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Entrepreneurs win scholarship

Jill Stinchcomb | Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Fanning scholarship is about more than money for senior recipients Amber Lattner and Adam Hansmann. For them, the award is recognition of their passion and excellence in communication.

“It was cool I won, but it was cool because I love [business communication] so much,” Lattner said.

Hansmann, who also started Dorm Drinks, an on-campus business that delivers affordably priced soft drinks to students, wrote his college essay about his love of writing.

“It’s great to see that [love] recognized four years later,” Hansmann said.

Professors select nominees from their Business Communications courses. The faculty then gives the nominee suggestions to professor James S. O’Rourke, director of the Eugene Fanning Center for Business Communication. O’Rourke then conducts faculty interviews and narrows the list to the top three men and top three women, based on consultation with other faculty members.

The students are notified over the summer of their nomination, and are interviewed by O’Rourke and Sondra Byrnes, another professor in the Fanning Center for Business Communication O’Rourke said.

“We ask students who they are, their intellectual ambitions and whether they would be good speakers in front of the Business Advisory Council,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke said he also looks for “people who are learning how to learn.”

A two to three minute speech in front of the Business Advisory Council is a requirement of scholarship winners, O’Rourke said. During their speeches, Students describe their ambitions, their college experience and what Notre Dame means to them.

“The alumni [of the Advisory Council] like hearing about Notre Dame from students” O’Rourke said.

Eugene Fanning graduated from Notre Dame in 1953 and taught business courses at Notre Dame from 1989-1995. A successful businessman, board member of the Chicago Bulls and White Sox and dedicated professor, Fanning never forgot a student’s name, O’Rourke said.

“Fanning embodied [the] Notre Dame spirit” Hansmann said.

O’Rourke said almost all have graduate degrees and now work in Fortune 500 or Big Four companies.

Lattner and Hansmann are both currently interviewing with various banking, consulting and management firms. Hansmann additionally plans to tour western Europe over the summer.

“Hopefully with some Dorm Drinks profits,” Hansmann joked.

For both students, the award was significant because it recognized something they care deeply about.

“Notre Dame is a liberal arts school. It’s important for Mendoza to remember those liberal arts roots,” Hansmann said. “It meant a lot to me to get that recognition.”

Lattner echoed Hansmann’s appreciation of the award.

“Business communication is about saying something true and validated, but also [about saying something] that strikes a chord beyond just the facts,” Lattner said.