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NDNU today

Summer 2018

The Magazine of Notre Dame de Namur University



Technology Transforming Education $1M Sobrato Gift Commencement

150th Anniversary Events Back Cover

President’s Message

In this issue of NDNU Today we turn our attention to technology and education. With NDNU located in the most innovative region on the planet, the university’s curriculum and teaching methods are changing in response to new options and demands. At the same time, some of our alums are taking leadership roles to create or manage groundbreaking advances in the high-tech sector. The section on How Technology Is Transforming Education highlights the ways in which NDNU is exploring new advances in our curricula. These changes include the addition of an online master’s program in teaching English as a second language. Interestingly, online learning is evolving at a time when the profile of the typical university student is also shifting. The changes in technology and in today’s student body are occurring simultaneously, and they are interacting in ways that can reshape education for instructors and learners. Similarly, in our teacher education programs, new technology is revolutionizing both special education and the K–12 classroom. Technology, students, and future educators are changing together, in ways that are often symbiotic. One fascinating application of technology in education has been the presence on campus this last year of Bina48, an advanced robot. At NDNU, Bina48 became the first Artificial Intelligence to complete the requirements for college classes, including a course in The Philosophy of Love, creating unique learning opportunities for our students, and bringing attention to Notre Dame de Namur University from around the globe. As we celebrate this year the 150th anniversary of our charter, we can see how much has advanced in education over the last century and a half. With emerging technologies permeating many aspects of our lives, including higher education, we continue to utilize new developments to enhance learning and career opportunities for our students.

Judith Maxwell Greig, PhD President

Dr. Hernan Bucheli Named NDNU Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Hernan Bucheli started as NDNU’s new provost and senior vice president for academic and enrollment affairs on July 1, 2018. Dr. Bucheli previously served as vice provost for enrollment and communications at Saint Mary’s College of California, and before that was vice president for enrollment management and external affairs at NDNU. “We’re extremely pleased that Hernan is rejoining NDNU to provide additional leadership in academic matters and enrollment management,” said President Judith Maxwell Greig. “He served with great distinction at Saint Mary’s College and his return will add important initiative at a key time.”


COVER PHOTO Technology transforming education

Faculty Highlights


Tracy Campus Update


Tech in Education How Tech is Transforming Education Alumni in Tech

Around Campus

6 12

Student Stories Arts Roundup Sports Recap Commencement

Advancement News


$1 Million Gift Sheri Sobrato Brisson Profile Donor-Scholar Reception $75K Matching Grant

Alumni News Class Notes Recent Alumni Events Alumni Survey

NDNU Today The Magazine of Notre Dame de Namur University Judith Maxwell Greig President EDITORIAL STAFF Jason Murray Vice President for Enrollment Management Karen Schornstein Executive Director, Marketing and Communications Karen Plesur Associate Director, Marketing and Communications Zack Rogow Assistant Director, Communications and Media Relations Contributors: Danielle Dana, Rowan Jack, Scott Kimmelman, Joscelyn Q. Pardo, University Advancement Photos: NDNU Marketing Department Archives


NDNU Today: ndnu.edu CONTACT US: NDNU Marketing and Communications marketing@ndnu.edu



Emily Anhalt Clinical Psychology

Emily Anhalt turned her doctoral dissertation into a highly engaging TEDx talk on ADHD. She regularly publishes articles and blogs in ADDitude, a leading online ADHD publication.

Mary A. Ashley Religious Studies

Mary A. Ashley authored “In Communion with God’s Sparrow: Incorporating Animal Agency into the Environmental Vision of Laudato Sì” in Sophia: International Journal of Philosophy and Traditions. Ashley demonstrates how Catholicism's overarching vision of unity-in-difference (“communion”) should include nonhuman animals.

44 NDNU NDNUToday Today

William Barry Associate Professor, Philosophy

Jennifer Kinder Kinesiology

Professor Barry is serving as a member of an elite panel of international experts regarding artificial intelligence and the ethics of just war theory at Oxford University, U.K. He also received the Nextant Medallion for outstanding work in the field of virtual reality for good.

Jennifer Kinder was a Sr. Dorothy Stang Scholar this past year, developing a kinesiology community engagement course with students who provided wellness consultations for clients living in a local shelter, and also performed a foods assessment for the shelter. She also received this year’s Sr. Catharine Julie Cunningham Teaching Project Award.

Zach Clark Art and Graphic Design

Helen Marlo Professor, Clinical Psychology

Zach Clark exhibited a group of prints in a series called “Great Hope” at the Student Union Gallery at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in February. “Great Hope” is an invitation to consider what gives us hope and sustains us in times of uncertainty. Much of the work in the show was printed by Zach Clark’s National Monument Press.

Professor Marlo has given several recent conference papers on the impact of trauma and violence. She serves as reviews editor for Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche. Professor Marlo also created and facilitates Mentoring Mothers at Mills-Peninsula Hospital to support perinatal health. At NDNU Commencement, she was honored with the Keller Teaching Award.

