Covering Coronavirus: Lessons from the past, hope for the future

As the University prepares to confer degrees on the Class of 2020, we speak with the class valedictorian, Brady Stiller, about this unique moment in Notre Dame history.

Brady Stiller’s biography (Originally published on on May 06, 2020)

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Notre Dame has postponed the 175th University Commencement Ceremony until Memorial Day weekend of May 2021. During that ceremony, Stiller will present the valedictory address and Osunnuga will deliver the invocation.

biological sciences major in the College of Science, Stiller also is a double major in theology in the College of Arts and Letters. He carries a 4.0 grade point average, is a member of the University’s Dean’s List and Phi Beta Kappa honor society and was named Outstanding Biological Scientist by the Department of Biological Sciences.

Stiller was an undergraduate research assistant in associate professor Jason McLachlan’s lab, where he conducted recovery and germination of marsh seeds to study ecosystem adaptation to environmental changes. He also designed a breeding protocol and conducted a breeding experiment to produce individuals of a flowering plant species. During the summer of 2018, he served as a research assistant at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland, conducting an experiment to study the same plant species.

At Notre Dame, he guided small groups of first-year students in weekly philosophical discussions as a dialogue facilitator in the God and the Good Life Fellows Program directed by Meghan Sullivan, the Rev. John A. O’Brien Collegiate Chair and Professor of Philosophy.

While studying abroad in the Notre Dame London Program during the fall of 2018, Stiller worked as a teacher’s assistant at St. Thomas More Language College, a secondary school, supporting students in the classroom and facilitating instruction. As a senior, Stiller wrote a 180-page thesis on the idea of vocation, using the writings of 20th-century English Catholic author G.K. Chesterton, which he studied at the Notre Dame London Global Gateway, now home to the Chesterton Library. Stiller plans to continue editing the work with aspirations of future publication.

Throughout his undergraduate experience, Stiller was deeply involved in various service activities. He served as an intern in the Office of Campus Ministry, coordinating weekly teaching sessions for participants preparing for Catholic sacraments; was a mentor-in-faith with the Notre Dame Vision program and a community assistant for the Office of Residential Life; participated in five local house builds with the Notre Dame chapter of Habitat for Humanity; and was a member of the Knights of Columbus and a volunteer with Foodshare, an organization that packages unconsumed food from campus dining halls and delivers it to Hope Ministries homeless shelter in South Bend.

In Dunne Hall, he was a Mass lector and Eucharistic minister and was a co-founder of the hall’s food sales business.

He has applied to the Master of Nonprofit Administration program in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, where he plans to continue discerning a call to a lifetime of ministry as a Jesuit priest.

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Notre Dame Stories highlights the work and knowledge of the University’s faculty and students. This podcast features interviews with Notre Dame faculty members who can lend insight into some of the major national and international stories of the day, as well as pieces that show the breadth of the life and research at the University.

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May 9, 2020

Art and HistoryHealth and SocietyValedictorianCommencementJason McLachlanNotre Dame StoriesBiological SciencesCollege of Arts and LettersCollege of SciencePhilosophyTheology