President's Annual Address to the FacultySeptember 15, 2015
As I stand before you I think back to a day almost exactly ten years ago, September 22, 2005, when I was formally inaugurated as President of the University of Notre Dame. The ceremony took place in the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center, but we began with a procession from the steps of the Main Building. It was an impressive scene: a resplendent fall day under a bright sun and a deep blue sky; faculty and students in full academic regalia; colorful banners held aloft to lead the way.
We were just about to step off when I realized to my genuine horror that I did not have the text of my speech. Panic struck, as in those anxiety dreams in which you suddenly realize that you neglected to prepare for today’s final exam. The only difference was that I wasn’t dreaming and I really did not have my speech. I then remembered that I had left the notebook at a previous event. A golf cart was dispatched, the speech was recovered, and the event came off without a hitch.
"...through the hard work, dedication of exceptional coworkers... and above all, you, my faculty colleagues, we have accomplished more than I had dared to hope ten years ago."
That event captures the experience at the time: a good deal of hope, high expectations, much staging, but also the nagging worry that a disaster is around the corner. Disaster, however, was not realized. In fact, I am exceptionally proud of what has been accomplished in the past ten years. Through the hard work, talent, and dedication of exceptional coworkers—Tom Burish, our Provost; John Affleck-Graves, our Executive Vice President; our Vice-Presidents, Deans, other academic leaders, staff, and, above all, you, my faculty colleagues, we have accomplished more than I had dared to hope ten years ago. We all have much to be grateful for, and I above all.
Our central goals, as I indicated in 2005, were to offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education, be an institution preeminent in research with excellent graduate programs, and ensure that all our endeavors are informed by a distinctive Catholic mission. Since that time we have highlighted two themes that touch on each of these three goals—internationality and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. We also recognized that success would not be possible without sound stewardship of finances, facilities, IT and the support services we need, and with effective communication and relationships with government, the local community, businesses, and other groups.
In this address, without trying to be exhaustive, I will speak briefly about past accomplishments and I will also say something about challenges ahead. I hope you share my satisfaction about what has been done and excitement about the future.
One mark of distinction in undergraduate education at an institution is that the most talented students apply and enroll. Thanks to the hard work of Don Bishop, our Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Enrollment, and his staff, the Class of 2019 represents the most academically impressive, socioeconomically diverse, and globally representative class we have ever welcomed to campus.
"...the Class of 2019 represents the most academically impressive, socioeconomically diverse, and globally representative class we have ever welcomed to campus."
In terms of academic strength, the median incoming first year student ranks in the top one percent of the nation in either high school performance or test results, or both those measures. The academic profile of the enrolled class continues to rate among the top 10 to 15 in the nation for national research universities.
With more than 18,000 applicants, we enrolled a class of just more than 2,000 first year students, with a yield rate—that is, the percent of admits enrolled—of 56%, which places Notre Dame among the top 10 private national research universities for yield success. Such talented students have many other attractive alternatives, and it says much for our university when so many highly qualified students apply and choose to come to Notre Dame.
While credit certainly goes to our Admissions and Financial Aid Offices for enrolling such strong students, it goes above all to you, the faculty under whom these students come to study. Your scholarly work and your dedication to teaching attract these students more effectively than any marketing campaign.
Undergraduate Intellectual Engagement
"In 2014...nearly four in ten (undergraduates) were engaged (in research)..."
Ten years ago we spoke about increasing the intellectual engagement of our students, for we want our students to see themselves not simply as passive learners, taking in information from books and lectures, but also as inquirers, raising their own questions, conducting research and knowing the exhilaration of a discovery or hard-won insight. In 2014, the last year from which we have data, nearly four in ten were engaged in some research program.
Another measure of intellectual engagement is the increase each year in the number of Notre Dame students who are competing for highly selective academic fellowships, grants, and awards. We have talented students; your teaching inspires them intellectually; research and study abroad opportunities enable them to channel their interests and develop their skills; and the staff of CUSE—The Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement—prepares them to submit applications. The result has been that last year a record 75 candidates competed for national fellowships, a record 16 students were selected as Fulbright Scholars, and Alex Coccia, a 2014 graduate, won a Rhodes Scholarship.
At Notre Dame our educational goal is not simply to instill a range of skills needed in a particular discipline or career, but to help develop a person. “Education,” said Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, “is the art of bringing a young person to completeness.” We are convinced that a thriving residential life plays an irreplaceable role in this educational effort.
