April 2023
Tower Talk Graphic

Message from the Alumnae and Alumni Engagement Team

Greetings Alumnae and Alumni,

Your next edition of Tower Talk is here to provide access to fellow alums, opportunities to share your news and achievements, register for upcoming events, and learn a little about what’s happening at Notre Dame. Spring Break for our students was last week, and it’s always more enjoyable to see our campus alive again with activity we can see from our windows in Noyes House, so we are happy to have them back!

The Alumni Engagement Office is recruiting alumni from the following classes to assist with their reunion planning: 2018, 2013, 1998, 1993, 1988, 1983, 1978, 1973, 1968, and 1963! 1998 celebrates its 25th reunion, and 1973 celebrates its 50th reunion! If you are interested in getting involved in any way, please make sure you contact the Alumni Engagement Office at ndmalum@ndm.edu today.

The Alumni Council will be restarting this summer in our new fiscal year. We are so grateful to the current Council members, especially President Nikki Gatewood ’01, for their steadfast support, and we are thrilled to welcome new alumni volunteers into the Council as we restructure and relaunch our efforts. If you’d like to learn more about the Council and the work we plan to do together, please email Alexandra DeJohn, Director of Alumni Engagement at adejohn@ndm.edu.

Spring is in the air and our seniors are taking their final steps as students until Commencement, when we can welcome them into the alumni family. Be on the lookout for how you can celebrate our seniors on social media this May.

We hope to see you at an upcoming event soon!

Alex & Rose
Your Alumni Engagement Team

Interview with Connie Matsumoto '94

Constance Hays Matsumoto '94 graduated from Notre Dame with her Bachelor of Arts in Business through the Weekend College. After Notre Dame, she went on to earn her Master of Science in Business from Johns Hopkins University. Connie has worked in the corporate sector, she has been an interior designer, and now she is an author and writer. Connie and her husband, Kent Matsumoto, wrote Of White Ashes together, which is inspired by true stories of the authors' families.

Connie and Kent MatsumotoWhat is your favorite memory of Notre Dame from when you were a student?

I was having a bad day with an economics professor and went to Sr. Doris Ann for support. She just grabbed my hand and asked, "Connie, how can I help you? What do you need from me?" She helped me to understand I could take the class as pass/fail to take the pressure off of me. I thought she was so amazing, kind, caring, and empathetic. Overall, Notre Dame really instilled in me the confidence to take risks, both professionally and personally.

What has your experience been with Notre Dame since graduating? 

I owe everything good in my life that has happened since leaving Notre Dame to my education. It's also the place I go to re-center myself and it's always very restorative for me to be on campus. Around 2000, I began teaching some adjunct classes in the Business department on campus. I was also involved in the First Impressions program, so I helped students prepare for their professional life after graduation. 

What inspired you and Kent to write this story? Was it difficult to write about something so personal?

Everything for me starts with our first date to the Baltimore Museum of Art, where we saw an exhibit on Dorothea Lange's photography. I was looking at a photo of a young Japanese-American girl waiting to board a bus to go into a WWII Japanese American Incarceration Camp when Kent came up behind me and said, "That was my mother's story." Later, he explained that his mother had been incarcerated in the camps as a young teenager, and his father, also an American, was a Hiroshima survivor. I believed this story of two people meeting after horrible events to fall in love and live the American Dream would be an extraordinary story for a book We decided on a novel over a nonfiction book so we could address the strengths and flaws of their humanity.

Can you discuss the process of writing Of White Ashes? What research went into developing this story?

We tried several routes before deciding to write the book ourselves. First, there was a local nonfiction writer who wanted to write the story, but Kent's parents dismissed him. Next, we looked into having a documentary made. We assembled a team with a filmmaker from the West Coast, but his parents wanted nothing to do with them either. I then encouraged Kent to write the book, but after a few years I decided to initiate the writing process. I closed my business at the time, took creative writing classes at the local community college, and spent almost a year learning and researching how to be a writer.Of White Ashes Cover

Kent and I traveled together to significant places in his parents' lives. We went to Hiroshima and stood where Kent's father was when the bomb dropped at a rifle factory, where he worked as a 16-year-old making rifles for the Emperor. Then we went to Hiroshima Station, which is where Kent's grandparents were when the bomb fell. We walked up the steps and stood there, and we looked around and imagined what that was like for them to come out of the station and see their entire city gone. We traveled to Hawaii, where Kent's mother was born. We also went to several museums, including the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles. We've been to the Tule Lake Incarceration Camp in California and the Jerome Incarceration Camp in Arkansas, which was the first camp that my mother-in-law went to.