Sujata Ramnarayan School of Business and Management

Sujata Ramnarayan presented her work on “Understanding the Relationship between Customer Engagement and Motivations for Consumer Reviews,” at the Society for Marketing Advances Conference. Dr. Ramnarayan is faculty advisor to the Delta Mu Delta business honor society.

Betty Friedman Professor Emerita, College of Arts and Sciences Professor Friedman is currently showing her prints through August 2018 at the New Museum in Los Gatos, California, in an exhibition entitled “Thinking Outside the Frame.”

Tracy Campus



r. Darla Cuadra was named the first director of NDNU’s Tracy campus in January 2018. Dr. Cuadra comes to NDNU with a successful track record in campus operations, student services, and admissions, having previously served as vice president for student services at Patten University, and most recently as campus director for Columbia College of Missouri in Alameda, California. She earned a PhD in leadership for higher education at Capella

2018 Tracy Graduates

University. “I’m excited about the potential for serving students in Tracy and the greater San Joaquin County area,” said Dr. Cuadra. “Our campus is also delighted to work in partnership with the City of Tracy and the Tracy Consortium for Higher Education.” To meet the high demand for K–12 educators, the Tracy campus launched a new program in May 2018 that offers a master’s and credential in special education. Outreach for the Tracy

campus teaching credential programs has now been extended to Livermore and Modesto, as well as the Tracy triangle and Stockton areas. NDNU is currently conducting a survey of the education needs of the Tracy region to determine which programs to add or expand. The survey is polling students at local high schools and community colleges, and is also intended to promote awareness of NDNU’s academic offerings. Eight students at the Tracy campus were inducted into the business major honor society, Delta Mu Delta, on March 27. The students joining the society were MBA candidates Cheryl Bustos Co Sam, Denise Haliczer, Virginia Meagher, and Glenn Real; and bachelor’s degree candidates Jeannine Anchartechahar, Joseph Ochoa, Khalid Saleh, and Yvette Simon. The number of Tracy graduate eligible to participate in this year’s NDNU’s Commencement ceremony was ten, a significant increase over last year’s initial graduating class of two. ndnu.edu



is transforming education


NDNU Today

Online Courses and the “New Normal” Student


echnology is dramatically altering the ways that university faculty teach, and the ways that students learn. At the same time, the college student population is also changing, providing opportunities for technology to better serve the learners of today. “For students who are returning to education after a gap, online education can provide a convenient alternative to a face-to-face classroom setting,” said NDNU Assistant Provost for Online Programs Brad D. Washington. “With online learning, students can study from home, create their own schedules, and complete a degree program without having to leave the communities they’re embedded in.” These possibilities are increasingly important to a shifting student population. A report from the National Center for Educational Statistics counts three-quarters of all students in higher education as having at least one characteristic that makes them different from the traditional four-year, full-time residential college student. Well over half of all higher education students now work full- or part-time, and 28% have at least one dependent. Part-time attendees now account for 43% of all higher education students. (See graphic page 9.) “Studying online provides me the flexibility that I need to pursue my master’s degree,” said Bryce Bui, a student in NDNU’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program. Bui lives and works in Washington state. “It’s a wonderful option if you have a fulltime job or live in an area where there is no MA TESOL program.” Students learn to use various

online applications to do their coursework and this adds to their résumés when they enter the job market. “Technology such as digital storytelling and discussion forums are an integral part of my learning,” Bui adds. “These skills are also useful to have after graduation, whether I’m teaching or tutoring online, or in a classroom.” With some classes at NDNU now also taking a hybrid approach that combines online and in-class learning, students in a variety of programs are acquiring these important skills. Students now often move for work or personal reasons, so online programs also provide needed flexibility. “I started out living in San Mateo and taking classes at the NDNU Belmont campus,” recalled MBA student Sabrina Bondoc. “I had to move to New York City halfway through the program, and being able to switch to the online MBA allowed me to continue my studies without losing credits or time.” Dr. Washington emphasized that distance learning also allows students from all over the world to take part in NDNU’s online programs. A rotating cycle of modular units for the courses permits students to begin the program at any semester. He also pointed out that in an online classroom, all the students take part in discussions about the topic addressed. “Everyone contributes,” he summarized.


New Possibilities in the Classroom


echnology can turn the classroom into a multimedia studio, allowing different voices and combinations of speakers to enter the discussion. In spring 2018, for example, Professor William Barry invited film director Euzhan Palcy into his class on The Ethics of Emerging Technologies. Palcy was the first woman director of African descent to be produced by a major Hollywood studio, and the first black director to guide an actor to an Oscar nomination. She appeared via Skype in Professor

Barry’s classroom to answer student questions while she was in Paris, France. At the same time, Professor Barry’s class included the socially advanced robot, Bina48 (see below). Bina48 was in Vermont at the time, also attending via Skype, and the two had a provocative dialogue. “We’re using virtual reality to augment classroom-based learning,” said Professor Barry. “Students are entering the virtual world to attend guest lectures from professionals around the world.”

What’s Love Got to Do with It ?

