2013 GEDC Airbus Diversity Award Finalist Passes Away

Catherine Pieronek, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Director of the Women’s Engineering Program at Notre Dame, passed away on Thursday, April 9th at the age of 52.

After obtaining her bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame University, Catherine earned her master’s in aerospace engineering from the University of California-Los Angeles. She made contributions to NASA’s Compton Gamma Ray Observatory and the Chandra satellite before returning to Notre Dame to earn her law degree.

Catherine was one of three finalists for the GEDC Airbus Diversity award in 2013 for her work in creating an inclusive environment at Notre Dame’s Engineering School, leading to an increase in the retention rate of women from 40% to 72%.

Furthermore, she was a colleague and friend of GEDC Chair-Elect Peter Kilpatrick, who serves as the McCloskey Dean of Engineering and is the GEDC Chair-elect. In Notre Dame’s Memoriam, he remembers Catherine Pieronek:

“She had an engineering and a law degree, a fierce loyalty to our sports teams and our students, and a total embrace of the famous ‘Irish prayer’ about the rain falling gently on your fields. She was also incredibly and lovably human: committed, personable, loyal, dedicated, and always thinking carefully and deeply about the good of the other. We miss her terribly and pray for the Lord’s gentle and loving embrace of her husband Chuck and her family.”

To read Catherine Pieronek’s obituary or to leave a memory, please visit her Tribute Page.