Domers in the News

Author: Notre Dame Magazine

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Andrew McKenna ’51 made an immense impact on Notre Dame, one of numerous institutions where the corporate executive’s legacy of leadership and generosity will endure. The longtime member and former chair of the University’s board of trustees and year 2000 recipient of the Laetare Medal died in February at age 93. A native of Chicago’s South Side, McKenna spent more than 50 years leading Schwarz Paper Co. His many corporate directorships included 12 years as board chair of McDonald’s Corp. “Seemingly inexhaustible” in the estimation of the Chicago Sun-Times, he was also a part owner and director of the Chicago Bears, and the only person to chair the boards of the city’s two Major League Baseball franchises. McKenna’s philanthropic work included cultural, medical and religious causes in the city and decades of giving time and money to the University. In recognition of a multimillion-dollar gift for student scholarships, Notre Dame named its conference center for McKenna and his wife; another major gift endowed the Andrew J. and Joan P. McKenna Center for Human Development and Global Business in the Keough School of Global Affairs. . . . Four Notre Dame graduates were instrumental in a provision of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that will lead to greater recognition and support for Purple Heart recipients — service members killed or wounded in combat. Romel Nicholas ’14, a volunteer for the Pittsburgh-based National Flag Foundation, pitched what came to be known as Project Purple Heart. Notre Dame and Pittsburgh Steelers legend Rocky Bleier ’68, a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient, joined physician Michael Dunn ’68, a retired Army brigadier general and former commander of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, along with University trustee emeritus and past PNC Financial Services chairman and CEO James Rohr ’70 as leading advocates calling for a Purple Heart registry. Section 584 of the legislation, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden in December, requires each military branch to facilitate the confirmation of those Purple Hearts awarded since 2002 per the requests of the wounded veterans and their next of kin. The NFF says the law will promote greater efficiency in the distribution of benefits to decorated veterans and their families “and guard against stolen valor.” . . .

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Kathryn Martinez ’14 roots for the NFL’s Denver Broncos, but the Super Bowl between Kansas City and Philadelphia in February provided a reason for her to cheer — and for the crowd to cheer Martinez and her Navy pilot comrades. Part of the “Flying Eagles” — Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-122 based in Lemoore, California — the lieutenant participated in the pregame flyover, the first to feature all female pilots, in commemoration of 50 years of women flying in the Navy. Martinez flew in an F/A-18F fighter jet, known as the Super Hornet. . . . Young Notre Dame alumni are making names for themselves in a variety of industries. Forbes included six recent graduates and one “drop out” on its 2023 30 Under 30 lists. Mack Mazeski ’15 was recognized on the health care list as a co-founder of DxTx Pain and Spine, a company created to better treat back issues and reduce the need for surgery and opioid prescriptions. Colin Devine ’16 appeared on the manufacturing and industry list as a co-founder of BotBuilt, which is automating the process of home building. Raquel Dominguez ’16, creative executive for OBB Media, made the Hollywood and entertainment list. Working on films, television and podcasts, Dominguez oversees content and strategy for performers such as Hailey Bieber, Kylie Jenner, Demi Lovato and Kevin Hart. Jackson Jhin ’17, former chief financial officer of the celebrity video messaging site Cameo, appeared on the media list as co-founder of Protégé. In a twist on Cameo’s business model, which charges users a fee to receive personalized messages from celebrities, Protégé allows aspiring performers to pay to have stars give them feedback on their work. Natalie Marshall ’19, aka @CorporateNatalie, made the social media list for her TikTok and Instagram popularity. With nearly 1 million followers between the two platforms, Marshall’s side hustle — she has an actual, full-time corporate job as a consultant to startups and online creators like herself — involves producing video spoofs of office culture and the oddities of working from home. And Arike Ogunbowale ’19 has continued the athletic success that made her a Notre Dame legend as a two-time WNBA all-star and the 2020 league scoring leader. That would have sufficed to earn her a place on the sports list, but she’s also a founding member of LeBron James’ More Than a Vote advocacy campaign and an investor in the media startup Just Women’s Sports. . . . Chas Pulido, whose education is listed as “Drop Out, University of Notre Dame,” made the Forbes venture capital list. The founder of Alix Ventures invests in life-science startups focused on advances in human health. Pulido, 25, started his career at Liquid 2 Ventures, a company quarterbacked (if you will) by Joe Montana ’79. . . .

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Jacqueline Winsch ’17, ’19M.Ed., made a 30 Under 30 list of her own. A doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, Winsch earned recognition from the International Literacy Association for her research on how drama integration influences reading instruction in elementary school classrooms. “As a senior at the University of Notre Dame, I was introduced to drama integration by [Shakespeare program director] Christy Burgess and the Robinson Community Learning Center, and quickly realized the power of using drama in literacy classrooms,” Winsch said. . . .  Korbin Albert is another nongraduate enjoying professional success. The All-America midfielder for the women’s soccer team, who finished second in the 2022 race for the Hermann Trophy that goes to the top college player, signed in January with Paris Saint-Germain, one of the world’s leading professional clubs. Albert scored 16 goals as a sophomore last fall to lead the Fighting Irish to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Two of Albert’s teammates also joined the pro ranks following the collegiate season. Graduate student Olivia Wingate ’22, a forward and the team’s second-leading scorer with 14 goals, was the sixth overall pick in the National Women’s Soccer League draft, going to the North Carolina Courage. Graduate defender and midfielder Brianna Martinez ’22 went to Racing Louisville FC with the league’s 17th selection. . . . In December, Pope Francis appointed Rev. Patrick M. Neary, CSC, ’85 bishop of the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. Ordained in 1991, Neary has worked at Notre Dame’s Campus Ministry, Moreau Seminary, the Holy Cross formation house in Nairobi, Kenya, and Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Portland, Oregon. . . .

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Pat Collins ’68 retired in December after a distinguished — and distinctive — 50-year career as a television reporter. A student co-founder of The Observer at Notre Dame, Collins began his professional journalism career at the Washington Daily News before becoming an institution in the nation’s capital for his TV reporting. He did not look the part — according to his wife, his clothes made him seem “like a man who got dressed in the dark.” And Collins often told offbeat stories in an idiosyncratic manner. He once costumed himself as a bunch of grapes for a report about a high school student who had been suspended for disrupting a school event while dressed as a banana. He was no meteorologist, but Collins’ recurring yardstick measurement of snowfall became a D.C. classic. Contests enabled viewers to win their own “Pat Collins Snow Stick,” and the instrument even has its own Twitter account, @PatsSnowStick. HBO’s John Oliver once described Collins’ approach as “local news beat poetry.” Yet his novel style did not interfere with serious news reporting. Collins, for instance, obtained the tape of Washington Mayor Marion Barry’s 1990 drug arrest and covered high-profile stories such as the 2001 disappearance of Federal Bureau of Prisons intern Chandra Levy and the 2002 D.C. sniper attacks, winning at least 10 local Emmy awards for his work.