Domer Diaries

My Domer Diary: Notre Dame Friendships

Lasting Bonds

Those of us who have experienced it know there is something special about the friendships we make at Notre Dame. Whether we are alumni, parents, or friends, the people who come into our lives through our connection to Our Lady’s University tend to stand the test of time. They are the people who stand up in our weddings, become our children’s godparents, and cry with us when we’re grieving. Together, we’ve celebrated 21st birthdays, big promotions, new houses, and retirements. They are there for us when we need them, and we’d drop everything when when they call. We meet up in our hometowns, pick new destinations to visit together, and gather back on campus for Reunions and football games. 

Recently, we at the Alumni Association asked you to share the stories of your own Notre Dame friendships. Read on for more examples of enduring bonds forged under the Dome.

Patricia (Stanford) Petroff ’93 | Dallas, Texas | Pasquerilla East Hall
Patricia Stanford Petroff

Amidst the pandemic, my ND girlfriends and I each turned 50. In a nod to my Latina roots, I called it our “Cincuentañera.” We each received a crown to mark our coming of age. For two years, we have met every Wednesday night on Zoom. We have read many books and plays together; had virtual wine tastings; hosted guests such as ND professor Meghan Sullivan to learn about God and the Good Life; and had book club with our award-winning classmates & authors, Carlos Lozada ’93 and Beth Ann Fennelly ’93. We even met in South Bend to repel off the side of a ten-story building to support our friend’s favorite charity, the Youth Service Board. During my Golden Jubilee, I found rest and blessing during this crazy pandemic with the love and support of my ND besties: Shannon Shea, Kristen (Garvey) Mitchel, Melissa Larmoyeux, Kathleen (Hitzelberger) Culver, Aimee Lucas, Anita (Verdugo)Tarango, Maria Santos, Yvette McNeill, Adrienne (Speyer) Wittenberg, Erin (Ochoa) Barisano, and Ellen (Summerlad) Bednar.

Elizabeth (Betsy) Mohan Kain ’73 | Redondo Beach, Calif. | Saint Mary’s Transfer
 
Elizabeth Betsy Mohan Kain

When we were young, we landed in the right place at the right time and became part of Notre Dame’s history. Ironically, last fall when several Irish Belles were gathered in Door County, Wisconsin, for a long weekend, we received an email from our friend and ND ’73 class president Jim Hunt. He shared the September 23, 2021, Scholastic cover and enclosed article celebrating 50 years of women at Notre Dame. Talk about perfect timing! Our laughter and continued reminiscing flowed. A 2006 visit with Fr. Ted illustrates our inherited legacy. His advice: Put yourself in the hands of the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother. You will see heartbreaks as well as days of great joy. There will be celebration as well as days of mourning. With the Holy Spirit behind you and the Holy Mother inspiring you, these will be great years.

Caitlin Burke ’11 | Chicago | Farley Hall
 
Caitlin Burke

It began with three rooms in Farley Hall in which a longstanding friendship was formed between the “Farley Girls.” We are now spread across the country representing New York, Chicago, Huntsville, Alabama, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon. Sure, we can text, but nothing compares to getting together in person. Weddings, reunions and bachelorette parties are reasons to get us all back in one place, but there is something special about a trip taken for no reason other than celebrating friendship. On these trips, we’ll rent a house for us all to stay together, where we can fall back into old dorm room habits of heavy snacking, late night conversations, and even impromptu dance parties. Post-college, I have come to realize not only the importance of keeping these bonds of friendship strong, but the effort it requires. I’m proud of the fact that we all put in the effort and make time to celebrate our friendship — and I'm so grateful for the memories and in-person moments that have come from it.

William Rayburn ’84 | Tampa, Fla. | Sorin Hall
 
William Rayburn

I visit campus each year for at least one game and tailgate with my Sorin roommate Tom McDermott. This year has been special for me as I turned 60. My wife (a Florida Gator alum) surprised me by having my best Sorin roommate friends come stay with us for a weekend at our Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, condo. I was totally surprised and had such a great time. It was like a family reunion having Tom McDermott ’84, John Engeman ’83, John’s wife, Karen ’84SMC, and Betsy Quinn ’84SMC spend the weekend with us. It was great to have my ND family spend my birthday with me.

