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Seven rectors begin new roles amid unprecedented residential year

| Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Six of Notre Dame’s dorms and the Fischer Graduate Community will be under the leadership of new rectors this year. 

Fr. Robert Lisowski will serve as Baumer Hall’s new rector. He served as an assistant rector for the Dillon community in Baumer Hall last year. 

Lisowski, originally from Scranton, Pa., earned his undergraduate degree from St. John’s University in Queens, New York. He entered the Congregation of Holy Cross at Notre Dame in 2014 and completed his Master of Divinity in May.

“I am so excited to begin this new role and chapter as rector of Baumer Hall,” he said in an email. “Serving as an assistant rector for the Dillon community this past year was an incredibly rich experience and I am looking forward to continuing and growing in this ministry.”

Michael Rossetti will be taking over the newly refurbished Dillon Hall. Rossetti graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2012. After teaching in Chicago for four years, Rossetti completed a Master of Divinity at Notre Dame in 2019, during which he was an assistant rector in Keough Hall. He then served as visiting chaplain at University College Cork in Ireland. 

“I wholeheartedly believe we accompany students like no other institution, so I am honored to have been offered the opportunity to return,” he said. 

Pangborn Hall’s new rector is Daniela De Ciantis, originally from Toronto, Ontario. She graduated from the University of Toronto, after which she taught high school religion and English in Ottawa. De Ciantis came to Notre Dame for her Master of Divinity degree, and she was an assistant rector in Flaherty Hall for two years. 

“I am thrilled to be serving as a rector at the University of Notre Dame,” De Ciantis in an email. “It is a privilege and gift to contribute to the mission of the University cultivating the hearts and minds of students through communal living in the halls.”

Across the quad, Fr. Bill Dailey has returned to serve as rector of Zahm House. From 2013 to 2016, Dailey was the rector of Stanford Hall. He then spent four years in Dublin, Ireland, where he was the founding director of the Notre Dame Newman Centre for Faith and Reason at St. John Henry Newman’s University Church. 

Dailey earned his bachelor degree in 1994 and his Master of Divinity in 2000, both at Notre Dame, and he graduated from Columbia Law School in 2006.

Dailey said he is optimistic in regards to the challenges and opportunities residential life will face during the pandemic.

“It will take creativity, but our students have never been lacking in that department, so we’ll see how it is that we can make the semester work in terms of keeping the virus at bay while also building the friendships and enjoying the laughter, engagement and camaraderie that make living on this campus the best undergraduate experience in the world,” Dailey said in an email.

South Bend native Fr. Chris Brennan is taking over as rector of Stanford Hall. Brennan attended Old College seminary before earning a Masters of Divinity. During his last year of his masters program, Brennan was an assistant rector in Dunne Hall. 

Ordained as a priest in 2018, Brennan served in Church ministries all around the world and spent time serving as a parish priest in Portland, Ore. 

“I am excited to now call Stanford Hall home, and learn from and live with the Men of Virtue,” he said in a email. 

Fr. Eric Schimmel is the new rector of Dunne Hall. He entered the Moreau Seminary after completing his undergraduate degree at Notre Dame. After earning his Masters of Divinity, Schimmel was ordained in 2002. 

Since then, Schimmel has worked in parishes across the United States, served as Director of the Andre House, Phoenix, and worked at King’s College, Wilkes Barre, Pa., in its campus ministry. 

“Having been blessed by Notre Dame’s education focusing on both mind and heart, I feel honored to now serve here, keeping that tradition alive,” Schimmel said in an email. 

Finally, Michigan native Sara Thoms is taking up the new role as rector of undergraduate community in Fischer Graduate Residences and project coordinator for Residential Life. 

After graduating from Villanova University, Thoms completed her Master of Divinity from Notre Dame. Thoms then taught high school theology in Phoenix, Ariz.

“I hope to build community by connecting these students to each other and to their home halls,” Thoms said in an email. “COVID-19 has brought about many disruptions to our students’ lives, and I hope coming home to Notre Dame ushers in a sense of peace and comfort amidst these uneasy circumstances.”

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