2011: The Year in Review

Author: Julie Hail Flory and Paul Murphy

The calendar year 2011 was filled with numerous moments of accomplishment, celebration and reflection at the University of Notre Dame. Here are some of the highlights.


Mendoza College of Business

  • For the second consecutive year, the Mendoza College of Business was ranked No. 1 in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 6th annual survey of “Best Undergraduate Business Schools.” The College also garnered the No. 1 spot in ethics, the No. 2 spot in sustainability and top 10 spots in nine other categories, becoming the most decorated school in the survey. The MBA program also won accolades from the Aspen Institute, ranking No. 4 in the world for ethics and social impact.
  • The 2011-12 Notre Dame Forum, “Reimagining School: To Nurture the Soul of a Nation,” brought to campus prominent speakers including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The year-long discussion of the profound and challenging questions that shape the national debate about K-12 education will continue with more events planned for the spring.
  • Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates urged the class of 2011 to continue Notre Dame’s rich tradition and strong commitment to public service at the 166th University Commencement Cermony on May 22. Edward A. Larkin, a biological sciences major from East Lansing, Mich., delivered the valedictory address and the Laetare Medal was awarded to Sister Mary Scullion, R.S.M., and Joan McConnon, co-founders of Project H.O.M.E., an organization devoted to ending homelessness in Philadelphia.
  • Notre Dame continued its record success in National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships with two professors, historian Thomas F.X. Noble and theologian Eugene Ulrich, becoming the latest faculty members to receive the honor. Notre Dame has been awarded 44 NEH fellowships between 1999 and 2011—more than any other university in the country.
  • Ten faculty members were named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in honor of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The AAAS is the world’s largest scientific society and publishes the prestigious journal Science.



Drawing of nuclear accelerator

  • Construction began in October on a new nuclear accelerator in Notre Dame’s Nuclear Science Laboratory (NSL). The first accelerator the National Science Foundation has funded in nuclear physics in nearly a quarter century, the machine represents a major equipment upgrade for the University and is expected to be completed in January 2012.
  • Breakthrough research on Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC) was published by Notre Dame and Cornell scientists in March. NPC is an inherited cholesterol metabolism disorder that strikes one in every 150,000 children. It has been referred to by the National Institutes of Health as “childhood Alzheimer’s” because of similarities in the brains of NPC and Alzheimer’s disease patients. There currently is no treatment available in the U.S.
  • Notre Dame astronomer David Bennett co-authored a paper describing the discovery of a new class of planets — dark, isolated Jupiter-mass bodies floating alone in space, far from any host star. This discovery not only confirms that free-floating planets exist in space, but also indicates that they are quite common.
  • Some of the world’s leading scholars across a variety of relevant disciplines visited the University for a week-long Workshop on Adult and Non-embryonic Stem Cell Research, held on campus in July. Notre Dame faculty members Carter Snead and Phillip Sloan led the workshop and hosted the week’s public events, which are part of a University-wide effort to develop a center for high-level interdisciplinary work on the various dimensions of human developmental biology.
  • Former Notre Dame head football coach Lou Holtz is once again taking a leadership role at the University – this time in an arena outside of athletics. He and his wife, Beth, are serving as Notre Dame’s first ambassadors for research by taking a prominent role in increasing awareness of the University’s mission to pursue research that aims to heal, unify and enlighten a world deeply in need.



Robinson Community Learning Center

  • The University was selected as one of 115 institutions in higher education to receive the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement. The classification, designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, recognizes “the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”
  • The Robinson Community Learning Center celebrated its tenth year of service to the Northeast Neighborhood. “The Robinson Community Learning Center has been a bright light in the community for a decade, and Notre Dame remains committed to the educational opportunities offered there,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “I’m confident the next 10 years will continue the momentum for the center’s students and their families.”
  • Law School faculty member Michael Jenuwine received the 2011 Rodney F. Ganey, Ph.D. Faculty Community-Based Research Award for his research into Indiana’s guardianship laws. Working closely with the Indiana Adult Guardianship State Taskforce, Jenuwine helped to design and implement investigations aimed toward the ultimate goal of improving guardianship laws for the state of Indiana.
  • Notre Dame was selected as a finalist by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll as one of six institutions in higher education with an outstanding commitment to general community service. The Honor Roll is released annually by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Hundreds of institutions are listed, but Notre Dame is among only 17 to receive special recognition.



