Blake Perry graduated this May from Notre Dame with a major in finance and a minor in Constitutional Studies. Perry decided that he wanted to attend Notre Dame after speaking with a student from his high school who had started at Notre Dame during Perry’s junior year of high school.
“Notre Dame offered everything I was looking for in terms of schools: the mission, the Catholic identity, the residence halls – especially coming from a high school where community life was really big,” Perry said. “As soon as I stepped foot on campus at Notre Dame, I knew it was where I wanted to go,” he said.
Perry always had an interest in law, but he wanted to learn the fundamental skills of business during his time at Notre Dame. “Finance offered a good balance of all of the areas of business – a lot of technical coursework, topics like accounting, finance, investment — while also getting to take classes like Corporate Governance and Catholic social teaching with Dean Cremers, which is a class that is only offered to finance majors,” Perry said.
Perry says that he felt “lucky in finding the constitutional studies minor” after taking a University Seminar with Professor Daniel Philpott in the spring of his freshman year. He wanted to continue taking classes and exploring similar themes, so he added on the Constitutional Studies minor and applied for the Tocqueville Fellowship.
Perry took Constitutional Studies classes on a variety of topics, including bioethics, Civil War history, American politics, and Catholicism and Politics.
Of all of the Constitutional Studies classes Perry enrolled in, his classes with Professor Luke Foster have been his favorites. The first class, which was the gateway course for the minor, focused on American constitutionalism.
"The class was a really eye-opening and thought-provoking experience for me because it explored the text of the Constitution in light of all of its influences: philosophical, political, and historical,” Perry said. He feels that the class gave him “a much deeper understanding and appreciation of what the founders were doing and the type of government they established,” he said, while also making him “really think about how we’ve diverged from the government they established.”
Professor Foster’s spring class, "Liberal Education and Citizenship," is a class that Perry thinks “all students, especially Notre Dame students, should take because it really forces you to think about the goal of education,” he said.
The class began with the foundations of education in Plato and Aristotle and moved through thinkers in history to the present day. The course also had a specific focus on Notre Dame with readings from Father Hesburgh and Benedict XVI.
“The class was really a synthesis and culmination for me of a lot of what I’ve thought about over that last few years at Notre Dame, especially as a business major and being, at times, disappointed in the business curriculum, he said. The course engaged with many of the themes that Perry himself had pondered “when discerning my own education and selecting classes, seeking to form myself and cultivate both my mind and heart while at Notre Dame,” he said.
As a Tocqueville Fellow, Perry was able to participate in many remarkable events, including Justice Clarence Thomas’ visit to Notre Dame, which Perry says was “by far the most incredible opportunity I’ve had in my time at Notre Dame.”
“Getting to hear about his experience in the legal field, which is what I’m planning on pursuing, but also about his personal life, his commitment to his Catholic faith, and how he integrates his professional and personal lives … was really inspiring to me and definitely offered an excellent model as I think about my own career in the law,” Perry said.
Perry also fondly remembers the lecture given by Vivek Ramaswamy, who recently announced his campaign for President, in the fall of 2021. “I think his experience and his writings on the modern economy in America are really important and thought-provoking,” he said.
In the summer before his sophomore year Perry interned with the Notre Dame Institute for Global Investing working for a real estate firm in Chicago. This summer, Perry is headed to Rome for the final week of programming with the Röpke-Wojtyła Fellowship with the Catholic University of America.
Next fall, Perry will attend Notre Dame Law School as a Murphy Fellow with the Program on Church, State, and Society. Hs time is appreciative of the CCCG and his time with the center over the past few years.
“The CCCG has really opened the door to this opportunity and my law school pursuits," he said. "Through the faculty I’ve met, the classes I’ve taken, and the speakers I’ve had the chance to interact with, they’ve all inspired me and helped me realize and pursue this next phase of my life.”
“The CCCG forms excellent citizens of America … by exposing students to these incredible speakers, many of whom are public servants, congresspeople, justices, judges, all of whom integrate their personal lives and their work in a way that models true citizenship,” Perry said.
Article contributed by CCCG Writing Fellow Merlot Fogarty.
Originally published by constudies.nd.edu on July 24, 2023.at