During the ceremony, the University will confer 286 doctoral degrees and 500 master’s degrees, as well as present several awards to distinguished members of the Graduate School community.
Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of Oxford since 2016, who is receiving an honorary degree from the University, will deliver the ceremony’s commencement address. The first woman to lead Oxford, Richardson is an Irish political scientist specializing in international terrorist movements. She previously served as the University of St. Andrews’ first female principal and vice-chancellor, following a tenure as the dean of Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and several professorships at Harvard from which she holds her doctoral degree.
“Dr. Richardson embodies the Graduate School’s core conviction, ‘Your Research Matters,’ as her zeal and curiosity for international studies have positioned her to offer concrete steps against terrorism and toward peacebuilding. Moreover, she is a role model for female leadership in academia,” said Laura Carlson, vice president, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. “I am delighted that her example, in concert with those of our admirable awardees, will launch our graduate students from the University into the world, where they’ll have their own opportunities to propel research that matters in powerful and unique ways.”
The Graduate School awards recipients are as follows:
- Mimi Beck is the winner of the second-ever Dick and Peggy Notebaert Award. The founding director of Notre Dame’s Office of Graduate Student Life, Beck has demonstrated tireless devotion to graduate students in the process of creating and implementing a broad and strategic vision that promotes their success and well-being. Beck’s efforts support the Graduate School’s commitment to fostering a holistic research environment.
- Steven Walker is the winner of the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Walker was named the 21st director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in November 2017. An undergraduate and doctoral graduate of Notre Dame’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Walker is recognized for his public service career dedicated to advancing U.S. hypersonic flight and space access.
- Edward Maginn is the winner of the James A. Burns, C.S.C. Award. The Dorini Family Professor of Energy Studies and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Maginn is recognized for a sterling reputation as a leading scholar in the field of molecular simulation, and his deep dedication to advising and classroom instruction.
- Curtis Franks is the winner of this year’s Director of Graduate Studies Award. An associate professor in the Department of Philosophy specializing in philosophies of logic and mathematics, Franks is recognized for innovative restructuring of the doctoral program and for fostering a welcoming departmental environment for graduate students.
In addition, the ceremony will honor the recipients of the Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Awards, which recognize the top graduating doctoral students in the divisions of engineering, the humanities, social sciences and science.
- Paige Rodeghero, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is the recipient of the Shaheen Award in engineering. A scholar of software engineering, Rodeghero is recognized for her excellent research on content extraction and program comprehension, as well as for her caring approach to teaching and mentoring. Rodeghero will assume a tenure-track position at Clemson University in the fall.
- Joshua Noble, Department of Theology, is the Shaheen Awardee in the humanities. A specialist of Christianity and Judaism in antiquity and a gifted linguist, Noble is recognized for his exceptional scholarship, which argues for the reliance of the Acts of the Apostles on the Greco-Roman Golden Age myth. Noble currently serves as a tutor at Thomas Aquinas College.
- Samantha Anderson, Department of Psychology, is the social sciences’ Shaheen Awardee. Anderson is a widely published quantitative psychologist whose work addresses replication methodology and data analysis. Anderson is recognized for her excellent academic record, brilliant scholarship and effective teaching, for which she previously received a Kaneb Center Outstanding Student Teacher Award. Anderson will begin a tenure-track position at Arizona State University this fall.
- Leandro Lichtenfelz, Department of Mathematics, is the Shaheen Awardee in science. A specialist of the Euler and Navier-Stokes equations, Lichtenfelz is an accomplished researcher with a strong publication record. He is also an outstanding instructor, and a favorite among his department’s honors undergraduates. In the fall, Lichtenfelz will begin a highly coveted postdoctoral appointment at the University of Pennsylvania.