Author: Jim Cunningham MBA '13

Alan Jolly has been a member of the John Cardinal O’Hara Society since 2007 and became a Dean’s Circle Blue member in 2009. Currently residing in Carmel, Indiana, he originally grew up in Rhode Island and has relocated nine times. Alan married his high-school sweetheart, Michaela, and they have twin daughters who are 28 years old. In his own words, Alan explains what Notre Dame and the O’Hara Society means to him.

Why did you choose Notre Dame?
I have wanted to attend Notre Dame since graduating from high school, but at the time was unable to do so. I have always dreamed about attending ND and 32 years later, I was able to do so through the EMBA program. I always felt that Notre Dame was unique in so many ways (academically, traditionally, etc.) and I would be honored to become part of the Notre Dame family.

Why is Notre Dame important to you? 
I believe that we have so few institutions that stand for principles and a commitment to excellence. The education and experience that I received while at school and after graduation has had a profound impact on my life and my family’s life.

Who was your favorite professor and why? 
I was fortunate to have many great professors. If I had to pick one, I think John Affleck-Graves, who was our finance professor. He really expected us to understand the material and be a confident representative of Notre Dame in any business meeting and in our lives.

Describe the impact Notre Dame has had on you.
My life is different primarily in that I now have more channels to focus my life on rather than only work.  It has introduced great balance in my life with an increased commitment to service. I have met some wonderful people who share a commitment to Our Lady’s University.

I have been very fortunate to become associated with the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Indianapolis, having served in several leadership roles, including president. I have met some great Domers and our club works very hard to provide scholarships for students. It is very rewarding to be able to help young people attend our great University. Of course, my family has become great Notre Dame fans and we enjoy spending time together at football games and other ND events. I have also participated in mock interviews for current students, conducted several guest lectures and currently serve as chair of the Mendoza Graduate Alumni Board. 

Why did you decide to become a member of the O’Hara Society?
I felt very strongly a need to give back to the University for all that Notre Dame has done for me. There are many alumni who came before me who donated so that others could benefit from their generosity.  It’s like the saying “you reap what you sow.” But I look at it differently — others have sown so that I could reap. And now it is my turn to sow for others to reap.

What would you like to say to your fellow O’Hara Society members? 
First of all, I would thank them for their generosity and support of Notre Dame and the Mendoza College of Business. I know that their contributions have meaningful impacts on students and the College. I would ask that they continue to support Mendoza in any way that fits their situation. They can help financially, serve as a mentor, help with recruiting or support a local club. Specifically, I would ask that each Society member try to recruit at least one more Domer to join the Society this year. It would be a wonderful way to give back to this special place that has changed our lives.