Tribute from classmates of Joe Kernan

Gentlemen of the Great ’68,

Many classmates have asked how to honor Joe Kernan – POW, former Mayor of South Bend, Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Indiana and most important, part of the ND Great ’68.  To that end, we have made arrangements for a tree and bench to be dedicated in Joe’s honor, that will be located adjacent to each other outside the Matthew and Joyce Walsh Family Hall of Architecture.  That way, both are facing the stadium, which was hallowed ground for Joe.

In the spirit of brotherhood and camaraderie that have so long distinguished the Great ’68, we are writing to ask that you all join us in making a contribution to fund this tribute to Joe of either $250, $100, or a funding of your choosing. The amounts were decided to get as many classmates as possible to participate. Total cost of bench and tree is $25,000.

The easiest way to donate is online, via this website that Notre Dame has set up just for this effort:  As you can see, this website has pre-selected the allocation for this donation in Joe’s memory, and offers two suggested contribution amounts.  

For those who would prefer to donate by check, please make the check out to “University of Notre Dame” and include a notation to designate the gift to “Hon. Joseph E. Kernan Memorial Fund.”  Please mail checks to:  1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556.  You can also donate by phone by calling (574) 631-5150 and advising that you would like to make a gift to the Joe Kernan Memorial Fund for the Class of ’68.

Any funds raised in excess of the amount for the tree and bench dedication will be designated for the Veteran’s Fund at Notre Dame, which supports the Office of Military and Veteran’s Affairs.  This was a designation for gifts to Notre Dame that Maggie Kernan made at the time of Joe’s passing, and we know any contributions made to this effort will also be a fitting way to honor him.

The dedication of the bench and tree will be the Saturday morning of the ND-North Carolina football game October 30th. Events will be held at our classmate’s (Matt/Joyce) Walsh Architectural building. Thank you all in advance for joining us in this effort, and as always, Go Irish!  

Tom Weyer – President for Life of the Great ’68 Steve Anderson          Fred Ferli Rocky Bleier               Tom Figel Gene Cavanaugh       Chris Murphy Tom Cuggino              Jim O’Rourke      Joe Dietz                     Skip Strzelecki  Bryan Dunigan        Matt Walsh    Tom Durkin                 

Memorial Day Remembrance of Notre Dame’s Fallen

Gene Cavanaugh, Bryan Dunigan and others have done a fine job of circulating the link to the online Monday, May 31, 2021 remembrance of fallen who include our classmates Bruce Heskett (from Spokane, WA) and Mike McCormick (from Honolulu, Hawaii).

John O’Connor sent a terrific story about Mike Cerre, the ND ’69 veteran who will host the program. Read that note below.

When you use the link, be sure to find and use the link to the biographies of the Notre Dame fallen.

  1. To join other alums, a “Premier” Showing” of the video will be held on Memorial Day (Monday May 31st) at 6:30PM EDT on both the NDAA Facebook page and the NDSA Facebook page.  To watch the Premier Showing, go to: ND Senior Alumni Memorial Day Remembrance and select the “get reminder” button or tune in Monday night at 6:30pm EDT.
  2. To view at your leisure, the video is available on the NDSA YouTube channel.  You can also view the trailer here.

Alumni Participating in the Video

  • Capt. Richard Morrissey ’62 remembered by Denis Retoske ’61 
  • Capt. Joseph Adrian ’64 remembered by John Gillan ’64 
  • Maj. James Egan ’64 remembered by John Lalli ’64 
  • 1Lt. Robert Stork ’64 remembered by John Rahiya ’66 
  • 1Lt. Kevin Burke ’67 remembered by Dennis McCarthy ’67 
  • 1Lt. Bruce Heskett ’68 remembered by Bob Noonan ’68
  • Lt. Michael McCormick ’68 remembered by Tom Gibbs ’68 

Forty-one ND alumni and students were killed in action during the Vietnam War. You can read their bios and those twenty-six others who died of non-combat incidents here.  Editor’s Note – Apologies for not including this info at the time of the original newsletter on May 24th.   

John O’Connor’s story of Mike Cerre:

Mike Cerre, 69, is a good friend out  here. Was a great friend of Duke Heskett and Rabbit Noonan.

Funny story. Mike gets shot up in Vietnam after getting sent there for the crime of testifying in support of a Marine officer friend claiming conscientious objector status. Ok, so far, not funny.

They shipped him to the hospital in Bethesda to rehab...a lot of metal in his legs. He was going stir crazy, so Bob Whitmore and he cooked up a scheme to get Mike to Georgetown bars. Bob would leave civvy clothes in a sandtrap
on the adjacent golf course. Mike would sneak out and low crawl to the sandtrap to avoid detection, change into regular clothes and meet up with Bob
for pub crawling. 

The staff continually asked Mike why there were grass stains on his gown.  He said he was puzzled also.

Hard to keep the ND boys down!

Thanks to those who put together this tribute to the fallen.