NDNU makes histor y by becoming the first universit y where a robot completes a college class; Bina48 studies The Philosophy of Love


NDNU student Alex Rodriguez with advanced social robot Bina48


NDNU Today

n advanced robot named Bina48 that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) completed all the requirements for classes at NDNU in The Philosophy of Love and The Ethics of Emerging Technology. Bina48 participated in discussions via Skype and then took part in sessions at NDNU in December 2017 and April 2018. The robot’s attendance at the university sparked an international media sensation, with coverage on TV, online, and in print media, extending to the U.K., China, Russia, Nigeria, and Pakistan. “It was remarkable to be part of this historic first for a socially advanced robot to take a college course,” said Professor William Barry, the instructor of the classes. “The students and I learned that AI is primarily a reflection of our values, and helps us to clarify our own sense of right and wrong.” Professor Barry cautioned that our approach to Artificial Intelligence should not be guided by dread: “We need to get over our existential fear about robots and see them as an opportunity,” he said. “If we approach AI with a sense of the dignity and sacredness of all life, then we will produce robots with those values.”

Technology and the Teacher Education Curriculum


s current technology enters the K–12 classroom, teacher education classes at NDNU are shifting to incorporate new software and devices into the curriculum. This transformation is particularly striking in special education, where recent developments have greatly expanded the possibilities for students with special needs. “Eye gaze or eye tracking systems now allow students to control devices using just their eyes,” explained Brian Gadus ’14, who teaches NDNU’s Technology in Special Education class. Gadus is an alum who earned both his master’s and credential in special education at Notre Dame de Namur and now works as an assistant technology specialist with the Palo Alto Unified School District. “Eye gaze is extremely useful for a student who has a difficult time manipulating a computer, such as someone with severe cerebral palsy. That student can click on a letter or a button on a screen either by focusing visual attention for a few seconds, or by blinking twice.” NDNU special education credential students try out these devices in order to work optimally with students who use them. The new technology also includes apps that allow students who are nonverbal to “speak” by generating a voice in response to typing or pressing buttons on a screen. Conversely, students who can speak but not type can use dictation software to transcribe their ideas. “For students who are bedridden or unable to attend a class in person, there are telepresence robots,” Gadus adds. “These students can literally drive the robot remotely into the classroom, where they can monitor the class.” Technology is also opening up new possibilities in K–12 classrooms in general. Chris Bell ’10, ’14 teaches a course on Technology Applications in Education for all NDNU students working toward a single subject or mul-

“New Normal” Students in Higher Education


of all undergraduate students have at least one nontraditional characteristic


transfer between institutions prior to completion



have at least one dependent


work either full or part time


attend part time

are enrolled in two-year colleges


are first-gen students

Source: National Center for Education Statistics (2015).

tiple subject credential. Bell is an alum who completed his credential and master’s at NDNU and also teaches technology integration and blended learning in the Palo Alto Unified School District. “NDNU teacher education students learn the G Suite that includes Google Docs and Google Draw,” Bell remarked. “This free software helps teachers differentiate their instruction in ways they never could before.” Using the G Suite, teachers can “flip” the class. “In traditional classes, the teacher introduces content and the students practice it at home,” Bell described. “With flipped learning, the students learn content at home, and in class the teachers can give them more engaging and enriching activities where they work together.” Technology is also allowing students to learn more at their own pace through one version of the technique called “blended learning.” “If a student is ahead of the class, there are online materials the teacher can assign for enrichment, while the teacher works with another group, helping them get up to par,” Bell commented. Bell introduces the new technology in the context of “digital citizenship,” keeping in mind the university’s values and Hallmarks: “As they learn new devices and software, we emphasize that it’s crucial for students to use the technology in an ethical and responsible way.”


ALUMNI PROFILES: NDNU Graduates in the Tech Industry

John Dinh ’13 John Dinh '13 works for a global startup manufacturing electric cars for the China market. His experience at NDNU primed him for a career related to social and environmental change. “At NDNU, I was a Bonner Leader with the Sr. Dorothy Stang Center for Social Justice and Community Engagement,” Dinh stated. He volunteered in homeless shelters in San Mateo, helping families who had been evicted from their homes get back on their feet. He now works in San Jose at NIO. “The company’s motto is ‘Blue Sky 10

NDNU Today

Coming,’ reflecting its commitment to reduce air pollution,” he explained. Dinh is an autonomous operations specialist, supporting the team that installs lasers, radar, and cameras in the cars, sensors that assist with the self-driving functions that NIO plans to add to their vehicles. He rides in the prototypes, providing feedback to the software engineers who program the cars. “I’m excited to be part of a company helping to reduce fossil fuel reliance,” he said. Dinh was the first in his family to

attend a four-year college. His parents were “boat people,” refugees who fled Vietnam at the end of the war. Dinh was born and raised in the Bay Area. “The faculty at NDNU who most influenced me were my political science advisors, Professors Stephen Cole and Ali Ferdowsi,” he stated. “They were my mentors and they’ve stayed in touch. I chose NDNU for the small classes, and because I wanted to continue my faith. Having a church and spiritual community on campus was a huge factor for me."

