Notre Dame Trustees elect Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., to third term

Author: Dennis Brown

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
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The University of Notre Dame Board of Trustees elected Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., on Friday (Jan. 30) to a third five-year term as president of the University, effective at the conclusion of his second term June 30, Chairman Richard C. Notebaert announced on behalf of the Board at its winter meeting in Naples, Florida.

“Father Jenkins continues in the great tradition of Holy Cross priests who for almost 175 years have led Notre Dame to its place as the nation’s leading Catholic university,” Notebaert said. “He is a thoughtful and courageous leader who has guided Notre Dame to new heights over this past decade, and who, we are sure, will continue to lead the University with wisdom and vision in the years to come.”

“It is both a tremendous honor and weighty responsibility to lead the University of Notre Dame,” Father Jenkins said. “I thank the Trustees for their support and Father Tom O’Hara, C.S.C., my Holy Cross provincial, for entrusting this role to me, and I pledge to continue to work with talented colleagues, generous supporters and the whole Notre Dame family to advance the mission of this great University.”

In a resolution issued Friday, the Trustees said that Father Jenkins’ “unfailing commitment to the University’s Catholic character as well as to teaching and research excellence have brought renewed emphasis to Notre Dame’s distinctive mission …”

The resolution adds that Father Jenkins “has led by personal example and is animated in his work and ministry as priest-president by the charism of the Congregation of Holy Cross — namely, to educate in faith by developing the mind and cultivating the heart — thereby sharing the good news of Christ within the Church and with the wider world.”

Thomas G. Burish Thomas G. Burish

John Affleck-Graves John Affleck-Graves

The Board also re-elected Thomas G. Burish to a new five-year term as the University’s provost. The Board re-elected John Affleck-Graves to another five-year term as executive vice president last year, effective July 1, 2014.

First elected provost in 2005, Burish is the fourth person to hold the office since it was established in 1970. At the direction of the president, the provost, the University’s second-ranking officer, exercises overall responsibility for the academic enterprise. A Notre Dame alumnus and distinguished scholar in the field of clinical psychology, Burish served as president of Washington and Lee University for three years before assuming his present position and was Vanderbilt University’s longest-serving provost from 1993 to 2002.

Executive vice president since 2004, Affleck-Graves joined the University’s faculty in 1986 and holds the Notre Dame Chair in Finance. He began his career in academe in 1975 at his alma mater, the University of Cape Town, where he earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Affleck-Graves oversees the administration of an annual operating budget of more than $1.5 billion and an endowment of over $9 billion. He also oversees human resource activities for a workforce of more than 4,000 employees and directs the University’s construction program.

Father Jenkins was elected president April 30, 2004, and became the University’s 17th president July 1, 2005. In October 2009, he was elected to a second five-year term that began July 1, 2010.

A philosopher trained in theology, with undergraduate and advanced degrees from both his alma mater, Notre Dame, and from Oxford, Father Jenkins has been committed to combining teaching and research excellence with a cultivation of the deeper purposes of Catholic higher education.

Highlights of Father Jenkins’ decade of leadership include:

  • An increase of more than $125 million in University-based student financial aid — from $94 million to over $220 million — in support of more than 1,000 additional students.
  • A robust construction program that includes the current work on McCourtney Hall for research and the Campus Crossroads Project; the upcoming Nanovic and Jenkins Halls and two new residence halls; and the completed Geddes Hall for the Institute for Church Life and Center for Social Concerns, Carole Sandner Hall for the Alliance for Catholic Education, the renovated Morris Inn and Stinson-Remick Hall of Engineering.
  • An increase in the endowment from $3 billion to $9.8 billion.
  • The creation of the Notre Dame Forum, yearlong initiatives that have examined important issues such as religion and world conflict, global health, immigration, education, energy, women in leadership, K-12 education and the global marketplace.
  • A steady increase in outside research funding to more than $100 million annually.
  • The creation of Advancing Our Vision, an initiative that identifies and implements financial efficiencies University-wide that will lead to the appointment of some 80 new faculty in coming years in key research areas such as nanotechnology, history, nuclear physics, biochemistry, economics and biomolecular engineering.
  • The development of a strategic plan anchored by five goals: Catholic character underpinning all University endeavors, undergraduate education, research and scholarship, stewardship and external engagement.

Prior to assuming the presidency, Father Jenkins was vice president and associate provost of Notre Dame, and he has been a member of the philosophy faculty since 1990. A recipient of a Lilly Teaching Fellowship in 1991-92, he is the author of the book “Knowledge and Faith in Thomas Aquinas.” He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010, and a year later appointed to the academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, which is dedicated to the advancement of teaching and research in these disciplines.

Within the University and beyond, Father Jenkins has called for civil discourse — grounded in the Christian view of others as equally made in the image of God — as a way to find common ground rather than demonize those with differing opinions. The Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that sponsors and produces all U.S. presidential and vice presidential debates, cited Father Jenkins’ leadership on this issue in electing him to its board of directors in 2011.

Father Jenkins is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, awarded to those demonstrating outstanding qualities in their personal and professional lives, while maintaining the richness of their ethnic heritage. He was the 2009 recipient of the American Irish Historical Society’s Gold Medal and has received honorary degrees from Benedictine College, the University of San Francisco and Aquinas College.

Father Jenkins’ full biography is here.

Correction: University-based financial aid has increased by more than $125 million for both undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students. An earlier version of this news release reported the figure as being for just undergraduates.

Originally published by Dennis Brown at on January 30, 2015.