Families share Notre Dame stories

first_imgThree families in the Notre Dame community gathered Saturday morning to tell their stories of love, family and Our Lady’s University. “We stayed close to campus for Matt’s first semester here because we were concerned about him,” Matt’s mother DeAnn Swinton said. “But after those first months, Mike and I let go and let Matt take charge. For us, Matt being at Notre Dame was a gift from God.” “I went to a pep rally and saw [Irish football coach Frank] Leahy speak,” he said. “He told us to treasure our time at Notre Dame, because we would never experience anything like it again. I believe that being here is the closest experience you will ever have to being in heaven.” “In fact, the Belatti’s found a way to share their love for Notre Dame in an absolutely incredible way … by making it possible for an entire family to benefit from a Notre Dame education,” Philbin said. During his four years at Notre Dame, Swinton lived in a room built to be handicap-accessible so he would be physically able to live without his parents. “We moved to Michigan and had to rough it for a while,” de Araujo said. “It was really hard for my dad, who spoke no English at first. When it came time to apply to college, I started applying for scholarships for low-income families. I applied to every school that allowed this opportunity.” Philbin introduced Frank Belatti, a 1969 graduate, and his wife Cathy, as a prime example of a family that loves Notre Dame. “As you will hear today, planned gifts made by men and women who love and believe in Notre Dame have made a remarkable difference, not only in the life of the University, but also in the lives of countless students,” he said. Regis Philbin, a 1953 alum, then took the stage for the core of the event. He began by explaining the purpose of the gift-planning initiative. Philbin then asked Swinton what memory he treasured most from his time at Notre Dame. Philbin recalled one job interview he was rejected from before his career took off. After receiving the news, Philbin found himself driving down the Indiana Toll Road instead of the airport to return home. After de Araujo left the stage, Philbin played a video that introduced the third and final guest of the day. Philbin then invited Laura, Selina and Precious Okonokhua to offer their thanks to the Belatti’s. The Belatti’s decided to make a gift to the University that would provide scholarship assistance to an entire family. The Okonokhuas, who have had three children graduate from Notre Dame and two children currently enrolled, are currently utilizing the gift. Philbin then told the story of his first visit to the Notre Dame campus. According to the website for the Office of Gift Planning, the initiative was launched this year by the University to focus on “encouraging greater numbers of the Notre Dame family to plant seeds for the future.” Thrilled by the University’s effort to assist their son during his time at Notre Dame, the Swinton’s made a planned gift through their wills to the school. “You are about to see a truly remarkable story. It’s a story about the love of a mother and a father for their son. It’s a story about the courage of student who, far more than most, faced the challenges of attending Notre Dame ⎯ what though the odds be great or small,” he said. “It’s a story about how the entire Notre Dame Family responded to make sure that one very special young man shared the Notre Dame experience to the fullest.” “Cathy and I have been involved with Habitat for Humanity for a long time,” Belatti said. “After meeting the Okonokhuas and building a friendship with them, we have really seen the difference that this opportunity has made in their lives. This scholarship assistance program reminded us of all the ways we love Notre Dame.” “Words cannot express how we feel about them,” Laura Okonokhua, a 2010 graduate, said. “This is a great thing for not only our family, but the other families that will benefit from the Belatti’s generosity.” Originally from Nigeria, the Okonokhua’s moved to Atlanta and moved into the 100th house that Frank and Cathy Belatti built. “The substantial impact of this remarkable gift on Notre Dame students will last forever,” Philbin said. “Over the past 40 years, Dailey’s original gift has grown into a truly transformative amount, providing financial assistance to thousands of Notre Dame’s students. This school year alone, 223 students will receive $4.5 million in financial assistance.” Once the Belatti’s exited the stage, Philbin told the story of Florence Dailey, a woman from upstate New York who had no known association with Notre Dame. Yet in 1966, Dailey bequeathed half of her stock shares to the University. Philbin then introduced Emily de Araujo, a junior at Notre Dame and one of the beneficiaries of Dailey’s gift. De Araujo moved to the United States when she was a year old with her family from Brazil so her brother, who is autistic, could lead a better life. The program began with the performance of an original song by John Scully, a Notre Dame All-American and a 1980 graduate of the University, sung by Cathy Richardson, a singer recognized for “Here Come the Irish.” “I saw the sun was shining on Our Lady who rests on top of the Dome as I drove past the building,” Philbin said. “I drove past the stadium and remembered Coach Leahy’s words. I was going to go back and make my life happen. I was hired for a job in New York, and the rest is history.” “Love Thee Notre Dame,” Philbin said. “The final four words of our Alma Mater sum up the powerful emotions and love we all share for Our Lady’s University. One goal of the Love Thee Notre Dame initiative is to create opportunities for alumni, parents and friends to create a stronger future for Notre Dame and a lasting legacy for themselves and their families.” Notre Dame was the first school to accept de Araujo and offer her the financial aid she needed to attend college. “Through our giving experience, other students with mobile disabilities will see what Notre Dame has to offer them,” Mike said. “We hope other students will have the opportunity to have the experiences Matt had here.” “Being on campus this weekend and seeing students with their backpacks has made me want to jump in and get some learning done,” Swinton said. “Some of my friends are here for the game. These are some of the guys I will never lose touch with.” “I’ll always remember [singing] the Alma Mater with my friends for the last time at our graduation,” Matt said. “When Matt had applied to Notre Dame, we made several visits to the campus and everyone here was very accommodating,” Matt’s father Mike Swinton said. “The spirit and community at Notre Dame was unlike any other school we had visited.” Approximately 500 people attended the “Love Thee Notre Dame” celebration, a gift-planning initiative in Leighton Concert Hall in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Matt Swinton, a 2012 graduate, suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, a group of inherited diseases that cause muscle damage and weakness. Confined to a wheelchair, Matt was able to make the most out of his four years at Notre Dame with the help of his parents, friends and the University. Philbin said all gifts, no matter the size, have had lasting effects on Notre Dame. A video relayed the Belatti’s story of building houses for Habitat for Humanity that transformed into a relationship with a single mother and her five children. “The acceptance letter said ‘Welcome Home,’ and Notre Dame was the school that gave me the first chance,” de Araujo said. “I was offered more scholarships to other schools as well, but that didn’t matter. I knew Notre Dame was it.”last_img read more

