The Observer
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    Commencement 2015

    Looking Back on the Past Four Years

Notre Dame Undergraduates

Receiving Degrees


Saint Mary's Undergraduates

Receiving Degrees


Graduate Students

Receiving Degrees


Honorary Degrees

Awarded by Notre Dame

The Commencement Speaker

Oxford Chancellor Christopher Patten, Lord Patten of Barnes, has been named Notre Dame’s 2015 Commencement speaker, according to a University press release.

Patten was slated to deliver the Commencement address last year, but health concerns led to a change of speaker.

“We were very disappointed that Lord Patten was unable to attend last year, and we are equally delighted that he will join us this year,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in a press release. “He is a highly respected statesman in Great Britain and around the world who has taken on and helped resolve complex international issues, including the transfer of governance in Hong Kong and policing reforms in Northern Ireland, and he is a leading Catholic who led the planning for Pope Benedict’s very successful visit to Great Britain. His experience and expertise are certain to resonate with our Class of 2015.”

Patton, who has been chancellor of Oxford since 2003, has also served as chair of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation, and chancellor of Newcastle University. In 2005, he was bestowed the title of baron.

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The Valedictorian

Senior Anna Kottkamp — the class of 2015 valedictorian — learned early on in her college career that success would require a careful balancing act.

A member of the Glynn Family Honors Program hailing from Wenatchee, Washington, Kottkamp has immersed herself in a wide array of extracurricular activities ranging from varsity rowing to the Voices of Faith Gospel Choir to research and service in South Bend and abroad.

Through it all, the environmental science major has maintained a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) and earned a spot on the Dean’s List each semester that she has been on campus — a feat she attributes to finding an area of study that fascinated her.

“I started out, as many people did, going into pre-med classes and pursuing a pre-med track,” she said. “I thought that was super interesting and maybe something that I wanted to do, but then I worked in a clinic the summer after my freshman year. I quickly realized it just wasn’t my passion.

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The Headlines.

The top stories from the past four years.

    • Compton Family Ice Arena Opens
    • by Matthew DeFranks
    • Notre Dame initiates suit
      over HHS mandate
    • by Sam Stryker
    • Notre Dame announces conference switch to ACC
    • by Matthew DeFranks
    • University supports
      LGBTQ organization
    • by John Cameron
    • Te'o finishes second in
      Heisman voting
    • by Observer Staff
    • SMC at BCS
    • by Linsey McMullen
    • Football makes title game,
      loses to Crimson Tide
    • by Observer Staff
    • No regrets, one request
    • by Andrew Nachman '97
    • Students abroad witness
      papal election
    • by Kaitlyn Rabach
    • Hockey tops CCHA in
      conference's last year
    • by Casey Karnes
    • Men's Soccer earns first
      national title
    • by Victoria Jacobsen
    • Campus Crossroads to restructure stadium
    • by Matthew DeFranks
    • A call to remember
    • by Danny Martin
    • Mendoza ranks No. 1 for
      fifth consecutive year
    • by Meg Handelman
    • Men's lacrosse makes trip to tournament finals
    • by Greg Hadley
    • On hearing you might transfer
    • Letter to the Editor
    • ESPN sues Notre Dame
      for record access
    • by Ann Marie Jakubowski
    • Fr. Theodore Hesburgh dies at 97
    • by Observer Staff
    • Eight ND, SMC students lost in four years
    • by Observer Staff
    • Men's basketball reaches Elite Eight
    • by Mike Monaco
    • Women's basketball contends
      for championship
    • by Observer Staff

Remembering Fr. Ted.

Revisit The Observer's feature website on University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hersburgh, who passed away on Feb. 26, 2015.


The Scene.

Read the top stories in entertainment since 2011.

Their Reflections.

Read The Observer seniors' reflections on Notre Dame.

Ann Marie Jakubowski


"Notre Dame has become a second home for me, a home you sent me away to instead of a home you built up around me. Thank you for both of them."

Brian Hartnett

Managing Editor

"What is it about Notre Dame that makes this place so special and so beloved? This is a question I have grappled with for years."

Isaac Lorton

Assistant Managing Editor

"I didn’t want to write this column. It felt too much like I was writing an obituary of my time here at Notre Dame. How do I want to be remembered?"

Kevin Song

Assistant Managing Editor

"Without each and everyone one of you, from my closest friends to people I’ve never met before, this wonderful place would not be the same without you."

Samantha Zuba

Assistant Managing Editor

"I like to distance myself from the high school version of me. She knew a lot less, balanced her life a lot less, was a lot less confident. And I don’t like that."

Kelly Konya

Saint Mary's Editor

"But sometime in the mix, I developed a deep and unexpected passion for Saint Mary’s, and as I reflect back on these four years, I can only attribute my bond to the College to the people who revealed its value and inspired the person I’ve become."

Allie Tollaksen

Scene Editor

"I didn’t have anything close to a typical Notre Dame experience, but being a part of Scene — that island of misfit toys in the centerfold of the newspaper — brought me closer to the University than anything else in my four years."

Keri O'Mara

Graphics Editor

"A year later, I can say that my somewhat impulsive acceptance of the role as Graphics Editor turned out to be one of the most unexpectedly rewarding experiences from my time at Notre Dame."

Mike Monaco

Senior Sports Writer

"It’s time to say goodbye. Goodbye to the most incredible group of people by which I’ve ever been and might ever be surrounded."

Past Commencements.

Read The Observer's previous commencement issues.





From our seniors.

'The Parting Glass'