John Gohsman, vice president and chief information officer at the University of Notre Dame from 2018 to 2020, died Saturday (Nov. 13). He was 61.
“The prayers of the Notre Dame community are with John’s wife, Mary, their family and many friends,” University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said. “John engendered tremendous respect among all who were fortunate enough to work with him, not only because of his formidable technical expertise, but even more because of his wisdom, his collaborative spirit and his genuine care for the people with whom he worked. We are saddened by his passing and ask for God’s consolation for his loved ones. May he rest in peace.”
Shannon Cullinan, executive vice president at Notre Dame, added: “There is much we will miss in our interactions with John, from his strategic approach to his calm demeanor when a crisis hit, but most of all we will miss his example. John built partnerships easily because there was always a purity in his intent, kindness in his approach and a commitment to doing first and foremost what was best for the institution.”
Appointed on May 9, 2018, to lead Notre Dame’s information technologies division, he directed a staff of more than 250 and managed IT infrastructure that supports the entire campus community.
Among his accomplishments at Notre Dame, he launched its IT governance program, expanded the University’s data governance program, improved reporting systems just in time to manage technology needs during the pandemic, enhanced Notre Dame’s information security to address ever-increasing threats and modernized core IT platforms.
Prior to joining Notre Dame, Gohsman was the inaugural vice chancellor for information technology (IT) and CIO at Washington University in St. Louis for five years. He directed its academic, clinical, research and administrative computing services, and created an IT governance structure to guide the university’s IT investments. He was responsible for building the university’s first central IT organization.
Raised in Vassar, Michigan, Gohsman spent 30 years in information technology at the University of Michigan. As executive director for strategy, planning and solutions in IT services, he is credited with helping establish Michigan as an early user of academic and administrative analytics. His areas of expertise included strategic planning; IT governance; program, project and change management; and administrative, academic and business intelligence systems.
He led the NextGen Michigan program, which implemented the University of Michigan’s first private and public cloud offerings. He also managed Michigan’s M-Pathways implementation for student administration and for human resources management systems. The project won the 1999 Computerworld Smithsonian Award for the use of computer technology in innovative ways. He served as president of the PeopleSoft Higher Education User Group from 2001 to 2002.
Gohsman earned his bachelor’s degree in business data processing from Ferris State University.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Gohsman, assistant director for special projects and operations in Notre Dame’s Center for Research Computing, and two sons, Aaron and Evan.
Visitation will be Thursday (Nov. 18) from noon to 2 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. at Martin Funeral Home, Cremation & Tribute Services-Vassar, 1148 Saginaw Road, Vassar, Michigan. A viewing will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 3455 Van Buren Road, Reese, Michigan. A funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. at the church.