A Message from Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. - Presidential Transition

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

At the meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees today, I announced that I will be stepping down from the presidency of Notre Dame at the end of the 2023-24 academic year. After stepping down, I plan to return to teaching, to some writing, and will serve Notre Dame and my successor in any way I can.

The Board will begin a search for my successor immediately. The University bylaws require that the president of Notre Dame is a Holy Cross priest, and the chair of our Board, Jack Brennan, and other Board members have been working over several years to prepare Holy Cross priests to succeed me. I am confident that a strong candidate will be identified to lead Notre Dame in coming years.

Serving as president of Notre Dame has been the unanticipated, undeserved, and wonderful privilege of my life. Leading any university of Notre Dame’s caliber would have been a great honor, but to be president of one with such a powerful mission that resonates profoundly with my life and vocation has been much more than an honor. It has been a gift and a calling. No matter the challenges a given day held, I always came to the Office of the President feeling blessed by that calling.

There is much that we have achieved together—admitting a talented, diverse student body and providing them with excellent instruction; fostering dramatic growth in research and securing Notre Dame’s admission in the Association of American Universities (AAU); the growing distinction of our faculty; expanding Notre Dame’s global engagement; and offering students an in-person education during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as I look back on this time in future years, I will cherish most not the memories of accomplishments, but of colleagues alongside whom I labored and the students with whom we learned. While there may have been differences of opinion among us, we worked through them. Whatever the difficulties, the best part of my job has been you, my colleagues and the students of Notre Dame.

On September 23, 2005, I delivered my Inaugural Address as the new president of Notre Dame. In that address I asked you to join me in building a Notre Dame that will be “a great Catholic university for the 21st century, one of the pre-eminent institutions in the world, a center for learning whose intellectual and religious traditions converge to make it a healing, unifying, enlightening force for a world deeply in need.” I thank you for all your efforts to serve that mission, and I’m proud of the progress we have made. But that mission was never mine; it was Notre Dame’s. The need remains great, and there is so much more to do. Notre Dame’s most exciting years lie ahead. As we prepare to make a transition and welcome a new president, let us re-commit ourselves to that mission.

Yours In Notre Dame,

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

Sent to the University of Notre Dame campus community on October 13, 2023