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Seven new rectors join University residences

Anthony Iannamorelli | Thursday, August 25, 2005

Choosing from a pool of 92 applicants, the Office of Student Affairs hired seven new rectors over the summer to replace those who left Notre Dame at the end of last semester.Kuukua Yomekpe of Pangborn, Sister Mary Lynch of McGlinn, Sister Janet Stankowski of Walsh, Jennifer Oliva of Howard, Rachel Kellogg of Breen-Phillips, Amalia de la Torre of Cavanaugh and Ronald Vierling of Morrissey all assumed their new posts upon the beginning of the 2005 school year. “We could not be happier with those that we have chosen,” said Sister Jean Lenz, assistant vice president of student affairs.Selected based on how well a University committee judged they would fit in with a certain dorm, the new rectors are now entrusted with the close care of their dorms’ residents.Each of the seven has a masters degree in education or a related field, as well as extensive experience in teaching, ministry or leadership roles.New Cavanaugh rector de la Torre is a mother of three who has spent the last two years in fund development for Mary Imogene Basset Hospital in Cooperstown, N.Y. She has worked with at-risk children and taught at the high school level. She has a master’s degree in policy analysis and management from Indiana University at Bloomington.Breen-Phillips rector Kellogg, a South Bend native with a master’s degree in English from Indiana University, taught English composition for the last year at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Ind. She also worked as an advisor to the student newspaper.Before becoming rector of McGlinn, Lynch was the Formation Director for candidates at the Mount Saint Joseph Convent in Philadelphia, Penn. She has a master’s degree in spiritual direction from Chestnut Hill College and master’s in theology from Notre Dame. She has spent more than 10 years ministering to college students on campuses such as Princeton, North Carolina State and the University of North Carolina.Oliva, of Howard, has served as Director of Youth Ministry at St. Matthias Parish in Milwaukee, Wis. for the last six years. Her responsibilities ranged from training catechists, leading youth groups and coordinating programs. She has a master’s degree in pastoral studies from St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee.Before coming to Walsh, Stankowski worked for Voices for Earth Justice, an interfaith non-profit organization dedicated to environmental causes that she co-founded. Stankowski earned her doctorate of ministry degree from the Graduate Theological Union in South Bend. In her time as a minister, she has worked with college students in Florida and Kentucky, ex-offenders and those suffering from AIDS.New Morrissey rector Vierling received his master’s from Holy Apostles College in Cromwell, CT. He is a member of the Oblates of Mary at the Foot of the Cross. He has been active in teaching, ministry and parish administration, and served as chair of the theology department. He was ordained in 1992 in the Archdiocese of New York.Originally from Ghana, Africa, Yomekpe received her master’s in English from the University of Dayton two years ago. She taught English composition there for a year and was active in literary festivals, writing labs and mentoring before becoming Pangborn’s rector. She organized the University of Dayton’s African Literature Conference for 2002-03. As an in-residence campus minister there, she was responsible for 1,200 students along with organizing a service trip to Haiti.Outgoing rectors were helpful in the transition, some new rectors said.”[Former Howard rector Kathy Brannock] left great files, and everything was totally organized for me to just walk in and start right up,” Oliva said. Many new rectors stressed service and ministry as something that will be paramount to their dorm’s agenda. “The greatest joy is the biggest challenge – ministering to youth,” Vierling said.De la Torre said that although the rector position is one job, there are many roles to fill within it. “You must be an administrator, counselor, psychologist, manager, minister and parent figure,” she said. “But that only scratches the surface.”