Norman Gennaro ’95 Norman Gennaro MBA ’95 is the senior vice president for worldwide sales at Zendesk, a company that builds software for customer relations. Gennaro feels that his education at NDNU helped prepare him for this leadership role, where he is responsible for more than 700 sales professionals: “NDNU broadened my knowledge beyond programming and gave me an executive view of the challenges a company faces, along with international exposure, due to its diverse set of students.” When Gennaro was attending NDNU, he worked for a small company where he was a systems engineer writing code. After completing his MBA at NDNU, he moved to the sales consulting team at Oracle and then ran North America territory sales for Amazon Web Services before he was recruited by Zendesk.

Chris Kernes graduated from NDNU’s Clinical Psychology master’s degree program in 2004 and has now cofounded a company that created an app for real-time, face-to-face therapy using a smartphone. The company, LARKR, connects clients with a curated network of providers. “There are huge gaps in mental health services in the United States,” Kernes stated. “One group that often falls through the cracks is teens experiencing anxiety, depression, or substance use. With smartphones, we hope to provide services to underserved populations.” The LARKR app is also useful in bringing psychotherapy to rural communities where there are fewer mental health professionals, therapy is often stigmatized, and anonymity is difficult. Kernes credits her NDNU professors

Chris Kernes ’04

with insights she uses in her professional life. “Professor Blair McCracken taught us that therapy is not primarily about diagnoses, it’s about connect-

Gennaro attended NDNU as an evening student while working full-time. “I’ve never regretted going part-time,” he said. “There were moments when I burned my candle at both ends, but I appreciated the intensity. I always look back with a sense of pride at my time at NDNU.” He feels his outlook was changed by Notre Dame de Namur. “My experience at NDNU taught me to be unafraid of holding an unpopular opinion, open to new data informing my view, and flexible enough to change if new information told me I was wrong,” he recalled. NDNU also greatly influenced his personal life: “My wife Yui Kurujaroenporn Gennaro and I met in the MBA program.” She earned both an MBA (’94) and a master’s in education (’96) from Notre Dame de Namur University.

ing to people, and motivating them to change.” She also studied with Professor Helen Marlo. “Dr. Marlo cautioned us to see people as they are and not how they present themselves based on their trauma experiences,” Kernes added. “She also emphasized that therapy is about the client’s needs and not the therapist’s agenda.” LARKR donated $50,000 of complimentary therapy for the students and families who experienced the tragic shootings at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “My daughter attended that school for three years,” Kernes said. Kernes’ other community activities include participating in a hackathon in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco that brought together tech professionals to brainstorm ideas on how to improve mental health services. ndnu.edu

NDNU DUOS Two Generations of the Same Family Attending NDNU Together


(L to R): Naomi Ichikawa and Stephanie Ichikawa (L to R) Stephanie Ichikawa and Naomi Ichikawa


NDNU Today

otre Dame de Namur's student body is split fairly evenly between traditional-aged undergraduates and adult returning students, so it’s not surprising that there are different generations of the same family attending the university together Naomi Ichikawa is earning a bachelor’s degree in the evening professional studies program, majoring in business administration. Her daughter, Stephanie Ichikawa, is also studying business administration, but as a daytime junior. Naomi works at NDNU in the Business Office. “I actually have access to Stephanie’s grades, but I never peek,” she said. “It’s nice that we’re both on campus. I feel more connected to her.” Stephanie

sometimes drops by to ask her mom a quick question, like what’s for dinner. For Naomi, it’s helpful to have Stephanie to assist with tech questions, such as the fine points of PowerPoint presentations. Since Naomi has already had a career in financial services, she sometimes helps her daughter with accounting homework. Both Naomi and Stephanie took a financial accounting class with Professor Hamid Azad. “We both liked him, he’s knowledgeable, patient, detail-oriented,” Naomi observed. Stephanie appreciates that NDNU is near their home in Foster City, and that it’s a small campus where you can get to know many of your classmates. Naomi said, “I like the

I like the diversity at NDNU. diversity at NDNU. The university really welcomes first-generation students. I feel that working and studying here is meaningful. It’s not just grinding numbers.” When Meagan Rodriguez was applying to be an undergraduate at NDNU, her mother, Rose Velez, started to think about going back to finish her bachelor’s degree. “Meagan was filling out her application, and I looked into NDNU without telling anyone,” Rose admitted. “It had been a dream of mine for many years to return to finish my college education. I used to drive by the Notre Dame de Namur sign on Highway 101 and my heart would be heavy, wanting to go there one day.” The family lives in Redwood City, not far from the Belmont campus. When both Meagan and Rose were admitted to NDNU, Rose told her daughter that they would be going to college at the same time, though Meagan is in the daytime undergraduate program in business administration, and Rose is studying human services in the

evening. One advantage to their staggered hours at Notre Dame de Namur University is that Rose can help take care of her grandchildren when Meagan is in class. Both mother and daughter work in the business that the family founded and runs, an elder care agency with twenty employees. “Now that I’m in college, I want to continue and get a master’s degree,” Rose said. “It’s amazing what higher education does for your mind and for how you see things.” Mother and daughter talk about college a lot: “Every single day,” said Meagan. They’ve both enjoyed classes with Professor Patrick Arbore. Meagan appreciates that the faculty at NDNU understand the demands of working and raising a family. “There was a class I had to miss because I had no childcare,” she recalled. “Instead of blaming me, the professor sympathized and gave me the work to make up. That kind of support makes all the difference.”

