Mendoza School of Business

Alumni Awards

Each year, Mendoza recognizes individuals for their dedication to the College of Business through direct service back to the College as a volunteer or by living out the mission of the College in their daily lives.

This year’s winners will receive a physical award and a 3-session Career Coaching Package from IrishCompass.

To Be Considered

  • An individual must be a graduate of one of Mendoza’s degree programs.
  • An individual can not have received one of Mendoza’s four alumni awards within the past three years. A list of previous winners is available below.
  • An individual can be nominated for multiple awards, but can only receive one in a given year.


Recognizes an alumnus/alumna who has demonstrated achievement in business and a commitment to the Mendoza College of Business through leadership and service to the Mendoza community or through living the Mendoza mission of “Growing the Good in Business” in his or her local community.

Examples of service to the graduate business community include, but are not limited to, recruitment of prospective students, speaking on campus, financial support of the graduate business program, participation in alumni activities, and career recruitment.

Examples of commitment to the mission of the College of Business include, but are not limited to, excelling in a career in the nonprofit sector, leading a local community service effort, promoting corporate social responsibility or serving on a nonprofit board.

Recognizes a graduate business alumnus/alumna who graduated within the past 5 years and has demonstrated commitment to the Mendoza College of Business or to the Mendoza mission of “Growing the Good in Business” through local service to the community.

Examples of service to the graduate business community include, but are not limited to, recruitment of prospective students, speaking on campus, financial support of the graduate business program, participation in alumni activities, and career recruitment.

Examples of commitment to the mission of the College of Business include, but are not limited to, excelling in a career in the nonprofit sector, leading a local community service effort, promoting corporate social responsibility or serving on a nonprofit board.

Recognizes an alumnus/alumna who owns or leads a company that is successful in its industry and also has a specific goal for making a positive social impact either on its local community or on the globe.

Examples of social impact goals can be – donating a specific portion of profits to certain charities, a commitment to sourcing materials locally, providing jobs to disadvantaged groups, committing to certain environmental targets.

Recognizes an alumnus/alumna who has provided extraordinary service to Mendoza students while also achieving significant personal success. Service can be anything from student mentorship, to project sponsorship, to internship and career opportunities.

Recognizes an alumnus/na who lives in the Michiana area and has made significant contributions to the local community. Over the past ten years, the University has increased its involvement with and commitment to the greater Michiana area and this award reflects the commitment our alumni have as well. The alumni contributions could be through community service work, civil service work or helping to bring more jobs to this area.

Previous Award Winners

Awards 2021

An Army veteran, Charlie is the founder of NFINET and chairman of the Indiana Whiskey Company. The award recognizes an alumnus or alumna who has demonstrated achievement in business and a commitment through leadership and service to the Mendoza community or through living the Mendoza mission to “Grow the Good in Business” in his or her local community. Florance was recognized for his many acts of support for Mendoza, such as his years of service and leadership on the Graduate Alumni Board and local championing of the MBA program, and for the overwhelming success and impact of Indiana Whiskey Company.

Nicole, a 2020 EMNA alumna, is the executive director of InterVol. The award recognizes a graduate business alumnus or alumna who graduated within the past five years and has demonstrated commitment to the Mendoza mission through local service to the community. InterVol is a nonprofit that provides surplus medical supplies to the developing world. The company provided internship opportunities to Rochester-based Notre Dame students during the pandemic, training them in respirator fitting and safety precautions so they could support the health-care workers on the frontline of the pandemic.

John is a 2008 EMBA alumnus and the owner of Kurtz Bros. The award recognizes an alumnus or alumna who owns or leads a company that is successful in its industry and also has a specific goal for making a positive social impact either on its local community or on the globe. Kurtz Bros. is a family company known for its history of growth and innovative, sustainable approach to problem solving in the landscaping and building solutions industries. The company also challenges its employees to serve local charities in Northeast and Central Ohio.

