Domers in the news

Author: Notre Dame Magazine

“I hope we can work up an appetite for change,” Katie Conboy ’86Ph.D. said during her introduction in February as the next president of Saint Mary’s College. The college’s founding Sisters of the Holy Cross have made it their mission to respond to the needs of the times, Conboy added, a model she wants Saint Mary’s to follow. An English literature scholar, she currently serves as provost and senior vice president at Simmons University in Boston. She will take office at Saint Mary’s on June 1. . . . The voice of Notre Dame Stadium since 1982, Mike Collins ’67 announced that 2020 would be his 39th and final season behind the microphone for Fighting Irish home football games. Collins, a former news anchor for WNDU and WSBT in South Bend who also has been a public-address announcer for his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, began his PA tenure with the first night game in Notre Dame history, a 23-17 win over Michigan on September 18, 1982. In all, he has been in the booth for 227 consecutive home games, including 167 wins. “I told my wife, ‘If Father Ted can retire at 75, that’s good enough for me,’” Collins said. . . . In other PA-announcer-bowing-out news, Jim Riebandt ’72 worked the Soldier Field press box for the last time in December after 38 years and somewhere around 385 Chicago Bears games. Riebandt started with the Bears in 1979 as the backup announcer after sending an unsolicited letter to the team’s general manager. As the full-time announcer since 1982, he has been involved in many memorable moments, but perhaps none more than the 1988 “Fog Bowl” that left the field with visibility of maybe 15 to 20 yards. In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Riebandt recalled a sideline crew “relaying the plays to me through a walkie-talkie held by the usher, and then I was relaying it to the crowd” that otherwise would never have known what happened on plays they couldn’t see. . . . From a pool that included more than 3,000 Air Force Academy, Reserve Officer Training Corps and Officer Training School cadets, 2nd Lt. Kirsten Cullinan ’19 was selected as the 2019 Cadet of the Year. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein presented Cullinan with the honor at a Pentagon ceremony. Cullinan, who earned degrees in political science and Russian, is now on active duty, training to be an intelligence officer. . . . Delbert Hosemann ’69 became the first Catholic ever elected Mississippi’s lieutenant governor, a role with greater statutory authority than the governor, overseeing the state senate and budget. A lawyer in private practice for most of his career, Hosemann lost a 1998 congressional race before being elected Mississippi’s secretary of state in 2007 — the first Republican since 1870 and the first Catholic to hold that position. Hosemann’s secretary of state campaigns, as well as public-service messages during his tenure about issues such as voting, included self-deprecating references to the way people struggled to remember his first name. There were even T-shirts and beer cozies emblazoned with “Gilbert?”. . . After serving for nearly half a century in the Indiana General Assembly, B. Patrick Bauer ’66 announced in January that he will not seek reelection in 2020. The South Bend Democrat, first elected in 1970, is the longest-serving member of the state House of Representatives. During his tenure, Bauer spent 12 years as chair of the ways and means committee, four years as minority leader and six years as speaker. Indiana Democrats praised Bauer’s work on behalf of early-childhood education, a prescription drug program known as HoosierRx, a ban on phosphates in detergents, and the collection of DNA samples from criminal suspects. Thanking his constituents, Bauer said, “By working together, I truly believe we have made St. Joseph County, and Indiana, a better place to live.” . . . When James Elser ’81 learned there was a scientific field called limnology that involved going out onto lakes to do research, “everything else was history after that.” Elser, the Bierman Professor of Ecology at the University of Montana and director of its Flathead Lake Biological Station at Yellow Bay, has been influential in shaping how ecologists study a variety of ecosystems. His distinguished contributions to the field merited induction into the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. . . . If he got his license at age 16, Joe Newman ’36 has been driving for more than 90 years. The South Bend native, who was instrumental in the establishment of Logan Center in 1950 as a resource for local residents with developmental disabilities, is still behind the wheel, enjoying joy rides around his Sarasota, Florida, neighborhood with his much-younger fiancée, 100-year-old Anita Sampson. Newman, 107, was featured as perhaps America’s oldest driver on Inside Edition and brooked no doubt about his ability to handle his red convertible. “Of course I’m a good driver,” he said. “That’s a silly question.” . . . New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones ’98 has been accumulating accolades and drawing criticism for her thought-provoking journalism in recent years, most prominently for the 1619 Project that she spearheaded last year — the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first slaves at Jamestown — reexamining slavery’s role in American history and lingering impact today. A recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant” and the Gwen Ifill Award, presented annually to an outstanding female journalist of color, Hannah-Jones has been named a 2020 inductee of the NC Journalism Hall of Fame, administered by the University of North Carolina Hussmann School of Journalism and Media, where she earned her master’s degree. . . . Jean E. Snyder ’76M.A. has spent decades researching the life of African American composer, arranger and singer Harry T. Burleigh. Snyder’s work culminated in the 2016 biography, Harry T. Burleigh: From the Spiritual to the Harlem Renaissance, and now she’s been named the inaugural Historian in Residence by the Harry T. Burleigh Society of New York City. . . . Toward the end of his first season in the NFL, Rocky Bleier ’68 got the word: He had been drafted into the U.S. Army and was to report the following day. Bleier served in Vietnam, suffering injuries in battle and earning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart before returning to a Super Bowl-winning football career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Long a figure of pride at Notre Dame and in Pittsburgh, Bleier added another accolade in December as the recipient of the 2020 NCAA Inspiration Award. . . . Kate Rose Marquez ’86 has been named CEO of WiNGS, a Dallas-based nonprofit that supports women and families. Previously director of development at the St. Vincent de Paul Society of North Texas and vice president for marketing at The Dallas Morning News, Marquez “will increase the visibility of WiNGS, so that we can help meet the needs of more women who are improving the lives of their families through the education, coaching and skill development our programs provide,” the organization’s board chair, Laura Ryan, said. . . .  Erin Rice ’17 developed a logo for the Village of Lincolnshire in Illinois, where she attended high school, as a Notre Dame class project. Now a concept artist for Walt Disney Imagineering, Rice also is the official designer of Lincolnshire’s new logo, which the village adopted at the start of the new year. Rice had pitched the design to local leaders as a student and her design inspired a rebranding that culminated with the use of her logo on official signs and documents. “It hasn’t really hit me,” Rice told the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago. “It is really cool to be part of something that is so close to home for me.”