Update on University's Fiscal Status

February 9, 2009

Dear Members of the Notre Dame Community,

In December, I wrote to address the University’s fiscal status in the face of a global economic crisis, noting that, thus far, we were able to continue our commitment to excellence despite the inevitable impact on our revenue.

Recently, the Board of Trustees reviewed and approved a proposed Fiscal 2010 budget of modest but cautious growth of 5.7 percent over the current year’s budget. This $1.05 billion budget reflects increased funding in support of our deepest commitments: to our undergraduate and graduate students, who so desperately need fiscal support; to our increasingly productive agenda of research and scholarship, and the equipment and library resources they require; and to our faculty and our staff, who, along with our students are the true source of all our accomplishments. More than $30 million in unrestricted new dollars has been earmarked in support of our core mission: academic and student life, including financial aid and graduate stipends, and administrative and faculty support, including modest allocations for merit-based salary increases.

Your divisional and departmental leaders have been asked to consider further means of conserving our resources. In the next several weeks, Provost Tom Burish and Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves will be providing important additional details to faculty and staff on Notre Dame’s position in the current economic climate and on strategies for promoting responsible stewardship of our resources. Tom will do so in his remarks to the faculty on February 17, and John will do so as he meets with staff to discuss the results of ND Voice. I strongly encourage you to attend the session most relevant to your role.

Unlike some of our peers, at this point Notre Dame does not face the need to freeze salaries or hiring, halt construction or reduce our work force. While our endowment and other revenue streams have experienced losses, we continue to be positioned, at this juncture, to pursue opportunities toward our goal of becoming a preeminent research university. Nevertheless, we are not immune to economic pressures and further dramatic declines could lead us to rethink our timelines on construction projects and prepare new strategies in regard to salaries, hiring and the work force.

In the midst of this economic downturn, I have been so impressed and heartened by the willingness of the University family to be part of the solution, both at Notre Dame and in the community. Your extreme generosity in the recent United Way campaign and food drives reinforces for me how deeply committed you are to Notre Dame’s mission of service. Your willingness to participate in wellness initiatives has helped turn back rising health care benefit costs. Your enthusiasm to adopt measures of energy efficiency promises further savings.

For my own part, I commit to further, incremental communications during what is likely to be at least several more months of difficulty and challenge. Thank you for your commitment and dedication in facing current challenges and protecting the University for future generations.

In Notre Dame,

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