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In recent weeks, two of the three U.S. Ambassadors present in Rome arrived to take up their new posts. (David Lane, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Agencies in Rome, has been on post for about 18 months).
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Ken Hackett and his wife Joan arrived on 19 September to take up residence at Villa Richardson. Ambassador Hackett may be a Boston College grad originally, but in 2007 he was awarded a Doctorate of Human Letters, honoris causa, by the University of Notre Dame, for his extensive work on behalf of the world’s neediest, in his 40 years at Catholic Relief Services (the U.S. affiliate of Caritas Internationalis). In 2012, he was awarded the U.S. Catholic Church’s highest honor, the Laetare Medal.
He succeeds Ambassador Miguel Díaz, who earned a Ph.D. in Theology from Notre Dame in 2000 (the same commencement ceremony as your humble scribe, but for the BA). His wife, Dr. Marian Díaz, was ND class of 1991.
U.S. Ambassador to the Italian Republic and the Republic of San Marino, John R. Phillips, earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame in 1966, before going on to Law School. He and his wife Linda arrived just a week earlier, to take residence at Villa Taverna. Third-generation Italian-American, Ambassador Phillips has made fifty visits to Italy in the last decade alone! It is probably a good thing he gets a chance to settle in for a while.
Needless to say, the Notre Dame Club of Italy is thrilled to welcome both to its membership!