$50 million in gifts to support Notre Dame and the Congregation of Holy Cross

Author: Dennis Brown

Corby Hall

Mary and Jay Flaherty, together with their alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, will contribute $50 million in support of the University and its founding religious community, the Congregation of Holy Cross, to broaden and deepen the work of both institutions in service to the Catholic Church.

“The generosity, vision and love for Notre Dame shown by Mary and Jay over the years, not just through benefaction, but in myriad other ways, is extraordinary,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “We celebrated this wonderful gift with Jay’s fellow Trustees at our Board meeting in mid-October, and I’m pleased now to publicly thank and recognize them for their outstanding leadership. They have our never-ending gratitude.”

The $50 million in support will be expended in three ways:

  • The Flahertys have made a $20 million gift and Notre Dame has added another $10 million for the reconstruction and ongoing maintenance of Corby Hall, the on-campus residence and center of hospitality for the Holy Cross community of priests and brothers. The building will continue to bear the name Corby Hall.
  • The Flahertys also are making a separate $5 million gift to the Congregation to benefit its aging religious.
  • Notre Dame, which has a long tradition of supporting its founding order, will donate $15 million to the Congregation – $10 million for general needs and $5 million to establish an endowment in the University’s Office of Mission Engagement and Church Affairs to strengthen collaboration between the University and Congregation throughout the world.

Even before the Congregation of Holy Cross was established by Blessed Basil Moreau in 1837, he welcomed the collaboration of lay faithful in his mission,” said Rev. Thomas J. O’Hara, C.S.C., provincial superior of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers. “This tradition of Holy Cross has propelled our ministries for more than 175 years and is exemplified, in a very profound and meaningful way, by the generosity of Mary and Jay. We are blessed by their transformational partnership and their investment in our charge to make God known, loved and served.”

The recently dedicated Flaherty Hall, a women’s residence hall on the east side of the Notre Dame campus, was made possible by a gift from the Flahertys and is named for Mary Hesburgh Flaherty, a 1979 graduate from one of the first classes to include women. She chairs Notre Dame’s Undergraduate Experience Advisory Council and serves on the boards of Marymount High School, St. Monica Parish Schools and St. John’s Health Center Foundation, which she also chairs. The niece of the late Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., she and Jay are the parents of three fourth-generation Notre Dame graduates, and they have three grandchildren.

Jay Flaherty is a 1979 graduate of Notre Dame and has been a member of the University’s Board of Trustees since 2007. After earning his MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles, Flaherty spent two decades on Wall Street at Merrill Lynch in a variety of investment banking, capital markets and private equity roles. Flaherty served for 11 years as chairman and chief executive officer of HCP, the third largest REIT in the United States. More recently, he served as the managing partner of a real estate joint venture with NorthStar Asset Management.

In addition to Flaherty Hall, the couple has supported several other initiatives at Notre Dame, including student financial aid, an endowed professorship in psychology, The Malpass Scholars, the Campus Crossroads Project and the Hesburgh Library. The Flahertys recently provided the lead matching gift to the “Tribute to Father Ted” endowment for the Congregation of Holy Cross.

“Corby Hall was home to my Uncle Ted for 56 years, and home to his best friend, Father Ned Joyce, for 52 years,” Mary Flaherty said. “Jay and I are pleased to reconstruct their home for the benefit of future generations of Holy Cross religious.

“In their later years, Uncle Ted and Father Ned moved to Holy Cross House, where they received quality care until the time of their passing. This is why it is so important that we support the order’s endowment for aging Holy Cross religious with our gift to the Congregation.”

Constructed in 1893, Corby Hall is the residence for many of the Holy Cross priests and brothers who teach and work at Notre Dame. It is located directly west of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and is named for Rev. William Corby, C.S.C., a Holy Cross priest who served two separate terms as the University’s president and was chaplain of the Irish Brigade at the Battle of Gettysburg. Identical statues of Father Corby giving general absolution to the brigade soldiers just before they went into battle stand on the battlefield at Gettysburg and in front of Corby Hall.

Blessed Basile Moreau, C.S.C., founded the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1837 in Sainte-Croix, France, near LeMans. Five years later, at Father Moreau’s direction, Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C., founded Notre Dame.

Holy Cross is an apostolic religious congregation composed of brothers and priests who work as educators in the faith in schools, parishes and other works of missionary outreach and social justice.

Internationally, the Congregation of Holy Cross consists of more than 1,200 perpetually professed religious brothers and religious priests in 16 countries. In addition to Notre Dame, the United States Province of Holy Cross has three other institutions of higher learning in the United States –King’s College, Stonehill College and the University of Portland – 13 parishes in the United States and parishes, schools and health and social ministries in East Africa, Mexico and South America.