Alumni Spotlight: Michael Swanson '93

Author: Michael Swanson

My experience as an undergraduate at Notre Dame remains formative in my career as a studio production executive. I left the Golden Dome to come to the Golden State, where I founded Faith Filmworks and now work for NBCUniversal. I am so excited that Notre Dame has decided to establish such a presence here to share its powerful education and mission.

Michael SwansonMichael Swanson

The University of Notre Dame was the building ground for the person I have become today. Notre Dame provided me with a distinctive environment where strong academics, community, service, and faith were embraced and celebrated. Thank God for my two high school teachers who were Notre Dame alumni. They encouraged me to take a serious look at their beloved alma mater during my senior year. I took their wise advice, applied to Notre Dame, and, after many months of praying and waiting, I received the acceptance letter that would change the trajectory of my life forever.

When I arrived on campus from my South Side of Chicago neighborhood, I was awestruck by its beauty. The students exhibited a strong sense of community, and I knew right away Notre Dame was a good fit. The courses I took as a Film and Television major laid the groundwork for me to build a career as a film producer and TV studio executive in the entertainment industry. The professors who taught me remain an integral part of my industry network today.

At Notre Dame, I was afforded countless opportunities to cultivate my character, work ethic, and leadership skills while building on my foundation of faith. Those four years influenced my career choices and my ability to navigate Hollywood with confidence, agility, and integrity. As a studio production executive, I oversee my TV show productions with a clear understanding of the importance of collaboration, validation of others, and a strong work ethic toward a common goal.

A career in entertainment meant living and working in California, specifically Los Angeles. Southern California is where most of the shows and projects that I work on are produced. I was thrilled to hear that Notre Dame was heading west and establishing the Notre Dame California Initiative. From Silicon Valley to Hollywood, the initiative will influence some of the most influential companies and industries in the world. Notre Dame’s presence in California will also boost student internships, career opportunities, and alumni outreach in my industry.

California will become a bit more “golden” with Notre Dame’s presence. Many alumni, including myself, decided to go west from the Golden Dome to the Golden State in search of opportunities over the years. We have found them, and we helped prepare the way for this important initiative to launch without even realizing it. Now the Notre Dame California Initiative is here, and I am committed to supporting this bold and visionary step for the University of Notre Dame. Onward to victory…in California.