This weekend, we welcome Tennessee State to campus for Notre Dame’s first football game against an Historically Black College or University. Here are just a few Black Alumni of Notre Dame who have made a positive impact on the world since graduation.
We Are ND Black Alumni Collection
Creating More Equitable Communities by Maura Sullivan Hill
Shelly Williams ’07 has spent her career at nonprofits that work to bring positive change to the lives of children in St. Louis and the surrounding region in Missouri.
Making Sports and Exercise More Accessible by Andrew McGuinness
Dr. Feranmi Okanlami ’15 M.S. has both led and been a part of numerous initiatives to raise awareness of the program and adaptive sports and inclusive recreation as a whole.
Recreating Urban Spaces by Maura Sullivan Hill
Metaya Tilahun ’20 M.Arch and other proponents of traditional urbanism say their designs create more human connection and therefore better mental health, in addition to the environmental benefits.
Striving to Make Literature More Accessible for Young People by Amanda Pilarski
Geraldine Mukumbi ’16 left her native Zimbabwe to come to Notre Dame in search of a kind of academic freedom. Still entertaining aspirations of a “practical” future, the Hesburgh-Yusko scholar entered as a finance major. But her heart was always with the arts.
Alumna Pursues Passions from Fellowship to Foreign Service by Meg Pryor
In a commitment to public service, DeJorie Monroe ’16 is pursuing a career in diplomacy and international affairs as Notre Dame's first Charles B. Rangel Graduate Fellow.
Educating Beyond the Classroom by Claire Ried
In 2017, former teacher and principal Krystal Hardy Allen ’07 founded K. Allen Consulting, an educational and management consulting firm that supports a variety of organizations in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Naval Commander Driven to Lead by Example by Maura Sullivan Hill
After graduating from Notre Dame’s ROTC program, Kelechi Ndukwe '02 was one of two African American officers on the ship in his first Navy posting. Now a commander, in 2021 he became the second Nigerian American to command a U.S. Navy destroyer and now serves as a mentor to younger sailors.
An Advocate for the Innocent by Claire Reid
As a Notre Dame law student, Tia B. Paulette '18 J.D., resurrected a latent Innocence Project chapter and helped turn it into the Notre Dame Exoneration Justice Clinic, which seeks to correct the miscarriage of justice for the wrongfully convicted.
Striving to Make a Better World by Maura Sullivan Hill
In March 2021, Milton H. Jones, Jr., ’74 became the first African American chair of the board of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), a philanthropic organization that funds scholarships for Black students and financially supports and advocates for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Bridging Cultural Divides, Improving Educational Outcomes by Amanda Pilarski
Jasmine (Simmons) Tow ’11 has found ways to broaden her impact in her current role as an Assistant Principal at Aspire Monarch Academy, a charter school in East Oakland.
Breaking Barriers in Cancer Care and Community-Building by Maura Sullivan Hill
As the first Black leader of a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, Dr. Robert Winn ’87 prioritizes patient care and community-building.
Building a Brotherhood on the Slopes by Tara Hunt McMullen
After a lifetime creating opportunities for Black skiers, Ben Finley ’60 is set to enter the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame.
Strengthening His Community Amid Crisis and Loss by Meg Pryor
Despite a devastating loss, Global Health alum Desmond Jumbam ‘16 M.S. uses his passion for service to strengthen his community.
Using Code to Expand Educational and Career Opportunities by Maura Sullivan Hill
Alex Sejdinaj ’15 and her two co-founders, her husband, Alex Sejdinaj, and Chris Frederick, started Code School in 2015, offering after-school coding classes for kids and teens aged 7-18.
With Holistic Approach, Educator Helps Students Thrive by Jessie McCartney
After working in education for 24 years, Bonita Bradshaw ’77 was invited to help start a school from the ground up, she readily accepted, recognizing the opportunity to empower students from underprivileged backgrounds.
She Champions Sustainable Packaging by Josh Stowe
Nicole Juntunen ’99 joined Be Green Packaging as vice president of sales and marketing in October 2018. The company makes packaging for foodservice and a variety of consumer packaged goods.
Building a More Just Church by Jack Rooney
Jemar Tisby ’02 is rolling up his sleeves and dedicating his life to building a more racially just and inclusive Church, a vocation that takes a variety of forms.
Chicago Mom Saved Children’s School from Closing by Maura Sullivan Hill
Elisabeth (Heard) Greer ’95 led the charge against Chicago Public Schools when the school district decided to phase out the elementary school her children attended, National Teachers Academy (NTA).
Creating Better Learning Environments for Children by Maura Sullivan Hill
Melanie Richardson ’93 decided to address the lack of educational resources needed in her hometown of New Orleans by creating TrainingGrounds, a nonprofit that provides supportive learning environments, offering a variety of programs for parents and educators and a free interactive play center for families with children ages 4 and younger.
Sharing Her Love of Reading by Maura Sullivan Hill
When Peace Corps volunteer Cymone Wilson ’08 landed in Jamaica in the spring of 2016, she was ready to embrace her 28-month assignment to help primary school students struggling with reading. The only problem? The library at her school was closed. That didn't deter her from solving the problem.
Serving His Country by Darcy Dehais
Since graduating from Notre Dame, Frank Taylor ’70, ’74 M.A. has served the U.S. government for almost 50 years and traveled to more than 65 countries.
He Leads Life-Changing Treatment for Troubled Youth by Josh Stowe
The young people who come to Wernle Youth & Family Treatment Center in Richmond, Indiana arrive in desperate need of help. They may have suffered abuse or neglect, gotten into legal trouble, struggled with substance abuse or behavioral disorders, and fallen behind in school. Their transformation is a joy to witness, says Darrell Gordon ’88, ’89 M.S., Wernle’s president and CEO.
Priest Empowers Fellow Haitians to Overcome Poverty by Amanda Pilarski
Before Rev. Fritz Louis, C.S.C., ’09 M.A. earned a degree in French Literature from Notre Dame, he grew up in Haiti speaking Creole. And it is in Creole that one can best understand the work he does with The KANPE Foundation to help fellow Haitians escape poverty.
Shaping Citizens for Justice by Josh Stowe
Teen Court is a program that allows young people to try cases involving their peers. Judge J. Elaine Marshall ’77, director and presiding judge of the city’s Municipal Courts Department, oversees the proceedings—everything is designed to help engage the young people who are present.
A Chosen Life by Maura Sullivan Hill
When Lyneè Urban ’08 became pregnant between her sophomore and junior year at Notre Dame, she was devastated. But 12 years later, Urban says that God’s plan for her was greater than she imagined.
Teaching Students to Succeed by Amanda Pilarski
In teaching, Ray’Von Jones ’16 has found a way to apply her unique perspective, her drive, and her passion for social justice—traits she’s happy to see in her pupils as she pushes them to succeed.
Recruiting Talent by Maggie Feighery
Update: Jetaun Davis '05 is now an Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Emory University, and she is also Life Design Coach and Host of the Journey to Jupiter: Discover the Life You’ll Create career podcast.