Domers in the News

Author: The editors | Illustrations by Emmett Baggett

In 2018, Adm. Christopher Grady ’84 became the first four-star flag officer with a Notre Dame degree. He’s now in position to become the nation’s second-ranking military officer after President Joe Biden nominated him in November to become vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The current commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Grady was commissioned as an ensign after serving in Notre Dame’s Naval ROTC program. In nearly four decades of military service, he has been commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet and of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, as well as deputy commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa. . . . MacKenzie Isaac ’20 has been named a 2022 Rhodes Scholar, one of 32 recipients selected from among 826 applicants. After earning a sociology degree from Notre Dame, where she served as student government director of diversity and inclusion, Isaac spent a year with AmeriCorps in her native Indianapolis working on pedestrian safety and chronic disease prevention. She’s now a graduate student in health education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. At Oxford University, Isaac will pursue a doctoral degree in population health. . . . Praise be to Hallow, the Catholic prayer and meditation app that has surpassed 1 million downloads and announced in November that it had completed a $40 million fundraising round to bring its total to more than $50 million for 2021. Led by co-founder and CEO Alex Jones ’15, Hallow features 3,000 guided meditations and free content rooted in the Catholic spiritual tradition. A paid option offers subscribers access to the app’s full catalog. With the new round of funding, Jones says, Hallow will be able to make additional content available for free, introduce more languages and double its staff. . . . Classical architects think in millennia, at least, so what’s a delay of a year and a half? That’s about how much time elapsed between the news that Gerald Bauer ’17M.Arch had received the 2020 Award for Emerging Excellence in the Classical Tradition and his public acceptance of the award in October 2021. The Milwaukee-based architect was selected from a global pool of applicants. The Prince’s Foundation, the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism and the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which present the award, praised Bauer’s research and built work for its focus on “restoring beauty and sustainability to the global architectural discourse.” Accepting the honor, Bauer said, “As designers, I believe we have an immense responsibility in shifting the focus of our contemporary discourse from the egocentric and the ephemeral to one of humanity, permanence and social responsibility.” . . .  Joe Donnelly ’77, ’81J.D. has been nominated as ambassador to the Holy See. Pending confirmation in the United States Senate, the Catholic former senator from Granger, Indiana, would be the 13th American envoy to the Vatican since President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II opened diplomatic relations in 1984. . . . In 2012, David Walker ’81 became president and CEO of the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, which offers financial and other assistance to wounded veterans. Walker had been a volunteer and a board member since the organization’s founding in 2004. His years of service earned him the Academy of United States Veterans’ inaugural Frank Prautzsch Lifetime Achievement Award. “Mr. Walker’s actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more,” said Assal Ravandi, the organization’s president. “Through his leadership, he has instilled in our community an everlasting hope for success.” . . . Pat Byrnes ’81 always wanted to be a cartoonist, but he studied aerospace engineering to appease his parents. He worked in the industry for about a year before wending his way into advertising. He also dabbled in improv comedy and voiceover work, leaving his cartooning ambitions aside for a decade or so. Now, it’s his livelihood, drawing for the Cagle Cartoons syndicate and appearing regularly in The New Yorker. Byrnes, the brother of Agaña, Guam, archbishop Michael J. Byrnes, recounted the drawn-out path back to his original dream in an October profile in Detroit Catholic, the digital news service of the archdiocese where he grew up. . . . The Historical Society of Michigan has been around for 193 years. In that time, only eight people have received the organization’s highest honor. Tawny Ryan Nelb ’75 is the latest, receiving the society’s History Hero Award in September. An archivist and author of five books and more than 50 articles on records preservation and other topics in local history, Nelb told her hometown Midland Daily News that unearthing the past from the evidence in documents is akin to detective work. “For me, it’s all about telling a story,” Nelb added. “It’s life-changing when you can bring that history to life.” . . . His father-in-law restored antique cars, including a 1906 Buick Model F that Alan Page ’67 and his late wife, Diane, inherited, and which the Hall of Fame defensive lineman and former Minnesota Supreme Court justice still drives today. Page shared the unique challenges the vintage automobile presents in a November article in The Wall Street Journal. “The fuel feed, for example, is on the steering column, along with the spark advance,” Page told the newspaper. “You have to adjust the spark occasionally, so that the fuel ignites properly.” The car has two gears — a low and a “high” speed — and over time its two-cylinder charm enticed Page, who says the car might not move that fast but takes time to slow down. “To stop this car, you have to think well in advance,” he said. “If you were used to driving modern cars and drove this one, you would think it didn’t have any brakes at all.” . . . Jennifer Tooker ’91 was elected in November as first selectwoman of Westport, Connecticut, the town’s chief executive. Tooker spent four years as second selectwoman, and the former insurance-industry executive has been active in the community for many years. She and Republican running mate Andrea Moore “understand that listening is one of the most important skill sets in a leader,” Tooker told a local newspaper. “We know our job is to manage a town government that works for you in an effective and efficient manner that most importantly has your best interests and priorities at heart.” . . . And the Emmy goes to Liz Hynes ’17, who along with fellow writers at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver won honors for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series at the television industry’s top awards show in September.