conservancy works in all 50 states and more than 35 countries to “protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.” Jim Desmond ’78, who previously served as a regional attorney for the group’s offices in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, says he has been a “huge fan” of the international nonprofit agency for years. Two decades ago he moved to Portland, Oregon, and in February he was named director for the Oregon chapter of The Nature Conservancy, which owns more than 400,000 acres in the state. . . . The Archdiocese of Chicago recently named Betsy Bohlen ’90, who also holds an MBA from Harvard, to the new position of chief operating officer, a move from her previous job as chief financial officer. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, “[Bohlen] said the archdiocese has pulled itself out of a $40 million debt from four years ago, and is focused on its mission to serve its 353 parishes while ‘achieving liquidity.’” Archbishop Blase Cupich praised Bohlen as “a strong person. She comes with huge qualities and abilities, and I respect that.”