Michael L. and Nancy A. Hansen Student
In Memory of Rev. Jacob A. Smith, C.S.C.
With a very generous commitment from Mike (’73) and Nancy Hansen through the Hansen Family Foundation, we have just established the Michael L. and Nancy A. Hansen Student in Memory of Rev. Jake Smith, C.S.C. Named for Mike’s uncle, who was instrumental in Mike’s decision to attend Notre Dame, financial awards totaling $25,000 will be given annually to students whom we select because of their outstanding contribution to the Catholic mission of Notre Dame.
If you would like to join us in the fight for Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, please read our annual update and request and consider making a charitable contribution to our annual campaign.
His sermon was his life
Father Smith entered Notre Dame (’53) following his service in the U.S. Navy. He received the religious habit at Sacred Heart Novitiate in 1950 and was ordained to the priesthood at Notre Dame on June 5, 1957. Never blind to God’s presence in the little things around him, Father Smith’s generosity and sensitivity to the needs of others were a source of inspiration to those who knew him – a theme that was underscored in the homily for his funeral delivered by Rev. Bill Neidhart, C.S.C.
“I chose the Gospel reading (Matthew 25:34-40) because it was such an integral part of Jacob’s real-life sermon. Jacob literally visited those in prison, whether it was the local jail, or the Michigan City prison. He literally fed the poor by personally taking food over to the homes of people who called for help. He literally gave shelter to the homeless when he was at Fatima Retreat Center when someone needed a place to stay for a night and there was an extra room available. He had a great concern for the sick, and visiting them was a high priority. He often volunteered to help out at St. Joseph hospitals in both South Bend and Mishawaka. He had a great compassion for the poor as his dedicated work as Diocesan Director of the Commission on Human Development, a Commission interested in Social Justice concerns, bore out. Even though Jacob was a rather shy person, no one was a stranger to him.”
In addition to teaching high school, working on the Fatima Retreat Center staff, and serving as religious superior, Father Smith was chaplain for Holy Cross Sisters, Saint Mary’s, and Holy Cross Brothers, Columba Hall, Notre Dame. He was also assistant director of Harvest House in South Bend and director of human development for the diocese of Fort Wane-South Bend. From 1978-1981 he was pastor of Holy Cross Parish and briefly associate pastor of St. Pius X parish in Granger. Father Smith died of cancer at 56 years old on February 17, 1982.
One of the many people whom Father Smith influenced is his nephew, Mike Hansen, who attended Notre Dame (’73) as a result of his uncle’s encouragement and who, with his wife, Nancy, have established for Sycamore Trust the Mike and Nancy Hansen Student Award in Memory of Rev. Jake Smith, C.S.C.
2021 Student Award Recipients
Joseph Crnkovich (’22) is a senior majoring in Classics with a minor in Constitutional Studies. He is from Falls Church, Virginia, and attended The Heights School in Potomac, Maryland. Zef is co-President of Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), a student club which works to promote traditional marriage, adoption, and education and to fight against drug abuse and pornography. Most recently, SCOP has hosted Matt Fradd to speak about the seven harms of pornography and Sherif Girgis to explain the Catholic teaching on sexuality in the context of confusion surrounding LGBT issues on campus. Zef is also a Sorin Fellow with the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, a Menard Family Tocqueville Fellow, and the politics co-editor of The Irish Rover.
William Gentry (’22) is a senior majoring in Computer Science. He is from St. Joseph, Missouri, where he attended Central High School. William is co-President of Militia of the Immaculata, the “Army of Our Lady,” a Marian spiritual group in the tradition of St. Maximilian Kolbe that meets every week for dinner and prayer with a speaker or reading. Members organize Masses, publicize Marian consecration, and help to lead interested members of the campus community in a closer relationship with Jesus through consecration to Mary — distributing Miraculous Medals on gamedays at the Grotto and talking to people about what they mean and the power of faith. Bill is also a member of Notre Dame Knights of Columbus Council 1477.
Maggie McDonald (’22) is a 5th year senior majoring in Architecture with a minor in Theology. She was homeschooled in her hometown of Elkhart, Indiana, and shares a legacy at Notre Dame with her mother (’90) and brother (’20). In addition to her involvement with AccessABLE at Notre Dame, Maggie is co-President of Students for Child Oriented Policy (SCOP), a student club which works to promote traditional marriage, adoption, and education, and to fight against drug abuse and pornography. Most recently, SCOP has hosted Matt Fradd to speak about the seven harms of pornography and Sherif Girgis to explain the Catholic teaching on sexuality in context of confusion surrounding LGBT issues on campus.
Mary Frances Myler
Mary Frances Myler (’22) is a senior majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies with minors in Theology and Constitutional Studies. She is from Traverse City, Michigan, where she attended St. Francis High School. Mary Frances is Editor-in-Chief of The Irish Rover, an independent, non-profit, student publication devoted to preserving the Catholic identity of Notre Dame. She is also a Sorin Fellow with the deNicola Center for Ethics and Culture and Vice President of Notre Dame Chorale.
Brenden Quirk (’23) is a Junior majoring in Medieval Studies and Theology. He is from Louisville, Kentucky, and attended Eastern High School. Brenden is Grand Knight of Notre Dame Knights of Columbus Council 1477, the oldest Knights of Columbus College Council in the world. In addition to working with various clubs on campus such as Right to Life, Militia Immaculata, and Children of Mary, Council 1477 has raised over $1.5 million for various local, national, and international charities for such purposes as the purchase of ultrasound machines for pro-life pregnancy centers to help women choose life by giving them the opportunity to view their unborn children. Brenden is also involved with Children of Mary, Right to Life, and Catechist Academy.
Francine Shaft (’22) is a senior majoring in Theology and Japanese. She is originally from Grand Forks, North Dakota, and attended Red River High School. Her two older siblings also graduated from Notre Dame and studied Theology. Francine is the President of Notre Dame Right to Life, a 500-member student club dedicated to promoting and upholding the sanctity of all human life from conception until natural death through prayer, service, and education. Francine, who is writing an honors thesis about Buddhist post-abortion rituals in Japan, is also a Sorin Fellow with the deNicola Center for Ethics and Culture, a research intern for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a Japanese language tutor, a Suzanne and Walter Scott scholar, and a member of the Glynn Family Honors Program.
Join The Fight
If you would like to join us in the fight for Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, please read our annual update and request by clicking on the link below.