Notre Dame, Our Mother.  Tender, Strong, and True.

Tate_lg.jpgThe opening words of the University’s alma mater hold special meaning for Gabrielle Tate ’11, a 2011 summa cum laude graduate who now teaches fourth-grade math in Houston. Gabrielle believes the lessons she learned at Our Lady’s University include being tender, strong, and true.

When she was applying to colleges and universities as a student at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Illinois, her family was on a very tight budget.  But then one day she received a letter from the University stating that Notre Dame supported her family 100 percent, and money would not be an issue if she chose Notre Dame.  The scholarship Gabrielle was to receive resulted from a gift made through an estate gift.

“My mom was so relieved that she could send her daughter to such an amazing academic institution,” says Gabrielle. “This was all possible because of a thoughtful planned giving donor who had the foresight to help students he didn’t even know. I am forever indebted to Notre Dame for what the University did for me five years ago. I can never thank the University’s gracious donors enough. They have selflessly given me the best four years of my life. Four years of learning, serving, and most importantly growing into the person I am today.”

Gabby relates her Notre Dame experience with all three values, including the example of a fellow student who tutored at a homeless shelter and donated her guitar for the students there. Gabby also lauds her professors, including business professor Carl Ackermann, who has won numerous teaching awards and crusades against high fees in the investment industry.

Today Gabby is putting her business administration degree to use in a way that exemplifies “Tender, Strong, and True,” as part of the Teach for America program, a division of AmeriCorps that places talented individuals who do not have teaching certificates in low-income schools. The participants obtain their teaching credentials during two years in the classroom, in schools that are among the most challenging in the nation.

“This experience challenged me more than any other in my life,” she says. “I would not have been able to succeed in this environment had it not been for the many priceless lessons I learned at Notre Dame.”

Admired by Gabby is the famous statement attributed to Mother Teresa, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” In Houston, Gabby strives to make math fun for her students and also show them “great love.”  She says she truly understands the nature of compassion because of how it was modeled for her at Notre Dame.

“Notre Dame has given me so much,” she says. “A group of amazing friends who inspire me every day, a No. 1 business degree that has challenged me to creatively problem-solve and collaborate with others, a second home, core values to live by, and so much more. I hope that through my teaching I can inspire my students to live lives that are tender, strong, and true, because I have been so inspired by the teachings of Our Lady’s University.”