Notre Dame alumni honored with annual awards

by Michael O. Garvey

Alumni Association Logo

The University of Notre Dame Alumni Association will honor the achievements of eight Notre Dame graduates with annual awards this month.

Robert M. Greene, a 1969 Notre Dame Law School graduate, will receive The Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., Award for outstanding public service. A specialist in health and not-for-profit corporate law, Greene has traveled to Haiti frequently on medical missions and to evaluate clinic sites for Global Health Volunteers, a ministry of Catholic Health East and Medicines for Humanity. He also has raised funds for the Catholic Charities Appeal and, most recently, to rebuild Notre Dame de Lourdes, an orphanage for Haitian girls which was destroyed in the January 12 earthquake.

James W. O’Neill, a 1957 Notre Dame graduate, will receive The Rev. Louis J. Putz, C.S.C., Award for improving the lives of others. O’Neill, who retired in 2001 from a 40-year long career in finance, construction and construction materials industries, has for the last 15 years helped support Catholic elementary schools in poor areas of Dallas. He served the city’s Santa Clara de Assisi Catholic Academy and St. Cecilia Catholic School by preparing and executing financial plans and installing accounting systems. He also led a $200,000 fundraising drive to support Santa Clara’s operations. Now at worked on a proposed consortium of Dallas City Catholic schools to synthesize their efforts in finance, grant writing, and marketing, Greene also serves as a religion teacher and lector in his parish.

Thomas Tauras, a 1972 Notre Dame graduate, will receive The Dr. Thomas A. Dooley Award for outstanding service to humankind. Since 2006, Tauras has lived in Istanbul, where he serves as area director for Save the Children’s operations in the Middle East and Eurasia. Before joining Save the Children, he worked for Catholic Relief Services and Project Concern International in Egypt, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Philippines, India, Guatemala, and Romania.

Patricia A. O’Hara, a 1974 Notre Dame Law School graduate, will receive The James E. Armstrong Award for distinguished service to the University. After six years in private practice in her native San Francisco, O’Hara returned to Notre Dame in 1981 to teach in the Law School, where she became a full professor in 1990. That same year, she was appointed vice president for student affairs, becoming the first woman to serve as an officer of the University. In 1999, she was appointed dean of the Law School, served in that position for 10 years. Now on sabbatical, she will rejoin the Law School faculty during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Windell D. Norris, Jr., a 1965 Notre Dame graduate will receive The William D. Reynolds Award for exceptional work with youth for the betterment of quality of life. Since retiring from a 35- year-long career in the pipeline construction equipment industry, Norris has served as a mentor for “at risk” middle school students in Houston. In 2005, with the help of the Notre Dame Club of Houston, he founded the Golden Dome Mentors, a group of 30 Notre Dame alumni, spouses, and friends serving Northbrook Middle School, most of whose students are poor children with little English language proficiency. The program has expanded to a neighboring high school as the mentees have been graduated from Northbrook.

Virginia McGowan and her husband, Daniel J. Bishop, both 1977 Notre Dame graduates, will receive The Family Exemplar Award. Virginia McGowan practices law in Northbrook, Ill, and Daniel Bishop is a director for Citibank Private Bank. Parents of five children, the Bishops are active in St. Norbert Parish, have led Boy and Girl Scout activities, and coached youth basketball and baseball teams. The Bishop children have volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, soup kitchens, nursing homes, and a tutoring program for at-risk children. The Bishops also have opened their home to their mothers and siblings when they were sick or in hospice care.

Dr. Matthew Hubbard, a 2002 Notre Dame graduate, will receive The Young Alumni Award for leadership and inspiration of young alumni. Dr. Hubbard, who also will receive a master of science degree from the University this year, is a general surgery resident at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio. He founded the Dr. Tom Dooley Society: Medical Alumni of Notre Dame in 2004 and now serves as its vice president. The Dooley Society, with nearly 2,000 doctor members, is committed to mentorship, education, the support of Catholic values, and global service to humanity. It has served more than 500 Notre Dame students through mentoring and shadowing experiences with practicing Dooley Society doctors and dentists.