A 2020 MBA graduate as well as a doctor, Matt is also the president of the Indiana Whiskey Company. The award recognizes an alumnus or alumna who lives in the Michiana area and has made significant contributions to the local community through community service work, civil service work or helping to bring more jobs to this area. Logsdon was recognized for the impact of Indiana Whiskey on the local business community and for pivoting operations to produce hand sanitizer when the pandemic hit. He also completed his third year of medical school rotation by providing frontline pandemic aid.

Kevin, a 1983 engineering major who has spent much of his career in the venture capital space, is currently the co-founder of Spray Venture Partners. The award recognizes individuals who have dedicated significant portions of their careers to mentoring students and alumni in their career and entrepreneurial endeavors. Connors, an accomplished entrepreneur and venture investor who has co-founded seven health-care technology companies, was recognized for providing career coaching and startup guidance to hundreds of Notre Dame students.

Awards 2019

(Evan Cobb/University of Notre Dame)

(Evan Cobb/University of Notre Dame)

Paul Gregerson is the medical director of the John Wesley Community Health Institute (JWCH), an urban clinic for the homeless on Skid Row. The clinic provides much needed care to low- income residents in the great Los Angeles area. Dr. Gregerson has partnered with community leaders and other providers to provide needed healthcare to this vulnerable population. For example, one identified challenge was that individuals, who did not have a home and were living on dangerous streets, had to wait weeks for housing because health screening test results for tuberculosis were not readily available. Dr. Gregerson and JWCH partnered with Kaiser Permanente to provide no cost, same day testing that would allow residents with negative TB tests to qualify for safe, clean housing in the downtown area. His organization shared in an article the Dr. Gregerson “serves as a model of the philosophy that everyone deserves good health care and respect by treating every patient who visits the clinic, regardless of their ability to pay.”

(Evan Cobb/University of Notre Dame)

As a senior product manager at IBM, Heena has led conversations in the tech industry and the greater business community on relevant, contemporary topics such as implicit bias and supporting women’s entrepreneurship. She hosted a workshop on unconscious biases in the workplace at Google’s Cambridge office as a part of their International Women’s Day celebrations. In the words of her nominator for this award, “She has been a leader in IBM’s Watson IoT business unit, representing her team at various trade events, as a guest on podcasts, and through her constant, uplifting social media presence. Heena is a transformative leader, and represents what somebody can accomplish with a Mendoza MBA.”

(Evan Cobb/University of Notre Dame)

Rich owns and runs RNS Packaging, a small sustainable packaging business in southwest Michigan. As Rich’s norminator states, Rich is an adept entrepreneur, negotiator, and salesman whose focus on sustainable packaging proves that business can simultaneously work for the greater good while making a profit. He has chosen to focus on producing biodegradable packing peanuts in innovative shapes and colors. These packing peanuts are known commercially as FunPak®. The manufacturing of FunPak® involves no blowing agents, no toxic discharge, and zero waste. The only carbon footprint in the manufacturing process is that of the electricity consumed. We thank Rich for answering the call to ask more of business when it comes to sustainability, and working for the greater good.

(Evan Cobb/University of Notre Dame)

Rebecca has been an active member of the Michiana community for nearly her entire life. Rebecca has participated in community service projects on campus for the Trio Programs, as well as projects with Mendoza for the Center for the Homeless; Hello Gorgeous; and mentoring students on campus. For the past 10 years she has been an active leader in the St. Joe County 4-H program in photography and was recently made the County Superintendent in Public speaking. Additionally she is an active fund raiser for Millers Veteran Center. She also helps at the Kitchen Bike Park, a local 501C3 organization that focuses on teaching skills and discipline to riders so that they can compete at the amateur and professional sports level, volunteering her time to help ensure that community youth are able to learn new BMX and skating skills in a safe and healthy environment.

Award Winners 2018

Rian Gorey ’82, MBA ’84 is a long-time management consultant and business leader based out of Atlanta. Rian has always made service to Notre Dame a priority in his life. He is currently serving in his final year as a board member for the Mendoza Graduate Alumni Board, providing advice and assisting with projects that help propel the College forward. Rian also serves as Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors for the Notre Dame Club of Atlanta and is a longstanding member of Mendoza’s John Cardinal O’Hara Society. In addition to his volunteer work with Notre Dame, Rian has also contributed to the local community in Georgia through decades of volunteer work as a volunteer supervisor with Atlanta’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. Rian also serves his community through his work with the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.

