Monk moves on: President vows to stay involved at Notre Dame
Meghanne Downes | Monday, May 3, 2004
When Father Theodore Hesburgh stepped down as president of Notre Dame, he left his successor with two promises.
“I will do everything to leave the University in good shape and then get out of the way,” University President Father Edward Malloy recalled Hesburgh saying.
Seventeen years later, Malloy intends to follow the tradition his predecessor established. He announced Friday his decision to step down as the president of Notre Dame.
The Board of Trustees elected vice president and associate provost Father John Jenkins to replace Malloy. He will become the 17th president of Notre Dame on July 1, 2005.
The Board also announced the appointment of current vice president and associate provost John Affleck-Graves as the next executive vice president.
Jenkins, who praised Affleck-Graves’ election, said he was consulted during the search process regarding whether he would recommend Affleck-Graves, who will now oversee the University’s business and financial operations. This follows a trend as both Hesburgh and Malloy entered the office with their executive vice presidents, Fathers Edmund Joyce and William Beauchamp, respectively.
Though Malloy is stepping down as president, he does not intend to stop serving Notre Dame.
“I’m not retiring, just shifting focus. I have no intention of going anyplace else,” Malloy said. “Father Hesburgh provides a great model – he got away, he came back, he’s done great things.”
Malloy said he informed the Board at its October 2003 meeting of his intent to step down at the conclusion of his current term in June 2005. But Malloy also said he wanted the board to ultimately decide if a new president should be named.
Malloy said that after praying and consulting with others, he entered this week’s meeting prepared to turn over the reins of the University to his successor.
“You follow the spirit, you make decisions, you have no regrets, you move on,” Malloy said.
The chairman of the Board of Trustees, Patrick McCartan, said he told the Board’s nominating committee in January to begin the presidential search process. Although other candidates besides Jenkins were considered during the four-month search process, McCartan did not identify who else the committee considered.
“As Trustees, we all look forward to working with Father Jenkins,” McCartan said in a statement. “The superb academic credentials he brings to the leadership of Notre Dame at this time in its history will be of critical importance to realization of our aspiration to become one of the great research universities of the world with a distinctly Catholic character.”
Though Malloy said that today’s announcement was bittersweet, he does look forward to taking a sabbatical and expects to continue his writing projects and teaching.
“I never would have imagined when I first took the job that 17 years later, I’d still be doing it,” Malloy said.
Malloy – who has served as Notre Dame’s president since 1987 – is a rarity among university presidents, who often are replaced more frequently than at Notre Dame. In the past 51 years, only two people – Hesburgh and Malloy – served at the helm of Notre Dame’s top office.
“I’m kind of the grey beard on the block when I go to presidential meetings,” Malloy said, later adding, “I think that all of us recognize, especially when you are a religious community member, that you live under obedience and what God calls you to do at a given moment to do as well as you can.”
Malloy said when he officially steps down on June 30, 2005 he will probably shed a few tears when he departs his fourth floor corner office for the last time as president. But, citing a resiliency he enhanced as a varsity basketball player for Notre Dame during the 1960s, Malloy said he would rather focus on the great memories he had as president and what lies ahead. His fifth book is scheduled to be published this summer and Malloy is already writing his sixth book.
Malloy said he also hopes to continue teaching and serving on the boards of a variety of not-for-profit organizations.
“I certainly want to imitate all the success Monk has had,” Jenkins said. “I will work closely with Monk to learn what he has done to move this University.”
During his tenure as president, Notre Dame completed the Generations campaign that raised $1.1 billion, increased student body diversity, redirected academic and faculty priorities to emphasize research, increased financial aid, made major capital improvements and increased the academic profile of its students.
While Notre Dame saw great success under Malloy, his tenure was not without its blemishes. In 2000, the football team received its first sanction from the NCAA after it was discovered that during Lou Holtz’s era booster Kim Dunbar had illegally given football players money and gifts, which resulted in NCAA violations. Due to a struggling economy, the endowment decreased dramatically in 2002 leading to the Board’s decision to halt many capital improvements, including the new security building and post office. Additionally, all University budgets were decreased, with the exception of financial aid.
But the numerous accomplishments during Malloy’s 17-year tenure overshadowed these problems.
“All one needs to do is to tour our campus, consult the rankings, examine the credentials of our faculty and the outstanding qualifications of our student body to realize what he has accomplished for Notre Dame,” McCartan said in a statement.
“He leaves a truly remarkable record and legacy.”