After the research, the book was brought together in stages: first Hiroshima, then Hawaii. Kent provided the cultural lens and helped brainstorm scenes in the book that supplemented the character development and plot. Then it was learning how to structure a love story. Kent played a big part in the wordsmithing, editing scenes, and story development. My business skills helped me to structure the book when it came to building the foundation and timeline, and thinking through what is being achieved in the story. It was important for us to write a book that was really grounded in solid historical research without being dry like a textbook.

Are there any closing thoughts you'd like to share to your fellow alumni?

We wrote this book to honor Kent's parents and their remarkable stories, and the many Japanese Americans whose lives were decidedly shaped by the events of World War II. We really hope that this book inspires hearts and minds, engages people's curiosity, expands their knowledge, generates empathy for other races and cultures, and reminds them of how fragile the world is.

Of White Ashes will be released on May 1, the first day of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The Ivy Bookstore will be hosting an event for Connie and Kent to discuss their new book on May 30. You can find more information here.

Are you interested in being interviewed for an upcoming edition of Tower Talk? Sign up by clicking the button below!

Tower Talk interview request form

Shannon Bachmann
Providing Hope to Others: NDMU Alumna Continues Lifelong Passion for Service in Malawi

Shannon (Berry) Bachmann ’13 has always had a passion for service. Her volunteer work dates back to middle school, and attending Notre Dame of Maryland University on a service scholarship gave her additional opportunities to give back to surrounding areas. Getting married and moving to Switzerland in 2017 initiated the next step in Bachmann’s commitment, as she now serves as a board member for Extending Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing long-term, sustainable growth opportunities to communities in Malawi.

"I’ve been interested in service since middle school. Attending Notre Dame and seeing how much service was valued there helped me pursue it even more. As a member of the swim team, the Athletics Department sponsored me for summer work experience trips volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Wilmington, Delaware. After graduation, as an assistant for the swim team, I organized our service activities, including a partnership where we volunteered with Blue Water Baltimore," said Bachmann. "I think throughout my whole career at Notre Dame, I felt the passion and ability to develop my service work further. Especially after the summer trips to Wilmington, I knew service was always going to be a big part of my life."

Visitor Center at Fourier Hall
NDMU Launches Promise Program to Help More Students Earn a Degree

Notre Dame of Maryland University is expanding access to higher education for students with a new need-based financial aid program that provides an institutional grant to bridge the gap between state and federal grants and NDMU’s tuition and fees. Both in-state and out-of-state students admitted for the 2023-24 academic year can be considered for NDMU’s Promise Program after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The University anticipates that first-time, full-time students with significant financial need, when admitted to the program, will receive a combination of institutional, federal, and state grant aid to cover their full tuition and fees. All students in the Promise Program will be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant program, as determined by the FAFSA.

“We are excited to be able to offer the Promise Program to make a transformational college experience a reality for more students,” said Scott Briell, senior vice president for enrollment and student services. “NDMU’s Promise Program allows more students to gain the knowledge, skills, and values to become their best selves.”

Two students holding Damozel
Damozel Literary Magazine Earns National Award for Excellence

Notre Dame of Maryland University’s annual student literary magazine earned additional recognition on the national stage, as the 2021-22 edition of Damozel achieved the Excellent distinction through an awards program organized by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The NCTE’s Recognizing Excellence in Art and Literary Magazines (REALM) Awards publicly highlight high-quality literary magazines produced by students with the support of their teachers. Damozel was one of less than 250 submissions from the United States, Canada, the Virgin Islands and American schools abroad to receive a ranking of Excellent or higher. This is the second national award for Damozel, which was previously selected in December as the third-place winner of the Outstanding Literary Arts Journal Award by Sigma Tau Delta, The International English Honor Society.

