Licensing Committee

The Licensing Committee consists of 10 members appointed by the President or a designated Vice President from the following campus divisions: the Office of the President, the Office of the Executive Vice President, Auxiliary Operations, Student Affairs, Public Affairs and Communications, University Relations, Athletics, General Counsel, Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, and the Licensing Department.

Meeting Times

Helmet 11x14

The Licensing Committee meets a minimum of twice per semester, or on an as-needed basis, as directed by the Chairperson of the Licensing Committee.

Licensing Committee Charge

The University’s Licensing Committee focuses on these main issues in regards to the University’s Licensing Program:

  • Review and subsequently approve or reject requests from organizations which desire to become a University licensee;
  • Provide consultation and advice to the Licensing Department regarding the potential licensee’s ability to enhance the University’s mission, values, goals and/or the charge of the Licensing Department;
  • Advise the Licensing Department regarding the development and implementation of internal licensing policies and procedures that will ensure the University protects its reputation as a premier Catholic University

Committee Composition

  • Committee Chairperson: Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Operations
  • Designee of the Office of the President who is a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross and employed at the University
  • Designee of the Executive Vice President
  • Designee of the Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Designee of the Vice President for Public Affairs and Communication
  • Designee of the Director for Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Designee of the Vice President and General Counsel
  • Designee of the Vice President for University Relations
  • Director of Retail Operations, Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore
  • Director of Licensing
  • Licensing Staff, ex officio

Committee Members

Bernard Akatu

Senior Advisor to the Executive Vice President

Bernard Akatu

Bernard Akatu serves as the Senior Advisor to the Executive Vice President. He is responsible for providing support to the Executive Vice President in the development, implementation, and review of a variety of strategic initiatives and projects, guiding major communications in collaboration with officers, campus partners and other constituencies, and managing the day-to-day operations of the Office of the Executive Vice President, among other responsibilities.

Prior to his current role, Akatu worked in the Office of Human Resources at Notre Dame, serving as a Human Resources Consultant. He provided comprehensive guidance and support to departments and employees in all three University divisions concerning strategic initiatives, and addressed personnel issues to help achieve organizational goals and objectives.

Bernard holds a B.B.A. in Management Information Systems from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, and a J.D. from the Catholic University, Columbus School of Law. Prior to returning to Notre Dame, he worked as an attorney licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland for several years, most notably advising judges in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Baltimore County Circuit Court; counseling clients in private practice at Miles & Stockbridge, P.C. and serving as a Fellow in the State's Attorney's Office for Montgomery County, Maryland.

Concurrent with his duties as senior advisor, Akatu also serves as an instructor in the First Year of Studies, where he has been a part of the inaugural Moreau First Year Experience since 2015. His work in the Moreau FYE focuses on helping new students make a meaningful transition to collegiate life at Notre Dame by integrating their academic, co-curricular and residential experiences.

M. Brian Coughlin

Associate Vice President for Student Development


M. Brian Coughlin has served as Associate Vice President since 2010.  As Associate Vice President for Student Development, Mr. Coughlin oversees the Office of Community Standards, the Gender Relations Center, Multicultural Student Programs & Services, the Student Activities Office, Legends of Notre Dame, the Office of Recreational Sports, Student Media and the Notre Dame Band.

Previously, Mr. Coughlin served in the role of Assistant Vice President from 2007 to 2010 and Director of Student Activities from 2001 to 2007, leading the Student Activities Office through a period of substantial growth. Before becoming the Director of Student Activities, Mr. Coughlin served as the rector of Carroll Hall for three years. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Government and Theology from Notre Dame in 1995 and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from West Virginia University in 1997. While pursuing his graduate degree, he held two different graduate assistant positions and worked as the coordinator of residence life and student leadership development at Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia. He also spent a year at Boston College, where he served as director for four residential halls and a host of programs and events.

Elizabeth “Dolly” Duffy

Executive Director for Notre Dame Alumni Association


Dolly Duffy was appointed to the role of the assistant vice president for University Relations and associate executive director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association in February 2008 and oversees the day-to-day operations of the Alumni Association, including communications, marketing, finance, technology, alumni affinity groups, and professional, academic, spiritual and service programs.

