Eugene D. Fanning
Eugene D. Fanning, a graduate of Notre Dame's Class of 1953 and a member of the President's Advisory Council for the College of Business Administration, returned to the business school classrooms of his boyhood in 1989, not as a student or nostalgic alumnus, but as a teacher. Following a long and very successful career in the automotive industry and in the investment world, Gene offered to give back to Notre Dame students much of what he had learned as a businessman and community leader in Chicago.
For ten semesters, from 1989 to 1995, Gene Fanning drove from his home in suburban north Chicago — taking time from his investment business — to teach undergraduate communication classes at Notre Dame. He lectured without notes, focusing on those issues students need to know early in order to succeed in life, as well as a business. He counseled his pupils patiently, listening, probing, demonstrating time and again that a busy instructor can know and respond to each of his students individually.
Gene was a member of the boards of the Chicago Bulls and White Sox, and an active investor in each of the teams. He was described by friends, associates, and colleagues as a "man for all seasons." Few could disagree. It is difficult for any university, even Notre Dame, to hire the sort of expertise that Gene Fanning brought to our classrooms, and virtually impossible to find others with his dedication and love for this school. He never missed a class, never forgot a student's name, and never failed to respond when a student needed help, advice, or a shoulder to lean on.
Gene Fanning's dedication, vision, and financial support have made excellence in business communication at Notre Dame possible. His legacy lives on today in the young men and women who study the subjects he believed in, honing their skills, and developing the professionalism that Gene Fanning lived each day.