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Residence halls welcome nine new rectors

| Friday, August 22, 2014

As Notre Dame freshmen move in Friday, a record nine new rectors will welcome students back to their residence halls.

Heather Rakoczy Russell, associate vice president for residential life, said this is the single largest rector turnover on record, with new rectors in Cavanaugh, Duncan, Fisher, Howard, Knott, Lyons, Pasquerilla East, Walsh and Welsh Family Halls. 

Lauren Donahue, the new rector of Cavanaugh Hall, holds a Master of Arts in student affairs in higher education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Donahue said her experience living in dorms as a student makes her excited to lead a residence hall community. 

“I am thrilled to begin this new adventure with the women of Cavanaugh Hall, and it is an honor and blessing to be a part of this community rooted in history and tradition,” she said. “I am looking forward to growing in faith and fellowship with the women of Cavanaugh as they discern who and what God has called them to be.”

Duncan Hall’s new rector, Nhat Nguyen, served as the rector of Fischer and O’Hara-Grace Graduate Residences last year. He said he wants to continue Duncan’s outstanding community after winning Men’s Hall of the Year last year, with a focus on developing personal relationships with residents. 

“I’m humbled and blessed for the opportunity to share life with the men of Duncan in the coming years: to celebrate with them, to walk through bitter valleys with them and to journey everywhere in between,” he said. “It will be an honor and a privilege to form deep meaningful relationships with my students.  I’m looking forward to meeting each and every one of them to hear their stories, to learn from them and to know each of them by name.”

Richard Mazzei, class of 1978, lived in Flanner Hall during his undergraduate years but will take the reigns at Fisher Hall this year. Mazzei was a goalie for the Notre Dame club lacrosse team and worked for 30 years as a high school administrator, teacher and coach at Malden Catholic High School in Massachusetts. 

“Fisher has a great spirit that I hope to continue,” he said. “This is a dream job for me; it is like coming home again.  I have a great love for Notre Dame and I am so grateful to be able to serve in this position.”

The new rector of Howard Hall, Amanda Springstead, graduated from Notre Dame in 2011 and said the uniqueness of residential life at Notre Dame prompted her to become a rector.

“I wanted to be a rector because at Notre Dame there is an infusion of spirituality and faith within the hall,” she said. “[It is] a community that is filled with tradition and talented young women who value the relationships they build within the hall. The Notre Dame residential life experience is so distinct.”

Sarah Heiman had virtually no connection to Notre Dame aside from visits to campus before she took over as rector of Lyons Hall. She said she wants to help the women of Lyons and all students share their talents with the world. 

“I’m most excited about accompanying young women during a time in their lives when many questions about faith, careers, relationships and their personal hopes and dreams are being raised,” she said. “The students of Notre Dame are incredibly gifted and have so much hope that they can bring to the world; helping someone identify the unique way they are called to serve others is one of the best parts about being a rector.”  

Walsh Hall, one of the oldest dorms on campus, will welcome Elizabeth Detwiler, who said she hopes to grow into the close-knit community of the dorm.

“Walsh is a small, intimate community,” she said. “From what I’ve gathered from former students, current rectors and former rectors, Walsh Hall is great place to sink roots and become the best version of yourself.” 

“I cannot take any credit for this generous inheritance; I have no plans to change it. My plans are to learn from the Wild Women of Walsh on what makes their community unique and work hard to keep cultivating a space for these women to feel at home.”

Carol Latronica, class of 1977, will bring her labradoodle Lucca with her to Welsh Family Hall, where she will take over as rector. She said looks forward to working with the women in the community and making it a true home.

“It is very exciting to be back ‘home’ and being able to work with young women as they begin a wonderful journey,” she said. “Being able to empower women to be the best they can be and become more than they ever dreamed, is a wonderful gift I have been given.”  

Margaret “Mamie” Smith comes to Pasquerilla East Hall from Howard Hall, where she served as an Assistant Rector.

Patrick Kincaid will serve as the new rector of Knott Hall.

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About Jack Rooney

Jack is a 2016 graduate of Notre Dame, and The Observer's former managing editor. He is currently spending a year living and working for the University in Ireland, and writing columns to keep him busy. For more random thoughts and plenty of news links, follow Jack on Twitter @RooneyReports.

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