When Dr. Susan Love first found out that she will serve as Notre Dame of Maryland University’s 2018 Commencement Speaker, she felt extremely honored. “It’s a place that’s very important to my life and that I truly support,” she explains.
Dr. Love is a world-renowned breast cancer surgeon and best-selling author of the Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, termed the “bible for women with breast cancer” by The New York Times. She is also the chief visionary officer of Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation (DSLRF), an active research program focused on studying breast cancer cause and prevention and has been labeled as one of the “founding mothers” of the breast cancer advocacy movement in the early 1990s. She founded the Faulkner Breast Center in Boston and Revlon UCLA Breast Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Love also received her medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York and completed surgical training at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital, where she became the first female General Surgeon.
But before all renowned success, she was a student at Notre Dame in the 1970s. “Back then, people didn’t suggest women to go to college. But I really liked Notre Dame because it had such a strong science program even then, which was unusual at an all-women’s college at the time,” she says. “Also, the School Sisters of Notre Dame were exceptional role models. In fact, I wanted to be a nun for some time because of their example.”
“I eventually finished up my degree at Fordham University, which was known as Thomas Moore College back then. But my loyalty, really, is to Notre Dame. My time at Notre Dame was crucial because it gave me the confidence to go and become a doctor and researcher,” Dr. Love adds.
Across campus, the community is excited for her upcoming address. “I am so delighted that Dr. Love will be our Commencement Speaker,” says Dr. Debra Franklin, Dean of the School of Arts, Sciences and Business. “She is an extraordinary physician who has used her gifts and talents in the sciences and the medical profession in the interests of women’s health, especially the treatment and cure of breast cancer. Known internationally for her important research, Dr. Love is a committed friend of the University, and the opportunity for our students to meet her and hear her message is quite special.”
Katie Salim, a senior chemistry major and SGA president, agrees. “She is an inspiration to women in the STEM field,” she says. “Also, as a senior at a women’s college, it’s humbling to see a woman activist fighting to make a difference in the role of women’s health.”
“She is a perfect example that hard work does pay off. It’s important for everyone graduating to see that,” adds Ashley Guy, a senior biology student.
Dr. Love continues to be at the forefront of finding a cure for breast cancer and pioneering for women’s health. Her Foundation partnered with the Avon Foundation for Women and developed Army of Women, a groundbreaking initiative that brings women and men together with researchers who focus on the causes of breast cancer. The research model jumps ahead of treatment and centers on prevention.