Packy Kearney '16

Meet Packy Kearney! A Stedsman, Chicago native, Blackhawks fanatic, fiction writer, and so much more. You’ll recognize him by his permanently-affixed Apple earbuds, lawyerly briefcase, and professional and stylish clothing ensembles. The ideal homework/procrastination buddy, he is reliably upbeat and patient - particularly with the person who requested an interview on the eve of a major class presentation...

Quick Facts

Name: Patrick “Packy” Kearney

Hometown: Deerfield, IL

Dorm: St. Edward’s Hall

Year: Gentleman. What? Junior

Major: Political Science with a minor in Constitutional Studies

Relationship Status: I’m never really clear on this one anymore.

Channeling Clark Kent

Really quickly - what's the deal with the nickname "Packy?"

To be honest, your guess is as good as mine. My parents have called me that since day one, and they claim it's an "Irish Nickname for Patrick." Frankly, I think they are lying. 

I’ve caught you reading Aristotle’s Politics more than once in your free time. (As in the time 90% of campus spends watching Netflix.) What draws you to political science?


Jokes aside, my dad is very politically active and got me into it at a young age. (The first book he gave me was Atlas Shrugged. I was eight.) It also has to do a lot with my personality. I am inquisitive and love discussion regarding things that are theoretical and aren’t easily tackled.

You were ROTC for the first year and a half of your college career. What did you enjoy about that experience?

Cadets in the US Military are some of the brightest, most respectful, and honorable people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. The Military carries with it an ethos of genuine character development, one that you would be hard-pressed to find replicated elsewhere in the world. By-and-large, I found that the cadets here at Notre Dame live up to that expectation, and I like to think that I was at least in part shaped by it as well.

Main perks of being "free"?

I actually think it’s a general misconception that you aren’t “free” as a cadet or while in the military. Sure, you have more restrictions placed on you, but they are restrictions you take on willingly. You still have freedom of belief and the ability to think critically for yourself. In that way, I consider myself no more free now than then. Of course, I have more time on my hands, and in college, that can make all the difference.

Why did you decide to drop ROTC?

It was a family consideration. It is strange how military service can make you think of things down the road that most college students never consider, but that’s the nature of it. I have family currently serving in the Army, so I have seen first-hand the effects that military service can have on your wife and kids. I questioned whether I had the capacity to be a present and loving father and at once be 100% dedicated to protecting and serving my country. Obviously I did not believe that was possible, and I chose to dedicate myself to the former.

Do you have a “grand plan” for after college or an ideal career trajectory in mind?

A general plan, yes. I would like to attend law school, and achieve a judicial clerkship with a Court of Appeals judge. After that, I plan to work at the U.S. Attorney’s Office or in some other capacity in the Executive Branch. Someday, I hope to be appointed to the Federal bench. My lifelong goal is to one day be ruling on constitutional issues.

Your eerie resemblance to Twilight’s Edward Cullen has not gone unnoticed. For real - do you sleep at night?

Oh, I sleep, it’s just generally during the daylight hours. I get tired of so many people asking why my skin sparkles in the sun.

You’ll be studying abroad in Toledo next semester! Why Spain?

Well, I’ve actually been to Spain before, along with Greece, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. Spain stood out as the one place I could see myself living in for an extended period of time. I absolutely fell in love with the country, the people, and the culture on my first trip, and I could not be more excited to go back.

Future Supreme Court Justice

Now to the important questions...

What’s the first thing you notice about a girl?

Her eyes. When a girl has beautiful eyes, it’s hard not to notice.

Any major deal breakers?

Lying. Any relationship, friendly or romantic, is based on openness and honesty. I am a firm believer that there is no mistake a strong couple can’t overcome, so long as they are honest with each other and have the desire to make things better. After that, everything else follows naturally.

Thoughts on the college hookup culture?

I wouldn’t call myself a fan. When people use each other for physical pleasure and nothing else, they run the risk of hurting one another. Guy or girl, macho or not, feelings can always be hurt. I think it’s a thing of basic human decency to avoid hurting people for the sake of a one-nighter, but that’s just me. 

What are some of the biggest misconceptions that girls have about guys?

Believe it or not, we have feelings. We get hurt, we cry (more than we’d like you to believe), and we are just as prone to heartbreak as girls. Bottom line: guy or girl, people should treat each other with respect, because human beings are far more fragile than we’ve been led to believe. Handle with care. 



Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad


North by Northwest


Depends on my mood. It could be anything from Frank Sinatra to Led Zeppelin. A few other favorites are Dire Straits, The Band, fun., The Bleachers, and Modest Mouse.  

Time of day?

3AM - all the best, caffeine-induced ideas happen around this time. Or hysteria. Whichever comes first.

Ice Cream?

Mint chocolate chip. Any other answer is objectively incorrect.

Class at Notre Dame?

American Congress - they are offering it next spring. If you ever wanted to be Frank Underwood for a semester, this is your chance.

Finally, what would you tell your eighteen-year-old self if you were to appear in his room upon the eve of freshman move-in?

Don’t sweat it when it comes to girls. Remember what it was like having a successful relationship in high school. It didn’t come because you were hunting for it, and it doesn’t work that way here either. Work on being the best ‘you’ you can be, because that is what is going to attract people to you, friends or otherwise.

Bipartisanship at its finest

Thanks for the interview, Packy!


Follow HCND on Pinterest, TwitterInstagram, and Facebook

Images courtesy of interviewee