Passing of Betty Russo

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I share the news of Betty Russo’s passing. Those who knew Betty, loved Betty. She was a wonderful friend and colleague to many of us in University Relations.

Betty will always be remembered as a classy, positive, fun-loving person who genuinely cared for people.

Rest in peace dear friend.

A link to Betty’s obituary can be found here.

Passing of John Butkovich

Dear Colleagues,

It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of a longtime member of the Gift Planning Team, John Butkovich ’63. John was a generous, kind, and trusted member of the Notre Dame family. John’s love for Notre Dame was on display everyday in the incredible work he did for Our Lady’s University. We will miss him greatly. On behalf of the entire Gift Planning Team, we send our sincere condolences to his wife, Mary Ann, daughter, Annie Geary, and their entire family.

Please find John’s obituary and funeral details here.

Gift Planning Restructuring

Dear Colleagues,

As I referenced at our March Blueprint gathering, we have been exploring how to best position our talented and dedicated Gift Planning team to deliver even greater success for Notre Dame. I am pleased to share a newly structured Gift Planning team, which we are confident will optimize the time and talent of this high-functioning team and enable efficient and strategic growth.

Effective this week, Gift Planning will consist of two teams: Gift Planning Operations and Strategy, and Gift Planning Advancement.

Gift Planning Operations and Strategy

Responsibilities will include drafting proposals and illustrations (in collaboration with gift planning officers), creating planned gift agreements, oversight of the CRT, CGA, and DAF programs, executing distributions, processing gifts, and partnering with the Gift Planning Advancement team on training and educational efforts.

Rich Naponelli will serve as the Sr. Director of Gift Planning Operations and Strategy team. In addition to leading this team, Rich will also:

● serve as a key collaborator on complex gifts across the development team, including with the UR exec team, in a similar fashion as Greg Dugard;
● remain assigned to Tom Molnar, Kim Biagini, and Michael McLaughlin (even though he will transition off of other RD assignments, he should remain involved with the cultivation of planned gift conversations that are in process);
● maintain responsibilities with key University partners and processes including the Transformational Gift Committee, General Counsel’s Office, Gift Acceptance Committee, and the Fiduciary Committee.

RaeLee Rea has been promoted to Program Director, and will oversee a team consisting of Carolyn Hardman, an additional staff attorney (priority hire), and a development associate.

Gift Planning Advancement

Responsibilities will include engaging in donor-facing gift planning cultivation, oversight of our Gift Planning Advancement Committee (GPAC) and LTND2, and partnering with Gift Planning Operations and Strategy team on training and educational efforts.

TJ Pillari has been promoted to the Sr. Director of Gift Planning Advancement, and will lead a team consisting of our gift planning officers and Anne Wieber. TJ will be reviewing GPO-RD assignments over the next couple of weeks to determine where strategic adjustments are needed.

Please join me in thanking our gift planning team for their steadfast commitment, professionalism, and patience as we determine our path forward. Finally, thanks to our entire development team for your partnership with our gift planning colleagues as we advance the impactful mission of Notre Dame.


Welcome Matt Greene, Clubs Program Manager

Dear colleagues,

I’m thrilled to share that we have hired Matt Greene ’16 for the role of Clubs Program Manager. Matt‘s career has been in Admissions – working at his high school alma mater in Detroit, then at Notre Dame, and most recently at Holy Cross College. During his time with Notre Dame Admissions, he worked closely with ND club leaders to host college fairs, spoke with prospective students and their families, and helped students navigate the admissions process. Matt graduated from Notre Dame in 2016 and was a proud member of the Band and Keough Hall Council. In his free time, he writes blogs/articles for One Foot Down and enjoys checking out local breweries.

Please join me in welcoming Matt as he begins today, May 2.



Welcome Monica May to the Gift and Data Management Team


Please join me in welcoming Monica May to the Gift and Data Management Team as the Communication and Data Analyst. Monica will be primarily responsible for sending tax acknowledgments, pledge update communications, and memorial notifications. Monica joined the team on Monday, April 25.

Prior to joining the team Monica spent more than 8 years at Press Ganey, most recently as a Survey Designer.

A longtime resident of the Michiana area, Moncia, her husband Tyler, and daughter Moriah (age 12) reside in South Bend with their dog, Rocko. Moriah is an 8 year member of the Girl Scouts, where Monica has volunteered and has served as the lead counselor for the Community Girl Scout Summer Day Camp for several years. Monica fully embraces the mission of the Development team and I am eager to see her thrive in advancing the University through service to our benefactors.

