Family Newsletter: March 2012
Be in the know
NDMU Announces 12th President Back to Top
On February 16, the Board of Trustees of Notre Dame of Maryland University unanimously selected James F. Conneely, Ph.D. to serve as the 12th president of the institution. He is the first man and only second layperson to serve in the position in Notre Dame’s 117-year history. Dr. Conneely, 55, currently holds the position of associate provost and vice president of student affairs at Eastern Kentucky University. He will succeed Mary Pat Seurkamp, Ph.D., the first permanent layperson to lead Notre Dame, when she retires on June 30, 2012 following her highly successful 15-year tenure. You may visit ndm.edu to learn more about Dr. Conneely and to view photos of the February 23rd announcement and celebratory events.
Winter at Notre Dame Back to Top
Polar Bear Plunge
The Chesapeake Bay was full of Marylanders on January 28 for the annual Polar Bear Plunge. Among the thousands of participants were five Notre Dame student-athletes and director of athletics Erin Foley, who all took the icy plunge in support of Special Olympics Maryland.
Notre Dame Day
Students, faculty and staff all came together in mid-February to honor those who received awards for leadership, service and academic achievement. Among the top student honorees were Amanda Brenner, class of 2013, who was named Outstanding Student Leader and Brianna January, who received the Service Learning Student Award.
Notre Dame faculty honored the following students with departmental awards for excellence: Megan Ferrin, art; Stephanie Thackoodeen, biology; Melanie Moscoso-Meiller, business/economics; Tasnim Choudhury, chemistry; Alexandra Orsorio, classical and modern foreign languages; Kristen Catchings, communication arts; Krystyna Sibilska, education; Shannon Austin, English; Ashley Parks, history; Tania Raneri, mathematics; Maria Tibbs, philosophy; Hayley Hassan, political science; Kathryn Cohagan, psychology/sociology; and Barbara Bailey, religious studies.
Kristen Catchings, Megan Kemp, Amy Pratt and Maria Tibbs received recognition for their participation in the University’s Ethics Bowl team.
Delta Sigma Epsilon, the national scholastic honor society for Catholic colleges and universities, inducted nine new members: Melanie Moscoso-Meiller, Brianna January, Megan Sheppherd, Rachel Becker, Rachel Jones, Sister Elzbieta Krzempek, Sister Limeteze Pierre-Gille, Theresa Maseda and Madeleine Grewell.
Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society inducted Allison Terry, Amy Richardson, Cara Corsaro, Katie Richardson, Kristen Gilbert, Lakeisha Roberts and Madeleine Grewell.
Accepting the Mary Anne O’Donnell Team Academic Achievement Award on behalf of Notre Dame's 2010-2011 tennis team were Stephanie Thackoordeen, Alexandra Osorio, Kelsey Bye and Megan Kemp.
Notre Dame seniors gathered together for one of the Women’s College’s most cherished traditions celebrating the 100 remaining nights until Commencement. The class of 2012, along with President Seurkamp, faculty members and staff gathered in Noyes House for the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”-themed celebration.
The Notre Dame campus was alive with song during the two week run of Godspell, a joyous musical based on the Gospel of St. Matthew. Broadway World critic Giordana Segneri raved, “The actresses of the undergraduate women’s college at Notre Dame of Maryland University embrace the production with gusto, their love of the story and their spirit and verve shining through every number.” Godspell enjoyed a two week run in LeClerc Auditiorium, with the February 25 performance dedicated to the life and memory of Julie Kline Rybczynski ’99, an avid theater lover. Proceeds from the evening benefited Notre Dame’s Julie Kline Rybczynski Fund for the Arts.
St. John’s Bible Permanent Installation at Loyola/Notre Dame Library
The Loyola/Notre Dame Library is home to the Saint John’s Bible, a magnificent work of handwritten, hand-illuminated art. The limited-edition reproduction faithfully reflects the original work, which is handwritten and illuminated on calfskin vellum using quills, hand-ground pigments, natural inks and 24-carat gold leaf gild. Although created with traditional techniques, the Saint John’s Bible is a contemporary work—combining ancient scripture and symbolism with contemporary and world images, themes and technological advances. The result is breathtaking and inspirational! Through the generosity of the family of Julie Kline Rybczynski ’99, the St. John’s Bible will now be on permanent display at the library for all to enjoy.
