Gary Cooper ('58)

While most of Notre Dame's incoming freshmen were loading their parents' cars with suitcases, Gary Cooper ('58) boarded the segregated train bound for Chicago. "When I left Mobile, [Alabama] it was my first trip out of the South and out of segregation," says Cooper. "I thought I'd died and gone to heaven."

After graduation, Cooper co-founded Commonwealth National Bank, Alabama's first minority-owned and operated national bank. He also invested time and energy into political causes; and in 1973, became one of the first African-Americans to be elected to the Alabama state legislature.

Cooper's commitment to public and military service won him two Purple Hearts, the Silver and Bronze Stars, an honorary doctorate of law and recognition by such groups as the NAACP and the U.S. Navy.

In 1989, Cooper relinquished his position as commissioner of the Alabama State Department of Human Resources to accept a new appointment: assistant secretary of the Air Force. During the Bush Administration, Cooper, a highly decorated Marine Corps major general, participated in the planning of Operation Desert Storm. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Cooper ambassador to Jamaica.He was the first African-American to hold this position.

Cooper's Firsts

  • First African-American to serve as the United States ambassador to Jamaica.
  • Co-founded the first and only minority-owned and operated national bank.
  • While serving in Vietnam, Cooper became the first African-American to lead an infantry company into combat in Marine Corps history.
  • First African-American to command a Marine reserve unit.

Anne Iasella (ND '99)

Tom Quinn (ND '69),

the president and chief operating officer of Jordan Industries, Inc. and the chair of Notre Dame's Business Advisory Council from 1998 to 2000, is a man who says what he means and means what he says. During our interview, it soon became clear that the straight-talking Quinn also has a deep respect for doing the right thing.

Born in Los Angeles, Quinn was raised in the small, blue-collar town of Clinton, Iowa - a city that, at the time, had the highest juvenile crime rate in the United States. As a Notre Dame student on an athletic scholarship (he played defensive back for Ara Parsegian's football team), Quinn earned a liberal arts degree in economics.

He later enrolled at Cornell for a Ph.D. degree, planning to teach economics as a college professor. But plans changed when Quinn was called to active duty as an U.S. Army Reservist.

After his stint in the Army, Quinn worked 18 years with American Hospital Supply (now Baxter Healthcare) until he left the company to form a new business with his college roommate, John H. Jordan II (ND '69). The business they formed, Jordan Industries, is a privately-held, diversified holding company.

Those who know Quinn only as Jordan Industries' hard-driving president and COO might be surprised to hear that Quinn, an avid fan of Hemingway, Twain and Faulkner, also takes time to read the novels his children are studying as part of their curricula.

And those who've never met Quinn but know of his success at Jordan Industries - and as chair and CEO of two other companies, Fannie May Candy Company and Archibald Candy Corp. - might be surprised to hear that the single most important directive he would give to someone as a guide to live by is a simple (and heartfelt): "Try to be a nice person."

Jeffrey Maxwell (MBA '99)

William Hank (ND '54),

chair of ND's Business Advisory Council, describes the Council this way: "In addition to the many talents the membership of the Council brings to the table, there is a common bond of 'Domers.' I never fail to leave without thinking it will be a full year before I'm in a room with so many good and decent people again."

Born in Chicago in 1932, Hank's respect for goodness and decency must have come from his upbringing. He says his parents exhibited a strong work ethic and strong Catholic values. "My mother and dad were out working when they were 12 and 14 years of age," he says. "They saw to it that we (the children) got the best Catholic education available. We benefited immensely from their sacrifices and the sacrifices of many nuns and priests along the way."

Drawn to Notre Dame for its reputation, Catholic identity and strong business curriculum, Hank graduated cum laude in marketing in 1954. Upon graduation, he joined the Air Force and spent two years in Korea before receiving an honorable discharge in 1962 with a rank of captain. Hank then continued his education at Northwestern University where he received an MBA with distinction (in 1963) while working for Commercial National Bank in Berwyn, Illinois.

Commercial National Bank was then a member of the same Chicago-based holding company Hank still works with today. Now Hank is chairman and chief executive officer of Farnham Investment Group in Westmont, Illinois. The company emphasizes investments in banking, investment banking and real estate.

Hank and his wife, Joan, are the proud parents of five children - all Notre Dame graduates. While away from the office, he enjoys reading, farming and fishing. But Hank also dedicates quite a bit of his time to the betterment of his alma mater. "I've seen tremendous change since the time I first saw Notre Dame," said Hank. "There has been steady progress and improvement. It's very exciting."

Kate Nagengast (ND '02)