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Five rectors to leave at end of school year

Sarah Mervosh | Friday, May 14, 2010

Although Linda Cirillo, rector of Lewis Hall, attended the University of Southern Califorinia, previously worked at Georgetown University and will now be living near Ohio State University, she said she will always be a Domer at heart.

“If I had a choice today on which university I would I have gone to, Notre Dame would be the one,” Cirillo said. “Do not worry that I will start cheering for the Buckeyes. I really feel that I am a Domer.”

Cirillo and several other rectors will leave their positions at the end of the academic year. Other rectors who will be leaving include Sr. Janet Stankowski of Walsh Hall, Fr. Jim King of Sorin College, Sophie Henrichs of Pasquerilla West Hall and Amy de la Torre of Cavanaugh Hall.

Henrichs, who will leave the position of rector to get married, said she tried to keep a balance between allowing fun to occur and following University policies.

“I think [being a rector] maybe has actually caused me to step up and really be a lot more responsible because any decision I make just isn’t going to affect me,” she said.

At the same time, Henrichs said it was a privilege to experience “the randomness, the joy and the laughter” with her residents.

“Just letting the silliness happen. The kind of conversations or bits of conversations I overhear from my door, just the normal everyday life of a student with relationships, friendships, giggles, quarter dogs,” she said, listing the things she enjoyed about being a rector.

Cirillo, who is moving to Ohio to be a hospital chaplain, also said she will have fond memories of her students.

“I think the most important thing or the most enjoyable thing for me is to see my freshmen when I came in as a freshmen rector, now they’re graduating as seniors and also I’m graduating,” she said. “That has been a lot of joy — to see them blossom and see them grow into young beautiful women that are mature and ready to go out into the world.”

Both Cirillo and Henrichs said they will remember their participation in dorm events after leaving the University.

“It was my second year here and I allowed them to paint me up just like them and it was really fun,” Cirillo said. “[It was] the Lewis pep rally for the football game. I allowed my chicks to paint my face, and I was part of the cheering group.”

Henrichs also showed dorm pride when Pasquerilla West Hall was in the interhall football championship game and she dressed up as the dorm’s mascot.

“I wore a weasel costume out onto the field,” she said. “I don’t think anybody else can actually say they’ve worn a weasel costume down Library Quad and right into the tunnel of Notre Dame Stadium. A rector in a weasel suit.”

King, who was the rector of Sorin College for seven years, said dorm life is integral to the Notre Dame experience. 

“I believe that Holy Cross’ model of residence hall ministry is the heart and soul of Notre Dame and the single most important explanation of why alumni feel as strongly about the University as they do,” King said.

King will serve as Religious Superior for Holy Cross priests and will move to Corby Hall to take over his new position.

Cirillo said her experience at Notre Dame will help her as a hospital chaplain, where she will specialize in end-of-life care.

“Of course I’m very much drawn to Our Lady. I know she brought me here and I know she’s sending me forth,” Cirillo said.

“I feel comfortable in saying that Notre Dame gives you the whole education. The mind, the body, the spirit, what it means to be alive and to be there for one another,” she said. “As I move into this next phase of my life, which is being present with people that are dying, I know that the dying phase of their life is part of living,” she said.

“I will take all this love that I was given in the last four years and I’ll use that in my new position.”