Kenzie Phillips ’23 grew up in Tokyo, over 6,000 miles away from South Bend. Until the age of 13, she had never even heard of the University of Notre Dame. It was a chance encounter with the Notre Dame women’s basketball team while she was on vacation in London that changed the course of her life.
There in front of Buckingham Palace, Kenzie and her family took pictures with the team and heard stories of Notre Dame that left a powerful impression on her, and compelled Kenzie to learn more about the University.
When she was in high school, Kenzie attended the Notre Dame Summer Scholars program to experience what it might be like to attend college in a place vastly different from where she had grown up. Walking onto campus for the first time, she was immediately struck by the beauty of the Golden Dome, and she knew right away that Notre Dame was where she belonged.
Kenzie’s time at Notre Dame has been filled with both surprise and opportunity. For a student who had grown up traveling the world, things like college football in the Midwest were a culture shock at first. However, she has embraced and grown to love what she refers to as the "collaboratively competitive" nature of Notre Dame.
Like many other Notre Dame students, Kenzie’s path to Notre Dame was made possible by the generosity of benefactors. Support for Notre Dame athletics facilitated Kenzie’s chance encounter with the women’s basketball team; support for pre-college programs allowed Kenzie to see and feel the spirit of Notre Dame in person; and support for the Notre Dame International Security Program has made it financially possible for her to receive a Notre Dame education. Most importantly, support from benefactors has provided students from all over the world with the opportunity to attend Notre Dame, enriching the lives of students on campus and people around the globe.