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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Never been more proud of ND students

In 1982, my brother and I went to a Notre Dame football game.  My father was a South Bend cop and knew Coach Faust. Coach Faust graciously allowed us to visit the locker room following the game. I was a big fan of ND wide receiver Joe Howard. In the locker room, we approached Joe Howard for an autograph. Joe smiled and was exceedingly kind to us. I was only 11 years old. While Joe Howard was speaking with us, a throng of reporters surrounded his locker. The reporters started peppering Joe with numerous questions about the game. Joe Howard assertively said to the reporters, “Hey guys, just wait a few minutes. I am talking with these kids right now.” At that moment, Joe Howard became the standard of what I envisioned for a Notre Dame person.

Joe Howard was not concerned about personal branding. Or getting a host of people to follow him. Rather, he put a couple of young kids ahead of himself. I cannot express the immensity Joe Howard’s action made upon me as a child.

Last fall, a staff member in the Office of the Registrar tragically lost her daughter. The staff member was Assistant Registrar Liz Rosencrantz. When we sent out an email saying the office was closing for the funeral, the out pouring of kind responses from ND students was incredible. I do not think I was ever more proud to be a graduate of Notre Dame. The response by my fellow Domers reminded me immediately of what the benevolent student-athlete Joe Howard did for me 33 years ago as a child. The compassion, love and kindness from ND students was astounding. I found it amazing in such a dark hour, our students could lift others spirit. Folks they did not even know. It meant a great deal to Liz Rosencrantz that so many students expressed sympathy and kind-heartedness.

Liz Rosencrantz is one of the best people at Notre Dame. Ever. Our students will never completely know how much she does for you. She comes in on Saturdays. Liz works over break periods. We tell her to go home and rest and she still comes in at 7 a.m. She lives in a rural area far outside of South Bend, yet drives through blizzards in order to serve you. Liz does this because she loves our students. She is the last person to ever seek personal attention and the first person to volunteer to help any Notre Dame person. She is probably the last person on earth who ever should have to lose a child. Liz has been to Africa three times conducting AIDS education seminars for our Christian brethren. I have seen Liz show up at 4 a.m. to work on commencement Sunday and work till near midnight when grades are due.

Just one day during your four years at Notre Dame as a student, I wanted you to know about Liz Rosencrantz. She is a really wonderful person. And she has dedicated pretty much her entire life to you.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.