(L to R): Meagan Rodriguez and Rose Velez

(L to R) Rose Velez and Meagan Rodriguez

It’s nice that we’re both on campus. I feel more connected to her.


 Telling her Story

F I R S T - G E N E R AT I O N - T O - C O L L E G E S T U D E N T

Joscelyn Q. Pardo More than half of NDNU full-time undergraduates are the first in their family to attend a four-year university. This is the story of one of those students.


attended public high school in Modesto, California, where I coedited the yearbook and took AP classes. Deciding what to study was hard because I love both art and psychology. My counselor told me about a field that combined both my interests––art therapy. NDNU seemed to be the perfect college for me for its location, size, and its amazing art therapy program. It was tough applying to colleges. Although my mom was loving and supportive, she had never filled out university applications. My friends were my biggest asset, helping me figure out how to get an application fee waiver. Long nights perfecting application essays came to a rewarding end: NDNU accepted me with a four-year, partial scholarship. I worked full-time the summer before my freshman year to buy the things I needed for my dorm room. I was thrilled to start NDNU and meet new


NDNU Today

people. In the beginning, I was trying to figure out how the lines worked in the cafeteria, how to reload my laundry card, and how to pay my tuition all at the same time. Being a college student took time and patience to figure out. My dad works as a roofer; during the winter he doesn’t earn as much. Making the tuition payment every month was hard for my family because my mom couldn’t afford it on her own. Despite finishing my first year with a dean’s list 3.8 GPA both semesters, I wasn’t sure I could return as a sophomore. Then I was hired as a resident assistant, orientation team leader, and student worker in the marketing department. I was so excited to be a student leader. The additional compensation reduced my college costs so my family and I didn’t have to worry as much. I’m able to continue attending NDNU, growing as an individual and furthering my education.




Into the Woods

Artist Robert Chiarito talking with NDNU student Naif Shami

he Musical Performance Department presented Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods in February and March, with a cast of 33. The artistic team consisted of faculty members Martin Rojas Dietrich, director; Dottie Lester-White, choreographer; and Debra Lambert, musical direction. The department also presented Opera Rocks, featuring opera scenes and arias performed by all of the department’s vocalists. Department Chair Debra Lambert traveled to Guangzhou, China, in March 2018 to adjudicate at the Classical Singer International Competition. NDNU graduate student Longyue Dai was one of the performers.

The Wiegand Gallery exhibited new work by the renowned painter Robert Chiarito from late January to early March 2018. “Chiarito’s art uses abstract imagery to convey visceral and emotional states of being, reflecting the human condition,” described Wiegand Gallery Director Robert Poplack. The artist’s work has been exhibited nationally at Stanford University and the Triton Museum of Art, as well as internationally. Chiarito also visited campus to give a talk and to conduct a workshop on February 22. His class focused on collage, a medium that he used in many of the works exhibited at the Wiegand Gallery.


Berumen, Alvarez at NDNU Athletics Banquet


eniors Esteban Berumen and Bianca Alvarez closed out their four-year careers at NDNU with several honors at the annual Athletics Banquet. Berumen and Alvarez took home the top honor for the second straight year, earning Male and Female Athlete of the Year accolades respectively. Several other student-athletes

were honored at the banquet for accomplishments both on and off the court. Justin Eggimann (lacrosse) and Shanelle Charlot (volleyball) took home Scholar Athlete of the Year accolades. Chazz Wade (basketball) and Cori Harral (cross country/track) were named Newcomer of the Year, while Tony Andoyan (soccer) and Ellie Mujushi (soccer) earned Fresh-

man of the Year honors. Additionally, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) added new awards this year voted on by the student athletes. Susan Whitney (soccer) was picked as the Teammate of the Year, Alessandra Giannavola (softball) received Comeback Player of the Year, and Mikey Haas was selected as Argo Fanatic. ndnu.edu

Hats off, Grads!

Commencement 2018 The university celebrated its 166th Commencement on May 5, 2018, conferring degrees and credentials on 551 graduates. The recipients earned a total of 213 master’s degrees, 239 bachelor’s degrees, 11 doctoral degrees, and 88 teaching credentials. The 2018 cohort included 10 Tracy campus graduates. This year’s ceremony marks the 150th year since the state of California 16

NDNU Today

chartered NDNU as the first institution accredited to grant the baccalaureate degree to women. This year’s ceremony also featured the first NDNU graduates to receive their degrees in the new blended Liberal Studies program, which allows students to earn a bachelor’s degree and an elementary school teaching credential in four years.

Carlos Robson, a spoken word poet, delivered the 2018 commencement address:

“As you head out into a big, scary world, know that you are more prepared to change it than you may realize.”