Students took a break from studying at Notre Dame’s annual winter celebration in late February. The evening of fun and games featured moon bounce, carnival fare, crafts, raffle prizes, music and camaraderie in the MBK Gymnasium!
President Seurkamp, Faculty, Staff and Alumnae Offer Expertise and Insights at Women of the World Festival
A leader in educating and empowering women, Notre Dame proudly sponsored the nation’s first Women of the World Festival (WOW) at the Joseph Meyerhoff Sympony Hall. Introduced to great acclaim in the United Kingdom in 2011 and presented for the first time in the United States by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, WOW featured expert insight and lively discussion on subjects such as education, careers, motherhood, health, arts and culture. President Seurkamp, former President Kathleen Feeley, Professor Maria Mouratidis and several staff members and alumnae joined the impressive line-up of talented and influential women, including U.S. Department of Homeland Security Senior Counselor Alice Hill, Senator Barbara Mikulskiand BSO maestra Marin Alsop and singer Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Path to Excellence: Mentors, Coaches and Sponsors—Your Support Team
Notre Dame of Maryland University proudly joined with The Daily Record on Wednesday, March 14 to host the Path to Excellence program on our North Charles Street campus. The evening highlighted the importance of building and fostering mentoring relationships as discussed by several of Maryland’s Top 100 Women and other prominent professional Baltimore women.
Did You Know? Back to Top
- In 1876, President Ulysses S. Grant attended Commencement and conferred the awards. His niece, Bessie Sharp, was a Notre Dame student at the time.
- The Gator has been Notre Dame’s official mascot since 1983, but back in the 1920s, there was an actual gator living in a residence hall! Leila Mcllhenny ’23, refused to leave home without her pet alligator, so together they lived happily in Meletia Hall, along with her suitemate.
Bragging Rights Back to Top
- Notre Dame of Maryland was named to the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in recognition of student's commitment to volunteerism. In 2011, undergraduates and graduates donated more than 16,000 of service hours to the community!
- Mary Pat Seurkamp was named one of the Most Influential Marylanders by The Daily Record. Celebrating those who have made a truly significant impact in their fields, the award places Dr. Seurkamp among the region’s 50 most accomplished professionals in civic leadership, communications, education, finance, health care, law, philanthropy, real estate and technology.
- Notre Dame of Maryland is the largest private educator of teachers in Maryland and the third largest among all higher education institutions statewide. Since 2008, nine Notre Dame graduates have won Teacher of the Year in their respective Maryland counties.
Student Profile: Kirby Patrice Gaddy, Class of 2013 Back to Top
Major: Early Childhood/Elementary Education
Minor: Religious Studies
Hometown: Randallstown, Md.
How did you decide to come to Notre Dame of Maryland?
I never thought I would attend an all-female college, now university, after attending an all-female high school, Institute of Notre Dame, however, I felt at home at Notre Dame. There is something in the atmosphere here that let me know this was the place for me. The Education Department was extremely welcoming and I fell in love with the idea of receiving both my Bachelor and Master degrees within five years; no other school that I applied to had such a rewarding program. The students, faculty and staff were very polite and made me feel important during Open House and on my overnight stays. Angela Baumler, my admissions counselor, worked vigorously to keep me informed of activities during my senior year and was extremely instrumental in my final decision.
How have you grown as a student and as a person since your first year at Notre Dame?
During the past two years, Notre Dame has helped shaped me into the woman I am today. I have had the opportunity to meet many people, be a part of various leadership teams and find my true self. I have developed both intellectually and spiritually. I’ve always been an avid learner, but now I enjoy asking more questions and taking risks in my classes. I used to be quiet in my classes, but now I speak up and voice my opinion a lot more than I did my freshman year. I am more comfortable in my public speaking skills as well. In a sense, I have found my voice and love using it!