"...our educational goal is not simply to instill a range of skills needed in a particular discipline or career, but to help develop a person."
Two new residence halls are currently under construction to relieve overcrowding in our dorms. We are building the Duncan Student Center to provide a center for student activities and interaction, for those who are both on-campus and off-campus, for both undergraduate and graduate students. Erin Harding, our Vice President for Student Affairs, and her staff have devoted attention to the development of strong residence hall rectors and staff.
Erin Harding and Hugh Page, our Dean of First Year Studies, have collaborated to create a new Moreau First Year experience course, which will give our students a foundation to integrate intellectual, personal, and spiritual development. The Office of Campus Ministry has just completed a study that will enhance their ministry to our students, and the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being has just been established to enhance our support for the physical, spiritual, and emotional health of our students.
The Center for Social Concerns, the office of Campus Ministry, and many other offices provide opportunities for students to engage in service and reflect on that service. Whether serving in South Bend, repairing homes in Appalachia over break, or spending a summer teaching children in Uganda, these experiences transform the lives of our students and create life-long habits of generosity and attentiveness to the most needy and marginalized.
Research and Graduate Education
Upon recommendation of a faculty committee, two years ago the Graduate School was significantly reorganized. Under the leadership of Laura Carlson, Vice President and Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, a significant change was made to allocate directly the majority of funding for stipends to colleges with Ph.D. programs, and to allow the dean and faculty of each college to allocate those funds as they thought best. A $10 million gift—the largest ever made to the Graduate School—enabled us to enhance graduate stipends, healthcare, and support services.
Under the Graduate School Office, a new Office of Postdoctoral Scholars has been established in order to ensure greater uniformity in the quality of training provided by different faculty and laboratories, as well as to provide advanced professional development programs for postdoctoral students.
Provost Tom Burish created in 2007 Notre Dame’s first Vice President for Research, and appointed Bob Bernhard to that position. Under the leadership of Bob and the Deans we have seen a significant increase in the investment in, and success of, our faculty’s efforts in research, scholarship, and creative expression. This has been made possible by the implementation of new Strategic Research Initiatives, new tranches of funding made available through the “Advancing our Vision” (AOV) program, and especially the talent and hard work of you, the faculty. Funds made available through AOV will make possible the hiring of approximately 80 new faculty members, and help with the renovation of the Hesburgh Library.
"Externally funded, competitively allocated grants and contracts.....have gone from $73 million in 2004 to a record of almost $134 million this fiscal year"
The investment in research has had an impact. Externally funded, competitively allocated grants and contracts—which are not only important sources of funding, but also a measure of the quality of the research work of you, our faculty—have gone from $73 million in 2004 to a record of almost $134 million in the most recent fiscal year. Indeed, the increase in research activity has led to an urgent need for more space, and so we are excited about the construction of McCourtney Hall—an interdisciplinary facility that will provide a home for some of Notre Dame’s most ambitious research collaborations.
Our younger faculty are our future, and, as you may know, CAREER awards are the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award given to junior faculty. And so we are particularly pleased that in the past two years 12 members of our faculty have received this award, and we have recruited four young faculty members who received CAREER awards at their previous institutions.
And we continue to have great strength in the humanities. Last year, Notre Dame faculty received more fellowships from the National Endowment of Humanities than any other university.
We have also seen in the last ten years the development of a number of new programs related to technology commercialization and entrepreneurship. There has been noticeable new energy on campus among faculty and students attempting to form new start-up companies stemming from their research and bring ideas to market, and we have tried to encourage and support these efforts.
"Innovation Park has significantly helped Notre Dame faculty develop marketable applications from their own research [and resulted] in at least 200 new jobs created in this region alone."
Innovation Park has significantly helped Notre Dame faculty develop marketable applications from their own research. It has assisted clients to secure approximately $50 million of equity investment in 12 companies, resulting in at least 200 new jobs created in this region alone.
This complements a number of other ways we are bringing our talent and creativity out into the world through multi-institutional collaborations, such as the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Facility, and the Energy Frontiers Research Center, designated by the U.S. Department of Energy, to name a few.
We have also sought to expand opportunities for collaboration with entities such as IBM, GE, and the Army Research Lab. These partnerships have helped faculty and students, and they have also benefited the region by creating new industries and new jobs.