“I am completely humbled and honored,” states Gorey, “In the alumni club, our mission is to help others through our volunteer work and assistance in areas such as scholarships for needy students. We strive to create a large and strong community because many hands make light work and we can accomplish much more for others. I truly believe in Father Sorin’s vision that Notre Dame, and we graduates, must continually strive to be a powerful force for good in the world.”

“First of all, I view becoming a recipient of Mendoza’s “Recent Alumni Award” to be a distinct honor,” Camosy stated. “Secondly though, I have to admit that such an honor as this one carries with it a parallel feeling of humility because of the many remarkable accomplishments of my fellow Notre Dame alumni who are past recipients of these awards.”

Ray Camosy ’72, MNA ’12 has made service to nonprofits a lifelong commitment. Camosy has served on industry boards, higher education boards and boards for religious institutions. He decided to attend the Master of Nonprofit Administration program at Notre Dame in part to become a better, more qualified board member for these institutions. In 2015, he moved to South Bend simply to be closer to the University he loved. He is now a professor at Notre Dame, teaching construction management, a subject in which he has great expertise from his time serving as President and CEO of his family’s firm, Camosy Construction. Since moving to South Bend, his board service continues, as Ray is now a member of the board for the Forever Learning Institute.

In addition to being nominated for her work professionally, Jessica was also nominated for her ability to keep her classmates connected.

“It is an enormous honor to be recognized by a community which exemplifies the excellence, values, and orientation toward service that I want my career to represent,” said Jessica. “When we leave the safety of the University, it becomes more difficult to stay true to these ideals but as alumni we must strive to develop the practices that keep us centered in that mission. Sometimes it’s tempting to feel we are failing, when we fail to be perfect, but as a community we must encourage each other to continue striving. Receiving this award is such a humbling affirmation for me and provides exactly that kind of encouragement. It reaffirms my commitment to my own vocation and the mission of our University.”

Jessica (Bonanno) Rose is a graduate from the MBA Class of 2014 who has chosen to pursue a career that focuses on building income for low and moderate income families and communities. The focus of her work is on promoting cutting-edge, market-based solutions to poverty such as developing an impact investment fund, whose goal is to create quality jobs with ownership pathways in Cleveland, OH. One of her classmates who nominated her stated “Jessica’s work with the nonprofit Democracy Collaborative has been redefining opportunities for individuals in low income and high risk communities. Jessica has traveled the country to work with individuals and companies to assist them in developing sustainable strategies that bring their products and services to market.

In addition, Jessica is always mindful of social responsibility, and she is a leading example of why a Notre Dame education can be such a powerful complement to the right mindset. I am proud to be a classmate of hers.”

“Receiving the “Ask More of Business Award” is both exciting and humbling,” Jordan Karcher, MBA ‘15 shared. “Five years ago, Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. was nothing more than a dream to make a difference for a few dogs in need of a helping hand. But, with the support of the Mendoza staff and a few passionate classmates, the dream evolved into a fully functioning social impact organization, which has grown to benefit hundreds of organizations and thousands of at-risk dogs throughout the country. Notre Dame’s ethos to represent more than a bottom line is inseparable from our brand identity and culture, and I am honored to be an every day advocate to Ask More of Business.”

Karcher founded Grounds & Hounds, an online coffee provider that has a strong social mission. 20% of all profits are donated each year to local animal rescue organizations. To date, the company has supported organizations in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, South Bend, Washington, DC, Dallas, Nashville, Charleston, SC and many more areas. Karcher started his business while in the MBA program at Mendoza.

“I am very excited that Notre Dame is taking the time to recognize graduates that are making an impact on the South Bend – Elkhart Region,” Shah said. “This further shows the commitment that Notre Dame has in investing in our local community. There are so many community champions that are helping to push our region forward. I am certainly honored by this recognition and am inspired by the energy of all those around me, all taking a role in making our community a place that we are proud to live, work and play.”

