Grad appreciates ‘whole person’ education

Current U-M student heading to Georgetown law says Notre Dame set him up for college success.

Mike Fakhoury ’12 (NDP) is in his final year at the University of Michigan. After graduation in May, he’s heading to Washington, D.C., to attend Georgetown University’s prestigious law school, after which he plans a long career as an attorney.

“Because Georgetown is located in Washington, D.C., within blocks of the U.S. Congress that enacts laws, the Supreme Court that interprets them, and the administrative agencies that enforce them, I think learning from this vantage point will allow me to more fully explore the dynamic legal processes of the nation and world,” he said in a recent interview.

But first things first. What is getting him through a successful and fulfilling undergrad stint at U-M thus far, he said, is his experience at Notre Dame.

Time management and the whole person

He said Notre Dame has taught him to manage his time most effectively, something exceedingly important for a student with so much on his schedule in Ann Arbor. 

“Leading multiple extracurricular organizations at Notre Dame, actively serving in the community and balancing a rigorous class load taught me the importance of balancing multiple tasks at any given time, which has been very helpful to me at U-M,” he said. “In college, I was chairman of the Central Student Government Campus Safety Commission for three years, served as an advisor to the U-M Dean of Students, and was president of the University of Michigan Pre-Law Society.”

College life, Fakhoury said, is filled with a lot of classwork, many sporting events, social events, and extracurricular activities that require one to effectively manage time in order to be successful. And he gives his time at NDP much of the credit for preparing him for all of it.

Among the many other things he’s been involved with since matriculating at Michigan is a panoply of community-service activities that no doubt also benefited from the mastery of time he got in high school. But beyond those hard skills, and perhaps more important to Fakhoury, are the softer things one learns by attending a school that was founded on the Jesuit principle of educating the “whole person.”

“It was clear to me while I was there that Notre Dame is committed to the fact that education must take into account the whole person and thus provide opportunities for learning both inside and outside the classroom,” he said. “For example, activities that included volunteering within the Pontiac community through the Optimist Club or recycling in the Environmental Club all helped me to grow as student and person. At the University of Michigan, I followed this principle by working and volunteering in the public domain. When I was an intern for the Washtenaw County Public Defender’s Office, I worked with individuals who could not afford legal representation. I not only learned more about the legal system in general, I learned more about people and how one person can make a difference in the lives of so many others.”

An inspiration

As far as how and why he is interested in a career in law, Fakhoury again points to Notre Dame as an inspiration.

“When I was in high school, I always enjoyed learning about government and history,” he said. “I even more became certain of my career path after interning at law firms, shadowing lawyers and judges, taking a law school course at the University of Michigan Law School, and working as a research assistant at the University of Michigan Law School.”

As a junior at U-M, Fakhoury was one of only three undergraduate students selected to enroll in a law school course. Additionally, he spent one summer conducting civil rights research at the U-M Law School. “I was tasked with sorting through court dockets and summarizing documents for attorneys looking for precedent on their own cases,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to learn more about civil rights and legal procedures.” 

In addition to his internship with Washtenaw’s public defender’s office, Fakhoury served in a number of other internships and extracurricular positions while at Michigan. 

During his sophomore year, Fakhoury was chosen to be a researcher at the Ross School of Business at Michigan, which involved reviewing many business law-related case files such as those related to the trial of Bernie Madoff. He said this involved summarizing thousands of legal documents into a concise presentation. Additionally, his presentations were used as course material for other U-M Ross undergraduate students, international law students (in Spain) and at the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Conference. 

Though not a law-related internship, Fakhoury’s experience interning with Morgan Stanley helped supplement his strong research background. 

“One of my main tasks at Morgan Stanley was to perform market research, which involved an in-depth analysis of companies, industries, markets and world economies,” he said. “Additionally, I learned the importance of working with others and understanding the needs of clients, which are two key fundamental aspects of being an attorney.” 

One of the things Fakhoury’s most proud of at U-M, he said, is the time spent working with the university’s Division of Public Safety and Security. 

“Improving student safety has always been at the center of my extracurricular involvement,” he said. “For example, I led a group of students who created an off-campus, late-night bus route that ran through highly populated student-residence areas to help address the high crime rate during the late hours. This effectively decreased crime because students were provided with a safe way to return home if they were intoxicated or if they didn’t want to walk home alone late at night.”

Notre Dame faves

Fakhoury said that while at Notre Dame, all of his teachers were phenomenal. He said to a person, they were engaging, interactive and initiated thought-provoking lectures/discussions that are helping him succeed at Michigan. Which is why it’s hard for him to name some who might be favorites. But he did for us after a little prodding.

“Mr. [David] Osiecki was one of the best instructors I’ve ever encountered,” he said. “He explained material in a clear and concise manner while keeping his students attentive. Mrs. [Mary Jane] Williams was one of the most caring teachers at NDP and made a strong effort to get to know each of her students individually. She always made an effort to keep our small French class engaged and was always happy to help students outside of the classroom. And I have to call out Ms. [Kathy] Bembas who I was fortunate to have multiple classes with. As a freshman in her Honors Composition class, I became more confident speaking publicly and developed a more eloquent way of addressing my peers. As a senior, she helped me improve my writing skills, which allowed me to excel in my college writing courses.”

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy

Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." The Marist Fathers and Brothers sponsor NDPMA's Catholic identity and manages its educational program. Notre Dame is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at