Fall 2012 - From the Editor

By Bill Gangluff | Fall 2012

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There is hardship in life, and then there is a life smackdown.

Traumatic news. Prolonged illness. Financial cliffs. Betrayal. It’s the kind of event that rattles your core.

How does one find solace—even joy—in the depths of despair that naturally follow? How does the human spirit cope?

Karen Hildebrandt, a friend and co-worker in the College of Business, has been visited by despair.

I will never forget the morning she told me her husband had tongue cancer. Initially, I saw only her strength: Her voice was steady, eyes bright and hopeful. However, as she recounted Larry’s diagnosis and treatment plan, her anguish became audible as her sentences were interrupted by shallow gasps for air. Karen was searching for answers.

She eventually found her solace. Between the radiation, chemo, feeding-tube debates and ever-present fears, she drew her loved ones closer. Every day, she recognizes the joy that God has created in her life in Larry. She recognizes the threads of sufferance: love, faith and family.

This issue of Notre Dame Business has these same threads woven through.

In Taking Stock, DeAnn Swinton writes about the fear that gripped her when her son, Matthew, decided to move away to attend Notre Dame. She had been his bedrock—and he, hers—since he was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy in his first year of life. Love and worry were entwined. She had to learn to let go and allow Matthew to find the independence he sought.

In a feature about connecting generations, Caitlin Crommett, a talented business undergrad student, discusses how she used her business smarts to create a nonprofit organization to help hospice patients achieve their final dreams. Whether it is going sailing one last time or eating a favorite barbecue meal, the key ingredient for a memorable wish, she learned, is the presence of family.

And in a feature on failure, our entrepreneurial alumni discuss facing a different kind of strife—business defeats—and the realization that lessons wrought with pain are perhaps the most valuable.

Love, faith and family.

The human spirit is remarkably resilient when supported with these three elements. When all seems bleak, they buoy us.