(Opinion): Director carries on an excellent tradition

Author: Erik Runyon

Welcome to Steve Camilleri, the new director of the South Bend Center for the Homeless.

Camilleri takes over this month the duties of guiding the successful and much emulated programs of the center. A native of Levittown, N.Y., he found his way to South Bend by way of the University of Notre Dame.

Camilleri’s master’s degree from Notre Dame in nonprofit administration makes him educationally well qualified for his demanding new post. But he has more to offer than the right education and a demonstrated desire to help the needy.

Camilleri first became acquainted with the center a decade ago as a volunteer. Although the demands of his immediate past job prevented him from volunteering at the center in recent times, he comes to the directorship with sound knowledge of the continuum of care that makes the center so effective.

Camilleri has big shoes to fill. He follows Drew Buscareno, another ND alumnus, who worked at the Center for the Homeless for 11 years and left the executive director job he had held for five years in order to become assistant vice president for university relations at Notre Dame.

Buscareno had filled some pretty big shoes himself in 1999 when he became center executive director. He assumed the job of his old boss — who now happens to be his new boss. Lou Nanni is vice president of university relations at Notre Dame. He, too, is an alumnus. Nanni served eight years as executive director of the homeless center.

Notre Dame’s central role in founding the center 16 years ago, and its continuing commitment to the center’s programs, have been a huge gift to the South Bend community. Part of that gift has been the fine directors who have guided the center’s development.

It might seem that Buscareno and Nanni will be tough acts to follow. Another way to look at it is that they’re fine role models to emulate. We are glad that Camilleri has made South Bend his home, and we look forward to his tenure at the helm of the homeless center.

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