Board Developments


Board Developments

We are pleased to announce in this bulletin the election of Bill Dempsey (’52) as Chairman of the Sycamore Trust Board, of Ed Adams (’63) as President, and of Larry Kyte (‘60) as a new Board member, and the appointment of Tim Dempsey (‘89) as Executive Director.  We close this bulletin with a summary of Sycamore’s goals and policies.

Bill Dempsey moves from President, the position he has held since the founding of Sycamore in 2007, to the newly created position of Chairman. Bill graduated from Notre Dame in 1952 as Class Valedictorian and then from Yale Law School. After several years in the Army, he served as chief law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren before practicing law in Washington and then becoming chief labor negotiator for the railroad industry as Chairman of the National Railway Labor Conference and then President of the Association of American Railroads.

Ed Adams, a 1963 graduate of the Law School and a 1960 graduate of Xavier University, has been a Sycamore Board member since 2009.  The former managing partner of a prominent Cincinnati law firm and an international lecturer on bankruptcy law, Ed has served as Chairman of the Ohio Board of Regents and is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy. He has been President of the Notre Dame Club of Greater Cincinnati and received the Club’s 2004 Award of the Year. Space does not permit a listing of his extensive service on charitable and civic organizations, but we should mention at least his current service as a Director of the Catholic Campus Ministry Association.

Larry Kyte, a 1960 Notre Dame graduate, is another leading member of the Cincinnati bar and past president of the Cincinnati Notre Dame Club.  After receiving his law degree from the University of Virginia, he began a notable career in the law and community service. A member of Legatus, he has led and served as trustee of a host of religious, educational, medical, and fine arts organizations and foundations including, for example, the Catholic Inner City Schools Fund, Catholic Big Brothers, Catholic Social Services, Mercy Health Partners, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Opera Association, Williams Foundation, and the Nippert Charitable Foundation, to name a few.

Tim Dempsey, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1989 and holds advanced degrees from Catholic University and the University of Tennessee, has been engaged in social service work since leaving Notre Dame. A past president of the Notre Dame Club of Chattanooga, Tim founded a major program for the rehabilitation and employment of former convicts in Tennessee and has served as chairman of community prisoner reentry and community resource organizations.  He is a co-founder and of Sycamore Trust and been key to its organization and operation.

In addition, Notre Dame’s Vice President, Joe Reich (‘57),  Elizabeth Kirk (JD ’96), and Dr. Susan Biddle Shearer (PhD ’88) were re-elected to three-year terms. They continue to serve along with the other board members, George Heidkamp (’52) our Secretary/Treasurer, David Bender, Jr. (’78), Arina R. Grossu (’06), Dr. Thomas S. Hibbs (’83, ’87), Dr. Daniel Mcinerny (’86), Rev. John J. Raphael, SSJ (’86), Lisa Scapellati (’81), and Robert Schiege (’83, ’86)

Biographical details for all board members are provided here.

Sycamore Trust’s goal, policies, and response to criticism.

Our mission from the start has been:

to provide a source of information, a means of communication, and a collective voice to Notre Dame alumni and others in the Notre Dame family who are concerned about preserving the Catholic identity of the University.

While the event that gave rise to Sycamore Trust was The Vagina Monologues, we quickly perceived that the fundamental problem is the radical weakening of Catholic representation on the faculty. As we have demonstrated and will again shortly, the university no longer meets its own test of Catholic identity — a “predominant number of Catholic intellectuals” on the faculty.

In addressing this crippling infirmity and its many symptoms –including the Monologues, the Queer Film Festival, the honoring of President Obama, and the weakening of the curriculum – we have been guided by the following principles:

Factual accuracy.

Application of the university’s own Mission Statement requirements for a Catholic university, together with Pope John Paul II’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae and the bishops’ application of that document, rather than our own or anyone else’s views about what makes a school Catholic.

Impartiality as to the “flavor” of Catholicism – liberal, conservative, or in-between – so long as it is within the range of orthodoxy.

Political impartiality except as to Catholic aspects of political issues that involve Notre Dame in some significant way.
Accordingly, those who denigrate Sycamore as seeking a return to the time when the faculty was almost all Catholic speak nonsense; and if they have paid any attention to what we say, they know it. We simply hold Notre Dame to its own test — a majority of committed Catholics.

But, some say, you do not provide a full picture of Notre Dame, for you do not publicize the many ways in which it is Catholic – its liturgies, its fine institutes, its promotion of student social service, and the like. Everything, that is that makes up what Professor Alfred Freddoso has called the school’s “Catholic neighborhood” even as he lamented the feeble Catholic education Notre Dame provides.

We could rest with pointing out that we take note much more often of the school’s Catholic assets than the university does of its Catholic liabilities.  A low hurdle, to be sure, since it never hints of any.

But this is a respectful criticism that deserves more than a “you’re one too” response.

The answer is this: It is not our role to provide a comprehensive picture of Notre Dame. In fact, to try for “balance” would undermine our mission.

The governing consideration is that the school has lost its Catholic identity at its core – who teaches and what they teach – while in outward appearance it remains very Catholic. Alumni and others don’t need to be reminded of what they know and see. They need desperately to be told about what they don’t know and often don’t want to hear.

It is not much of a physician who, after examining a patient, tells him, “I’m sorry to have to tell you that you have advanced cancer, but let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about your heart, which is just fine.”


Father Miscamble to speak in Chicago on December 14th.  Rev. Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C., known to all readers of these bulletins for his informed, and courageous criticism of the weakening of Notre Dame’s Catholic identity and his contributions to its restoration, will be speaking at the Catholic Citizens of Illinois Forum Luncheon at 12:00 noon on December 14th at the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson Blvd. Tickets $35.00, reservations required. Call Maureen at 708-352-5834.



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