Two Themes: Internationality and Diversity
Two themes have grown in prominence since 2005—internationality and diversity. I refer to these as “themes,” because they are not goals wholly distinct from our other major goals; they are, rather, themes present in efforts across the university.
Globalization in its many facets—in markets and business, international politics, culture, and migration—has shaped our lives and our work, and will certainly shape the lives and work of our current students. Notre Dame has tried to respond robustly to these trends. In 2010, Tom Burish created the office of Notre Dame International. Under its first head, Nick Entrikin, appointed Vice President and Associate Provost for Internationalization, the university has devised and implemented a strategic plan for maximizing its global impact in teaching and learning, research and discovery, and service to humanity.
"More than half of all undergraduates study abroad, which ranks us 12th among research institutions."
This structure has greatly strengthened Notre Dame’s position as a leader among major research universities in providing opportunities outside the borders of the United States and enlarging our Global Gateway presence in locations across the world. More than half of all undergraduates study abroad, which ranks us 12th among research institutions; and this year Notre Dame International will begin implementation of a new financial model for study abroad that will allow even larger numbers of our students to have an international educational experience. Notre Dame International has also helped integrate a more international perspective into the cultural fabric of the university by bringing visiting scholars and students from many different countries to campus and to our growing network of Global Gateways.
The University’s growing international reputation was evident when we were invited in 2014 to partner with Zhejiang University, one of China’s leading national universities, in creating a new liberal arts college that will be part of a new international campus under construction in Haining, China. Ad hoc committees have been formed to consider this potential partnership.
A number of you on the faculty have expressed strong reservations about such a partnership in a nation in which the officially atheist Communist Party exerts so much control, human rights are often violated, freedom of expression is limited, religious worship is restricted, and churches are harassed. At the same time, China is likely to be one of the most influential nations of the 21st century. Many of our students want to learn the Chinese language and understand its culture. Its institutions of higher education are likely to become stronger and provide opportunities for research collaboration, and many on the faculty expressed strong support for a partnership. In addition to these factors, I traveled to the Vatican to discuss with key leaders the situation with the Church in China. It is fair to say that, though all parties recognize the complexity and challenges of a potential partnership between a Catholic university and a Chinese university, we were encouraged to explore this venture as a means of building bridges between the Catholic Church and China. We will continue to weigh all these considerations as we fashion a larger strategy to engage this important nation.
Keough School of Global Affairs
"The Keough School of Global Affairs... will enhance our international character in a manner that expresses Notre Dame's distinctive mission and vision."
The Keough School of Global Affairs, set to open its doors in less than two years, will enhance our international character in a manner that expresses Notre Dame’s distinctive mission and vision. The School, taking as its framework a phrase from Catholic social teaching, is dedicated to integral human development, that is, to conducting research, creating knowledge, and educating students for the purpose of addressing the needs of the whole human person by bringing academic disciplines, best practices, and private and public actors into collaboration for the common good. The research and curricula of the school will address the global need for a safe and sustainable environment for all people, fair and just institutions and laws, access to education and economic opportunity—and also the freedom to practice one's religion, preserve cultural values, and participate in political self-determination.
In order to advance this vision of human flourishing, the Keough School must engage economists and development experts, peace-builders and international human rights scholars, ethicists and theologians, engineers, social scientists, and historians. Beyond the academy the school is already building partnerships with the private sector, government, and the world of international NGOs. Building on a general strength at Notre Dame, the school will also quickly become a leader in the study of religion as both a destabilizing and sometimes violent force in global affairs, but also and especially as a partner in advancing peace, justice, and integral human development.
Diversity and Inclusion
The President’s Oversight Committee on Diversity and Inclusion continues its work in this vital area of setting achievable and measurable goals, monitoring progress and holding ourselves accountable. In coming days I will send a letter to all faculty, staff, and students on initiatives that are under way and we will launch a redesigned website. Rather than go into detail in this address, I urge you to look for that letter and website.
We flourish as a university only if we are good stewards of our fiscal resources, our physical plant and, our most valuable asset, the people who work at Notre Dame.