Matt Revord ’85 | Wilmette, Ill. | Morrissey Manor
 
Matt Revord

The London semester in the fall of 1983 resulted in six marriages and a lifetime of friendships. Many of us travel together to London and beyond. Our children have become friends through our travel, tailgaters, and love for this group. The attached photo left to right is Alison Yurko, Lisa (Carrizales) Revord, Amy Brecount White, Beth Fraser, Brian DeToy, Patti Kelly, Matt Revord, Jim Plamondon, and Pete White in Corinth, Greece, [in July 2022. Our trip continued]  in Turkey and [we missed] many of our other London friends who could not make this trip. Go Irish!

Dr. Joseph Blondin ’07 | Fishkill, N.Y. | Stanford Hall


We were all roommates in Stanford Hall. This is a picture we took freshman year at a party and we re-created the photo this June at our 15-year Reunion. While we are spread out from Minnesota to New York, we remain great friends! Pictured from left to right: Aaron Zielinski ’07, Sean Fox ’07, Joseph Blondin ’07, Brendan Murphy ’07, and Kevin Wolff ’07

Michael Murphy ’83 | Franklin, Tenn. | Pangborn Hall
 
Michael Murphy

Since our 35th-year reunion in 2018, the Pangborn class has been gathering annually. Last year it was in Asheville, North Carolina. This year we gathered for four days in Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee. Twenty-one classmates plus their wives attended this year, up from 12 dorm mates plus their wives last year. We enjoyed dinners at Martins BBQ, Wildhorse Saloon, and Americana Taphouse. We also enjoyed a great lunch at my house. Tours this year included The Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Andrew Jackson’s home, and the Ryman Theater. Memories and love were shared and new memories created. People came from Hawaii, California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Florida, and many other states. Attending this year were Bob Fricke, Chris Clouse, Stoney Ferlmann, Tom O’Brien, Matt Mullen, John Educato, Dave Pokel, Jim Elliott, Mike Honerlaw, Jack McKenna, Mike Corcoran, Mark Corcoran, Tom Kustner, Pat Doran, John Mangan, John Hyland, Steve Karaffa, Steve Carberry, Paul Ornosky, Tim White, and myself, Michael Murphy.

Jennifer Clark ’92 | Trophy Club, Tex. | Lewis Hall
 
Jennifer Clark

We are the original Lewis “8-Chick” and have been getting together for the past 30 years! We were so blessed to meet each other at ND back in 1988 and have continued to not just stay in touch but to be involved in each others’ lives ever since. Through the joys and struggles of careers, adulthood, motherhood, sisterhood, and everything in between, we have been there for each other and continue to be the best of friends. This year we celebrated 30+ years of friendship in Ocean City, New Jersey, and are looking forward to more adventures together as we move into our fourth decade of friendship!

Kristin Garvey Michel ’93 | South Bend, Ind. | Pasquerilla East Hall
 
Kristin Garvey Michel

How do you survive a global pandemic and social unrest? The same way you endured before, staying connected to friends and family. Over the last two-plus years, that has meant weekly Zoom calls that have included more than a dozen women with whom I share my Notre Dame and Pasquerilla East experiences. And while we have our Zoom moments of connection issues, awkward pauses, and pet appearances, we have found ways to laugh, cry, and love our way through these tumultuous years. We are closer now than ever before, linked in our daily lives in ways we haven't been since we were neighbors and roommates in PE. We recognize how lucky we are to have had each other for more than 30 years now. What joy we have found in shared experiences by Zoom and in person, getting together during work trips and family vacations. We even celebrated our 50th birthdays last fall with ND football and rappelling for charity in South Bend. I am so grateful to them, for their friendship, and for ND for bringing us together.