Please introduce yourself to Monica when you see her.

-Amy Schell

UR May Birthdays

Happy birthday to all our UR employees celebrating their special days in May! We hope you have a beautiful year!

5/4 – Tashana Kenny
5/6 – Erin Thornton
5/7 – Courtney Mattison
5/7 – Grace Prosniewski
5/9 – Barbara Josenhans
5/9 – Gavin McGuire
5/10 – Michele Wolff
5/11 – Amy Walter
5/14 – Josh Flynt
5/15 – Kathryn Valenti
5/15 – Laura Marks
5/15 – Mary Flynt
5/18 – Ron Linczer
5/19 – Lori Rush
5/21 – Terrell Robinson
5/21 – Kiran Mistry
5/21 – Isabel Dance
5/22 – Andy Mason
5/22 – Stephanie Washington
5/24 – Kevin McMannis
5/26 – Kate Mueller
5/29 – Amelia Ruggaber
5/31 – Jennifer Powell
5/31 – Patrick Charles

Endeavor Self-Review Due April 30

All UR employees are encouraged to fill out their self-evaluations in Endeavor by April 30. Please note, completing the Endeavor process is a key component of securing a potential merit increase if you qualify. If you need additional assistance with any of the Endeavor steps, please visit the links below.

  1. Set My Expectations
  2. My Manager approved Expectations
  3. Complete my Self Assessment
  4. Review Performance with my Manager
  5. Sign My Review

Congratulations, Helen Rajkumar!


It is with great excitement that I share that Helen Rajkumar has been promoted to Senior Office Coordinator for the 405 Main office. In this important role, Helen will serve as the primary receptionist and first point of contact for the Office of the Vice President for University Relations and the Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications and will manage the overall operations of the office suite.

A trusted and valued colleague, Helen has served Our Lady’s University since 2015, first as the Eck Visitors Center Customer Service Representative and most recently as the Office Services Coordinator for the Notre Dame Alumni Association. Before joining Notre Dame, Helen worked at Clay United Methodist Church and the Samaritan Counselling Center.

Originally from India, Helen has been a Michiana resident for 27 years. Helen, along with her husband, and two children reside in Granger. In her free time, Helen enjoys acrylic painting, gardening, reading, and cooking.

Helen’s first day in 405 Main will be Monday, May 9. Please join me in thanking and congratulating Helen for taking on this new role in service to Notre Dame.

My best,


Garth Brooks Concert ~ ESC Garage Parking

Tenants of the Eddy Street office who will be working events in conjunction with the Garth Brooks concert on May 7th and need parking in the ESC garage, make sure to submit your BEAT request before Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 1:00 pm EDT. Please Note: we will be unable to add parking requests after the deadline.

To request parking in the ESC garage (you must have an ESC garage card), enter your name into BEAT, choosing “choosing “2022 Concerts (Garth Brooks (Sat, 5/7)” as the event, “Parking” as the activity and “ESC – Staff” as the parking preference. To qualify for parking on this date, you must be working a Development-sponsored event.

There is an identifying dashboard sign that will need to be displayed by anyone requesting parking for the concert. The dashboard signs are available at the ESC front desk.

Please note – all access cards will be inactivated for Saturday, 5/7/22, except for staff who have submitted a BEAT request.

If you have any questions, contact Dawn Smith or Lana Taylor.

New Assoc. Dir. for Law & Graduate Business Annual Giving, Anna McKeever


Today I write with bittersweet news, as Abbie Spica will be transitioning from her current role and relocating to Grand Rapids, Michigan preceding her wedding this summer. Abbie was an incredible teammate and representative of the University and we will miss her dearly. Abbie’s last day on the Annual Giving Team was last Thursday, April 14th.

While we are sad to see Abbie go, we hope to make this transition smooth, and have exciting news to share! We would like to introduce you to Anna McKeever, who will be our new Associate Director for Law and Graduate Business Annual Giving. Anna comes to us from University HR where she served as the HR Communication Program Director. Anna is a double domer, having earned both her MBA and her Bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame. I am confident that Anna will be a fantastic addition to our team. She will officially begin in this role on May 9, 2022. Please join me in welcoming Anna!

In the interim, please feel free to contact me with any questions relating to the Order of St. Thomas More, or the O’Hara Society.

Kasey O’Connor