Notre Dame creates position to coordinate life initiatives

Author: Dennis Brown

Mary Daly

A final recommendation from the Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life at the University of Notre Dame recently was accepted by the University’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

As it completed its term of service in May, the task force recommended to Father Jenkins that structures be created to implement previous recommendations and continue the group’s work. In response, Father Jenkins has established the position of coordinator for university life initiatives and appointed Mary K. Daly to the post.

Daly, a 2010 Notre Dame graduate who served as president of Notre Dame Right to Life as an undergraduate, will coordinate efforts already under way to implement the recommendations of the task force, serve as a liaison between various University units in order to facilitate collaboration on life issues, and seek ways to broaden and deepen respect for the sanctity of life from conception to natural death within the Notre Dame community and beyond.

Daly’s office will be located in the Institute for Church Life. She will report to John C. Cavadini, the McGrath-Cavadini Director of the Institute for Church Life and co-chair of the task force, and through Cavadini report to Father Jenkins. Among her first responsibilities will be to assist in the organization of a faculty advisory committee to be chaired by Cavadini.

“I would like to thank the members of the task force for their exemplary service over the course of the last academic year,” Father Jenkins said, “and I look forward to continued progress in this important area as we work together in future years.”

Father Jenkins created the task force a year ago to consider and recommend ways in which Notre Dame can support the sanctity of life. Margaret Brinig, Fritz Duda Family Professor of Law, joined Cavadini as a co-chair.

Several task force recommendations already have borne fruit, including Father Jenkins’ participation in January in the March for Life, the adoption of a statement on the University’s unequivocal support of Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life, and the development of principles for charitable giving that provide standards for the University and its representatives in making determinations on giving in a way consonant with institutional beliefs.

In addition to Brinig and Cavadini, members of the task force were Ann Astell, theology; Kathleen Kelley, student; Mary Ellen Konieczny, sociology; Rev. William Lies, C.S.C., Center for Social Concerns; and Rev. Mark Poorman, C.S.C., theology and former vice president for student affairs. Frances Shavers, chief of staff and special assistant to the president, and Todd Woodward, associate vice president for marketing communications, served as task force liaisons.

Originally published by Dennis Brown at on September 20, 2010.