Kitty Conklin ’77 | Cincinnati, Ohio | Walsh Hall
 
Kitty Conklin

For most of the last 40 or so years, our group of friends has gathered each July at ND for a weekend get-together. In the early years, we booked our accommodations in the ND family dorm. Then we treated ourselves to the old Morris Inn, then to the new/current Morris Inn. and for the last few years, we’ve shared Airbnb houses. While on campus, we talk and walk, explore, try to figure out each year’s new buildings, and we talk and walk some more! As we visit in early July, we’re always able to have Rocco’s pizza for one meal! Because we live in states from Washington to New York, we’ve chosen ND as the best central spot simply to regroup and freshen our friendships.  

We are, from left to right: Susan Hudak ’77, Teri Sullivan Seeley ’77, Marjorie Matlak Gessner ’77, Mark Herr ’76, Marianne Ridge O’Connor ’76, Kitty Conklin ’77, Sheila Walsh Crowley ’77, and Mary Setlock ’76.

Sarah (Carroll) Smith ’97 | Tampa, Fla. | Lyons Hall
 
Sarah Carroll Smith

I cannot sleep tonight. Surprisingly, it’s not due to the uneasiness I have regarding recent gun violence, skyrocketing inflation, or the looming recession. Tonight, it isn’t the anguish I feel regarding COVID cases spiking again. It’s not even the dread I have about sending my firstborn to college in a month. My insomnia is related to the pure joy that springs from a Zoom with some of my Lyons Hall besties. Tonight, our virtual reunion transported me in a time machine back to 1993. We were all 18 years old and under the Dome again. For this brief time, I was back on my lofted top bunk, six inches from the ceiling, ready to chat all night. For tonight, folding socks and returning work emails took a backseat to nonstop laughter. So, as I lay in my “much safer” bed now, wide awake, I am reminded of that feeling you have senior year, right before graduation, when you just want one more "sweet second in time" to enjoy being under the dome before returning to the real world.

Susan (Foley) Kearney ’78 | Charlotte, N.C. | Farley Hall
 
Susan Foley Kearney

I am so grateful for the friendship of these women through the years full of travel, tailgating, celebrations, and much laughter: Nanette Bufalino ’78, Mary Pat Tarpey ’78, Chris (Spittler) Humboldt ’78, Charlotte Peterson ’78, Roxanne (O’Brien) Martino ’77.

Mike Major ’00 | Dillion Hall

Our core Dillon crew (all Class of 2000) has largely consisted of Brendan Crimmins, Keith Parendo, Vijay Thangamani, Ron Sutsko, AJ Altman, Eric Hull, Charlie McKenna, Ben Kutylo, Adam Penkhus, Dan “Irv” Irving, Zack Wright, and myself (Mike Major). Over the years we have met up together and have seen our favorite bands such as Creed, Nickleback, Jason Mraz, Good Charlotte, 3 Doors Down, The Goo Goo Dolls, Train, Matchbox 20, Maroon 5 and Collective Soul. With us all living all over the country, we have made seeing these bands a weekend destination trip and we have met up in cities like Boise, Idaho; Branson, Missouri; Spokane, Washington; Fresno, California; Syracuse, New York; Omaha, Nebraska; Huntington, West Virginia; Oklahoma City; and Reno, Nevada. We have fall plans in 2022 to meet in Dallas and, along with seeing Imagine Dragons, we were also planning to visit the Frontiers Of Flight Museum, which is located in suburban Dallas. We love our tradition and Go Irish!

Vicki Hazle (Vach) ’75 | Badin Hall 

I have always kept in touch with Tom ’76 and Holly Guzzardi ’77. Although Holly was very supportive as my sister passed through her Parkinson’s disease journey, we didn't get to spend time together as we lived in different states and had our families to raise. Three years ago, we retired near Sarasota, Florida. Tom and Holly retired close by about 18 months ago. Now we are able to get together to enjoy meals, golf, parties, and aluminum events. They are the same great friends/people they were when we met 50 years ago!!