Shah serves as CEO of KemKrest, a supply chain and logistics firm based in Elkhart, IN that primarily services the automotive industry and employs approximately 600 individuals. In addition to his success growing KemKrest, Shah also is involved in a number of ways to help the local community. He brought “Lemonade Day” to Elkhart, which helps young people learn financial literacy through making and selling lemonade. He also currently serves on the Indiana University South Bend Chancellor’s Advisory Board, the Beacon Health System Board of Directors and the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Development Authority Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Award Winners 2017

Alan Jolly is Vice President at Conduent, a business process services company which is a new company split off from Xerox, with 93,000 employees in more than 40 countries. Alan has remained an active member of the Notre Dame family, serving as President of the ND Club of Indianapolis. Alan has also stayed close to Mendoza since graduating, having served as the Chair of the Mendoza Graduate Alumni Board from 2013 to 2015. “I am extremely humbled and honored to receive this award from Notre Dame.  For me, it is the highest recognition that I have received in my professional career.  It is a wonderful example of how Notre Dame remains committed to its core values and to its alumni family. It will always remind me that hard work and dedication are recognized and valued, which is something that I want my daughters to always remember, even if not recognized by anyone but themselves.”

Chris Sinclair founded The Anthem Group, a collection of companies in the live entertainment, large-scale event production, hospitality and experiential marketing industries. He has led the organization to continued success. Included in The Anthem Group’s diverse portfolio, it owns the food and beverage rights to Boston’s renowned Esplanade Park and manages several high-profile events, such as the Anthem International Music Festival and the New England Dessert Showcase. Through Chris’s leadership, Anthem also runs a program called the Anthem Incubator, helping small businesses achieve success. “Being awarded the Distinguished Alumni award is a tremendous personal and professional honor,” stated Chris. “A distinguished alumni award from anywhere is an incredible recognition – but to receive one from Notre Dame is beyond humbling. The award recognizes and is symbolic of everything that I strive for in my career: to do both well and good at the same time, and to contribute to the Notre Dame and Mendoza community that has given me so much.”

J. Keith Butler had spent 20 years as a lawyer when his career took a turn towards service oriented organizations. He founded Valliant House, a residential treatment facility serving indigent women. He followed that effort up by founding a home for men who were formerly alcoholics, called the Eagle’s Nest. “Winning this award is validation that Our Lady’s University and Mendoza recognize that service to others extends beyond balance sheets. Nonprofits still have to make a profit to have the resources to stay viable to serve those in need,” stated Butler. “We still understand P&L statements and must market without large budgets. For me, this award has little to do with any of my past efforts. Rather it serves to motivate me to continue and improve my contributions in both size and scope. It is a call to use my God given talents, experience of a 35 year legal and business career and my financial blessings to better serve my fellow man. Those are not hollow platitudes. We are our brother’s keeper. Notre Dame and Mendoza give that biblical admonition credence through the annual award I’m so blessed to receive.”

Eric Haley is the co-founder of Gotham Greens, a company that focuses on urban agriculture by producing premium vegetables out of its greenhouses in Chicago and New York. The company has a strong focus on both sustainability and the local small business economy. “While studying entrepreneurship at Notre Dame, I was able to explore how to incorporate sustainability and renewable resources into multiple business plans,” said Haley. “In addition to marketing a “green project,” the actual social and financial impact of incorporating green practices is even more important. Studying entrepreneurship gave me an opportunity to not only to learn how to write business plans, but also how to critically evaluate a strategic plan and the millions of small decisions that build-up to the big picture of starting a company.”

Aaron Perri currently serves as the Executive Director for South Bend Venues, Parks & Arts, and has been integral to the revitalization of Downtown South Bend. Aaron has served as the chair of SB 150, the celebration of the city’s 150th anniversary. He previously acted as the Executive Director of Downtown South Bend. “It’s a pleasure to serve South Bend alongside so many talented colleagues, visionary business leaders, generous community partners, and passionate residents,” stated Perri. “While it’s an honor to be recognized by my alma mater, a place I profoundly regard, it comes on the shoulders of those individuals collectively.”