During my first semester of college, I decided to change my minor from psychology to religious studies. Sr. Sharon Kanis, my freshman advisor and Introduction to Biblical Studies professor, helped me tap into my true passion of learning about religion. I now plan to one day obtain my master’s in theology as well as my doctorate in theology.
I have very strong supporters at Notre Dame and I fully acknowledge their assistance in my development. Melissa Lees has opened my mind to so many avenues for community service and inspired me to become a campus minister as well. Her energetic and hopeful spirit along with her unashamed love for Christ and others has truly touched me. I only hope I am able to encourage my future students as she has encouraged me.
Is there anything special you would like parents and family members to know about Notre Dame?
Notre Dame of Maryland University is a place where women of excellence and impeccable intelligence are able to receive a liberal arts education which allows them to transform the world. I couldn’t have made a better decision in choosing the right place to further my education.
Tell us about a professor or staff member here who has made a significant difference in your life.
Gabrielle Hurley has also been a true inspiration to me over the last year. She has challenged me to think outside of the box and reach for all of my goals. Gabrielle has opened the door for many of us here at Notre Dame to serve as mentors to the students of Sisters Academy of Baltimore, a Catholic middle school for disadvantaged girls. I truly value this experience both as a future educator and as one of the student coordinators for this program.
When you are not studying or having fun on campus, where do you like to go off campus?
Since my family and friends are in the Baltimore area, when I am not too busy I enjoy having family time. We often go out to eat or go shopping and just enjoy each other’s company. I look forward to the times I get to spend with both my family and friends.
What is your favorite thing about attending a Women’s College?
My favorite thing about attending a Women’s college is being able to have an intellectual conversation with other collegiate women. There is nothing quite like an intense discussion or debate with educated women.
Throughout the year, Notre Dame has many long held traditions such as 100 Nights, Honors Convocation, the Christmas celebrations and Notre Dame Day. Do you have a favorite? My favorite celebration is the Christmas dinner. This dinner helps get me into the Christmas spirit and brings everyone (students, faculty and staff) together to eat, exchange gifts, sing Christmas carols and enjoy each other’s company.
An important part of Notre Dame’s mission is to “educate women as leaders to transform the world.” Do you see yourself carrying out this mission?
As a future educator I feel that it is my job to transform the world. Being an educator is so important; because I will have the opportunity to reach out to the next generation and not only teach them academic material, but also instill in them a love and appreciation for their education. I will have to opportunity to open their minds to the world around them and allow them to see that the world is more than just a city, town, state, or country; our world is a community of cities, towns, states and countries. By aiding my student’s in their development, I am helping to transform the world one child at a time.
Faculty Spotlight: Geoff Delanoy Back to Top
Associate Professor of Art
Chair, Art and Music Departments
Notre Dame’s mission is to “educate women as leaders to transform the world.” How do you try to incorporate this goal into your teaching in the classroom?
Service-learning is one way in which my students and I engage with the larger community. The photography emphasis in art successfully involves students in their subject matter by giving back to the community that is represented in their images. We have had successful partnerships with the Youthlight photography project and afterschool program at the Hampden Family Center, the Jones Falls Watershed Association, Greater Homewood Community Corporation and Penn-Mar Human Services that have resulted in student publications and exhibitions of their photography projects.
Technology has also been an invaluable tool for promoting change. Using online learning technology, students in my digital photography course partnered with students from the American University of Technology in Beirut, Lebanon to form an international community of learners by creating a documentary photography project depicting daily life in their respective countries. Informed by this new awareness of visual codes of practice, students created a photographic essay documenting their day-to-day lives. The photographs were posted online, allowing students from each institution to learn about the other’s culture. An online forum served as an area for class discussion of and response to the images. The differences between mass-media images and vernacular (self-created) photographs were discussed.
What brought you to Notre Dame?
I was drawn by the sense of community. When I sat in on a class critique I was impressed by the connections that the art students were making between their work, other disciplines and the larger world. I take great pleasure in helping students tap into their creativity and make meaningful contributions to this diverse academic community.
