Dick Notebaert to Address the 2017 Graduate School Commencement Ceremony

Author: Aaron Bell

The Graduate School will hold its annual Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 20, at 10:00 a.m. in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

At the ceremony, the University will recognize and celebrate the recipients of 240 doctoral degrees and 478 master’s degrees.

Dick Notebaert, the chairman emeritus of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees, and the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Qwest Communications, Inc., will deliver this year’s commencement address. Notebaert and his wife Peggy are the benefactors of the Notebaert Premier Fellowships, the largest single gift ever bestowed upon the University for graduate education, and have deeply embraced the Graduate School’s holistic model of post-baccalaureate training.

The ceremony will include the presentation of the inaugural Notebaert Award, which will be given to Matthew Capedevielle for his leadership on behalf of Notre Dame graduate students as the director of the University Writing Center. Dr. Capdevielle’s dedication to promoting graduate student professional development and collaborating across campus to develop innovative training and mentoring opportunities is particularly worthy of recognition.

The recipients of the following Graduate School awards will also be recognized during the ceremony:

  • Augusto de la Torre is the winner of this year’s Distinguished Alumna/us Award. Dr. de la Torre received his Ph.D. in Economics from Notre Dame in 1985. Dr. de la Torre served as an economist for the World Bank from 1997 to his retirement as Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean in the fall of 2016. Previously the head of the Central Bank of Ecuador and an economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dr. de la Torre has published extensively on a broad range of macroeconomic and financial development topics.
  • Patrick Griffin is the winner of the James A. Burns, C.S.C. Graduate School Award. A leading scholar of American History, Dr. Griffin has made numerous contributions to graduate studies at Notre Dame both as an active and influential advisor and through his vision and collaboration in creating and administering the Global Dome dissertation accelerator, an exchange program that enables cross-disciplinary conversation and critique.
  • Peter Cholak is this year’s Director of Graduate Studies Award winner. A professor of mathematics, Dr. Cholak will be honored for his thoughtful and dedicated focus on student recruitment, the development of numerous initiatives to foster community among graduate students, and his success in encouraging students to apply for and win competitive fellowships.

The top graduating doctoral students in engineering, the humanities, social sciences and science will be honored with the Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Awards.

  • Christopher Paolucci, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is honored for his seminal work in computer simulations of heterogeneous catalysts, like the kind that occur in automotive catalytic converters. After graduation, Paolucci plans to join the Nørskov Group at Stanford University as a postdoctoral scholar. In fall 2018 he will assume a tenure-track assistant professor position in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia. Chris is recognized not only for his remarkable technical ability and drive, but for his demonstrated leadership and mentoring of others throughout his time at Notre Dame.
  • Matthew Kuiper, Theology, is the recipient in the humanities and is a scholar of contemporary da’wa, Islamic teaching or mission. Matthew’s first book, titled Da’wa and Other Religions: Indian Muslims and the Modern Resurgence of Global Islamic Activism, will be published by Routledge in 2018. Matthew excelled as an instructor of record, teaching two sections of a course of his own devising on inter-religious encounter and dialogue. In fall 2018, he will take up a tenure-track position at Missouri State University in its Religious Studies Department, as the specialist on Islam.
  • Laura Gamboa, Political Science, is the recipient in the Social Sciences. A scholar of comparative politics, in her dissertation Gamboa offered an explanation for why incipient autocrats win elections and why they succeed or fail in their attempts to deny the opposition a realistic shot at winning elections. Currently an assistant professor of Political Science on the tenure track at Utah State University, Gamboa has published an article based on her dissertation in Comparative Politics. Gamboa has also been a key co-author of a series of articles and papers on vote-buying in Latin America.
  • Renee Bouley, Chemistry, is the recipient in Science. Renee’s work contributed to the discovery of a new class of antibiotics, the quinazolinones, in fighting infections by a nefarious human pathogen, the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor conducting research in cardiovascular diseases in the lab of John Tesmer, Renee is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschtein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral F31 Fellowship.