Award Winners 2016

Crowley is vice president and financial advisor at CAPTRUST Financial Advisors in Raleigh, North Carolina. She finished her term on the Graduate Alumni Board in 2015, after contributing as a board member for over 10 years. She serves as president of the Notre Dame Club of Eastern Carolina and is a longtime John Cardinal O’Hara Society member. She further serves Mendoza by interviewing prospective MBA students and helping them find jobs in her industry. Crowley said, “It has always been important for me to remain connected to Mendoza and Notre Dame, whether through alumni clubs or other avenues.  I appreciate the opportunity to give back to a place that has given so much to me.”

Madrid is the president and CEO of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). He invests in Notre Dame and Mendoza through the Mark L. Madrid Scholarships, personally fundraising and selecting deserving undergraduate and/or graduate Hispanic business students as recipients. He also mentors two Hispanic student associations at Mendoza — the Association of Latino Professionals for America and the Mendoza Hispanic MBA Club.

“On July 9, 2014, I met with Father Ted, who closed a life-changing conversation with, ‘Proud of you son; we need more of you here.’ Those indelible words and the transformational Notre Dame MNA experience power me every day to level the playing field. I stand committed to Mendoza for a lifetime.” — Mark Madrid MNA ’15

Sinclair is the founder of The Anthem Group, a Boston-based collection of internationally recognized entities in the live entertainment, event production, experiential marketing and hospitality industries. Committed to philanthropy and social impact, The Anthem Group regularly hosts events and supports social causes.

“Mendoza, and Notre Dame as a whole, validated my belief that one can both do well and do good. I launched Anthem well before I was a student. But it was the overwhelming support and second-to-none education that showcased how to continue to utilize my business as a platform for good – and how to do so on a more significant scale that impacts a larger audience in a multitude of ways.” — Chris Sinclair MBA ’06

Florance held a singular determination to build something great in South Bend that the locals could get behind. He built the Indiana Whiskey Company — rooted in South Bend and made for South Bend. Florance was adamant that every single thing that went into Indiana Whiskey came from Indiana, and most of that from Michiana. He not only created jobs in the community, work for local craftsmen, and trade for local farmers, but he also created a business that locals are proud of.

“The people I met at Mendoza gave me a real feeling of solidarity and community. In turn, Notre Dame’s presence shaped the way we saw the Michiana area. Once my wife and I felt like we truly belonged, the decision to build a business here felt natural.” — Charles Florance MBA ’13

Award Winners 2015

Perry Dellelce always knew his university days would be the best of his life. “Honestly, I didn’t want to leave,” he says. “And the way to not leave is to stay connected. I have always wanted my universities to be part of my life, so I made a point to stay involved with all of them.”
In addition to his Notre Dame MBA, Dellelce received a bachelor of arts from the University of Western Ontario and a law degree from the University of Ottawa.
Even though Notre Dame is in a different country, Dellelce is a faithful alum. In mid-July, for example, he joined University representatives to meet with five Canadian employers and donor prospects. “We work very hard to expand the Notre Dame reputation in Canada,” he says. “The brand is quite well-known, but it still isn’t everything you would want it to be in Canada. We are working very hard to develop it and spread the word.”
This dedication means a lot from someone like Dellelce. He is a founding partner of the law firm Wildeboer Dellelce in Toronto, one of Canada’s leading corporate finance transactional firms. He is active in a variety of nonprofit organizations, community groups and governmental boards, most notably serving as board chairman for the Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation (Canada’s largest hospital) and as a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
At Notre Dame, he sits on the Mendoza College of Business Advisory Council. He and his wife, Sue, established the Dellelce Irish Hockey Shop in the Compton Family Ice Arena. The Dellelces have endowed two MBA scholarships — one in the name of Dellelce’s mother, Diane Dellelce, and one in the names of former business dean Frank Reilly and his wife, Therese.
Reilly and Dellelce have been friends since Dellelce’s MBA days. “He was an outstanding MBA president,” Reilly recalls. “Now, Perry’s career and personal life are consistent with the highest goals of the Notre Dame MBA program.”
Jake Frego (MBA ’87), the class vice president, nominated Dellelce for the Distinguished Alumni Award and echoes Reilly’s sentiments: “From the moment he arrived on campus, Perry has been an exemplary leader, confidant and classmate. As our MBA class president, he inspired commitment and fellowship. He painted a compelling picture of the future and created a cohesion among classmates that exists to this day.”
For Dellelce, who chose to attend Notre Dame because he wanted a very distinctive MBA education outside Canada, these connections with classmates and the university have benefitted his career and enriched his life. “The best part of my Notre Dame experience is the friends that I have, the lifelong bonds that will never go away,” he says. “I couldn’t be more thrilled with all of the contacts, friendships and memories I have from my time at Mendoza.”

