Zahm, Sorin rectors ease into jobs
By NATE PHILLIPS
Editor's Note: This is the first of two stories about the new rectors and rectress on Notre Dame's campus.
Perhaps even more eager than the first year students to experience the traditions and rigors of Notre Dame are the new "freshmen" rectors. These rectors have the responsibility of maintaining order in the dorm and helping students spiritually and emotionally.
Both Father Tom Bednar of Zahm Hall and Sean Seymore of Sorin Hall have accepted the challenges of this job and enter their first year in their respective positions.
Unlike many of his colleagues, Seymore is not a Holy Cross priest. He will finish his graduate degree in Chemistry at Notre Dame this May. He attended the University of Tennessee for his undergraduate degree, and received his master's degree from Georgia Tech.
Seymore has been the assistant rector of the dorm for two years, and decided to take the job as rector after the administration approached him concerning the opening. He is uncertain as to how long he is planning on remaining rector, considering he will graduate this year.
"I am just focused right now on taking Sorin into the 21st century," he said. "It seems like a natural progression for me [to go from assistant rector to rector]. I am really excited; there is quite a bit of responsibility."
Despite the fact that he is not a priest, Seymore has a strong spiritual sense. He holds his spirituality as his highest priority, and hopes he can help the men in his dorm on their spiritual journey.
But while he doesn't sport a white collar, Seymore's views on dorm management are in line with his ordained colleages, including the parietals policy.
"As I see it, parietals are a great thing for the staff. We are tired by the end of the day and we need a break as well," he said. "It quiets the dorm down, relaxes everyone, and brings the day to a close."
Seymore describes himself as highly motivated and driven. He has spent close to a quarter of a century in school and said he borders on being a perfectionist. He sets his goals high, and always aims at being the best at whatever he is doing.
"I am probably harder on myself than anyone else can be," he said.
At age 29, Seymore is closer in age to the men in his dorm than other rectors. He hopes this will foster a more open environment.
"Relationships with other people are very important to me," he said. "I am welcoming and inviting, and I think the guys think that I am somebody that they can talk to."
Seymore really appreciates and values the community feeling of Sorin Hall and is excited about the coming year.
"We are closely knit, and everybody knows everybody else. Sorin is my
home, and it feels good to be here," he said
Also entering into a rector position is Father Tom Bednar of Zahm Hall. New to the Notre Dame community, Bednar has spent the past 12 years working in schools in Chile.
"I thought that I had achieved my goals down there [in Chile]. I thought that Notre Dame would be a great place for me to keep working in an aspect of education," said Bednar, who will be working with the Latino branch of campus ministry.
Bednar takes his responsibilities as a Holy Cross priest very seriously, but at the same time thoroughly enjoys the work that he does.
"Being a priest is a great way of accompanying young people in their spiritual lives," he said. "I especially enjoy the pastoral aspect of working in the dorm with a group of young men."
"I am excited to be working with the guys as they express celebration and suffering, and I hope that I can serve as a witness of God's love … and, uh, I am also excited about the Nebraska game," he added with a laugh.
Thus far, Bednar is impressed with the guys in the hall, especially with the number of service projects and community service outings the dorm has sponsored.
"The guys are great. They have great dorm pride, and are very welcoming. I guess that is why Zahm has such a great sense of tradition," he said.
Bendar said his best qualities are his listening skills and energy.
"I am passionate about Holy Cross and about the University," he said. "I am glad to be here at Zahm, and am excited to work with people that have such a strong sense of ambition."
All News Stories for Wednesday, August 30, 2000