A determined Domer leaves a lasting impact - Nancy Naughton '80

Erin And Nancy Naughton At Nd

After many doctor visits, Nancy Lewis ’80 was diagnosed with a rare neurodegenerative disease (PLS). Devastated by the diagnosis, Nancy was forced to view her life’s goals and dreams differently. She came to realize that despite the diagnosis, some things would never change: her smiling disposition, her love for her husband, Lincoln, and her passion for Notre Dame.

Nancy’s love for Notre Dame was truly lifelong. As a child, she would cheer on the Irish from her dad’s den, decorated in Notre Dame memorabilia. She knew from an early age that she wanted to go to school at Notre Dame herself, and although she worked hard to make that happen, she unfortunately was not accepted when she first applied. Undeterred, Nancy applied again, and this time, she was successful. Her experience at Notre Dame was everything she had hoped it would be: it solidified her Catholic faith and instilled in her a worldview that she would hold for the rest of her life.

After college, Nancy got her MBA from Northwestern University and went on to tremendous success in her career, ultimately running the largest social services agency in Louisville, KY.

As her disease progressed, Nancy would no longer be able to work, but she believed she could still make a difference somehow. She and Lincoln decided to take a trip to Notre Dame to explore how they could turn this diagnosis into something meaningful. On this trip, they toured the halls of the College of Science, where they saw students and faculty researching treatments and cures for diseases like the one Nancy was battling. Inspired by these efforts, Nancy and Lincoln knew they had found the opportunity they were looking for, and they established planned gifts to the fight against diseases such as Nancy’s. Nancy unfortunately passed away in 2020, but thanks to her generosity, Notre Dame was able to establish a scholarship for students in the College of Science studying rare neurodegenerative diseases. At the time of Lincoln’s passing, a professorship in the College of Science will also be established.

Nancy and Lincoln were determined to make a difference, and through their planned gifts, they have enabled Notre Dame to be a true force for good in the world.