Brooke Ashley Becton ’18, Undergraduate Speaker

Cheryl Chou ’18, Graduate Speaker

To view video of this year's commencement ceremony visit ndnu.edu/commencement

University Advancement $1,000,000 Grant From John A. Sobrato and Susan Sobrato Fund Provides Scholarships to First Generation NDNU Students


he John A. Sobrato and Susan Sobrato Fund, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, has awarded a grant of $1,000,000 to Notre Dame de Namur University to help fund scholarship assistance for First Generation Leadership Scholars. The grant will provide key support to incoming NDNU students who are the first in their families to pursue a bachelor’s degree and who demonstrate significant financial need. Additional awards will be made to transfer students wishing to complete their bachelor’s degrees at NDNU.

Recipients will benefit from leadership seminars to help them succeed in college and beyond. “We are enormously grateful for the generous support the Sobrato family has shown NDNU over the years,” said President Judith Maxwell Greig. “The scholarship will provide critically needed funds for first generation students and their families. We are pleased to be able to recognize their hard work and accomplishments with additional financial assistance.” Frank L. Hannig, chair of the NDNU Board of Trustees, noted that it was

through President Greig’s efforts and leadership that NDNU was able to secure this gift. He added, “We are very grateful for the donor’s commitment to supporting access to education for low-income and first generation students.” This recent grant is in addition to previous generous donations from the Sobrato family to help fund the restoration of Ralston Hall, support for the Art Therapy program, as well as providing office and classroom space at the Sobrato Center for Nonprofits in Redwood City.

Demonstrating the Application and Power of Art Therapy NDNU Donor Sheri Sobrato Brisson NDNU donor Sheri Sobrato Brisson is passionate about art therapy and its power to heal. Her involvement began when she battled brain cancer in her mid-twenties and became a survivor. Now she is an advocate in the field, developing a book for children and a new educational app for seriously ill teenagers. Sheri feels so strongly about the value of art therapy that she contributed $75,000 to NDNU’s art therapy program to provide scholarships and faculty professional development. As a child, Sheri spent time in the hospital while undergoing a series of eye surgeries. In her twenties, she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Both experiences gave her a unique perspective on the challenges facing seriously ill people. After graduating from Stanford University, she worked in finance, and then earned her master’s in counseling/health psychology from Santa Clara University. She began utilizing 18

NDNU Today

art therapy when she started to counsel seriously ill children and their families. Recognizing the need for more sophisticated tools, she coauthored Digging Deep: A Journal for Young People Facing Health Challenges , an award-winning guided journal for serious health issues. Sheri felt there was also a need for widely accessible art therapy for teenagers. To meet that demand, she helped develop Shadow’s Edge, a fun and free mobile app. “Every teen facing illness deserves the chance to explore that experience and to build resilience,” says Sheri. In addition to the healing properties of art therapy, Sheri believes in the importance and power of philanthropy. Sheri is a trustee of the Sobrato Family Foundation, whose aim is “envisioning Silicon Valley as a place of opportunity for all.” She and her husband Eric live in Northern California with their two children.

2018 Donor-Scholar



n March 20, 2018, NDNU held its annual DonorScholar Reception at the Sobrato Center for Nonprofits. Students got to meet the donors who support their scholarships. “This is one of NDNU’s most beloved events,” said Interim Vice President for Advancement Barbara Alvarez. “It’s a unifying experience where the donors offer encouragement to the students and reassure them that their hard work will pay off. Some of the donors

NDNU Trustee Elaine Cohen (center) and recipients of her scholarship

were themselves scholarship students when they were in college, struggling to meet their own educational and career goals.” Sheri Sobrato Brisson was this year’s donor speaker. Her contributions include a scholarship donation to the Art Therapy program. She spoke about how impressed she is that NDNU has one of the largest master’s programs for art therapy in the world and the only art therapy PhD program in the United States.

Scholarship recipient Catherine Franco and NDNU Trustee Kris Zavoli

Donor Sheri Sobrato Brisson (L) and recipients of her graduate art therapy scholarship


$75,000 matching grant from Jacques M. Littlefield Foundation honors 150th anniversary of charter NDNU is grateful to the Jacques M. Littlefield Foundation for providing a $75,000 gift in recognition of the 150th anniversary of NDNU charter. The donation is a matching challenge, and is intended to raise a total of $150,000 in scholarship funds. To contribute to the match and have your contribution doubled, please contact Interim Vice President for Advancement Barbara Alvarez at bgalvarez@ndnu.edu or (650) 508-3512. ndnu.edu

NDNU Alumni

CLASSNOTES 1960s Betsy Norris, BA ’67

Betsy is coming out of retirement to go back to school. She is returning to St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda to teach an English workshop to transfer students and be a new teacher mentor. Sr. Patricia Lowery, BS ’67