Damozel is a student-run magazine which showcases any form of creative writing, art, or photography by current NDMU students and alumni. The latest issue was produced by senior literary editors Lindsey Pytrykow '22 and Rochelle Thompson '22; editors April Boss '24, Maia Giafes '22, Eden Lewis '22, and Cassandra Thompson '25; alumna editor and advisor, Micah Castelo '18; and faculty sponsor Dr. Jeana DelRosso. It contained 30 submissions created by a group of 14 NDMU community members.

Campus News and Updates

Pharmacy Grads Return to NDMU as Faculty Members

As Notre Dame of Maryland University’s School of Pharmacy celebrates the 10-year anniversary of graduating its first class of students back in 2013, some of the program’s alumni have returned to campus to help educate the next generation of future leaders in the profession. Dr. Alyssia Dyett D’18 and Dr. Ahmed Eid D’15 work as assistant professors in the School of Pharmacy’s Department of Clinical and Administrative Sciences.

Dr. Dyett was hired for her current role in September 2021. She teaches on a variety of topics in the School of Pharmacy’s care lab sequence, includingAlyssia Dyett and Ahmed Eid blood pressure measuring, immunizations, point of care testing and patient counseling, and she also educates on additional subjects in the school’s pharmacotherapeutic sequence. “I went through all of these courses,” she said. “I know what they’re supposed to look like, and I know how hard they can be. I’ve also reached out to former classmates to ask what worked for them and what they wish had been done differently, and I try to incorporate all of that feedback as I shape my lectures.”

When Dr. Eid decided to enroll as a student at NDMU, he was in the midst of a major career change. Born and raised in Egypt, he graduated from medical school in 2008, and he intended to work as a physician after moving overseas to Baltimore the following year. “The culture here is what really drew me to Notre Dame as a student,” Dr. Eid said. “I came from an educational background where the class sizes were 20 times larger – you had your book, you had your lecture, and good luck. Here at NDMU, you are able to talk to the professors, you ask them questions, and you don’t leave until you’re fully understanding the material. I can’t tell how many times I walked into their offices, and they all knew me by my first name.” Notre Dame has had a major impact on Dr. Eid’s life on both a professional and a personal level. He met his wife, Dr. Shefali Patel D’15, during his time as a student, and the pair spent six years working together at Johns Hopkins after graduation.

Registration Open for 2023 Summer Camps at NDMU

Notre Dame of Maryland University is offering a wide variety of youth programming on campus in summer 2023, including a new Arts and Activism Immersion experience scheduled for late June. Registration for each of the six camps listed below is now available. Spots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis with the exception of the Arts and Activism Immersion experience, which will interview applicants during the spring.

NEW: Arts and Activism Summer Immersion
June 26-30, Orientation on June 23, Move-in to dorm on June 25
Rising high school seniors
Deadline: Applications are due by April 14, with interviews to take place in late April

Arts and Activism Immersion students will participate in a week-long immersion experience which includes a variety of activities, including field trips to New York City and Philadelphia, panel discussions, seminars, and experiential workshops in art, teamwork and leadership.

A Child’s Place Summer Camp
Five two-week sessions beginning June 12, June 26, July 10, July 24 and August 7
Ages 2 to 6
Camp Day: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Before Camp Care: 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. (no additional cost) | After Camp Care: 3 to 5:30 p.m. (no additional cost)

Sessions offer an entertaining and age-appropriate educational and play-based experience for children ages 2 to 6 (those entering first grade in the fall). The camps will provide opportunities to stimulate curiosity, creativity, and imagination through water play, daily indoor and outdoor play, STEAM activities, cooking, play-based learning, daily exploration and investigation, and more.

Camp Notre Dame
Four two-week sessions beginning June 20, July 5, July 17 and July 31
Ages 5 to 11
Camp Day: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

With rotating sessions throughout the day, campers will have the opportunity to participate in explorations, arts & crafts, sports & games and a mix of instructional and recreational swimming.
Cooking with SAGE Summer Camp
August 14-18
Ages 5 to 11
Camp Day: 1 to 4 p.m.

