Board of Directors

The activities and affairs of Sycamore Trust are conducted under the direction of its Board of Directors who are alumni of the University of Notre Dame.


William H. Dempsey (’52)

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Notre Dame (Class Valedictorian), 1952
  • Doctor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School, 1955
  • Law Clerk to Judge Charles Fahy, U. S. Court of Appeals
  • Chief Law Clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren, U.S. Supreme Court
  • Partner, Shea & Gardner, Washington D.C.
  • Chairman, National Railway Labor Conference (chief labor negotiator for nation’s railroads)
  • President & CEO, Association of American Railroads
  • Charter Sycamore Trust Board Member

Robert W. Schmiege (’63)

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Notre Dame, 1963
  • Doctor of Jurisprudence, University of Notre Dame Law, 1966
  • Chairman, President & CEO, Chicago and North Western Railway Co.
  • Board Member, Association of American Railroads
  • Board Member, RailAmerica
  • Board Member,Salvation Army of Chicago
  • Board Member,United Way of Chicago
  • Board Member, Chicago United
  • Board Chair, Regina Dominican High School of Wilmette
  • Board Chair, Notre Dame High School of Niles (C.S.C.)
  • Board Member,St Francis Xavier Parish School of Wilmette
  • Board Chair,Riviera Home Owners Association of New Buffalo Township Michigan

Elizabeth Kirk (’96)

  • Doctor of Jurisprudence, University of Notre Dame Law, 1996
  • Fund for the Protection of Human Life, Board member
  • Center for Ethics and Culture, Fellow and Advisory Board member
  • Law clerk to Judge Daniel Manion of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Catholic University and Ave Maria , Law School Faculty
  • ND RTL & Identity Project, Faculty Advisor Bachelor of Arts
  • Charlotte Lozier Institute, Associate Scholar
  • University of Kansas, St. Lawrence Catholic Center Director of the Institute for Faith and Culture and Kowalski Chair of Catholic Thought
  • Sycamore Trust Board Member since December 15, 2010
MyNotreDame Profile 

Lisa Scapellati (’81)

  • Bachelor of Arts, History of Art, University of Notre Dame, 1981
  • Notre Dame Club of Cape Cod, President, 2009-2013
  • Notre Dame National Alumni Board, 2013-2014
  • St. John Paul II High School, Advisory Council Member, 2010-2016
  • Cape Cod Bus for Life, Board Member
  • Life with Christ Radio, Board Member
  • Cape CARES, Central American Relief Efforts, Executive Director, 2008-2017
  • Diocese of Fall River, Recipient of 2018 John Cardinal O’Connor Pro-Life Apostolate Award
  • Sycamore Trust, Board Member since March 9, 2011
MyNotreDame Profile


Timothy M. Dempsey (’89)
Executive Director

  • Bachelor of Arts, English Literature, University of Notre Dame, 1989
  • Master of Arts, English Language and Literature, Catholic University of America, 1993
  • Master of Business Administration, University of Tennessee, 2004
  • Community Building Institute, Executive Director
  • Grassroots Development, Principal
  • Dismas House Chattanooga Founding Director
  • Chattanooga Endeavors, Inc., Founder and CEO
  • Tennessee Community Resource Board, Former Chairman
  • Notre Dame Alumni Club of Chattanooga, Former President
  • Charter Sycamore Trust Board Member
MyNotreDame Profile

Charles A. Donovan, Jr.  (’74)

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Notre Dame, 1974
  • President, Charlotte Lozier Institute, Present
  • Senior Research Fellow, Religion and Civil Society, The Heritage Foundation
  • Co-chair, Religious Liberty Working Group with former Attorney General Ed Meese
  • Executive Vice President, Family Research Council
  • Writer, Deputy Director of Presidential Correspondence, 1981-1989
  • Legislative Director, National Right to Life Committee
  • Board Member, Heartbeat International pregnancy help centers
  • Board Member, Gabriel Homes, Inc., Virginia
  • Co-author, Blessed Are the Barren, Ignatius Press
  • Articles and Op Ed Author, national media outlets
  • Sycamore Trust Board Member since May 2, 2017
MyNotreDame Profile

John L. Hannan (’78)

  • Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy, Notre Dame, 1978
  • Director of Development, Special Advisor to the Dean, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, three years
  • Vice President of Institutional/Advancement, The Catholic University of America, two years
  • Director of Regional Development, University of Notre Dame, eighteen years
  • Director of Major and Planned Gifts, Earlham College, four years
  • Director of Annual Fund and Development Systems, Hamline University, four years
  • Sales Representative, Director of Regional Marketing, Prentice-Hall International, five years
  • Founding President, Notre Dame Club of Eastern Indiana
  • Board Member, Catholic Community Schools, Richmond Indiana
  • Board Member, Habitat for Humanity, South Bend Indiana
  • Married, Koral Hannan ’79, and father of five who share in six Notre Dame degrees.
  • Sycamore Trust Board Member since May 2, 2017
MyNotreDame Profile