On behalf of the NDNU Alumni community, welcome Class of 2018! Congratulations on your graduation. We look forward to having a long and wonderful relationship with you. As your fellow 20,000+ alums will tell you, we’re in almost every state and many countries around the world. Wherever you go, there is likely an NDNU alum for you to meet. Our goal is to help alumni connect with each other so your connection to the university remains strong—either in person or virtually. I encourage you to take full advantage of the programs and events we sponsor and organize, including: • Social network events • Faculty and staff presentations • Sporting events • Outdoor recreational opportunities • Reunions I cannot wait to hear where your education is taking you, and hope to meet you at future alumni events. Thank you and see you soon. Elizabeth Valente ‘18 Director of Alumni Relations alumni@ndnu.edu (888) 511-NDNU (6368) ndnu.edu/alumni

NDNU Today 20 20NDNU Today

Sr. Patricia is working as an administrator at the North American headquarters of Medical Mission Sisters in Philadelphia. She entered the Medical Mission Sisters in 1959 and has served with them in Ghana, and as a physician/surgeon in the Navajo Nation.


Dennis L. Venturoni, BS ’85, MS ’02 Dennis is celebrating his twentieth anniversary working at Wells Fargo in San Francisco. As a business systems consultant in the Enterprise Business Services Technology Department, he works on system design for online banking.


Robert Crum, BA ’93, MBA ’96 Robert is the new account director with DiSa, based in Seattle. His clients include Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, among other global retailers. Robert has spent over twenty years in the consumer electronics industry. Brian Dietschy, BA ’95 Brian has been named Coach of the Year by the Bay Area News Group. Coach Dietschy helped lead the Las Lomas Knights to the Diablo Athletic League Foothill Division and Northern California Division regional championships in boy's basketball.

Eric Goddard, MSC ’95

Eric, a former Palo Alto Unified administrator, is Barron Park Elementary School's interim principal for the rest of the school year. Anthony Campbell, BA ’97

Tony leads the Educational Services team at CoreOS and is on a mission to educate the world on Kubernetes and cloud-native technology. He is the author of Troubleshooting OpenStack and a member of the OpenStack Speakers Bureau. Alison Lyon, MBA ’97

Alison is the new executive assistant, regulatory affairs, clinical and medical affairs at Intersect ENT. The healthcare equipment company manufactures drug-delivery devices used by ear, nose, and throat clinicians in the treatment of sinusitis. Hector David Ramos, BS ’97, MBA ’16

Hector is the director of operations at Blue Chip LLC, a technology consulting firm. With his leadership team, he creates strategic plans, marketing, sales, and accounting/ audits. He is also the site coordinator at Horizons Unlimited of SF Inc., a youth development and empowerment organization advocacy group. He has worked at both jobs for sixteen years.


Phil Boissiere, MACP/MFT ’05

Phil is a relationship specialist and executive leadership coach adult ADHD specialist. He was recently featured in a TEDx talk about ways to relieve stress in your life. Jennifer Williams, MS ’05

Jennifer has been promoted to counsel at Downey Brand LLP. She is a litigator based in Stockton, focused on construction, real property, eminent domain, and condemnation litigation.

She has litigated cases before state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate level, and before administrative tribunals. Carol Aguirre, BS '06

Carol is the policy manager at the NYC Department of Education's Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality. She oversees policy initiatives impacting teacher recruitment and supports strategic stakeholder engagement to ensure all NYC children have high-quality teachers. Recently, she was recognized by the Mujeres de HACE for her leadership role, and by the Women in Power, a fellowship program to help women advance in leadership roles in their fields. Patrick Hensley, BA ’08

Patrick is the new police chief for the Daly City Police Department. He has served with the department since 1994 when he began his law enforcement career as a patrol officer. Dan Bergeron, BA ’09

Dan is the new Live Oak High boy’s basketball coach. Previously he served four years coaching Fremont High School Sunnyvale as the varsity head coach.


Patricia Anastasi, MA ’10

Patricia recently displayed her artwork as part of the Pink Dog Creative art exhibit held in Asheville, North Carolina. As a therapist, she has worked with children and adults, helping them cope with anxiety, depression, trauma, and anger. Theo Ellington, BA ’11

Theo is running for District 10 Supervisor in San Francisco and is the former director of public affairs for the Golden State Warriors.

NDNU Alumni

CLASSNOTES Daniel Seevers, BS ’12

Detective Daniel Seevers works at Colma Police Department and recently completed the San Mateo County Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program. Kris Rowberry, BA ’12

Kris received an award for his 2017 Six Flags Over Texas Social Media Campaign with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. The organization is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities worldwide. Evelia Chacon, BA ’08, MA ’13

Evelia is a registrar assistant in the Office of the Registrar at San Jose State University. Previously she worked at the Office of the Registrar at NDNU. Therese Ammiro, MS ’14

Therese is the interim dean of UCSC's Silicon Valley Extension program. She has been at UCSC for fifteen years working in various leadership positions, such as academic programs specialist, and bureau chief for information communication technologies.

» Submit a Class Note. We want to hear from you! ndnu.edu/alumni

Births Jamie (Rose) Pereira, BS ’01 Gave birth to her second daughter, Amelia “Mia” Caroline Pereira, in June 2017. Mia is little sis to three-year-old Abbey. Jamie is an engineering project manager at Apple Inc.