Finances and Cost of Education
"...the endowment doubled in the last ten years, enjoying a compounded annual growth rate of 9.8%"
Among Notre Dame’s greatest strengths has been a history of sound, far-sighted fiscal stewardship. Such stewardship has continued under the leadership of John Affleck-Graves, Executive Vice President, who also oversees our facilities, building and management, our human resources office, and various divisions that support our central work of education and research. Scott Malpass, our Chief Investment Officer, and his team make possible for Notre Dame so much that would otherwise have been out of reach. In my opinion, our Investment Office is the best in American higher education. With the help of generous benefactors and the hard work of our Development Office, and under the skilled management of our Investment Office, the endowment doubled in the last ten years, enjoying a compounded annual growth rate of 9.8%—this during a period of historic economic and financial uncertainty.
While top rating agencies such as Moody’s paint a bleak economic outlook for much of American higher education, they have consistently given Notre Dame their highest possible credit rating, something only 9 AAU private universities received.
There are too many accomplishments and improvements in the past ten years to mention individually, and I will focus on the progress that has been made in providing financial aid to our students.
"Today, half of all Notre Dame students receive institutional, need-based financial aid."
Under Fr. Malloy’s leadership the University made the pledge that no student who is accepted into Notre Dame is ever turned away for financial reasons. Today, half of all Notre Dame students receive institutional, need-based financial aid. This support goes to students from families with annual household incomes that range from at or near zero to over $200,000.
Total need-based institutional financial assistance has increased 83% since 2006 while costs to students rose 45% during that same period. The average University scholarship has grown from $18,600 in 2006, to $32,000 today, and 7% more undergraduates are receiving aid today than in 2006. We have also elevated the percentage of Pell students (the neediest of the need group) from 8% to 11% in the past decade.
This has all been accomplished during a period of great economic hardship in our country that has seen federal, state, and local support of financial aid programs decline sharply.
The Development Campaign
While I am very proud of the financial management of the university and our investment office, we have been able to expand because of the generosity of so many people. From financial aid, to new facilities, to endowed professorships and much else, these would not be possible if generous benefactors were not committed to our mission.
"We have enjoyed resounding early success of our Boldly Notre Dame Campaign with roughly $2 billion already raised."
We must also recognize the work of our remarkable Office of University Relations, which, under Lou Nanni, Vice President for University Relations, has helped Notre Dame be a national leader in benefaction. We have enjoyed resounding early success of our “Boldly Notre Dame Campaign”, which is currently under way. The success of the first two years of this 7-year effort has exceeded all expectations, with roughly $2 billion already raised. That is nearly what was raised in the entirety of the previous fundraising campaign.
Much credit goes to our development staff led by Lou and his team, but they would agree that the real credit goes to our loyal and generous supporters, who exceeded 100,000 in number for the first time this year.
These benefactors display such generosity for several reasons. Most importantly, they believe in the mission of Notre Dame. They also have confidence in you, the University’s faculty. And, finally, they have confidence in our ability as an institution to administer programs and treat such gifts with the prudent fiscal stewardship they deserve. We must always be diligent to be worthy of the trust and confidence of these benefactors, and remember that we can do what we do because of the generosity of many.
Another great asset of Notre Dame is the beauty and accessibility of our campus. We strive to preserve the historic beauty and serenity of this campus while properly equipping it with superb facilities that are worthy of a modern preeminent research institution.
"In our history, ambitious building campaigns have presaged a period of great intellectual and academic achievement."
In our history ambitious building campaigns have presaged a period of great intellectual and academic achievement. I am hopeful that we are poised on the threshold of just such a period as a result of a ten-year span in which we opened 23 new facilities—which includes 13 devoted to academic or research endeavors, and two new residence halls. As you can see from the cranes hovering over campus right now, seven new buildings are currently underway, totaling almost 1.4 million square feet.
In all that we do, we must never forget that it is the people who make Notre Dame what it is. We have taken a number of steps to support those who work at the University.
Staff and Administration
ND Voice—the university’s bi-annual employee engagement survey—has provided a methodical approach to identifying key issues and concerns across campus. It has facilitated a valuable and constructive exchange between the university and employees at every level.
"The creation of the new Wellness Center in 2012 greatly enhanced the quality and access to care for employees and their families."
The creation of the new Wellness Center in 2012 has greatly enhanced the quality and access to care for employees and their families while also helping control healthcare costs. We have also, after extensive consultation, taken steps to offer more comprehensive, affordable coverage options that can be tailored to the needs of individual employees. Details can be found at their website.
