Donor Stories and Legacies

From Annual Fund to Estate Gift:
Catenaccis’ Law Fellowship

Catenacci FamilyFor eight straight years, virtually the entire salary of Hank Catenacci’s mother—a supervisor at RCA in New Jersey—went to pay Notre Dame tuition for her sons, both of whom are Double Domers. Now, Hank (’66, ’69 JD) has had his own run of tuition payments, as the parent of three ND grads (two doctors and a lawyer), a newly minted Saint Mary’s alumna, and a current Notre Dame student.

“Seventeen years of tuition, and only three more to go,” he says.

Has the financial sacrifice been worth it? “Absolutely, without a doubt,” says Hank. “Notre Dame gave my kids a great education. They learned important values and have grown up to be good wives, husbands, and parents.”

His and his children’s Notre Dame experience, the years of tuition payments, and his own good fortune as the recipient of a full-ride to the Notre Dame Law School have given Hank and his wife, Kathy, a special appreciation for the role that Notre Dame has played in their family—and the responsibility they feel to give back.

With a house full of young children and a law practice just getting off the ground, Hank recalls, “I started like most people, making small gifts when I could.” In a few years, those modest Annual Fund gifts escalated to membership in the Sorin Society, Rockne Heritage Fund, and Order of St. Thomas More. “We joined the recognition societies,” he explains, “because I had a true sense that Notre Dame gave me every opportunity in life, and I wanted to pass that on to others.”

With the advent of the Spirit of Notre Dame campaign, the Catenaccis felt it was time to do something “permanent”—and so they established the Henry J. and Katharina S. Catenacci Law Fellowship, an endowed fund supporting ND undergraduate alumni attending the Notre Dame Law School. A few years later, the couple dramatically upped their giving, notifying University officials of their plans to leave a substantial portion of their estate to Notre Dame.

“There are a lot of causes out there,” Hank says. “But Notre Dame is our cause. There is nothing more important to Kathy and me than educating these kids to go out and do well and do good in the world. Plus, we have confidence that ND takes care of a dollar. We are investing wisely.”

“When Hank is on campus,” Kathy adds, “his smile is just a little bit bigger.”