Declan Sullivan Memorial

  • The University established a scholarship fund in memory of Declan Sullivan, the Notre Dame junior who died on Oct. 27, 2010 when the aerial lift on which he was videotaping football practice fell in high winds. In conjunction with the one-year anniversary of Sullivan’s death, Father Jenkins invited members of the Notre Dame family to contribute to the scholarship fund and/or to the Declan Drumm Sullivan Memorial Fund that has been established by the Sullivan family.
  • In April, Notre Dame released a comprehensive report containing the findings of a nearly six-month investigation into the accident that took Sullivan’s life. The report included eight recommendations, all accepted by Father Jenkins, to improve the safe use of elevated scissor lifts and general safety on campus. In addition, the University installed a remote video system for the Notre Dame football practice fields that will eliminate the need for elevated scissor lifts in those locations, and launched a national awareness campaign aimed at improving aerial lift safety.
  • Notre Dame became the first university without the powerful gift-giving attraction of a medical school to surpass $2 billion in a traditional seven-year capital campaign. Titled the “Spirit of Notre Dame,” the campaign raised $2.014 billion in the seven-year span that ended June 30 – 134 percent of the $1.5 billion goal. The fund-raising effort also was the largest in the history of Catholic higher education, surpassing the $1.061 billion raised in the University’s “Generations” campaign that ended in December 2000.
  • “The Word of Life” mural on the Hesburgh Library (known to many as “Touchdown Jesus”) underwent preventive maintenance this summer and fall. The stones from the 134 feet high and 68 feet wide mural were washed with water and a light detergent and the elastic urethane adhesive in the stone seams was replaced.
  • For the third consecutive year, Notre Dame received honor roll distinctions as one of the top 10 higher education workplaces in the country in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual “Great Colleges to Work For” survey.



Solar paneling on the roof of Fitzpatrick Hall of Engineering

  • Two new buildings on the Notre Dame campus were LEED certified by the United States Green Building Council. Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center received LEED Gold certification and Innovation Park at Notre Dame achieved LEED Silver certification.
  • The University received a STARS Silver Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, is a new program that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.
  • Entrepreneur magazine ranked the Notre Dame MBA program as one of the best in the country for MBA students seeking careers in “green” industries. The program was honored for its sustainability courses focused on topics such as “greening” the supply chain and improving environmental accounting.
  • The Hesburgh Library is shining a little more brightly these days thanks to new LED lights installed in May to illuminate the “Word of Life” mural on the south side of the building. The lights replaced the old mercury vapor fixtures that previously illuminated the 134-foot tall mural.



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

  • Father Jenkins received a number of honors and appointments in 2011, including being named to a national commission that will examine how to bolster teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences, and election to the board of directors of the Commission on Presidential Debates, the non-partisan, non-profit organization that has sponsored and produced all U.S. presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988.
  • Notre Dame vice president and chief investment officer Scott C. Malpass was named Large Endowment Manager of the Year by Institutional Investor magazine. The award recognizes U.S. institutional advisors whose “innovative strategies and fiduciary savvy resulted in impressive returns” over the past year.
  • Carolyn Y. Woo, Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of Business, announced in June she will leave the University at the start of 2012 to serve as president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services. During her tenure as dean, the college has received top rankings for its undergraduate business, MBA, EMBA and Master of Science in Accountancy programs, as well as business ethics and accountancy.



Brittany Mallory celebrates after the Irish knocked off UConn in the women's basketball NCAA semifinals

  • Eighteen of 22 Notre Dame athletics programs compiled graduation rates of 100 percent, and none were below 93 percent, according to the seventh year of Graduation Success Rate measurements developed by the NCAA and released in October. In addition, five Notre Dame student-athletes received Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors during the 2010-11 academic year, helping the Irish stay among the leaders in the nation in honorees.
  • The Notre Dame fencing team claimed its eighth NCAA National Championship in March.
  • Irish Hockey made its second trip to the Frozen Four in April, ending a stellar season with a 4-3 defeat against Minnesota-Duluth.
  • Notre Dame once again took the football weekend experience on the road, traveling to Washington D.C. for a home-away-from-home game against Maryland in FedEx Stadium. The Irish football team ended the season with a 8-4 record and earned an invitation to the Dec. 29 Champs Sports Bowl against Florida State.
  • The Notre Dame Band was presented with the Sudler Trophy — considered the Heisman trophy of college bands — at halftime of the Notre Dame vs. Air Force game on Oct. 8 in Notre Dame Stadium.



Sept. 11 anniversary Mass

  • The Notre Dame community gathered in prayer to observe the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks. A Mass of remembrance for the victims was held on Sept. 11 on the Hesburgh Library Mall.
  • On July 1, an historic union officially took effect when the former Eastern Province of Priests and Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross merged into the Indiana Province to form the new United States Province of Priests and Brothers. The merger was approved at the Congregation of Holy Cross’ general chapter meeting in Rome in the summer of 2010. The Congregation of Holy Cross is Notre Dame’s founding order.
  • Notre Dame welcomed a number of high-ranking Church leaders to campus, including Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, who spent a month at the University to discuss the reform of the nation’s immigration policy; and Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, who inaugurated the University’s Project on Human Dignity in November with a lecture entitled “Modern Questions, Ancient Answers: Defining and Defending Human Dignity in Our Time."
  • Notre Dame alumni volunteers to the Peace Corps were recognized for their service in campus events commemorating the organization’s 50th Anniversary during an October weekend. For the 11th year in a row, the University also was ranked among the nation’s top 25 medium-sized universities (those with undergraduate enrollments between 5,000 and 15,000) producing Peace Corps volunteers.

Originally published by Julie Hail Flory and Paul Murphy at news.nd.edu on December 22, 2011.