In Memoriam Joan Andre ’11 Helen (Berloe) Caplan ’76 Katherine (Ernstrom) Du Bois ’80 Joanne Therese Gallagher ’59 Carol Galletta ’99 Sandra Sue Ireland ’82

RECENTLY PUBLISHED Statue of Death: A California Lighthouse Mystery by Pam Brown, MA ’06 Cozy Cat Press (January 2018)

Lauren Tingle’s beloved grandmother, Abby Tuttle, has vanished from her fishing boat along the treacherous Pacific Ocean’s Northern California coastline. With the undeniable terror of not knowing what has befallen her grandmother, Lauren embarks on a complex journey of solving the mystery surrounding Abby’s disappearance.

Tribute: The Cleaners Series: Book1 by Christine Knoblaugh ’03 CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 2018) When twelve-year-old Miguel’s gang member Papa makes promises to Santa Muerte, someone in Miguel’s family loses a soul. This time, the target is Miguel’s brother, Juan. Santa Muerte, the skeletal patron saint of drug traffickers and murderers, always claims her fee. Miguel must choose to release his brother or lose yet another loved one, for the bargain was made with Santa Muerte and the price must be paid.

Melania Keezer ’81 Therese Marie Morasci Kennealy (Sanguinetti) ’90, ‘96 Isaac Daniel Klughaupt ’04 Mary (Bary) Leonard ’72 J. Gordon Loughlin ’81 Sr. Kay (Ann Catherine) McMullen, SNDdeN ’61 Helen (Zoma) Rendon ’61 Robert J. Sweatt ’98

RECENTLY RELEASED Buried Treasure Erica Sunshine Lee, BS ’03 Orsley Entertainment (August 2017)

 

Erica’s eighth original album release. While Buried Treasure is full of island-infused music, Lee doesn’t leave her traditional/90s country sound off the album. She knocks it out of the park with both “You’ve Got Me” and “Like A Record.”

U P COMING A LU MNI E V E N T S: ndnu.e du/alumni • 19 t h A nn u a l Sh a ke s p e a r e F e s t i v a l, A u g u s t 8 —11, 2018 • 196 8 C l a s s R e un i o n , O c t o b e r 14, 2018 • Wa t e r D o g R un / Wa lk , O c t o b e r 13, 2018 • A r m s t r o n g B r e w e r y M i xe r, N o v e m b e r 1, 2018 ndnu.edu



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Kaitlin Aparicio and Katelyn Rose Black '09, '14 with future Argos at the alumni lacrosse event

18th Annual Alumni Carmel Retreat Weekend

Seventh Annual Graduates Luncheon 2018 faculty, staff and alumni


» Class of 1968 50th Reunion Brunch Sunday, October 14, 2018 Details to follow at ndnu.edu/alumni

Save t he Date! 22

NDNU Today

18th Annual Wine and Cultural Tour: Exploring Amador County

NDNU ALUMNI SURVEY RESULTS Thank you to all who took part! The survey produced a number of outcomes related to employment, satisfaction, and skills learned at NDNU.

651 94%

93% 77%


RESPONSES from Classes



Had at least one professor who made them excited about learning. Alums who earned both a BA and an MA from NDNU since 1990 say they would attend the university again. Work in a job related to their major.



Are employed

or more Primary industry of employment




Social Service


Business Services




The majority of alums feel that their education prepared them well to live in alignment with their personal values.

Computer Science and Technology

SKILLS ENHANCED AT NDNU Writing effectively Thinking logically Acquiring new skills Speaking effectively Functioning well in teams

A high percentage of alums express a willingness to advise prospective students or to act as a mentor to a current student.

Understanding diversity Building relationships


1500 Ralston Avenue Belmont, CA 94002-1908 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED

150th Anniversary Events

This year marks the 150th anniversary of NDNU’s charter, when the institution became the first in California authorized to grant the baccalaureate degree to women. It is also the sesquicentennial of Ralston Hall. To celebrate these milestones, the university is hosting a number of events and festivities throughout 2018.  The Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Library is hosting a rotating series of exhibitions on NDNU history, featuring rarely seen memorabilia, photos, and documents. The exhibitions will continue throughout the year, culminating in a giant poster presenting a panorama of the university’s history from its beginnings to the present.  NDNU is partnering with the City of Belmont to display banners along Ralston Avenue commemorating the 150th anniversary of the charter and Ralston Hall.  In October 2018, NDNU will hold a Charter Week to celebrate the 150th anniversary with different events, and to highlight the stories of the university’s history and foundresses.  NDNU is participating with the City of Belmont in the Water Dog Run on October 13. Starting in front of Ralston Hall, this new annual event includes runs of different lengths, from a 1K Kid’s Fun Run/ Fido Mile for dog owners, to 5K and 10K courses. belmontwaterdogrun.com  NDNU students are creating a time capsule that will capture features of campus life and programs in 2018. The plan is for the capsule to be opened in 50 years to mark the 200th anniversary of the charter.

Profile for Notre Dame de Namur University

NDNU Today: Summer 2018  

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