Domers in the news

Author: Carol Schaal '91M.A.

As a student-athlete at Notre Dame, he was a decathlete, and wearing the perfect shoes for each of the 10 events was important. These days Justin Schneider ’11 wants to outfit male executives with the perfect shoes — ones he designed that combine the comfort of a running shoe with the classic styling of quality dress footwear. Earlier this year he launched Wolfe & Shepherd, and the high-performance dress shoe company walked away with Notre Dame’s 2015 McCloskey Business Plan Competition grand prize. The Atlantic Beach, Florida, resident told the Jacksonville Business Journal, “So many other types of luxury dress shoes have a clog-like bulky design, so I really felt like I was solving a problem here.” . . . Among the seven 2015 inductees of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame is John Rumbach ’73, editor and co-publisher of The Herald in Jasper, Indiana. He was honored for leading The Herald “to the forefront of newspaper photography.” . . . The students at Academy Prep Center attend the Tampa, Florida, middle school for 11 hours a day, six days a week, 11 months a year. But it’s not all sit-at-your-desk time at the school for disadvantaged children headed by Lincoln Tamayo ’82. Earlier this year students attended Motown The Musical at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts as part of an exploration of the cultural heritage of Motown music. The event was organized by program director Cristina Gutierrez-Brewster ’06, who was honored in June as one of three winners nationwide of the Broadway League’s 2015 League Educator Apple Award for her commitment to arts education. . . . More than 150 species of birds fly through the National Aviary’s walk-through exhibits in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In July, one new denizen of the zoo, a juvenile bald eagle who had sustained a wing injury that made him unable to survive in the wild, was given the name “Flinn.” The designation honors Mike Flinn ’71, a longtime board member and supporter of the nonprofit aviary that offers a family recreational and educational experience while it works to save endangered bird species. “Of all the things they could have done, I think [having a bald eagle named after me] is the coolest,” Flinn, an attorney with Buchanan, Ingersoll and Rooney, told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. . . . Mother of four, wife of a computer nerd, part-time labor and delivery nurse, and a princess: That’s a partial description of Kate Mosca Melody ’98. We’re counting her as royal because Melody participated in the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon. Her love of all things Disney earned Melody a spot on the 2015 Disney Parks Moms Panel, an online forum that offers tips on magical world vacations. . . . Former Rochester, Massachusetts, resident Joseph Koczera ’04J.D. studied government at Georgetown and law at Notre Dame before entering the Jesuit novitiate in 2004,where he was involved in several ministries, including refugee resettlement in California. This June he was ordained at Queen of All Saints Basilica in Chicago. Father Koczera, S.J., blogs about his life and matters of faith and culture at . . . Molly Bruggeman ’14 of Dayton, Ohio, and her rowing partner, Emily Huelskamp, won gold for the United States in the women’s coxless pair event at the June 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. This was the third gold medal of Bruggeman’s international rowing career. . . . While working for nearly a decade at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, they prosecuted such high profile financial crimes as the Bernard Madoff case. In January, Peter Skinner ’94 and John Zach ’97 left that federal office to launch a global investigations and white collar defense practice at the New York law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner. . . . Despite the team’s losing 2015 season during a rebuilding year, winning Big Ten championships in 2012, 2013 and 2014 earned Penn State University Lady Lions head basketball coach Coquese Washington ’92, ’97J.D. a two-year contract extension. The former player and assistant coach at Notre Dame and WNBA hoopster joined Penn State in 2007 and has been named Big Ten coach of the year three times. . . . The July 15 ESPY awards, which honor athletes for outstanding achievements, turned into a golden evening for three former Notre Dame student-athletes. Shannon Boxx ’99 crossed the Microsoft Theater stage in Los Angeles as a member of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, winners of the Best Team of the Year award. Skylar Diggins ’13, who was unable to attend, was named Best WNBA Player. A highlight of the evening was the speech given by Danielle Green ’99 as she accepted the Pat Tillman Award for Service. The former women’s basketball player, who sustained an injury in 2004 during her military service in Iraq, wore a sleeveless dress that showed her scarred left bicep and prosthetic lower arm, and left the audience with a summons: “If my story leaves you with one thing tonight, I hope it leaves you with a challenge. Ask yourself: What’s my purpose? What’s my passion? What do I want my legacy to be? How can I live as a full human being?” Green works as a readjustment therapist at the South Bend Vet Center. . . . Former CIA analyst Christopher Rodriguez ’06Ph.D. now serves as director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. He previously worked for the state as a policy adviser on Governor Chris Christie’s staff from 2011-12. . . . “In my eyes, she was perfect,” Marisa Posch Tompkins ’99 says of her newborn daughter, Emily, who has Down Syndrome. In the June 2015 issue of Christ is our Hope, the official magazine of the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, the Downers Grove resident writes about gaining “a new perspective about what is important in life. . . . [W]e are better people and a better family because of Emily.” . . . What do the economic justice principles of the Just Third Way and Catholic social teachings have in common? Michael D. Greaney ’77, director of research for the Center for Economic and Social Justice, tackled that subject in his “Pope Francis and the Just Third Way” article, published this June in the online journal Homiletic & Pastoral Review. He calls for an encyclical “that would help guide people everywhere in the challenge of redesigning their basic economic laws and institutions.” . . . The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that his colleagues call Alan Page ’67 “a champion of social justice and racial equity, a promoter of diversity in the courts, and an advocate of clearly written opinions.” After 22 years of service the justice retired from the Minnesota Supreme Court in July, as he would reach the court’s mandatory retirement age of 70 in August. The former Notre Dame and pro football player said he plans to take a more active role in running the Page Educational Foundation, which distributes college scholarships to Minnesota students of color. . . . What has John H. Erickson ’78 done that he never thought a blind person could do? How about rappelling down the 27-story WIT Hotel in Chicago? Or driving a 60-ton tank? Or skiing? The retired investment adviser, profiled in the December 2014 issue of U.S. Catholic, lost most of his vision as a teen, but, he says, “I can see shapes and sharp contrasts.” He also can see his life of outdoor adventures continuing. In “hopes of encouraging others to find faith in the midst of life’s greatest challenges,” he penned the memoir, That God’s Work Be Displayed: What I Saw After I Lost My Sight. . . . Estonian native Eerik Marmei ’96M.A. now represents his home country as ambassador to the United States. He previously served as Estonia’s ambassador to Poland and Romania.