University of Notre Dame Australia confers honorary degree on Father Jenkins

Author: Dennis Brown

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University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., received an honorary doctor of laws degree Tuesday (May 9) from the University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA), a Catholic institution of higher learning modeled on and founded with the assistance of its American namesake. The honorary degree was formally conferred during a visit to campus by Notre Dame Australia’s chancellor, Christopher Ellison, and executive dean of medicine, nursing, midwifery and health sciences, Rathan Subramaniam.

In recognizing Father Jenkins and the University, the UNDA leaders said: “The University of Notre Dame’s commitment and involvement was the most important single factor enabling” the creation of UNDA, adding, “it was your leadership presence and encouragement that gave the Archdiocese of Perth, the Catholic Education Commission and the state government confidence that the project (UNDA) could succeed.”

They also noted: “Rev. Jenkins has been a trustee of UNDA since 2018, and as president of Notre Dame, Rev. Jenkins has continued to lead the University’s enduring and important contribution to UNDA, including through a commitment to the study abroad relationship between the institutions.”

“The University of Notre Dame Australia has a long and close relationship with Notre Dame in the U.S., through my predecessors Fathers Hesburgh and Malloy, and their progress in the few decades of their existence is truly impressive,” Father Jenkins said. “It is a tremendous honor for me to receive this degree from UNDA, a vibrant and growing institution with which we have such a deep bond.”

Beginning in 1989, Notre Dame Australia began the process of receiving Church and government approval. The first class of students enrolled in February 1992. Rev. David Link, on leave as dean of Notre Dame Law School, served as the founding president and vice chancellor of UNDA, and Notre Dame sent 25 study abroad students to spend the inaugural semester on the Fremantle campus.

Since then, Notre Dame administrators have served on the board and provided continuing consultation. More than 1,000 Notre Dame U.S. students have participated in study abroad in Australia, and the two institutions recently expanded their partnership to give UNDA students the opportunity to study at Notre Dame’s Global Gateways in London and Jerusalem, as well as on the main campus in South Bend.

UNDA has expanded beyond Fremantle and now includes campuses in Broome and Sydney with a total student population of more than 11,000.