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Williams is NBA Africa New CEO

first_imgNational Basketball Association (NBA) has named Victor Williams Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NBA Africa, effective from August 17. Williams, an accomplished investment banking executive with extensive experience growing businesses across the U.S. and Africa, will be based in the league’s Johannesburg office and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this newly-created role, Williams will oversee the league’s basketball and business development initiatives in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball and the NBA across the continent through grassroots development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and more. For the last five years, Williams served as the Executive Head of Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), Africa Regions for Standard Bank Group, where he oversaw the strategy, execution and financial performance for Standard Bank’s business with corporate, sovereign and institutional investor clients in 19 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.  In this pan-continental role, Williams was responsible for growing a wide range of business lines across Africa, including global markets, investment banking and transactional products and services, and helped lead Standard Bank’s expansion into Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and South Sudan.Advertisement Loading… Promoted ContentSome Impressive And Almost Shocking Robots That Exist6 Extreme Facts About HurricanesThe Biggest Cities In The World So FarThis Guy Photoshopped Himself Into Celeb Pics And It’s Hysterical7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend Better7 Ways To Understand Your Girlfriend BetterDid You Know There’s A Black Hole In The Milky Way?8 Superfoods For Growing Hair Back And Stimulating Its Growth8 Best 1980s High Tech GadgetsCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable Way7 Universities Where Getting An Education Costs A Hefty PennyThe Highest Paid Football Players In The Worldcenter_img NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who made the announcement, said: “adding an executive of Williams’ caliber and experience is an important step in our continued efforts to grow basketball across the continent,” said Silver.  “We look forward to Victor leading NBA Africa’s operations and helping to accelerate the use of sports as an economic engine across Africa.” “Becoming CEO of NBA Africa is a compelling opportunity to join the NBA – a widely-respected and admired, globally-oriented sports enterprise,” said Williams.  “It allows me to blend my professional experience building businesses in Africa with my passion for the sport of basketball.  I look forward to working with our colleagues in Johannesburg and Dakar to help grow basketball’s commercial and social impact in Africa and on the world stage.” read also:Just-in: Heart attack kills rising Nigeria basketball star in Belgrade Williams, a dual citizen of Sierra Leone and the U.S., holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and bachelor’s degrees in applied math and economics from Brown University.  He is a member of Harvard Business School’s Africa Advisory Board and has also served on the boards of publicly-listed companies and non-profit organizations in the U.S., Nigeria and Kenya. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 last_img read more