How important do you find the role of professor to be in a student’s life when it comes to preparing them for a successful future?
Good advising is central to student success. I make real-world connections between what they are learning in the classroom and my experiences as a practicing artist. Whenever possible I steer students towards opportunities: internships, service-learning, conferences and competitions for publishing and exhibiting their work, in order to provide that critical edge beyond classroom learning.
What class size do you find is best at ensuring the most successful learning environment possible?
In the art department it is critical to keep class size under 15. This allows a lot of individualized attention and assistance in the studio while students are working on their art. Upper level courses should be even smaller because the students will have even more questions and need guidance with the direction of their work.
Service is an important aspect of both the Catholic tradition at Notre Dame. How do you incorporate this part of our mission in your teaching or life outside of the classroom?
I have recently served as a panelist for the Maryland State Arts Council Arts in Communities grant program. As a juror I review grant applications that help communities bring the arts to diverse groups across the state. I also volunteer in a literacy program at my daughter’s school and spend time reading with boys and girls.
Where do you find your inspiration for teaching? For art?
I find inspiration for teaching in knowing that I can change the way a student relates to the world. To paraphrase the documentary photographer Dorothea Lange, “seeing with a camera helps us to see without a camera.” Transformation of vision is one of my goals for students. From experience I know that after one of my courses students will see their world through new eyes. A consistent comment I receive is that students see new details and relationships in their environments even when they are without their cameras. This new awareness marks the beginnings of a visual journey.
The inspiration for my art comes by chance. Being open and prepared has brought projects my way that often turn out to be better than the ones I plan out before photographing. I have been photographing the coast at Point Reyes, California for the past six years.
Do you have any words of wisdom to share with students?
Keep your long-term goals in sight during your time at the University.
What is the biggest difference between teaching at a co-ed school and teaching at the Women’s College?
I have taught at coeducational institutions and can say without any hesitation that the students in classes at Notre Dame develop an almost instant connection with each other. It is a very welcoming community. There is an environment that is supportive.
When you are not on the Notre Dame campus, what do you like to do with your free time in Baltimore?
When I am not here I enjoy running, going to art openings and working in the studio.
Is there any advice you would give to a high school senior going through the oftentimes overwhelming college search process?
Be sure to visit a campus for as long as possible. This wasn’t an option when I was an undergraduate. The overnight visits at Notre Dame are a great opportunity to test your fit with the community.
Campus News Back to Top
2012 Commencement Will Be Notre Dame’s first as a University!
Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports and five-time Emmy Award-winner, has been chosen to speak at Notre Dame’s 2012 Commencement on May 26 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The historic ceremony will mark Notre Dame’s first as a University and the final official event of Mary Pat Seurkamp’s 15-year presidency.
Along with philanthropist and humanitarian Mary Catherine Bunting, Mr. McManus will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Theirs will be the first diplomas awarded under the name “Notre Dame of Maryland University.” For details and ticket information, visit http://www.ndm.edu/community-and-tradition/commencement
Nancy Kreiter Student Research Day
Notre Dame hosts Nancy Kreiter Student Research Day, an annual showcase of undergraduate research in arts and sciences, on Tuesday, April 27. Honoring Dr. Nancy Kreiter, an associate professor of biology who was a strong advocate for undergraduate research, the day features student presentations of scientific research, fine art, musical performances and literary works. The festivities conclude with a community picnic supper, musical entertainment and an awards ceremony.
Ian Jukes: Understanding the Digital Generation
On April 17, the Notre Dame community welcomes education expert Ian Jukes. Author of numerous books, including Understanding the Digital Generation: Teaching and Learning in the New Digital Landscape, Jukes’ mission is to ensure that children are properly prepared for society’s future, rather than its past. He will discuss in frank and pragmatic terms the unique learning styles and needs of today’s students and how educators can help them succeed and thrive in this new and constantly evolving landscape. Admission is free, but tickets are required. You can order online.
