The Excellence in Leadership Program at the University of Notre Dame has been named in honor of John Affleck-Graves, the executive vice president of the University, who announced last summer that he will retire in June. University leaders surprised Affleck-Graves with the honor at a recognition event for the program Monday (Dec. 17) at the Morris Inn.
“Of the rich legacy John will leave at Notre Dame, nothing is more valuable than his commitment to invest in and develop the talents of the University’s most valuable asset — its people,” Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said.
The Excellence in Leadership Program is a yearlong initiative in which 30 senior leaders reflect on and hone their own authentic leadership style, gain experience in building strong communities and form relationships that will be invaluable throughout their careers.
“John not only inspired this program,” Father Jenkins said, “he exemplifies the kind of leader we want to develop at Notre Dame: committed to excellence and to our mission, of the highest integrity, accountable and a team builder. It is most fitting that the program that aspires to develop leaders at Notre Dame, and the certificate given to those who complete it, should bear the name of John Affleck-Graves.”
The program is composed of two complementary components — Executive Leadership and High Performance Leadership. The former is for University employees with potential for senior leadership positions within the next five years. It focuses on culture building, forming communities and leading through change. The latter, for those with the potential to become senior leaders within 10 years, emphasizes team dynamics, developing an understanding of how teams form, how to manage conflict and what makes some teams successful. The program culminates in group projects.
Executive vice president since 2004, Affleck-Graves is the University’s chief financial officer with responsibility for the investment and finance offices. He also has oversight of information technology, human resources, campus safety, event management, construction, building services, landscaping, food services and auxiliary operations, including the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, Morris Inn and licensing.
During Affleck-Graves’ 14 years to date, Notre Dame’s annual operating budget has grown to $1.6 billion from $650 million and the endowment has increased to $13 billion from $3.5 billion. Thirty-six new buildings have been constructed totaling 3.3 million square feet, including Campus Crossroads, the 800,000-square-foot addition of three buildings surrounding Notre Dame Stadium that stands as the largest building initiative in Notre Dame’s 176-year history.
A native of South Africa and a naturalized U.S. citizen, Affleck-Graves earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance and his doctorate in mathematical statistics from the University of Cape Town. He taught and conducted research at his alma mater for 11 years before coming to Notre Dame in 1986, serving until 2000, including as chair of the Department of Finance and Business Economics the final three years. He spent a year at Florida State University as the Patty Hill Smith Eminent Scholar in Finance, then returned to Notre Dame as vice president and associate provost and Notre Dame Chair in Finance.
He is the first layman to serve as Notre Dame’s executive vice president, following Congregation of Holy Cross Revs. Edmund Joyce, E. William Beauchamp and Timothy Scully.