Cooking with SAGE is a fun opportunity for campers to come together and learn new recipes and cooking techniques with a SAGE chef! Each day, campers will learn about the cooking topic and recipe or how and why each step in the recipe is important. At the end of the week, recipes will be assembled for a final product and campers will have the opportunity to share their creations and explain why they chose their favorite ingredients. Daily themes include pizza making, cake decorating, sushi making, dumplings and truffles.

Pharmacy Summer Camp
June 26-30
Grades 9-12
Camp Day: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pharmacy Camp is designed to help high school students entering grades 9-12 discover exciting topics and career paths in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences from the School of Pharmacy faculty at NDMU. Campers will explore precision medicine and the pharmacists role in research and patient care, learn about medication therapy management, and discover which pharmacy career best fits them. They will also make medications in the School of Pharmacy’s lab and get tips for applying to pharmacy school.

Adventures in Agriculture: July 17-21
Grades K-10
Camp Day: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For this year’s agriculture theme, campers will investigate different methods of growing plants, and they will learn about and interact with various farm animals. They will be engaged in a variety of age-appropriate hands-on activities to help them build their knowledge and skills of agricultural education.

Spring and Winter Athletics Summary

Basketball- The women's basketball team won its first-ever CSAC Championship after defeating Clarks Summit by an 83-57 final in front of a packed MBK Sports Complex. Two Lacrosse students chest bumpingThat clinched the Gators’ second NCAA tournament appearance in program history. NDMU finished the year with a record of 23-5 (17-1 CSAC), setting new team records for both overall and conference victories. 

Lacrosse- The women's lacrosse team fell to defending CSAC Champions Bryn Athyn in last week’s conference opener. The Gators picked up their first victory of the season with a 20-0 triumph over Trinity Washington on March 25.

Softball- The softball team is off to a 3-1 start in CSAC play this season, including a doubleheader sweep over Valley Forge on April 5. The Gators have won seven of their last eight games to improve their overall season record to 8-8.

Tennis- The tennis team opened CSAC play with a big 6-3 win over Clarks Summit on Tuesday, as the Gators earned their first conference victory since 2018. That was the first of five scheduled CSAC matches for NDMU this spring.

Want more NDMU Stories? Read the Bulletin, a bi-weekly newsletter with more student, staff, and faculty updates!

Save the Dates

Busta Business Forum

April 13 | 6 PM | LeClerc Theatre
RSVP here

The Charles J. Busta III Business Forum is designed to showcase the thoughts and experiences of business leaders, especially women, to encourage creativity and personal growth. The series was created in memory of Charles J. “CB” Busta, a Notre Dame trustee and marketing executive who died in 1999. This event is open to all alumni, students, faculty, and staff.

Tailgators and Brunch

April 15 | 10 AM | Noyes House
RSVP here

Student Athletic Advising Committee (SAAC) and Student Alumni Leadership Council (SALC) are teaming up and need our alumni to help knock this event out of the park! Join current students for brunch and share your wisdom and professional insight from your industries while reflecting on the transition from student to professional leader. In addition to brunch, there will be a photo booth and gifts for alumni participants. Following this event, all guests are welcome to join us as we cheer on the NDMU women's lacrosse team during its home game against Sweet Briar at 1:00 p.m.

DC Happy Hour

May 4 | 5:30 PM | Metrobar
RSVP here

Join us at Metrobar to relax after work, drink your favorite beer, and grab food from a local food truck, all while hanging out with other NDMU alums. All alumni and their guests are welcome. Metrobar will be hosting trivia starting at 7pm for any alumni interested in participating. The Alumni Engagement Office will be providing one free drink per guest over the age of 21 years.

Orioles Game for NDMU Alumni

Summer 2023 | Camden Yards

Join us at Camden Yards to watch the Orioles! Get together with family, friends, alumnae, and alumni to cheer on the home team. Your discounted ticket will include a pre-game picnic (all you care to eat and drink) and reserved seats overlooking third base.

View all upcoming events here!