Important Financial Aid Changes in 2012 Back to Top
From Zhanna Golster, Director
The office of financial aid has begun downloading FAFSAs for the next school year. If you have not filed the FAFSA for 2012-2013 yet, please do so as soon as possible at www.fafsa.gov to avoid processing delays. Starting in early March, we will be contacting students via Notre Dame e-mail about missing documents; however, please don’t send us any paperwork until we request it.
Our office wants to remind parents that effective for the 2012-2013 cycle, we are no longer permitted to accept copies of personal tax returns. Therefore, everyone who files a FAFSA needs to use the IRS data match on the FAFSA. If your taxes have been submitted to the IRS at the time of filing, you can use the IRS data match when you complete the application. Otherwise, wait two weeks after filing (for e-filers, 8 weeks for paper filers) and then log back into the FAFSA website and choose “Corrections.” Then, select the “IRS Data Match” in the Financial Information section.
Also, please note that starting with the 2012-2013 academic year all incoming paperwork will be scanned, so we will be accepting only completed forms. Any incomplete paperwork will be returned for completion.
Financial aid award letters for returning students will be emailed in mid-late June after spring semester grades have been reviewed. Students who do not meet academic standards for financial aid recipients will have their aid suspended and can appeal. Please visit our website to view our policies.
Did you know that our office posts all the announcements about external scholarships on our website? View the available scholarships.
Academic and Career Enrichment Back to Top
From Diane MacKenzie McCann, director
With the warm weather of spring, students must start planning their next steps. Whether they are looking for a full or part-time job, an internship opportunity to gain experience, or guidance in choosing a career path, the Academic and Career Enrichment Center (ACE) is available to help.
ACE partners with all first-year students upon their arrival on campus and continues to support them in their endeavors throughout their time at Notre Dame – and even after they graduate.
Take advantage of all ACE has to offer! All of the services are unlimited and free to Notre Dame students and graduates. ACE is staffed by licensed professional counselors eager to offer undergraduates and alumnae career counseling assistance, resume critiques, tutoring, application assistance, as well as guidance in applying to graduate school, or finding a career path or internship. ACE is also a valuable resource for learning about career fairs in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan area.
Explore the ACE webpage, email the office at email@example.com or call 410-532-5387.
Athletics Highlights Back to Top
- Thirty-one Gators have been named to the CSAC’s All-Academic Team.
- Director of athletics Erin Foley and five student-athletes participated in Polar Bear Plunge, to benefit Special Olympics.
- Junior Shannon Berry was named ODAC Swimmer of the Week, November 16.
- Swim team finished its regular season 6-3; prepared for ODAC Championships.
- Tennis won the Mary Anne O’Donnell Team Academic Award.
- Freshman basketball student-athlete Imani Stokes is currently (as of February 5) ranked #15 in Division III in Rebounds per game. Stokes, of Baltimore/Polytechnic Institute, has 216 rebounds in 18 games, good for 12 rebounds per game. She currently leads the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) in rebounds.
- Junior Amanda Brenner was named president of Notre Dame’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
Mark Your Calendars Back to Top
Important dates to remember
March 10 Transfer Saturday
March 19-24 Spring break-no classes
March 28-30 Registration for Summer and Fall 2012
April 5-9 Easter Holiday-campus closed.
April 27 Student Research Day
May 5 Spring Open House
May 11 Women’s College classes end
May 14-18 Final examinations
TBD Resident halls close
May 25 Baccalaureate Mass
May 26 Commencement
May 28 Memorial Day—campus closed
May 29 First five-week summer session begins
June 1 Eight-week summer session begins
July 4 Independence Day—campus closed
July 9 Second five-week summer session begins
August 11 Second five-week summer session ends
Springtime in Baltimore Back to Top
Baltimore is a lively city full of events and entertainment geared to the college crowd. Localist and Collegetown Network feature up to date listings of happenings at Notre Dame and around town.
Helpful Campus Resources Back to Top
Academic and Career Advising (Women’s College)
Office of Disability Support Services
Office of Public Safety
Office of the Registrar
Office of Student Development
SAGE Dining Services
Student Health Center