Andria Seneviratne had always heard that true happiness comes from finding the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at and what the world needs. A leap of faith has landed her in that intersection.
Two years ago, she left a job with Deloitte to work with City First Enterprises, a Washington D.C. nonprofit bank holding company that seeks to increase economic access for low-wealth communities.
Seneviratne’s role is senior vice president of the Community Wealth Building Initiative, which focuses on creating jobs, increasing individual financial assets and promoting a healthier environment. Specifically, she leads efforts to incubate and support green wealth-building businesses that create local jobs. A complementary effort increases local procurement spending of place-based institutions such as universities, hospitals and local governments to support local businesses.
“This initiative allows me to think about and respond to social, economic, and environmental issues in the Washington region,” she says. “I have been able to think outside the box and implement strategies to respond to the root of the problem.
“At the same time, I have also met passionate, inspiring individuals that push me every day to break through seemingly unsurmountable challenges. It has not been easy but it has definitely been worth it!”
Seneviratne connects her current position to Mendoza’s overall mission as well as a very singular experience at the college. “The Mendoza graduate school commencement speaker, [entrepreneur and philanthropist] Jaqueline Novogratz, urged us to use our business skills to solve social problems,” she says. “Her message reinforced the purpose and the beauty of capital and markets — everything I learned at Mendoza! This eventually helped me take a leap of faith into the social sector.”
And Seneviratne credits Mendoza for guiding her to her current path. “Mendoza taught me to look at business as a calling and a tool to make a difference in the world. And this was at a time when people were losing faith in business and business leaders.
“Even today, I interact with communities that see corporations as the problem but, in true Mendoza fashion, I refuse to give up on business. I believe our new reality presents a new opportunity for business to increase market share and profitability. This requires businesses to go beyond philanthropy and corporate social responsibility to optimize long-term rather than short term profitability by addressing societal needs and challenges. Again, it’s not easy but there are already corporations pushing this strategy forward.”
Stephen Walter, Seneviratne’s former classmate in both her undergraduate and graduate years, nominated her for the Alumni Service Award. “She passionately lives out Mendoza’s mission of Asking More of Business,” he wrote. “She serves as a great inspiration to anyone searching for a greater purpose in the companies they work for or the lives they lead.”

