Rover alumna returns to campus

Alexandra DeSanctis—National Review staff writer, Notre Dame graduate, and Irish Rover alumna—will be coming to campus this coming Friday, September 13th to record her podcast “Ordered Liberty,” which she co-hosts with National Review senior writer David French. The live recording will take place in room 1030 of Jenkins & Nanovic Halls at 9:30 a.m.

French started the podcast in 2017 and brought DeSanctis on to co-host later that year. DeSanctis told the Rover that “a lot of people who are interested in politics realize that culture is more important than what goes on in Washington.” She and French try to emphasize the importance of wide-ranging issues, including the breakdown of the family and increasing secularity. Their 150th episode, “How Should Conservatives Respond to Liberal Bias?,” was recorded live at Georgetown University and released last Friday. They have also recorded live podcasts at the University of Michigan and in Washington, D.C. for interns and staffers working on Capitol Hill.

DeSanctis, originally from the Washington, D.C. area, graduated from Notre Dame in 2016 with a degree in political science and minors in constitutional studies and theology. She cited professors Patrick Deneen, Phillip Muñoz, David O’Connor, John Cavadini, and John Betz as having been some of the most influential professors during her time at Notre Dame. She was also an undergraduate fellow in the Tocqueville Program and sat for two years on the planning committee of the Edith Stein Project. 

During her senior year, she received the William F. Buckley Jr. Fellowship in Political Journalism at the National Review, where she worked after graduation. In 2018, she was hired as a full-time staff writer. She said that she decided to pursue a career at National Review because it is “the premier publication for American conservatives, so when I knew I wanted to become a conservative opinion writer, there was no better place to look.”

DeSanctis cited the Rover as being a great source of experience for her post-graduate career in journalism. She stated that it was the place where she met some of her closest college friends. She began writing for the Rover in early 2013 and quickly rose through the ranks, taking on the roles of Associate Editor of Politics & Economics in late 2013 and Managing Editor in spring 2014. By spring 2015, she was the Executive Editor at the Rover

DeSanctis lived through a tumultuous era at the University and she contributed greatly to the Rover with her coverage of the events of that time. She reported on Pope Francis’ 2014 challenge to Notre Dame to maintain its Catholic identity, which came only several months after the University reopened its case against the Obama administration’s HHS Mandate that required the University to cover contraceptives in its health plans. 

DeSanctis spent much of her time writing about Notre Dame’s Catholic identity and was not afraid to criticize her school when she felt it was necessary. One prime example was when the Laetare Medal, which the University calls “the most prestigious award given to American Catholics,” was awarded to former Vice President Joe Biden at her 2016 class’ graduation. 

According to DeSanctis, the Rover article she most enjoyed writing was a reflection on her time at Notre Dame entitled “Never Abandon Our Lady.” She lamented many of the problems she saw with her school as a Catholic university, but ultimately realized that “something incredible is taking place at Notre Dame.” 

To current students who want to keep their university’s Catholic identity strong, she recommends that students “practice their own Catholic faith with sincerity and consistency and encourage others to do the same… There are countless resources available to students at Notre Dame for growing as Catholics, and it would be a huge mistake not to take advantage of them.” 

In addition to reporting on Notre Dame as a Catholic institution, she also focused on life issues, writing extensively on abortion. In her time at National Review, DeSanctis has maintained this focus, commenting, “for as long as I can remember, the pro-life movement and abortion policy have been issues I care about more than almost anything.” 

In a recent article, she argues that “the only real solution to an issue as contentious and immune to compromise as abortion would be a federal one. And, in my view, it ought to be a constitutional amendment declaring that no human being, from the moment of conception, can be deprived of life or equal protection without due process of the law.”

Evidently, DeSanctis doesn’t hesitate to use her platform to bear witness to her faith and its teachings in the public square. Her journey as a strong Catholic in public life, which began at the Rover and now brings her back to campus, is surely just beginning. 

Max Minicus is a sophomore majoring in philosophy and honors mathematics. He lives right next to South Dining Hall, in Fisher, but has been convinced that the food is better at North. You can reach him at