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Donors recognized over weekend

Mary Kate Malone | Monday, March 6, 2006

This weekend’s Scholarship Fellowship Weekend welcomed more than 250 University benefactors to campus from around the nation for two days of exclusive tours, speeches by high-ranking University officials and student testimonials.

The recognition weekend honored donors who together have given over $16.5 million to University scholarships, fellowships and grants in aid.

“The big highlight of the recognition weekend for our guests is always the chance for them to get to know some of the students studying under their benefaction,” said Vice President for University Relations Louis Nanni in a press release. “I’m not sure who enjoys these meetings more, our students or our donors.”

On Saturday the University invited benefactors to a panel discussion featuring University Provost Thomas Burish and Associate Provost Dennis Jacobs.

Two undergraduates and one graduate student sat on the panel as well, sharing their vastly different academic experiences at Notre Dame to a full audience in McKenna auditorium.

Seniors Peter Quaranto and Alicia Lachiondo spoke about the role experiential and service learning played in their Notre Dame education.

“We want all of our students to engage in service,” Burish said. “Almost all are engaged in giving back to the community in some way. By service learning we take those experiences and bring them back into the classroom to learn from them and learn how to influence the world.”

Burish told donors their contributions gave two gifts – monetary aid and “a lifelong bond” between the donor, the scholarship and the person who receives it, anonymously or otherwise.

“Tuition doesn’t cover the cost of an education,” Burish said. “It might cover the cost of 60 or 70 percent of education but philanthropy provides most of the rest. All of us have a scholarship, if you will. Someone else, someone we may have never met, gave us the opportunity to have an education.”

Quaranto told donors about his work in Uganda – sharing photos and explaining the role that Notre Dame played in providing the opportunity for him to work there.

“Nowhere else but Notre Dame,” Quaranto said. “Without your support, none of this would have been possible. These experiences are not static … they are relationships that have ripple effects that are changing our world one step at a time.”

Quaranto has worked to promote awareness of the devastation in Uganda by co-founding the Uganda Conflict Action Network.

Lachiondo spoke about her undergraduate research on incidences of breast cancer screening among African American women – and her love of the University despite “stumbling onto the idea” of going to school at Notre Dame during her junior year of high school.

“My ultimate decision to attend Notre Dame had nothing to do with geography, prestige or academics – my decision came down to extracurricular opportunities I had here. The sheer presence of the CSC on campus swayed my decision.”

Karrie Anna Kubatko, who received her doctorate from Notre Dame in environmental mineralogy in May 2005, shared her experiences working alongside undergraduates in research projects.

On Saturday afternoon benefactors were allowed to tour the Notre Dame stadium and the Jordan Hall of Science – slated to open in fall 2006. At 8 p.m. Saturday, University President Father John Jenkins spoke at a recognition dinner honoring 35 benefactors who have given a total of $5.5 million to Notre Dame financial aid.