Awards 2013-2014

Thirteen years have passed since Federico Barquero Tefel came to Notre Dame as a student. Yet as time goes by, the University and the Mendoza College of Business become more and more significant to him.
“The Notre Dame MBA has been a blessing in my life,” he says. “Academically, it taught me that business should be carried out responsibly, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is a long term, competitive advantage.”
“Personally, I met some of my best friends while I was at the MBA program, and continue to make Notre Dame friends and acquaintances everywhere I go. As the Notre Dame Alumni Association board’s regional director for Latin America, I see the immeasurable value of the ND network in every country. I am always amazed,” he explains.
As the Latin America regional alumni director, Barquero, who lives in Guatemala City, is in charge of keeping Domers in 18 countries connected to each other and Notre Dame through the various Notre Dame Clubs. Barquero is very active in the Notre Dame Club of Guatemala, playing an instrumental role in organizing its events.
Rodolfo Bollat (MBA ’04), who nominated Barquero for the award, used Barquero’s own words to help define him: “To use Federico’s own words, ‘The best way for an alum to contribute back to the University is to become a full-time delegate of Notre Dame’s worldwide mission by embodying what the school is all about.’ I believe Federico excels at accomplishing this challenge every day through strong ethical leadership in his daily job, a dedicated commitment to give back to the community he lives in and a hands-on example of character and charisma to his friends and family,” Bollat wrote.
Barquero is vice president of commercialization for Fogel de Centroamerica S.A., a commercial refrigeration business based in Guatemala City that is owned and run by three generations of the Tefel family. He has been a key figure in expanding sales worldwide.
This international aspect of his family’s company is especially fulfilling for Barquero. “It is very satisfying to see one of our Guatemalan or Colombian made coolers in countries such as South Africa and Poland,” he says. “My cell phone has tons of images of coolers that I have found during my travels. It is fun to verify if a cooler is working properly by auditing the temperature of the beer stored inside!”
Additionally, Barquero is a board member of CentraRSE, a not-for-profit Guatemalan organization that promotes corporate social responsibility in the private sector. It represents more than 100 companies, including some of the largest corporations in the region.
This commitment reflects the values of his Notre Dame MBA and experiences that not only changed his life, but also influenced generations of his family. “My grandfather, Jacobo Tefel ’54, did a good job brainwashing me about Notre Dame since I was a little boy,” Barquero says. “Notre Dame is one of the best things that ever happened in my life. Following in my grandfather’s footsteps, I am now brainwashing my two children and hope that many years from now they may have the same opportunity.”

William Towns was just a boy when he became intrigued by neighborhoods and communities. His fascination began when his family moved from a far south side neighborhood of Chicago to a more prosperous neighborhood on the north side.
Towns enjoyed living in both places, but noticed differences. “There were things that took place on the south side that weren’t acceptable on the north side,” he says. “The amount of trash on the street and people hanging out was not tolerated in my new Lincoln Park neighborhood. I found it intriguing how these seemingly similar neighborhoods in the same city could have such different outlooks on behavior. I wanted to understand why that difference existed.”
Today, Towns not only remains intrigued by such questions, but he’s also finding answers. As assistant vice president in the Office of Civic Engagement at The University of Chicago, Towns is charged with developing policies and strategies that revitalize communities by influencing economic growth, improving health care opportunities and increasing safety across the neighborhoods throughout the mid-south side of Chicago.
“You can’t have a truly strong Chicago without a strong south side,” he says. “We have to make sure that there are opportunities in all parts of the city. Our neighborhoods aren’t any different than neighborhoods across the country, and we believe through working with the city and our community partners, we can develop proven models that can be replicated and used throughout the country.”
His outstanding commitment to neighborhoods and to Notre Dame inspired Nika Levando, assistant director of neighborhood initiatives for The University of Chicago, to nominate him for the Recent Notre Dame Graduate Alumni Service Award. “In all that he does William brings a compassion and belief that your zip code or financial status should not be an indicator of your chance of reaching your full potential.”
Towns received an executive MBA from Notre Dame in 2009 after a friend insisted he take a look at the program. “She said, ‘I just met [former Mendoza dean] Carolyn Woo and she’s fantastic. You have to look at Notre Dame.’ So I decided to look into it.”
Towns and his wife, Marisol, liked what they saw. “It was the teaching of core business skills along with the understanding that businesses are more than just a profit-driven entity,” Towns says. “Businesses have an obligation to help support the communities from which they derive their profits. The tagline ‘Ask More of Business’ just works.”
Now, Towns makes time to help recruit students to the EMBA program. “I’ve been back (to the Chicago campus) many times since graduating to talk with potential students and to explain to them why the Notre Dame MBA is so special. My wife, two daughters and I are proud to say we are part of the Notre Dame family. Go Irish!”