Alumnus Joe Donnelly confirmed as US ambassador to the Holy See

Author: Dennis Brown

Joe Donnelly speaks during a tribute ceremony in the Purcell Pavilion to honor the life of the late President Emeritus Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. (Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)

The U.S. Senate today confirmed the nomination of University of Notre Dame alumnus and former senator Joe Donnelly as ambassador to the Holy See.

“Joe is a person of deep Catholic faith and commitment to public service, and I am confident that he will serve in this important new role with vision and integrity,” Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said. “It comes as no surprise that there was broad bipartisan support for his confirmation, as he has proven throughout his career that he is committed to building relationships and working across divisions. Joe has the prayers of his alma mater, as well as our commitment to assist him in any way we can.”

The United States established formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 1984 and works in partnership with the Holy See on a wide range of issues, including democracy, peace and security, human trafficking, interreligious dialogue, development and foreign aid, and human rights.

A 1977 graduate of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Donnelly went on to earn his law degree from the University four years later. He represented Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Notre Dame, for three terms and served one term in the U.S. Senate.

As a professor of the practice at Notre Dame from 2019 to 2021, Donnelly taught courses in the Keough School of Global Affairs on American politics, public policy and leadership. He also has practiced law over the past three years with the Washington, D.C., firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.