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Alumni recognized by South Bend community

Ann Marie Jakubowski | Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Four people with Notre Dame connections will be honored tonight at the South Bend Alumni Association’s 26th annual Community Hall of Fame banquet.

The banquet, held at the Century Center, will recognize nine members of the community, including journalism professor and South Bend Tribune reporter Jack Colwell, former Notre Dame football player and NFL chaplain Anthony Johnson, former Notre Dame Alumni Association director Charles Lennon, and Women’s Task Force founder Joan Lennon.

According to the South Bend Alumni Association’s website, the Hall of Fame’s primary goal is “to publicly recognize individuals whose achievements and services have distinguished both themselves and the South Bend community.”

The requirements for eligibility hold that candidates must have “resided or worked in the South Bend community for ten or more years” and that they “must have notable personal achievements and/or made notable contributions at the local, state, national, or international level.”

Colwell, a professor in Notre Dame’s Journalism, Ethics and Democracy program, said that he was “surprised and honored” by the nomination.

“Personally, I think it’s a high honor, especially when I look at the names of the people who have been inducted over the years, like [University president emeritus] Fr. [Theodore] Hesburgh and Knute Rockne,” Colwell said. “It’s a very distinguished group of people who have served the South Bend area, and I’m really honored to be included.”

Colwell currently teaches Advanced Reporting and Persuasion Commentary and Criticism at Notre Dame, in addition to writing a weekly column for the South Bend Tribune and contributing to the Howey Politics blog.

“I started as a police reporter for the Tribune and then did general assignments before covering politics,” Colwell said. “I began writing a column which is political in nature, but concerns itself more with community issues and problems and not just hardcore politics.”

Colwell said the award honors his profession beyond his individual contributions.

“I accept induction as an honor for the right kind of journalism, the journalism of colleagues I worked with for so long at the South Bend Tribune,” Colwell said.

Johnson played on the 1988 national championship team and led the team in scoring with 35 touchdowns during his four years at Notre Dame. He went on to play professionally and now serves as the team chaplain for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Charles and Joan Lennon worked with the Notre Dame Alumni Association during Charles Lennon’s time as director and both volunteered extensively in the community at organizations including the city’s Redevelopment Department and the Women’s Task Force of St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.