We have enhanced opportunities for staff development through a number of programs, such as the Learning at Work Academy, which helps employees complete the High School Equivalency Exam or earn an associates degree through our partnership with Ivy Tech. Our Leadership Rotation Program develops the professional skills of our staff by offering immersive experiences in a variety of departments across the university.
I want to commend Tom Burish for instituting a survey of the faculty, and thank each of you for participating and contributing to the Faculty Experience Survey. The results of the Blue Ribbon Committee that was appointed by Provost Burish and chaired by Professor Katherine Spiess, Assistant Chair of the Finance Department, continues to be analyzed and the committee’s recommendations considered.
"This report was commissioned ....to improve the academic and professional environment in which each of you does such important work."
This report was commissioned not so it could be placed on a shelf, but put into action in order to improve the academic and professional environment in which each of you does such remarkable work. I want to assure you that the conversation regarding the survey is ongoing and will continue to be a top priority for all of us going forward.
I turn now to three enduring challenges for Notre Dame. They are not the only important challenges we face, but I mention them for they draw our attention to three areas that will be critical for us in coming years: 1) the efficiency of our operations, 2) the need to innovate as we remain committed to a traditional, residential campus, and 3) the range of commitments that arise from our Catholic mission.
An Efficient, Effective, and Thriving University
I have already outlined some tangible results of the “Advancing our Vision” initiative, an effort to seek efficiencies, improve processes, and reallocate resources from lower to higher priorities. AOV has helped us hire new faculty and increase funding for several academic departments in which we have historically underinvested, despite their being some of the university’s strongest areas. We have also been able to free up funds to meet the financial aid needs of our students, and provide enhanced staff support, libraries, and infrastructure. And since the most valuable assets at Notre Dame are the people who work here, we have made it a high priority to protect jobs, benefits, and salaries.
The AOV process and similar efforts are valuable for the obvious reason that they allow us to identify resources to invest in our highest priorities, but that is not all. As you are no doubt aware, with the high cost of higher education, universities are regularly portrayed in the media as inefficient, bloated, and complacent organizations. We can ignore the bombast of uninformed critics, but we must be able to give an account of our operations to reasonable people with sincere and probing questions. Part of that answer must be to point to substantial efforts to seek efficiencies and improve processes. If we are unable to do this, then benefactors will be less likely to be generous, the public will be less likely to support institutions like ours, and we will have fallen short of our responsibility as stewards of the resources entrusted to us.
"we must be...a place that continually seeks to use its resources well, finds efficiencies, improves processes, and reallocates funds to be more effective in our work."
We must, therefore, make AOV and initiatives like it a regular part of our work at Notre Dame. We must be—and be perceived to be—a place that continually seeks to use its resources well.
I know that these processes often demand time and create inconveniences, and I want to thank all those who have made and continue to make sacrifices to make the university better. I know that your willingness to embrace the changes comes from your dedication to the university’s mission and our central work of teaching and inquiry. I am personally grateful to you for your spirit of service to our common work.
A Commitment to a Residential Campus and Digital Innovation
We have all heard the predictions that disruptive innovation around digital technology will eventually make residential campuses obsolete. On this account, we are the sailing ship that will soon be replaced by the steam engine, the compact disc that will be shoved to the side by iTunes.
As is clear from the construction on campus, which includes two new dorms and a new student center, we remain committed to the irreplaceable value of a residential campus. The University of Notre Dame is a community of teachers and learners, and all of us—faculty and students—do some teaching of and learning from one another. In such a community, personal relationships are critical—between faculty and students and among students. Such relationships are formed not only in formal instruction in classrooms, but also in conversations in a faculty office, in dining halls and residence halls, in student organizations, and on retreats. Often the most formative and valuable insights come from a spontaneous conversation over a meal or on a walk. I do not believe that the richness of such relationships and conversations can be fully captured by an exclusively online community. They require coming together in a common place, with all the routine and serendipitous interactions to which a common place leads.
"The challenge for Notre Dame is to maintain and even deepen our commitment to cultivating the possibilities for learning and student development on a residential campus while creatively embracing the educational possibilities afforded by digital technology."