Also active within Notre Dame’s alumni community, Dolly has served on the board of directors of Notre Dame clubs in Washington, D.C., St. Louis and Kansas City.

Brian Pracht

Assistant Athletics Director, Marketing

Pracht Brian 007

Brian Pracht joined the University of Notre Dame Athletics Department in December 2013 as the Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing.

Pracht oversees the development of strategic marketing initiatives to improve the overall visibility of Notre Dame Athletics and is responsible for developing marketing plans with emphasis on generating new resources, increasing fan attendance and enhancing the Notre Dame brand. Pracht will also focus on the game day experience that includes customer satisfaction, and is responsible for the engagement of the student body to enhance school spirit.

Previously, Pracht served on the University of Arkansas Athletic Department staff since July 2010 as the associate athletic director for marketing and licensing. His responsibilities at Arkansas included overseeing marketing, promotions, ticket operations, RazorVision Productions, website development, social media and spirit squads while also serving as the staff liaison to the University's multi-media rights holder and outbound ticket sales team. He was a member of the athletic department's executive staff and also directed the University's trademark licensing program.

Deborah Gabaree

Assistant Vice President and Counsel for the Office of General Counsel

Deborah Gabaree assumed the position of Assistant Vice President and Counsel in July 2008. In that capacity, Debbie provides legal support and advice to University departments, employees and prospective employees on a variety of legal matters including intellectual property, immigration, litigation, corporate governance, charity gaming, and bankruptcy.

Debbie has been with Notre Dame’s Office of the General Counsel since 1990. She previously held the positions of Legal Assistant and Manager of Employee Immigration and Senior Legal Assistant.

David A. Harr

Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Operations


David Harr assumed the position of associate vice president for auxiliary and facility operations at the University of Notre Dame in 2008. Prior to that, he served as Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services for seven years and the University Director of The Morris Inn for 13 years. Dave’s responsibilities include oversight of a diverse group of campus-based auxiliary enterprises, each supporting student and academic life while strengthening the business endeavors of the University.

Dave oversees the operations of Cedar Grove Cemetery, a 22-acre on-campus private cemetery; Food Services, a diverse mix of on-campus residential dining, retail restaurants, concessions, vending, and catering operations; Licensing, overseer of the commercial use of the University’s trademarks; McKenna Hall, a 70,000 square-foot conference center; The Morris Inn, a 92-room full service hotel; Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore and campus retail operations, provider of course related materials, apparel and gifts; and St. Michael’s Laundry, a 30,000 square-foot laundry, dry cleaning, and linen leasing facility. In addition, he is responsible for Landscape Services and Building Services, as well as the University Locksmith and Sign Shop.

Dave serves as Chairman of the University’s Licensing Committee, the Bookstore Advisory Committee, and the Cemetery Advisory Committee.


David Werda

Director, Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore & Retail Operations


David Werda was named director of Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore and Retail Operations on April 7, 2014. He is responsible for operations at Hammes Bookstore (campus); Hammes Bookstore & Café (Eddy Street); Leep Varsity Shop; Dellelce Hockey Shop; Notre Dame Stadium; the Catalog Center and ND Chicago Bookstore. Notre Dame’s bookstore and retail operations are managed by Follett Higher Education Group.

During his nine years of service with Follett he has held positions in field operations and in human resources. Werda most recently served as the co-store director of the Boston College Bookstores. He managed three satellite bookstores and a warehouse in addition to overseeing multiple e-commerce websites and an annual print catalog. Prior to that as the training manager for the northeast, he was responsible for assessing, prioritizing and delivering field management training.

Before joining Follett, Werda worked with at risk juvenile boys as a residential counselor, where he provided behavior management, crisis intervention and mentoring services; an outdoor education instructor where he developed and maintained outdoor education curriculums; and a 6-12 history teacher where he provided special education instruction. He also served as project coordinator of the Performance-based Standards (PbS) project for the Council of Juvenile Correction Administrators (CJCA), a federally funded program aimed at improving conditions, services and the overall operations of juvenile correction and detention facilities nationwide.