This week’s Who’s Who is our very own Kelly “Kelly” Mason, author and instigator of this venerable column itself.  Kelly is a senior who will graduate in May with a joint degree in philosophy and theology.  She was generous enough to sit down with me for a few minutes to discuss all that she has learned in her 4 years at Notre Dame.

As we begin the interview, Kelly sits with legs stretched out on the chair in front of her, playing with her coffee cup and phone.  I ask her what she has learned from writing this column, to which she replies, “I learned not to talk to strangers.”  She throws back her head and laughs, then looks over at my notepad.  “I never knew you were supposed to prepare questions,” she says.  “I would just go in there and be like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’”

Kelly is quick to respond with humor and wit, but also takes the time to reflect, and tells me to always leave my interviewees with a hug.  Writing the Who’s Who column, she says, helped to reinforce her belief in the dignity of all people, regardless their station in life.

She is full of wise sayings and pearls of wisdom, many paraphrased or blatantly stolen from other great thinkers. “Forget that there is a grading system.  Only go to class if you think you’re going learn something.  Don’t take notes; you write down things to forget them.  If you’re running late to an important event, and you see an old lady crossing the street, help walk her across the street, and don’t worry about being late.  Go running or exercise when your heart tells you to.  If you only have 10 minutes to pray, pray for 20 and then go get your (work) done.  Love God and do as you please.  Virtue is responding to what’s most immediate.”

I met Kelly this summer when I started working at the Center for Ethics and Culture, and I knew that this was someone special when she made fun of me within 5 minutes of meeting her. As I’ve gotten to know her better, that playful attitude has not changed.  “I think I just broke my ankle,” she says now, adjusting in her seat.  However, as a colleague remarks, Kelly would not be able to file for workers compensation because she has never actually done any work.  That said, she always surprises me with her insights, and I’ve enjoyed the many conversations we’ve had, mainly during her smoking breaks.  Recently, she decided to share her wisdom with the rest of the world and started a blog. Follow Kelly at her blog entitled “Summa Contra Nietzsche.”

When I ask about her future plans, she responds immediately that she will “get married to get rid of financial debt.”  After laughing heartily at her own joke, she proceeds to lay out her plan to “marry a poor high school teacher, one day buy a small piece of land, and start a vineyard.  By the time our second child is in the oven, our second book will be in the oven, because even if he writes it, he will put my name on it, so that I can be a professor at a university someday.  One of our books will make the New York Times bestseller list, and then we will be awarded an honorary degree. The book will be on popular philosophy; we’re bringing it back. We will build a small chapel and pray the liturgy of the hours as a family every day.”

Those who do not have the privilege of knowing Kelly may doubt the likelihood of this future.  Her response? “I know all of this sounds impossible, but you forget, ‘All I do is win.’”

Liz is a freshman in McGlinn and wishes to thank Kelly for all the great shenanigans this year.  She can be contacted at