College News Briefs

Fall 2014

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Celebrating 60 Years

The Master of Nonprofit Administration has used the tagline “Servant Heart. Business Mind.” in recent years to describe the program’s signature mission to provide nonprofit leaders with a solid business education to create a greater social impact.

During the program’s 60th anniversary celebration, held Sept. 26 in Purcell Pavilion’s Club Naimoli, it clearly was the “heart” on display. More than 200 MNA alums, faculty and program leaders were on hand to celebrate the program’s legacy. Moyer Foundation founder Karen Moyer and UN Foundation’s NothingButNets spokeswoman and former Irish women’s basketball standout Ruth Riley served as keynote speakers, both recounting deeply personal and faith-centered stories about their respective charitable foundations and endeavors. 

Each guest was given a copy of Alumni Reflections, a collection of MNA alumni letters created especially for the anniversary event, as well as the book 27 Seconds by MNA alum Jack W. Rolfe. The title refers to the amount of time it took Rolfe to walk across the stage to receive his diploma when he graduated in 2013.

Father Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., created the program originally for the vowed religious of the Catholic Church. First called the Master of Business Administration, it went through several name changes and broadened its scope as lay people increasingly began managing nonprofits sponsored by religious congregations. About 1,800 people have earned the degree to date.

Wendy’s CEO advice to students: Say ‘I’m in’

Emil Brolick, CEO of Wendy’s, started his talk with an explanation of brand relevance in a changing world, and ended with a quote from Michelangelo. Brolick, a top executive with more than 30 years leadership experience in the quick-serve food industry, spoke on Sept. 19 in Mendoza’s Jordan Auditorium as part of the College’s annual lecture series, Boardroom Insights. 

In his wide-ranging talk, Brolick discussed why certain brands were able to stay relevant, while others went by the wayside. He tied a brand’s “journey of growth” into a personal challenge to students. 

“Have as many fabulous experiences as you can in your life and your career,” he said. “All the time when someone says ‘Emil, we’re thinking about this for you,’ I say, ‘I am in.’ It is a new experience; I can get excited about this; I want to do this; I want to demonstrate that I can make a difference. I am in.”

Brolick closed the lecture with a Michelangelo quote: “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”

Boardroom Insights is a signature series of the Mendoza College that presents top executives discussing issues and trends in their industries and companies, which range from banking and financial services, to mining, retail food and products, and philanthropy.

In addition to Brolick, other speakers include Mary Dillon, CEO of Ulta Beauty; Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation; Wayne Murdy, former CEO of Newmont Mining Corp.; Michael O’Neill, chairman of Citigroup; Richard Lenny, former CEO of The Hershey Co.; and Paul Purcell, CEO of Baird Financial Group.

Irish Impact across the globe

His story arc included Thoreau, a mountain in remote Alaska, a blind 7-year-old boy, cat-eye glasses, George Soros, the Trans-Siberian Railroad and an estimated 700 million people worldwide who suffer from poor vision.

A crazy-sounding mix of people and places to be sure. But for optometrist Jordan Kassalow, they represent just a few of the milemarkers on the deeply personal journey that led him to found VisionSpring, a not-for-profit based on a market-based model that provides affordable eye care to the world’s poor.

Kassalow, a noted social entrepreneur recently named to Forbes Impact 30 list, was the keynote speaker for the third annual Irish Impact Social Entrepreneurship Conference. The conference, held Sept. 17-19, gathered social entrepreneurs from around the globe to network and learn from top thought leaders. 

Other participants included Rick Klau, a product partner at Google Ventures; Greg Van Kirk, co-founder of Community Enterprise Solutions and director of social ventures of SmartVision Labs; Jonathan Ng, global legal director and in-house counsel for Ashoka Global; and Gary Gigot, benefactor and CEO and co-founder of marketing strategy startup Vennli.

The Zielsdorf Family Pitch Competition, part of the Irish Impact event, awarded two prizes:

  • Crisp! Mobile Grocer, an affordable server with more than 300 items available for delivery right to a customer’s door, won the grand prize of $8,000. The primary initiative is to provide Chicago residents access to fresh, healthy, local food.
  • Jubilee Initiative For Financial Inclusion (JIFFI) won the “Coffeehouse Favorite” prize of $2,000. JIFFI is a nonprofit financial services provider based in South Bend. Run exclusively by ND students, JIFFI provides micro-loans in the form of cash advances to replace predatory payday lending. 

The program also gave the 2014 Irish Impact Award to Fr. Tom Streit C.S.C., the founder of the Notre Dame Haiti Program (NDHP). The program has specifically targeted elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF), a disease that affects roughly one-third of the Haitian population, by the year 2020. With assistance from multinational firm Cargill, NDHP has set forth a commercially viable plan to manufacture and distribute fortified food-grade salt products from Port-au-Prince.

Irish Impact is organized by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship in partnership with Fellow Irish Social Hub (FISH), an independent, nonprofit organization that invites Notre Dame students, faculty, alumni and local community members to help develop socially innovative ideas into for-purpose enterprises. 


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