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Business down, some UV store owners hurting

first_imgAkm Alam has owned the Quik Pix photo and camera shop in the University Village for nearly 28 years.But now, Alam is just one of several tenants in the USC-owned UV who might be forced to close up shop in response to hard economic times.Slow day · Store owners at the University Village say business has been declining and fewer students have been visiting. Many owners say they may be forced to go out of business. – Vicki Yang | Daily Trojan“Business has been very, very bad,” Alam said, noting that last September is when he first noticed a decline in customers.The combination of a national economic downturn and a decreasing number of student visitors has hurt store owners in the UV tremendously.The school has not yet noticed this trend, according to Katherine Logan, assistant director of leasing for University Real Estate.“Our vacancy rate last year was 7 percent, which was very low,” Logan said.But Alam believes the university has yet to notice how many tenants are struggling. Many tenants are barely afloat, but can’t close down because they are locked into leases until the end of 2010. But Alam insists he’s not the only one who is fighting to stay open.Soon after 2010, it may be that few of these stores are still around, anyway. As part of USC’s Master Plan, a complete renovation of the shopping center is scheduled.A current draft plans for a “mixed-use residential University Village” that includes space for academic buildings, housing for as many as 1,000 students, retail space and a boutique hotel with 700 beds.These changes will completely alter the face of the UV. The owner of Village Nutrition, known by his customers as Mr. B, said he expects these changes will eventually force him out of his space.“I’ll go into imposed retirement. Most of us will be priced out of business,” he said. “Luckily I’m kind of old now and I need to retire.”Mr. B’s said his store, a vitamin and supplement shop, is already faltering as a result of the recession.“Most merchants are not faring well, at least not the ones who I’ve talked to,” Mr. B said.He attributes poor business to both the economic recession and the changing customer base in the UV.“The students are no longer the main market for most of these stores,” he said. “Either the students don’t like shopping around here or the quality isn’t up to their standards.”Alam has noticed a similar trend at his photo shop. He said that although students once made up around 90 percent of his customer base, they make up only about 50 percent today. And his business is hit especially hard during winter and summer breaks when students leave campus.“Business is based on the students,” he said. “When you lose it, you’re dead. You’re paralyzed.”Logan said the UV is aimed both at students and at members of the community. When deciding on new lessees, she said, her department tries to find a balance between stores that cater to students and community members.“Anyone that expresses an interest and will fit into the tenant mix, we will consider,” she said. “We look at tenants that will service the community, both the students and the community that resides around the shopping center.”But students said they visit the UV for specific stores, such as the Starbucks, 21 Choices or the bike shop, and don’t branch out to the other merchants.“I used to shop at Superior freshman year, until I discovered Ralphs,” said Anna Feldman, a senior majoring in economics and mathematics. “[The UV] is a place for errands, it’s not very welcoming.”Suneesh Sasikumar, a graduate student studying electrical engineering, said he frequents the UV several times a week, but usually just for food or a quiet place to study.“The food places are what I come for primarily,” he said, noting that on weekends he typically sees families around the shopping center.Feldman said she thought adding more cafés and outdoor seating areas could help make the UV more student-friendly.Brian Avila, who lives off Vermont Avenue and does not attend USC, said he likes the UV as is and would not change the types of merchants he finds there.“I come maybe twice a week,” Avila, 18, said. “It seems pretty well-rounded with the movie theater, ice cream shops and grocery store.”last_img read more

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