Domers in the news

Author: Carol Schaal '91M.A.

He played in Maine’s Little League Baseball state championship game in 1979, but his longtime job in New York City means Brian O’Gara ’89 hasn’t lived in the Pine Tree State for years. The vice president of special events for Major League Baseball, however, says he felt fortunate to be among those selected this year for induction into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, to be honored by “my home state that I love so dearly.” . . . Among the many activities of Idaho resident Lauren Stein McLean ’97 is her commitment to sustainable communities. In recognition of her work on “land conservation, energy efficiency and social justice,” the Boise City Council president pro tem was named in March by as one of 50 innovators “with fresh, forward-thinking solutions to some of humanity’s biggest challenges.” McLean has worked continually to protect the Boise foothills, noting, “They’re the place [my husband] Scott and I take our kids for family time, where we’ve found baby owls with them, taught them to mountain bike, and spent countless hours walking and exploring.” . . . The athletic honorees at the February Dapper Dan Dinner and Sports Auction, a Pittsburgh event that raises money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, included two Notre Dame graduates. Rocky Bleier ’68, a member of Notre Dame’s 1966 national championship football team, a Vietnam veteran, a former running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the star of the one-man show The Play with Rocky Bleier, received the foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Named Sportswoman of the Year was Amanda Polk ’08, part of the first ND women’s rowing team to earn a team bid in the NCAA rowing championships and a member of the women’s eight rowing team that won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics. Also in February, Polk was hired as an assistant coach for Clemson University’s rowing program. . . . In eastern Pennsylvania, Kathy and Thomas Jennings ’80J.D., ’80MBA were chosen as the 2017 Citizen Diplomats of the Year for their commitment to Philadelphia’s international community. Through the Philadelphia Sister Cities Program and other exchange programs, the couple has opened their home to emerging leaders from across the globe. . . . If Belgian chocolates are on your list of favorite things, visit a Madame Delluc artisan chocolate boutique in either Oakwood or Upper Arlington, Ohio, for a selection of the confections. If that drive seems a bit far, order the hand-crafted treats at Operated by Francoise Walusis, her husband, John M. Walusis ’99MBA, and her brother-in-law, Brian Walusis, the company is the only U.S. distributor of Madame Delluc chocolates. . . . Learning about leadership in a class directed by Brad Alge ’89 requires a trip to the past. The associate professor of management at Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, partnered with the Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg to design a course that includes a three-day trip to the historic site, where students examine the actions of battlefield leaders. Alge, a walk-on member of ND’s 1988 championship football team, is still involved in the sport as a coach of youth football. . . . Notre Dame’s first female Rhodes Scholar, Tess Lewis ’86, was awarded the 2017 PEN Translation Prize for her rendition from the German into English of Maja Haderlap’s Angel of Oblivion. An essayist, critic and translator from French and German, Lewis has written for The Hudson Review, The American Scholar, Bookforum and other publications. The New York City area resident is the daughter of E. Jane Doering, a professional specialist emerita in Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies, and the late Bernard E. Doering, who was an ND professor of Romance languages and literatures. . . . Luis M. Laita ’72M.A., ’76Ph.D., who died in Madrid in February at age 81, studied both history and the philosophy of science while working on his doctorate under the direction of Michael Crowe, now a Program of Liberal Studies professor emeritus. Laita, known for his strong Catholic faith, was acclaimed for his research in artificial intelligence and mathematical logic, which he taught at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. . . . New fingerprint evidence pointing to different perpetrators led to the exoneration this year of four men who had been incarcerated after being wrongfully convicted of a 1995 double murder and armed robbery at a southwest side Chicago car dealership. Known as the Marquette Park 4, the men seeking post-conviction relief were represented pro bono by several legal entities, including the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and Tim Knapp ’04 of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Knapp, who began working on the case in 2008, said it serves as “a reminder that our criminal justice system still reaches the wrong result too often, and when it does the consequences are devastating.” . . . The healing power of nature is at the core of Heroes on the Water, a nonprofit program for veterans, active duty military and their families that features guided kayak fishing trips held in local communities around the country. Texas resident William D. Carnegie ’01MNA, a retired U.S. Coast Guard chief warrant officer and longtime leader in the nonprofit sector, recently was named CEO of the therapeutic program, which has served more than 32,000 veterans and family members over the past 10 years. . . . She survived breast cancer, and now Jill Nowak Johns ’97 provides workshops and retreats for other breast cancer survivors. The Statesboro, Georgia, entrepreneur earned a 2017 American Small Business Championship, sponsored by SCORE and Sam’s Club, for her company, Jill Johns International. . . . The Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest honor bestowed by the State of Indiana, was presented in December to Darrell Gordon ’88, ’89MSN, the CEO and president of Wernle Youth & Family Treatment Center. The Richmond, Indiana, agency provides outpatient services to troubled children and their families, and residential treatment for children struggling with serious emotional problems. . . . He was, most of all, a teller of stories. The editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, author of numerous books, and a frequent contributor to this magazine and other publications, wordsmith Brian Doyle ’78 died May 27 at age 60 from complications related to a brain tumor. He is survived by his wife, Mary Miller Doyle, and three children. . . . Northwest Iowa’s The Storm Lake Times, circulation 3,000, is published twice a week. The family-run newspaper may sound like small potatoes, but founder and publisher John Cullen ’72 has substantial bragging rights now, thanks to his brother, Art Cullen. In April, Art won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing “that successfully challenged powerful corporate agriculture interests in Iowa.” . . . Surprises were on the menu for Father John E. Conley, CSC, ’73, ’77M.Div. during a dinner in April to honor his 20 years as rector of Siegfried Hall. Along with a cake marking his 66th birthday, the man who has served as team chaplain of ND’s hockey program since 2012 was awarded an honorary monogram by the Monogram Club. . . . She has written for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post, and been posted to Iraq and sub-Saharan Africa. Now Sarah Childress ’03 is a senior digital reporter for PBS’s Frontline. The Boston area resident, commenting about recent changes in her chosen field, told Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters newsletter, “I think journalism is at a turning point. We’re seeing a really clear need for continued, aggressive, accountability journalism.” . . . PBS also employs Robert Costa ’08, who in April was named moderator of the political talk show Washington Week. He replaces Gwen Ifill, who died of cancer in November. Costa, who will continue as the national political reporter for The Washington Post, is the son of Dillon Costa ’79J.D. and Tom Costa ’80J.D. of Yardley, Pennsylvania.