Sister Jean Lenz, O.S.F., special assistant to the vice president for student affairs at the University of Notre Dame, will retire at the end of the fall semester, according to Rev. Mark L. Poorman, C.S.C., vice president for student affairs.
“Not only as an administrator, but also as a teacher, mentor and alumna of Notre Dame, Sister Jean shared her life with us and indelibly influenced our first generation of women,”Father Poorman said.“She is a pioneer of coeducation at the University, a gifted administrator, and a beloved presence on our campus.She always has been and always will be among Notre Dame’s cherished daughters.”
“When I first came to campus, I had planned to assist Notre Dame’s first women for a year or two,”Sister Jean said.“I’m surprised, delighted and grateful that those years turned into 36 years of wonderful ministry.”
A Chicago native and a Franciscan sister of the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, Sister Jean, who earned a master’s degree from Notre Dame in 1967, was among the first women rectors on campus following the University’s transition to coeducation in 1972 after 130 years as an all-male institution.
She headed Farley Hall from 1973 until 1983, when she became the rector and chaplain of Notre Dame’s London Program. From 1984 until last July, she served as assistant vice president for student affairs, and for many of those years she also served as an adjunct instructor in theology.She is the author of"Loyal Sons and Daughters,"an account of her years as an administrator, teacher, mentor, minister and alumna of the University.Last year Sister Jean’s name was added to the Wall of Honor in Notre Dame’s Main Building.