It would be hard to pick just one thing that makes the University of Notre Dame so unique. However, one of the unmatched features of the University is its incredible alumni base. Entering the 2012-13 academic year, there are more than 130,000 Notre Dame alumni who are members of more than 275 alumni clubs worldwide (the largest number of alumni clubs by any university, ensuring that no matter where one lives on this planet, chances are there are not only Notre Dame alumni, but a Notre Dame alumni club (and a supportive network of friends and colleagues) within minutes of home.
On June 30, 2011, the University completed its historic "Spirit of Notre Dame" comprehensive fund raising campaign, generating approximately $2 billion to support the school's critical priorities, which include student financial aid, global service, and academic and student life.
Backing up the concept that a University of Notre Dame education is not a four-year decision, but rather an opportunity that lasts a lifetime, Notre Dame alumni work in various fields. Alumni working in political fields include former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, members of the United States Congress such as Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.), and state governors such as former Indiana leader Joe Kernan. A number of university leaders also are Notre Dame alumni, including the school's current president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
In addition, many University alumni are in the media, including talk show hosts Regis Philbin and Phil Donahue, and television and radio personalities such as ESPN's Mike Golic and Hannah Storm. Other notable alumni include prominent businessmen Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr. (former owner of the five-time NFL Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers), Philip J. Purcell (former chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley, and lead benefactor for the University's basketball arena, Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center), and Vincent J. Naimoli (founding owner of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays), as well as former astronaut and Navy test pilot Jim Wetherbee (the only person ever to command five Space Shuttle missions).
Like the University itself, the Notre Dame women's basketball program has its own extensive network of alumnae, spanning a variety of disciplines from medicine, law and business, to global fashion, education and social work. Here's a quick rundown on how some Fighting Irish women's basketball alumnae have put their Notre Dame education to good use:
All-Time WNBA Players (since the league formed in 1997)
- Charel Allen (2008 – Sacramento Monarchs)
- Jacqueline Batteast (2005 – Minnesota Lynx; 2006 – Detroit Shock*)
- Beth (Morgan) Cunningham (2000 – Washington Mystics)
- Megan Duffy (2006-07 – Minnesota Lynx; 2008 – New York Liberty)
- Katryna Gaither (2000 – Utah Starzz/Indiana Fever; 2002 – Cleveland Rockers/Los Angeles Sparks/Washington Mystics)
- Ericka Haney (2002 – Detroit Shock)
- Niele Ivey (2001-04 – Indiana Fever; 2005 – Detroit Shock/Phoenix Mercury)
- Natalie Novosel (2012-present – Washington Mystics)
- Devereaux Peters (2012-present – Minnesota Lynx)
- Ruth Riley (2001-02 – Miami Sol; 2003-06 – Detroit Shock**; 2007-11 – San Antonio Silver Stars; 2012-present – Chicago Sky; 2003 WNBA Finals MVP; 2005 WNBA All-Star; 2005-present – first vice-president of WNBA Players Association)
- Kelley Siemon (2001 – Los Angeles Sparks)
- Coquese Washington (1998-99 – New York Liberty; 2000-02 – Houston Comets*; 2002-03 – Indiana Fever; 1997 – Founding president of WNBA Players Association)
* - number of WNBA championships won with franchise (through 2011)
Current College/High School Coaches (as of June 2012)
- Jacqueline Batteast ('05) – assistant coach, South Bend Washington High School
- Beth (Morgan) Cunningham ('97) – associate coach, Notre Dame
- Megan Duffy ('06) – associate head coach, George Washington University
- Ericka Haney ('02) – head coach, Pine Crest School (Fla.)
- Niele Ivey ('00) – assistant coach/recruiting coordinator, University of Notre Dame
- Lindsay Schrader ('10) – assistant coach, Loyola (Ill.) University
- Coquese Washington ('92, JD '97) – head coach, Penn State University
- Erica Williamson ('10) – director of basketball operations, George Washington University
Other Featured Notre Dame Women's Basketball Alumnae/Occupations
- Kristin Knapp Cole ('94) – personal basketball trainer in Washington, D.C.
- Christy Grady ('98) – manager for partnership development with Seattle Seahawks (NFL) and Seattle Sounders FC (Major League Soccer)
- Breona Gray ('07) – personal basketball trainer for Las Vegas Hoops
- Danielle Green-Byrd ('00) – assistant director of athletics, Malcolm X College in Chicago; Specialist, U.S. Army (ret.); 2004 Purple Heart recipient
- Julie Henderson ('00) – plus-sized model, Wilhelmina New York/Model Management UK (London)
- Stacy Fields (Janicki) ('96) – director of account management, Colle+McVoy strategic marketing agency in Minneapolis
- Dr. Carol Lally Shields ('79) – world-renowned ophthamologist (eye surgeon), Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia; 2011 Academic All-America Hall of Fame inductee
- Courtney LaVere ('06) – sales planner, Cartoon Network/[adult swim]/Turner Broadcasting in Los Angeles
- Kara Leary ('94) – founder/chairperson of the board, New England Crusader, Inc.; also senior technical consultant of Wright Express (international fleet and payment card company) in Portland, Maine
- Sara Liebscher ('91, MBA '93) – director of regional development, University of Notre Dame
- Fraderica Miller ('12) – private company services specialist, Deloitte Tax in Atlanta
- Sherri Orlosky Haigh ('94) – self-employed certified public accountant (CPA) in Loretto, Pa.
- Mollie Peirick-Busam ('98) – co-founder, Impact Basketball Academy in Cincinnati
- Le'Tania Severe ('04) – research assistant, Miami-Dade County Public Schools; research manager for Camillus House, Inc. (non-profit organization management industry)
- Karen Swanson Haan ('03) – attorney (complex commercial litigation/pro-bono work), Baker Hostetler in Cleveland
- Amanda Tsipis (Byrne) ('08) – financial analyst (public finance group), J.P. Morgan Securities in Chicago
- Carey Poor (Walley) ('96) – director of marketing/member of executive team at TimberTech (leading manufacturer of high quality decking, railing and fencing solutions) in Wilmington, Ohio
- Diondra Toney (Whiteside) ('89) – revenue officer, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Chicago; adjunct professor of accountancy at the College of DuPage and Kaplan University (suburban Chicago).
- Lavetta Willis ('87) – co-founder/CEO, LL International Shoe Company in Los Angeles
NOTE: Additions to these lists are always welcome; please contact Notre Dame associate athletics media relations director Chris Masters (574-631-8032; email@example.com) with any updates.