When Sean Ford ‘23 visited Notre Dame as a senior in high school, he never thought he’d be invited to play with the Band of the Fighting Irish that same day.
But after a tour of campus, Ford, a French horn player, caught up with the band at a rehearsal and met a student who introduced him to everyone in the falto section. Ford ended up walking alongside the band over to the practice field, then was invited to attend that evening’s pep rally.
“One of the band directors gave me a falto to play with a mouthpiece and some music and said, ‘Go ahead and play with us at the pep rally,’” says Ford.
Ford couldn’t believe that he was playing with the band as a high schooler. He never forgot the fun experience and how the Notre Dame students had made him feel a part of their community.
Ford decided Notre Dame was the place for him. That fall, he applied for admission and was welcomed to the Class of 2023.
Ford had visited campus several other times as a prospective student and each visit was made special by the Notre Dame community.
During one, he was invited to hang out with a host student in Fisher Hall, which he liked so much that he requested to live there when he arrived on campus.
Ford had visited other campuses too, but the people he met at Notre Dame made a bigger impression on him than those at other schools.
“Notre Dame is not just a beautiful place as far as campus, but it’s also just such a wonderful place for people,” says Ford. “[During visits to Notre Dame], the kind of person that I got to know was someone who was incredibly open to new people and just really kind. And I think that was what drew me to Notre Dame as opposed to other universities.”
As a Notre Dame student, Ford played in the Band of the Fighting Irish for two years. He made friends and lots of fun memories. During his junior year, he left for Ireland, where he studied for a semester.
That experience “is hard to sum up in a nutshell,” says Ford, but the classes, professors, and program trips made his time in Ireland unforgettable.
Ford is now a senior and has dedicated his time to both his studies and pursuits outside of the classroom.
He’s a business analytics major with a minor in energy studies. He took a winding path toward his major and minor. After exploring several others, including musical performance and peace studies, he settled on business analytics because a major in business appealed to his interest in people. A self-described people person, Ford enjoys building relationships, a skill at the heart of business.
After his semester in Ireland, where, he laughs, “everything is physically green,” he says he felt inspired to learn about conservation and energy, leading him to the energy studies minor.
Outside of the classroom, Ford is busy being of service. He’s a member of the Building Bridges Mentoring Program through Multicultural Student Programs and Services. He is also a director for BandLink, an outreach program of the Notre Dame Band that offers music and band instruction to students at local parochial schools.
Earlier in his Notre Dame career, he was also a member of PEMCo (Pasquerilla East Music Company), a student-led musical theatre group on campus. Through this group and his other musical endeavors, Ford got to know the musical community on campus.
Now, in his free time, Ford is helping one of his friends write a big band arrangement from voice and piano parts for a musical.
That kind of project, he says, is indicative of the kinds of people and opportunities available to Notre Dame students. The musical community at Notre Dame is a supportive and collaborative one.
“People are just passionate about what they do and often collaborate on it even if it’s not a requirement,” says Ford.
He says the same is true of his community in the Mendoza College of Business. “There is a surprising amount of collaboration. You would think that within Mendoza, it would get really competitive. But it’s been nothing but good times with friends, helping each other out,” says Ford.
He is looking forward to continuing within this same community even past graduation next May. Ford has plans to work as a consultant at McKinsey and Company in Chicago after graduation. “I know a lot of students will go to Chicago after graduation,” he says. “And we’ll be doing the same kinds of things, helping each other out with projects or whatever life brings.”
Meet More Notre Dame Students
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