Mary Rice Hasson  (’81, ’84)

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Notre Dame, 1981
  • Doctor of Jurisprudence, University of Notre Dame Law School, 1984
  • Kate O’Beirne Fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC
  • Director, Catholic Women’s Forum, Ethics and Public Policy Center
  • Board Member, Napa Institute
  • Adjunct Faculty, The Catholic University of America, Economics, Integral Development (2012-2016)
  • Writer, articles and op-eds in national media outlets and scholarly journals
  • Guest commentary, international and national media (radio and television)
  • Co-author, Get Out Now: Why You Should Pull Your Child From Public School Before It’s Too Late (2018)
  • Editor, Promise and Challenge: Catholic Women Reflect on Feminism, Complementarity, and the Church (2015)
  • Co-author, Catholic Education: Homeward Bound (1996)
  • Co-recipient with Kevin “Seamus” Hasson, St. John Paul II Award for the New Evangelization (2015)
  • Married to Kevin “Seamus” Hasson (ND 79 and NDLS 85), and mother of seven, including one ND alum
  • Sycamore Trust Board Member since April 18, 2018
MyNotreDame Profile

Katherine Kersten (’73)

  • Bachelor of Arts, Program of Liberal Studies , University of Notre Dame (Phi Beta Kappa), 1973
  • Masters of Arts, Yale University
  • Juris Doctor, University of Minnesota
  • Senior Fellow, Center of the American Experiment, Minneapolis
  • Columnist, Star Tribune, Minneapolis, 1995 – 2013
  • Senior Fellow, Cultural Studies, Center of the American Experiment, 1998 – 2004
  • Chairman, Center of the American Experiment, 1996 – 1998
  • Author of Close to Home
  • Radio and television guest commentator
  • University of Notre Dame Alumni Association’s Family Exemplar Award, 2003
  • Sycamore Trust Board Member since April 14, 2016
MyNotreDame Profile

William W. Kirk (’84, ’91)

  • Doctor of Jurisprudence, University of Notre Dame Law School, 1991
  • Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Notre Dame, 1984
  • Rerum Novarum Capital, Partner and Principal, 2018 – Present
  • Catholic Education Foundation, Executive Director, 2016 – 2017
  • Ave Maria University, VP for Legal Affairs and General Counsel, 2012 – 2016
  • University of Notre Dame, Associate VP for Residence Life, 1991 – 2010
  • University of Notre Dame, Concurrent Assistant Professor, Mendoza College of Business (1993 – 2010)
  • University of Notre Dame, Residence Hall Rector, 1989 – 1991
  • Catholic Bar Association. Founding Director, Secretary, Member, 2015 – Present
  • Legatus, Legate, 2015 – 2020; Kansas City Chapter President, 2018 – 2020
  • Sycamore Trust Board Member since May 2, 2017

MyNotreDame Profile

Rev. John J. Raphael (’89) 

  • Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, 1989
  • Master of Arts, Theology DeSales School of Theology, 1995
  • Master in Catholic Educational Leadership, University of San Francisco, 2009
  • Ordained Priest of St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart (The Josephites) May 20, 1995
  • Assistant Pastor, Our Mother of Mercy Church, Beaumont, TX 1995 – 1999
  • Roman Catholic Chaplain, Howard University, Washington, DC 1999– 2004
  • Member, Administrative Team, Hurricane Katrina Merged School (M.A.X), New Orleans, 2006
  • Principal, St. Augustine High School, New Orleans, 2006 – 2010
  • President, St. Augustine High School, New Orleans, 2010 – present
  • Chairman, Josephite Pro-Chastity, Pro-Marriage, Pro-Life Committee
  • Member, Admissions Advisory Board, University of Notre Dame, 2008 – present
  • Chaplain, Saint Thomas West Hospital, Nashville, 2012 – present
  • Board Certified Chaplain, National Association of Catholic Chaplains, 2015 – present
  • Incardinated into the Diocese of Nashville, 2017
  • Chaplain, Nashville Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, 2017 – present
  • Sycamore Trust Board Member since December 10, 2009
MyNotreDame Profile

Dr. Susan Biddle Shearer (’88)

  • Bachelor of Arts, Purdue University, 1972
  • Master of Public Affairs, Indiana University at South Bend, 1980
  • Doctorate of Philosophy, Government & International Studies, University of Notre Dame, 1988
  • Former Senior Market Research Analyst, MicroSwitch Division of Honeywell
  • Dissertation (The Domestic Economics and International Politics of U.S. Foreign Trade Policy:1945-1980) published by Garland Press in 1988 in its series of best political economy analyses of the year
  • Adjunct Professor Political Science, Valparaiso University, 1988 to present
  • Teach classes in the following areas: Comparative Politics, International Relations, International Law, U.S. Foreign Policy, Faith, Conflict and War
  • Expertise in Middle Eastern politics and terrorism
  • Charter Sycamore Trust Board Member
MyNotreDame Profile