Joan Lennon, wife of Notre Dame Alumni Association executive director Chuck Lennon and a leader in the fight against breast cancer, recently was named an honorary alumna of the University.
Lennon joins an exclusive group of 38 people who have been designated honorary alumni, considered one of the most prestigious awards presented by Notre Dame.Honorees are non-Notre Dame graduates who are chosen because of their unique contributions that singularly qualify them for special recognition as members of the Notre Dame family.
A graduate of the College of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill., Lennon earned her masters degree from Indiana University and has lived in South Bend for 40 years.In 1976, she co-founded Shamrock Pre-School, which remains in existence today.
In 1994, Lennon was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Joans experience with treatment and survivorship was the impetus that motivated her to become a leader in the fight against breast cancer,said Louis M. Nanni, vice president for University Relations.She has embraced the opportunity, not only to provide education to others, but also to serve as a mentor to those who are facing the same challenge she faced.
In 2001, Lennon founded the Womens Task Force of St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in South Bend.The Task Force, of which Lennon serves both as director and an active participant, is a volunteer group that provides support for cancer patients in St. Joseph County.With the help of the programs annual Secret Sisters Style Show luncheon, the Task Force has raised more than $400,000 that will be used to fund mammograms for women who cannot afford them.All funds raised through the program are dedicated to the needs of local women.
Married for 48 years, the Lennons have five children and 14 grandchildren.