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Associate dean of the College of Engineering dies

| Friday, April 10, 2015

Catherine Pieronek, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and director of the women’s engineering program in the College of Engineering, died Thursday night at the age of 52 at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, according to a University press release sent Friday afternoon.

Pieronek graduated from Notre Dame in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering and earned her law degree from the University in 1995, an obituary emailed to students said.

After earning her law degree, she took up the cause of Title IX in higher education and became a leading expert on the topic, according to the release.

Before joining Notre Dame’s teaching faculty in 2002, Pieronek served as Director of Alumni Relations for the its law school as well as the editor of its quarterly publication, prior to which she served as a senior systems engineer at PRW, the obituary said.

When she joined the faculty, Pieronek established the women’s engineering program as part of her ongoing efforts to support women engineers on campus and spearheaded the initiative to concentrate female engineers in residence halls, the obituary said. At the time of her death, she was a fellow in the National Society of Women Engineers and served as the club advisor for the campus chapter bearing the same name, according to its website.

“Cathy Pieronek was the quintessential Domer,” Peter Kilpatrick, Dean of the College of Engineering, said in the press release. “She had an engineering and a law degree, a fierce loyalty to our sports teams and our students and a total embrace of the famous ‘Irish prayer’ about the rains falling gently on your fields. She was also incredibly and lovably human: committed, personable, loyal, dedicated and always thinking carefully and deeply about the good of the other. We miss her terribly and pray for the Lord’s gentle and loving embrace of her husband, Chuck, and her family.”

Visitation will be held Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. in Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, and a funeral Mass will be celebrated Monday at 9:30 a.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, followed by the burial in Cedar Grove Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Pieronek Family Scholarship Fund at Notre Dame.

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