Retired Notre Dame dean, lawyer, advocate and priest speaking for USF commencement

April 16, 2014 FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Rev. David T. Link, Joseph A. Matson Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School will speak during commencement exercises for the University of Saint Francis on Saturday, May 3 at 2 p.m. in the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne.

In his 24 years as dean of the Notre Dame Law School, Dr. Link spoke and wrote extensively about professional responsibility for attorneys and taught ethics to all first-year law students.

Encouraging a renewed sense of professionalism among attorneys, he pursued a strong interest in world law and human rights, and actively participated in many university committees. The co-founder of the Center for the Homeless in South Bend, Ind., he contributed greatly to that city's reputation as a model community in its support of individuals experiencing homelessness.

After losing his wife of 45 years, Barbara, he completed seminary studies to become a Catholic priest. Now, the Rev. David T. Link is Assistant Director of Religious Services for the Northern Region of the Indiana Department of Correction. A chaplain at the Indiana State Prison, he ministers to inmates who affectionately call him “Doc.”

His life is the subject of a book, “Camerado, I Give You My Hand: How a Powerful Lawyer-Turned-Priest Is Changing the Lives of Men Behind Bars,” written by Maura Poston Zagrans.

“At a time in his life when most people retire, Dr. Link felt called to serve the Church and to aid the men that his profession normally put behind bars, ministering healing and forgiveness to murderers, thieves, and what many would call the least of society,” said the editors at Image Publishing, a Penguin Random House company. “This is a book about the value of human life, and about the transformative power of friendship and compassion. Meeting Father Dave gives us hope that one person can make a difference and, through successive reinterpretations of his own life’s purpose, he makes the case for adding our own unique gifts to help the least of these, our brothers and sisters from all walks of life.”

Dr. Link has received many honors and appointments relative to his status as dean, professor and lawyer. He was named the first president of the University of Notre Dame in Perth, Australia; the founding dean of the law school at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis-St. Paul; and the deputy vice chancellor and provost of the University of St. Augustine in South Africa. Rev. Link has also received the Professionalism Award from the American Inns of Court, which honors him as the consummate role model through his humanity and integrity.

  The University of Saint Francis, founded in 1890 as a comprehensive university in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, offers more than 60 undergraduate and 14 graduate programs in five schools: The School of Health Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership, School of Professional Studies and School of Creative Arts. More than 2,300 students from a broad geographic region attend USF for its academic excellence. The university has a regional campus in Crown Point, Ind.

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