For her years of selfless, dedicated service to the University of Notre Dame and to those struggling with rare diseases, Cindy Parseghian, class of ’77, will receive the prestigious 2017 Sorin Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association.
Established in 1965, the Rev. Edward Frederick Sorin, C.S.C., Award is conferred on a Notre Dame graduate who has offered distinguished service to the University. It will be presented to Parseghian on Saturday (June 3) during Notre Dame’s annual reunion.
Parseghian is president of the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation. She and her husband, Michael Parseghian, class of ’77, started the foundation in 1994 to find a cure for Niemann-Pick Type C disease, a rare and fatal genetic disorder that claimed the lives of three of their four children. As the foundation’s president, Parseghian has helped raise more than $45 million over two decades for research.
In 2013, Parseghian was elected to Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees. She has also served as the co-chair of the steering committee of the Women of Notre Dame, helping raise $5 million for a special initiative to endow and commemorate the new north entrance of the Hesburgh Library. Dedicated in 2016, the entrance honors the late Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. As Notre Dame’s president, he led the University’s transition to coeducation in 1972, paving the way for the more than 40,000 alumnae who have since graduated.
Parseghian received an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 2009.
“After her own family suffered unspeakable tragedy, Cindy went to work to help other families stricken by an awful disease,” said Dolly Duffy, class of ’84, executive director for the Notre Dame Alumni Association. “Her tireless efforts to find a cure, and her service to Notre Dame — including her work to honor a central part of Father Ted’s legacy — are truly inspiring.”
In addition to her work with the research foundation and the Women of Notre Dame, Parseghian also serves on a number of community and national boards, including the Notre Dame Alliance for Catholic Education Academies Advisory Board. Before starting the foundation, she worked for seven years as president, CFO and controller of MCS Telecommunications in Tucson.
“Our family has been blessed by the Notre Dame community which has supported us while our hearts have broken with prayers of hope, tears of understanding, and funding of our research efforts,” Parseghian said. “It is on behalf of this incredible community that I receive this award.”