We must, nevertheless, recognize the educational value of digital technology. Elliott Visconsi, our Chief Academic Digital Officer, and his colleagues in the Office of Digital Learning have helped us do so. Digital learning can disseminate the expertise of you, our faculty, to those who do not otherwise have access, and we have recently launched several new online courses on topics as diverse as statistics, wireless technology, and Jesus in Scripture and Tradition. Digital technology allows faculty to be more creative and flexible in instruction on campus and enhance our understanding of student learning, and I know many of you are taking advantage of it. Finally, as we increase research collaboration and international opportunities for our students, it can connect us with faculty and students who are not on campus.
The challenge for Notre Dame is to maintain and even deepen our commitment to cultivating the possibilities for learning and student development on a residential campus while creatively embracing the educational possibilities afforded by digital technology. While I do not believe that exclusively online learning will replace residential campuses, we must use the tools it gives us to enhance learning and inquiry at Notre Dame.
Catholic Mission: A Goal and a Challenge
The third central university goal at Notre Dame—ensuring that our Catholic mission informs all our activities—spans all departments and divisions. It makes our mission distinctive and as such gives us great opportunities, while presenting us with challenges.
It is hard not to be impressed with even the following partial list of initiatives that directly serve the Church or prominently reflect our Catholic mission. The Institute for Church Life sponsors programs in catechesis, liturgical renewal, youth ministry, theological education, and many more. The Alliance for Catholic Education sends young teachers and trains principals for Catholic schools, while providing strategic thought and counsel to dioceses on how to make those schools strong. The new doctoral degree from our Program in Sacred Music has begun placing its first graduates in dioceses and churches around the country. The Economics Department has partnered with Catholic Charities to create the Lab for Economic Opportunity that studies models of the most effective programs in serving the needy in this country. We have been a partner with Catholic Relief Services to train peacebuilders, to provide training for administrators through the Mendoza College of Business, and to send students on CRS internships. Indeed, such opportunities to work with CRS worldwide will increase with the new Keough School of Global Affairs. Fr. Bill Lies, C.S.C, our Vice President for Mission Engagement and Church Affairs, has facilitated a partnership with the Vatican Library, so our scholars can use and make known the treasures of the world’s oldest, continuously operating research library.
Building on the legacy of Notre Dame’s Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, we have tried to strengthen the University’s role as a Catholic university at the heart of ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. This year’s ND Forum will take up critical documents of Vatican II, promulgated fifty years ago, that encouraged such dialogue and growth in mutual understanding. In our world, the University’s role as a leader in such dialogue will be ever more important.
To fulfill our mission, we seek faculty committed to it. I thank you for your efforts to find and recruit distinguished Catholic scholars and those of other traditions who are committed to our mission and want to contribute to it in meaningful ways. I understand the challenges, but unless our faculty can be intellectual leaders in the context of our Catholic mission, we cannot achieve our central goals.
I am well aware of the growing secularism of our world and the growing skepticism of younger people about institutional religious affiliation. I am also aware of the challenges of striving to be a preeminent research university with a Catholic mission. Whatever the challenges are, however, they are our challenges, and we cannot turn from them without losing our identity and our purpose.
"Laudato Si' is a clarion call ...that presents us with a comprehensive moral vision..."
As I said in my homily for our Opening Mass of the Academic Year, Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’, is a clarion call not only about our environment, but about global society. It is, as the Pope put it, a “joyful and troubling” message that presents us with a comprehensive moral vision about the environment, technology, the character of our communal lives, our responsibility to the poor and marginalized, the dangers of a compulsive consumerism, and the need for global solidarity. It is a challenging moral vision, but one for which, I believe, our world is hungry, and no university is better positioned to respond.
I look forward to responding to this and other challenges with you.
"Many deserve thanks for this progress, but none more than you, the faculty."
I am proud of the progress Notre Dame has made in the past ten years, a decade that has seen many challenges in higher education. Many deserve thanks for this progress, but none more than you, the faculty. The work of Notre Dame is education and inquiry, and, though many support this work, it is the work that you, the faculty do. Along with my colleagues in the administration, I have done my best to support you. Thank you for your dedication, your effort and—when it was necessary—your patience with me and others in university administration. I look back with satisfaction at the last ten years, but I believe that because of your talent and commitment, an equally committed staff, and the generosity of so many, we can exceed what we have done so far in offering an unsurpassed undergraduate education, attaining preeminence in research and graduate education, and letting our Catholic mission inform all we do.
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.