Domers in the news

Author: Carol Schaal '91M.A.

If you are a contestant on Jeopardy!, it can help to be a Notre Dame graduate when the answer-and-question show offers such clues as: “Gipper-winning aside, he graduated from Notre Dame in 1914 and taught chemistry at the school before he was head coach.” John Avila ’09, a lawyer from Arlington, Virginia, easily got the “Who is Knute Rockne?” response. The three-day champion, whose run on the show aired January 16-19, told host Alex Trebek he might buy a new sousaphone, the instrument he played in the Irish marching band, with his winnings. The $42,600 that Avila collected certainly should allow him to toot a new horn. . . . The New Yorker is known for its great cartoons, and it’s fun to open the magazine and spot one by Pat Byrnes ’81, whose work appears there frequently. His drawings, illustrations and cartoons also can be found at . . . In January, the presidency of the American Catholic Historical Association passed from Liam Brockey ’94, a historian at Michigan State University, to Kathleen Sprows Cummings ’95M.A., ’99Ph.D., director of Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. . . . Founders of the nonprofit Seeds of Wisdom in South Sudan, working in partnership with St. John the Evangelist Church in Rochester, Minnesota, had to close the school they had built near Yei as fighting spread through South Sudan last year. Steven Deick ’93, who, with his wife, Brenda, and their five children, had spent three months in Africa in 2015 overseeing the project, said the mission continues. Seeds of Wisdom plans to sponsor its students to attend boarding schools in Uganda until the school can re-open. Steven and Brenda did have cause to celebrate last year, however, as they added another Chinese adoptee to their family. . . . The Living Legends of Aviation honored Flexjet chairman Kenn Ricci ’78 of Willoughby, Ohio, in January with its 2017 Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award. The member of the University’s board of trustees has completed more than 6,000 hours as a pilot in type-rated aircraft. . . . A 2016 Silver Stevie Award in the female executive of the year category was presented to Karen Flynn ’84, the senior vice president and chief commercial officer of West Pharmaceutical Services. The Pennsylvania resident is on the advisory board of the Downington STEM Academy. . . . As part of her pro bono consulting project through IBM’s Corporate Service Corps leadership development program, Manasi Raveendran ’12J.D. left her New York City home in autumn 2016 to spend a month in Morocco on an assignment to help female-owned cooperatives and young entrepreneurs generate sustainable incomes. The cyberspace attorney for IBM compared that “incredible professional and personal experience” to her participation while a law student in the Notre Dame Business on the Frontlines program, which also focuses on corporate citizenship. . . . When he returned to his collegiate roots, Vaughn Emery ’85 of Cary, Illinois, discovered Notre Dame still had something to teach him. The founder and president of Intern Werks, Inc., a social enterprise supporting Catholic education and servant leadership, says he gained advice on marketing his start-up from a meeting with John Weber. The Mendoza College of Business professor had taught both Vaughn and his daughter, Katrina Emery ’14, in a principles of marketing class. Intern Werks helps small and midsize companies “build their workforce with outstanding college-educated entry level professionals” through customized internship programs. . . . Senator Eugene McCarthy ran for president in 1968, and the Minnesota Democrat captured the hearts and minds of young voters. The documentary Hi, Gene! Meet the Real Senator McCarthy, produced by another Minnesotan, Rob Hahn ’91, takes a look at the historic impact of a race in which a senator challenged the sitting president of his own party. Some have compared McCarthy’s run to the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, but Hahn said in a blog that McCarthy’s supporters “etched their mark in history,” and it is too early to tell if Sanders’ supporters will “work within our democratic system to effectively alter policies.” See the film online at . . . Tom Coyne ’97, ’99MFA, whose books include A Course Called Ireland, blogged about the September inaugural Coyne Cup on GOLF magazine’s website. More than 40 golfers traveled to Ireland’s County Mayo for four days of competition. Coyne Cup 2017 will tee up in Scotland in August ( . . . The goal of Catharsis Productions is “to challenge oppressive attitudes and transform behaviors.” Christian Murphy ’92, ’15EMBA, co-founder and CEO of the Chicago-based company, co-created and tours college campuses with the program “Sex Signals.” The sexual-assault prevention show uses humor and improvisation as a springboard to examine sexual harassment, assault and violence as well as the importance of bystander intervention. Murphy and his team also have adapted the program for military audiences. . . . Learning, growing and healing can be the result of mindfulness, meditation and such contemplative practices as centering prayer. Copper Beech Institute in West Hartford, Connecticut, a nonprofit retreat center founded and directed by Brandon Nappi ’97, offers on-site retreats as well as workplace workshops. The institute has taught mindfulness to such organizations as the Hartford Correctional Center and the Chrysalis Center for the Homeless. . . . Who is the patron saint of hunters? Emily Degan ’13 knows the answer. Last year she named her leisure clothing company Saint Hugh, a nod to Saint Hubertus, an advocate of ethical hunting practices. Degan told Louisiana Road Trips that before she and her sister went duck hunting with their father, “we bought clothes from the little boys section and as an adult I’ve worn men’s hunting clothes.” No more. Saint Hugh makes field apparel exclusively for women and offers such products as a shooter’s vest and trapper’s tights, all assembled in the United States and available through . . . Call them the Speed Domers: Steve Lauletta ’86, president of Chip Ganassi Racing, Scott Paddock ’90, president of Chicagoland Speedway, and Andrew Gurtis ’88, senior vice president, operations, of Daytona International Speedway, bumped into each other on campus (fortunately, however, not while driving) the weekend of the October ND-Miami game. Lauletta was showing off the campus to relatives and Abe Madkour, executive editor of SportsBusiness Journal. Paddock and Gurtis were touring the Campus Crossroads project with business associates. . . . In 2016 Liz Leftwich Eichelberger ’13 and Jay Eichelberger ’14 of Atlanta, Georgia, began selling their company’s Snoozeenie pillow (, which can serve as a plush partition to block light, germs and the sounds of a snoring spouse. In October, they were married. But during that exceptional year, Jay learned he would have to undergo surgery for a recurrence of cancer in his lymph nodes. This year, the newlyweds are celebrating Jay’s full recovery and working on their “pillow partnership” business. . . . Matt Schlapp ’90, a principal at the Arlington, Virginia, government and public relations firm Cove Strategies, has popped up on TV and radio frequently this year. The former political director for President George W. Bush and chairman of the American Conservative Union comments on political issues. In January and February, he and his wife, Washington Times columnist Mercedes Schlapp, co-hosted a show on SiriusXM that previewed the then-upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference. . . . As we noted in the winter issue, pitcher Jeff Manship ’08 was not retained by the Cleveland Indians, despite his fine postseason play. The right-hander has since found a spot with the NC Dinos, a member of the Korean Baseball Organization. . . . Scott Malpass ’84, ’86MBA, Notre Dame’s chief investment officer and a concurrent assistant professor of finance, was named a member of the board of the Vatican Bank in December.