Chuck Lennon retiring as executive director of Notre Dame Alumni Association

by Dennis Brown

Chuck Lennon

Charles F. Lennon Jr. will retire in June 2011 after 30 years as executive director of the University of Notre Dame Alumni Association. Louis M. Nanni, vice president for University Relations, will conduct a national search for Lennon’s successor.

Speaking on behalf of the two other presidents for whom Lennon served, Revs. Theodore M. Hesburgh and Edward A. Malloy, Notre Dame’s current president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said: “Chuck Lennon embodies the spirit of Notre Dame. As a student, athlete, alumnus, coach, administrator, and, since 1981, as the leader of one of the most extraordinary alumni associations in the nation, that spirit animates everything he does. His life is one of loving service to Notre Dame. We will miss his leadership, insight and infectious enthusiasm but wish him the very best in this next stage of his life.”

Under Lennon’s leadership, the Notre Dame Alumni Association has earned a national reputation for innovation in programming. It was among the first to offer continuing education programming – including the Hesburgh Lecture Series and Excellence in Teaching program – and to initiate community service programs that have been emulated throughout American higher education.

Lennon also led in the creation of the Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific and Native American alumni groups and expanded the roles for women, senior, young and international alumni within the association.

In recent years, the association has developed the Website Pray@ND, which has received more than 616,000 views since its inception, created a career development program for graduates, and established new communications and networking forums for alumni engagement, such as Irish Online and Women Connect.

The vast network of Notre Dame Clubs in cities and towns across the country and around the world is arguably the most extensive in higher education and plays a central role in maintaining the strong bond between Notre Dame and its nearly 132,000 living alumni. Under Lennon’s direction, the number of clubs has grown from 151 to 276, of which 62 are international.

Lennon was promoted to assistant vice president of University Relations in 1991 and associate vice president in 1999.

A native of Joliet, Ill., Lennon earned his bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame in 1961 and played for three seasons and received a monogram in baseball. He earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University in 1962 and served in the Notre Dame athletics department from 1961 to 1966 as an assistant basketball and baseball coach and an assistant ticket manager. He also served for two years as the University’s coordinator of research and sponsored programs.

After leaving the University, Lennon held executive directorships with the Mental Health Association of St. Joseph County, the South Bend Model Cities Program, the Community Development Agency, the Department of Redevelopment, and the Housing Allowance Office. He was president of the St. Joseph Insurance Agency from 1978 to 1981 and served for 13 years as a member of the South Bend Community School Corporation Board of Trustees.

Lennon has taught a management course at the graduate and undergraduate levels in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. He received the Alumni Association’s Armstrong Award in 1989 and the Notre Dame Presidential Award in 1993. In 1992, he was presented with the Irish Clover Award by the Notre Dame student body. He received the Professional Development Award for Mentoring Minorities in 2001 from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Lennon and his wife, Joan, have five children, three of whom are Notre Dame graduates: Sean, Molly, Brian, Colleen and Kevin. They also have 16 grandchildren.