Update from the Founding Director

Who do you want to be?  This question captures the underlying question of what one wants to do and takes it further.  It requires both external discovery and internal reflection to ensure that the identity that one embraces in their next stage is truly authentic and adaptable.
This is the question that our fifteen fellows have begun to explore the past two months leading into their recent October Break. One fellow noted their discovery has included “learning to read again,” as they delved into the Great Books and found that reading Homer’s Odyssey activated a different (perhaps dormant) part of the brain than what many had been reading.  It has involved engaging with great minds like New York Times columnist and author Tom Friedman, former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and many other visitors to campus. The exploration has also involved participating in classes covering topics such as Global Development, Science, Philosophy, Music, and Theology which has fostered insights not glimpsed before immersing into the University.
In addition, our cohort has begun to find rich rewards through relating to the other fellows, faculty, campus leaders and others.  The program has also afforded time for formal and informal, structured and unstructured discussion and reflection in small groups across campus and at faculty homes.
Their journey is just beginning. We hope this issue will provide a glimpse into what our inaugural fellows have been experiencing thus far, and how they feel about the ILI as they both participate in it and contribute to its development. This glimpse is now enhanced by a two-segment special video done by PBS on the ILI program (see links, below). We strongly encourage you to take a few minutes to view it.

If you have finished your traditional career and wish to consider exploring who you want to be in your next stage please visit our website at ILI.ND.EDU. The application for our second ILI cohort commencing next Fall is now open and we look forward to considering your candidacy.

ILI Featured on PBS

Learn more from the two PBS segments below featuring Notre Dame and ILI leadership as well as our fellows about the inspiration for this program and the richness of the engagement of the fellows within the Notre Dame community. 

Featured Speaker

Each week our fellows have a recommended speaker who is one of the many top academics, politicians, leaders and journalists that come to campus. Early this semester they had a chance to hear from Tom Friedman, the New York Times columnist and author, who spoke to a large audience then had a private meet and greet with the ILI cohort. This weekly shared opportunity provides for exposure to great minds from across the globe and generative dialogue among the fellows. 

Fellows' Experiences

The first cohort of ILI fellows and spouses/life partners have enjoyed a variety of experiences during the fall semester, from lectures by New York Times columnist, Tom Friedman and former secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, to community service projects and fun social gatherings. 


William (Tuck) Hopkins retired as a partner in a large law firm and served during his traditional career in many leadership roles. Read about Tuck's road to ILI and how he has embraced the experience.

How did you learn about the ILI and why did you select to do this at this point in your life?
I was inspired to apply after watching Chris Stevens speak on the Notre Dame Day broadcast last spring. Having recently retired, it was the perfect time to consider this type of program.
Do you have any specific goals in the program?
The main reason I chose to apply was that I knew ND has a global presence on a variety of stages such as peacekeeping (Columbia, South America) and BOTFL. I want to look at service opportunities on a global scale.
Did you find the discovery/discernment time in July to be a valuable intro to the program?
Yes. Because this program provides such a wide range of opportunities distinct from our prior life experiences, the July meetings were important to set the stage for a smooth beginning in August.
What classes did you choose to audit?
In addition to the Great Books course the entire cohort takes together, I am auditing:
Colonial America (History)
High Renaissance Art (Art History)
Monetary Theory and Policy (Economics)
Have you had the opportunity to share your area of career expertise in any way with students and/or faculty?
Yes. I have met, and continue to meet, with several individual students who are considering a career in law. I have spoken in two classes and at the Higgins Labor Program as well as on the Center for Social Concerns blog. I am also looking forward to meeting this semester with three or four key faculty members regarding international mediation/negotiations.
Has the program so far met your expectations?
Yes, it is clear ND is committed to the success of this program and I am excited and proud to be in the initial cohort.
Have you enjoyed your interaction with other members of the cohort?
It has been beyond enjoyable. We’ve already become great friends, committed to each other’s success. For example, several of us meet informally each week to discuss each other’s goals, aspirations, and opportunities.
How has your wife, Nancy, found the move to South Bend?
She has been pleasantly surprised at the number of enrichment opportunities such as the Tom Friedman speaking engagement.
What have you found to be your favorite part of the ILI program?
That could be a difficult question to answer because there have been so many positive experiences with students, faculty and ILI representatives. But getting to know and become friends with the other Fellows is the highlight. 
Would you recommend the Inspired Leadership Program to others?
I already have - to the general counsel of a multinational European company and several others. That list will definitely grow with time.

Faculty Advisor Profile

We are pleased to acknowledge Margot Fassler, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy and Director of the Program of Sacred Music at Notre Dame. Prof. Fassler is among a distinguished group of faculty partners who share their insights and experience during this inaugural year of ILI. Each of these scholars advises one fellow, providing dedicated guidance and support in course selection and during the semester.
"Women and men embracing new stages of life use the program to learn from cutting-edge researchers in fields they know, or plunge into new or related areas of understanding, taking up subjects they have always wondered about but never had time to explore. Many fellows in our inaugural year are being creative in mixing both approaches, and it is a pleasure and a privilege to experience their excitement, energy, and intelligence, and to witness the friendships developing within the cohort." 
Read more about Prof. Fassler and the Program of Sacred Music at Notre Dame.

Who do you want to be?

For more information on the Inspired Leadership Initiative, we invite you to visit ILI.ND.EDU or call 574.631.8070 to speak with an ILI staff member. 

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