Four hall rectors prepare to leave home under the Dome
John Cameron | Friday, May 20, 2011
Students graduating in the Class of 2011 are not the only members of the Notre Dame community saying their goodbyes to campus. Four hall rectors will leave their homes at Notre Dame as well.
Lyons Hall rector Denise McOsker spent five years in Lyons. Although she did not attend the University, she said she feels at home on the Notre Dame campus.
“I feel like a Domer,” she said. “After a while, just the tradition of this place kind of gets in your blood.”
McOsker will move to Florida to care for her parents. She does not yet have a job in her new state, but she hopes for a position with more regular hours than a rector’s job.
“Sleeping properly is hard … People will knock on your door at 4 a.m. crying, or having to go to be at the hospital with a particularly thirsty lady,” she said. “But I was always happy to be there for my women. It’s a challenge, but it’s also a privilege.”
Howard Hall rector Sr. Lucille D’Amelio agreed she would not miss the schedule of a rector’s life. She will seek a “less stressful position” after two years in Howard.
“I try to build a relationship with all the girls in the hall,” she said. “But sometimes I have to put on the disciplinarian hat.”
Despite the challenges of her role, D’Amelio said she treasures the opportunity to share in the residents’ achievements.
“[The best part was] just being able to work with the women and share in their excitement, when they get accepted to abroad programs or internships,” she said.
After her time as rector, D’Amelio said she was especially proud of Howard’s service work. The dorm sponsored projects for melanoma awareness, hosted a stem cell match drive and raised funds for a water well in Africa.
“To see all the service the girls are doing, the creative things to help other people, has been wonderful to experience,” she said.
Duncan Hall rector Fr. Tom Eckert joined Duncan Hall when the dorm opened in 2008. He also took special pride in the service his residents performed in the past three years.
Duncan residents organized the Bald and the Beautiful in honor of Duncan resident Sam Marx who passed away from cancer after his freshman year. Eckert shaved his head alongside his residents during the fundraiser this year.
“One unforgettable moment was seeing 65 Highlanders gathered together at the Bald and the Beautiful event this spring to shave their heads to raise money for children’s cancer research,” he said. “I even left my locks behind to be in solidarity.”
Eckert was amazed by how quickly the new residence hall came together after its inception. He said he would especially miss the strong sense of community that has developed in Duncan during his time as rector.
“Without a doubt, I will miss the community and brotherhood of Duncan the most,” he said. “In such a short time the men of Duncan have turned a building into a home we can be very proud of.”
Eckert will move to Goodyear, Ariz., to serve as the pastor of St. John Vianney Parish, where he previously served as a deacon. As a “triple Domer,” Eckert said leaving campus will be difficult.
“Without a doubt, the greatest challenge now is saying goodbye. After being part of such a close knit community and sharing in the lives of the men of Duncan, it will be challenging to step out of that,” he said. “I know that the Highlanders will be in good hands as I move on.”
Fisher Hall rector Fr. Robert Moss spent 12 years among the Fishermen and is the most veteran of the departing rectors. Like Eckert, he said he would miss the sense of community in his dorm, especially in Fisher’s spiritual life.
“I’ve had great staffs every year, great guys in the Hall,” he said. “[I’ll miss] the people, the contact — our Sunday masses too.”
Moss said the most challenging part of the job was maintaining a Christian atmosphere in a men’s college residence hall.
“For me personally, it was having the gift of patience,” he said. “The greatest challenge was making the effort to create a Christian community.”
Moss is unsure of his next career, but plans to remain on campus.
“I’ll be at Notre Dame, and I am blessed with a lot of opportunities,” he said.
The four rectors hail from different backgrounds, but as each prepares to leave Notre Dame, they said they never anticipated serving at Notre Dame as a rector.
However, D’Amelio said she was fortunate to serve in such a rewarding position.
“It’s been an interesting journey. I hope I’ve touched some lives, I know these people have touched mine,” she said. “I was where I was meant to be during my time here.”