Fr. William Sangiovanni

Celebrating the Life of Fr. Bill Sangiovanni
Posted on 02/07/2019
Notre Dame remembers Fr. Bill: our Padre, our teacher, our friend.

There is no doubt that Fr. Bill’s devotion to our Lord, love for life, and his passion for civic responsibility was gently instilled in him from childhood. Each evening, his grandfather would read the newspaper out loud and discuss politics and how decisions made within government impact a typical family. At night, he would put his head down and feel a rosary that had been placed under his pillow by his grandmother. His mother taught him to enjoy food, dance, music and good conversation with family and friends. These habits all shaped Father into the man that we all were drawn to and loved.

Fr. Bill joined the Notre Dame family in 1980 having entered the priesthood just three years prior. His life already led him firmly down the path of service having worked as a teacher, civil servant and prison chaplain. He was a staunch advocate for youth and citizen engagement. He believed that every adult had a responsibility to be an active participant in their local and global communities.

His early years at Notre Dame were spent teaching religion and he immensely enjoyed the experience. He had a captive young audience to challenge and he instilled a love of God and a sense of community and service in his students. His classroom also provided a welcoming space for discussion about differing faiths and cultural backgrounds. It was obvious that Fr. Bill took great pride in the diversity that was represented at Notre Dame. His role then morphed into that of chaplain, assistant principal and then principal. Eventually he took on the position of president. Regardless of his title, his focus was always on the students. He greeted students by name in the hallways, cheered for them in the stands at each game and celebrated their accomplishments both big and small. Summarizing some of the statements that we have received from alumni, it is easy to see the impact he had on generations of students. “Father Bill showed me how to be a loyal and true friend.” “He genuinely cared for each student.” “He was a mentor and role model for all of us.”

Fr. Bill was a passionate supporter of Catholic education. He understood its place in forming young people who cared not only about their own advancement but their obligation to serve others. Community was everything to him. Fr. Bill challenged all of us – faculty, staff, students and parents – to be active participants in the Notre Dame family. Now, it is our responsibility and privilege to carry on his life’s work as we honor his legacy. As shared recently by a current faculty member, “Fr. Bill wasn’t larger than life but rather as large as life: showing us all how to fill each precious moment with joy by celebrating every second and sharing that joy with others. He would say that is giving Glory to God.”

A Lancer forever, Fr. Bill requested that the school create a scholarship in his name after he passed. It was his way of ensuring his continual influence and connection with future generations of Notre Dame students. His vision was that any qualified student would be able to attend our school regardless of their means. We invite all those who want to honor his wishes and continue his legacy by making a gift.

To donate to the Fr. William Sangiovanni Memorial Scholarship, click here.

Once a Lancer, always a Lancer.