Fiesta Bowl notes from Notre Dame

Author: Dennis Brown

BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl

Twelve students from the University of Notre Dame and an equal number from Ohio State University will have more in common on Jan. 1 than the fact that their universities’ football teams are playing each other in the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl.

These two dozen students — three in each class at both schools — receive one of the most unusual and generous scholarships in higher education from the Glenna R. Joyce Trust.

Established in 1961, the Joyce Trust provides full four-year scholarships to Notre Dame and Ohio State for an equal number of outstanding students with financial need from Franklin County, where Ohio State is located, and its contiguous counties. The trust has distributed tens of millions of dollars to 748 students over the past 50-plus years.

“The Glenna R. Joyce Scholarship program has been one woman’s extraordinary act of generosity and caring for future generations,” said Peter Coccia, a 1972 Notre Dame graduate. “It made the dream of a Notre Dame education a tangible reality for me, a first-generation American of Italian descent from a single-parent household. To this day I still remember the great joy that both my mother and I experienced in 1968 when I received news that I had been awarded the scholarship. And I will always be grateful to Glenna Joyce for the education, experiences, relationships and many blessings that have graced my life because I can call Notre Dame ‘alma mater.’"

Glenna (Stengel) Joyce had no substantive affiliation with either Ohio State or Notre Dame. A native of Greenfield, Ohio, she was a seamstress before her marriage to William H. “Will” Joyce, who move to Columbus, Ohio, in 1910 and, with a partner, established the Wyandotte Pop Co. and the Millbrook Distillery.

Will Joyce later started the Joyce Products Co. and Beverage Management Inc., which developed a lemon soda that became 7-Up. The Joyces eventually owned several 7-Up bottling companies in Ohio and Michigan. After Will Joyce’s death in 1934, Glenna Joyce moved from a residence near Ohio State’s campus to Upper Arlington, Ohio, where she was a parishioner of St. Agatha Catholic Church. She was the major shareholder of Joyce Products Co. at the time of her death in 1960.

Coccia’s son Alex also earned a Joyce Scholarship. He graduated from Notre Dame in 2014 and is a current Rhodes Scholar.

“The Joyce Scholarship was an incredible opportunity to attend the University of Notre Dame,” he said. “Growing up, my dad had told me stories about his formative time at Notre Dame, with gratitude to the Joyce Trust for having allowed him to attend. I was honored and grateful to receive the same scholarship as my dad. My four years as a student were challenging and formative, and helped set me on a lifelong journey to try to live out our mission of learning as ‘service to justice.’”

In addition to the scholarships, the Joyce Trust also makes annual gifts to several charities, as specified in Glenna Joyce’s will.

Other off-the-field activities and news related to Notre Dame at the Fiesta Bowl include:

  • A service project organized by the Notre Dame Alumni Association will provide assistance to André House in Phoenix. The project, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 31, will bring together alumni from the Phoenix area to clean, organize, assist guests with laundry, help sort clothes and toiletries for guests and perhaps prepare a meal. Established in 1984 by the Congregation of Holy Cross, Notre Dame’s founding religious community, André House provides a wide array of services to the poor and homeless in the Valley of the Sun. More information is available at
  • Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., will preside and preach at a Mass at 5 p.m. Dec. 31 in the McArthur Ballroom at the Biltmore Hotel and Resort. Other Holy Cross priests will concelebrate.
  • There currently are 98 students from the greater Phoenix area attending Notre Dame, and 1,546 graduates of the University call Phoenix home.
  • Including the Joyce Scholars, there are 94 students currently attending Notre Dame from the Columbus area.

Since 2000, Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Teaching Fellows program has sent recent college graduates to teach in Catholic schools serving low-income and immigrant children in the Phoenix area. Six ACE teachers are serving during the current academic year at St. John Vianney, St. Vincent de Paul, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Bourgade Catholic High School.

Founded in 1993 by Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C., and Rev. Sean McGraw, C.S.C., the ACE Teaching Fellows program combines rigorous coursework focused on forming professional educators, held during the summer at Notre Dame, with two years of full-time teaching in classrooms in under-resourced Catholic schools. Excellent academic preparation paired with intentional community-building and spiritual formation supports nearly 200 teachers in more than 100 elementary and secondary schools in more than 30 cities in the United States each year. Those selected through the highly competitive application process earn a fully funded master of education degree and eligibility for teaching licensure, while forming children through the apostolate of education.

The Alliance for Catholic Education serves the Catholic Church throughout the country more broadly in its mission to strengthen and transform Catholic schools with an array of initiatives focused on forming leaders, enhancing school vitality and increasing children’s access to high-quality educational options. Two of ACE’s other initiatives, the Remick Leadership Program and the Catholic School Advantage Campaign, also operate in the Phoenix area. With its 25-month graduate program, the Remick Leadership Program prepares more Catholic school leaders than any other organization in the country. The Catholic School Advantage Campaign works closely with local leaders to help their schools adopt culturally responsive practices to respond to the distinctive educational needs of the country’s growing number of Latino immigrants.

In Tucson, Notre Dame operates its two founding Notre Dame ACE Academies, schools that have closed the achievement gap for their students in the sixth poorest metro area in the country.