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Lewis welcomes new rector

Janice Flynn | Thursday, August 26, 2004

Forget the three R’s – it’s all about the three C’s for Lewis Hall’s new rectress, Katie Winikates – communication, consistency and computers.

As Notre Dame’s only new undergraduate rector this year, Winikates brings a genuine enthusiasm to build upon the spirited and respectful community that is long-time Lewis rectress Sister Annette George’s legacy.

A native Texan, Winikates hails from Dallas and earned her undergraduate degree in computer science from Springhill College in Mobile, Ala.

Upon graduation, Winikates joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for a year and taught in Houston at Our Lady of Guadalupe School. After holding various computer-related jobs, she completed her masters in pastoral studies at Loyola University in New Orleans. She then stayed in New Orleans for four years, serving as a teacher and campus minister at an all-girls high school.

Though she returned to computer employment in Dallas, Winikates felt called to full-time ministry, but admitted that the right job eluded her.

Then, in a strike of serendipity, an ad for the Notre Dame rectress position caught her eye.

A string of interviews later, Winikates was offered the job.

Winikates impressed the Office of Student Affairs with her depth of experience in ministry and her passion for social justice, said William Kirk, associate vice president for residence life.

“Katie displays an understanding of the different issues that students face,” Kirk said. “As you meet her, you understand how impressive she is.”

Delighted as Winikates is at the opportunity to do what she loves, she also understands the challenge she will face, stepping in for a rectress with 12 years of experience in Lewis.

“My goal is to keep the place in as good of shape as [Sister Annette] left it,” Winikates said.

Winikates added she plans to do so by keeping the lines of communication open and striving to retain the order and efficiency of Notre Dame’s largest women’s dorm.

“I’m learning that the biggest gift of a rector is to listen to the wisdom that’s already here in the dorm,” she said.

Winikates said she has received a tremendous gift from Sister Annette in Lewis’ “fabulous” hall staff, who provided insight and deepened her appreciation for the dorm women during hours of preparation meetings.

“If I can just stand back and let them do their thing then it just works beautifully,” she said.

Although she has been on campus since Aug. 2, Winikates continues to be amazed at the exceptional organization of residential life on campus, as well as the friendliness the Notre Dame and Lewis communities have welcomed her.

“Looking at their scrapbooks and seeing all the fun things that happen,” she said. “I’m just excited to be able to be a part of it.”