Father Jenkins becomes 17th president of Notre Dame

Author: Dennis Brown


Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., assumed the presidency of the University of Notre Dame today (July 1), the 17th president in its 163-year history.

Today I join an inter-generational line of 16 Holy Cross priests who have led the effort to realize Notre Dame founder Father Edward Sorins bold dream of building a great university that is truly Catholic for this nation and the world,Father Jenkins said.Notre Dame is so rich in history and accomplishment, but I firmly believe it is even richer in promise and potential.

As I begin my work as this Universitys 17th president, I ask for the prayers, support and assistance of every member of the Notre Dame family to advance its mission in the 21st century.

May we all be worthy heirs of this great enterprise.

Father Jenkins, 51, had served as president-elect since his electionApril 30, 2004, by the Board of Trustees to a five-year term. He will be formally inaugurated during ceremonies Sept. 22 and 23. He is just the third Notre Dame president in 53 years, following Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., who led the University for 35 years, from 1952 to 1987, and Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., who served for the past 18 years.

Concurrent with assuming the presidency, Father Jenkins was promoted from associate to full professor of philosophy, based upon a recommendation by Provost Nathan O. Hatch, with the approval of the Board.

A member of Notre Dames philosophy faculty since 1990, Father Jenkins had served from July 2000 until his election as president as a vice president and associate provost at the University.

Prior to his service in the provosts office, Father Jenkins had been religious superior of the Holy Cross priests and brothers at Notre Dame for three years. As religious superior, he was a Fellow and Trustee of the University, but he relinquished those posts to assume his duties in the provost’s office.

Father Jenkins specializes in the areas of ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy and the philosophy of religion. He is the author ofKnowledge and Faith in Thomas Aquinas,published by Cambridge University Press in 1997.

Father Jenkins earned masters and doctoral degrees in philosophy from Oxford University in 1987 and 1989. He earned his master of divinity degree and licentiate in sacred theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, Calif., in 1988. Prior to entering the Congregation of Holy Cross, he earned bachelors and masters degrees in philosophy from Notre Dame in 1976 and 1978, respectively.

Father Jenkins was ordained a priest in Notre Dames Basilica of the Sacred Heart in 1983. He served as director of the Old College program for Notre Dame undergraduate candidates for the Congregation of Holy Cross from 1991 to 1993.

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