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Notre Dame names Stephen Schafer first salutatorian in 45 years

| Friday, May 13, 2016

Senior Stephen Schafer, the University’s first salutatorian in 45 years, said he never had a preconceived notion of what he was going to do during the four years leading up to graduation.

“I would say if anything defines my time at Notre Dame, it would be embracing uncertainty and diving into unknown places,” he said.

Hugh Page, vice president and associate provost, dean of the First Year of Studies and chair of the valedictorian selection committee, said naming a salutatorian allows the University to “recognize in a more formal way two outstanding seniors” who will “represent the virtues and ideals animating a Notre Dame undergraduate education.”

Schafer, a native of Edgewood, Kentucky, has a 4.00 cumulative grade point average and will graduate with degrees in finance and economics, according to a University press release. Schafer was also a Malpass Scholar, a merit-based award that provides students with the opportunity to learn and be involved with the process of managing the University’s endowment, the press release said.

Schafer was a project leader for the Student International Business Council (SIBC) and Investment Club and a senior mentor for the Wall Street Club, the press release said. He spent the summer of 2013 studying abroad in China and participated in the two-week Ireland Inside Track program in the summer of 2014.

After graduation, Schafer has plans to travel to Asia and Europe, he said. He will then go to work in investment banking at Goldman Sachs in New York City, where he interned during his undergraduate career.

Before college, Schafer said he knew he wanted to go into finance, but he did not know what type of job he wanted to do.

“I think that I came in and was open to a wide variety of experiences and took part in a lot of different events, a lot of different clubs,” he said. “Through that, I was able to experience basically everything in finance from wealth management to sales and trading, to investment banking and private equity.”

Schafer said he learned early on how to manage his time efficiently and effectively.

“I hit my athletic prime back in seventh grade — and since then, I started focusing on academics,” he said with a laugh. “If I wanted to just get away, I do that by studying.”

A defining part of his time at Notre Dame, Schafer said, was his friendships with Notre Dame football players Sheldon Day and Ronnie Stanley.

“We all met freshman year and ended up becoming roommates,” Schafer said. “… Last week, both of them got drafted into the NFL, and I was named salutatorian. … It’s a uniquely Notre Dame story.”

Schafer said he strove to divide his time equally between his academics and his social life.

“A lot of it just comes down to time management, which I think I did very successfully throughout college,” he said. “It may have been at the sacrifice of some sleep, but I would say I have a pretty balanced life in terms of going out and going to sporting events and what not.

“ … Throughout my time here, it was more like I was jumping into everything — and wherever it takes me, it takes me,” he said. “It’s something I’m very happy I did and something I want to continue to do.”

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About Katie Galioto

Katie, the Observer's current Managing Editor, is a senior majoring in political science, with minors in Business Economics and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She's a former Walsh Hall resident who now lives off campus and hails from Chanhassen, Minnesota. Follow her on Twitter @katiegalioto.

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