O'Hara Society Profile: Ray Vanek

Author: Jim Cunningham MBA '13

Name: Ray Vanek
Program of study: EMBA
Graduation year: 2011
Member level: Traditional


Why did you choose Notre Dame?
Growing up Catholic in a rural community near Dallas, Texas, I was drawn and sealed infinitely to love Notre Dame. Whether it was God’s call, the passion of watching Notre Dame football or a combination of both, I’ve always cheered and marched true to the University. I chose Notre Dame's Executive MBA Program because first, I have always loved and believed in the University. Second, the accomplishment in the EMBA program filled a void and completed a lifelong dream, or call it a goal to attend and graduate from the University.

Why is Notre Dame important to you?
Notre Dame continues to strive for excellence in all areas. The reputation of the University is known throughout the world. Wherever I may travel, most everyone knows the high standards and mystique of Our Lady’s University. Most importantly, the Catholic faith, traditions and discipleship of Christianity continues to be the center of the University’s focus.

Why did you decide to become a member of the O’Hara Society?
Upon acceptance into the EMBA program, I made a lifelong commitment to be a part of the
University by volunteering time, efforts and financial resources back to the University upon
graduation. The O’Hara Society is directly tied to the Graduate Business Programs. By being a
JCOS member, I am able to stay involved with the different business programs and be a part of
the growing graduate business school offering many new degree plans. I believe in the O’Hara
Society and being a member is my way of giving back to help strengthen the future of the
graduate programs and assist other students like me who truly have a love and desire to attend
Notre Dame.

How is your life different because you chose to attend Notre Dame?
My relationships with Notre Dame alumni and faculty have changed and impacted my life.
Obviously, I would not have met all the people and made so many contacts and strong relationships
without attending the university. The friendships and business contacts have been invaluable.

Who is your favorite professor and why?
This is a great and yet difficult question to answer. There were many exceptional professors in
the EMBA program. Jeffrey Bergstrand (finance/economics) is brilliant and confident in his
approach in teaching and leading. He had an impact on my understanding of macroeconomics
during our first semester in the EMBA program which still continues today, especially with the
volatility of our current and future domestic and international economies. I am fortunate to
see Professor Bergstrand a few times per year at the Mendoza College of Business Graduate
Alumni Board Meetings in the fall and spring.

What would you like to say to your fellow O’Hara Society members?
Get involved! We should strive for maximum participation from all graduates of the graduate
school programs. Time, talent or treasure — give back to the O’Hara Society. Your efforts and
financial resources will be well invested and you will continue to have a connection with the
future of the graduate business programs, while making new relationships as the programs
continue to change and grow.

Describe the impact Notre Dame has had on you:
Words cannot describe the love and passion I have for Our Lady’s University. I have been
blessed with a great family, surrounded by friends and lifelong relationships. By attending
Notre Dame and continuing to stay involved has impacted me to be more of a balanced person
in my personal and business life, as a financial investor, negotiator, and overall leader. My
relationships have expanded with Notre Dame Alumni, faculty and administration. The return
on investment has been extraordinary. To fulfill a life‐long goal to graduate at the University of
Notre Dame is one of the greatest goals I have achieved. To stay involved for a lifetime is even
more important to me now and together, we will create greater impacts in the future.