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18 years later, Monk leaves lasting legacy

Kate Antonacci and Mary Kate Malone | Wednesday, April 27, 2005

In 1987, Father Edward Malloy took over for Father Theodore Hesburgh as president of Notre Dame – ending a tenure that, at the time, was the longest among active presidents of American institutions of higher learning.

For the next 18 years, Malloy would guide the helm of the nation’s premier Catholic university and lead it to a new level of excellence.

Despite the prestige of his role among Catholics and non-Catholics alike, Malloy found the job to be humbling nonetheless.

“You are very aware of your humanness when you have these kind of jobs,” Malloy said.

Perhaps Malloy’s humanity was what made his term so steady. He believed in his administration, but never stepped out of Mary’s watchful stare from atop her Golden Dome.

From the start, Malloy’s 18-year tenure was defined and driven by the fulfillment of one overarching goal.

“I wanted to focus on Notre Dame’s mission and identity as a Catholic university,” he said. “That was my No. 1 priority.”

If “catholic” means universal, Malloy pursued the manifestation of that word to its fullest definition. The leadership under which the University thrived was based on Malloy’s determination to preserve its religious identity while simultaneously expanding its scope to an international level.


Daniel Saracino, a Notre Dame graduate who currently serves as the University’s director of admissions, had always believed the longevity of Notre Dame’s success would ultimately rely on its enhancement of minority recruiting.

“I would not have returned to Notre Dame in 1997 if I did not firmly believe that we were committed to making our community more ethnically diverse,” Saracino said.

Saracino had nothing to worry about.

In reflecting on his goals as president, diversity is consistently at the top of Malloy’s list.

“I wanted to make sure that we were continuing to move forward as a coeducational institution as well as a multicultural institution,” Malloy said.

With steadfast authority and what Provost Nathan Hatch describes as “unpretentious integrity,” Malloy carried the University to a new level in its recruitment of minorities.

A native of Washington, D.C., Malloy grew up in a richly diverse community. Saracino said perhaps Malloy’s childhood played a role in shaping his goals when he became the president of the University in 1987.

“You don’t realize how much you value diversity until it is taken away from you,” Saracino said. “He clearly understood that Notre Dame could not be a great Notre Dame without more ethnic diversity.”

Diversity became one of the cornerstones of Malloy’s presidency. In the 18 years of his leadership, Notre Dame’s percentage of minority students more than doubled – from 8 percent in 1986 to 23 percent in next year’s incoming freshman class. If international students are included, that number more than triples, rising from 8.1 percent to more than 25 percent in the class of 2009.

But diversity stretches beyond mere figures. Malloy created a University firmly committed to expanding its ethnic scope on a worldwide level.

In 1999, the late Julian Samora founded Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, an organization committed to fostering a better understanding of Latino Catholic culture in the United States. The Institute funds research in a variety of fields related to Latino culture and, Hatch believes, serves as a concrete example that diversity at Notre Dame goes beyond student body makeup. It is an ongoing mission spanning all aspects of the University, Hatch said.

“The Institute for Latino Studies is a great example of our mission for diversity,” Hatch said. “Its creation bears on our Catholic identity while focusing on the issue of minority life.”

The greater inclusion of minority students can be partly attributed to the dramatic increase in financial aid, Hatch said.

“In the last decade, our financial aid has become nationally competitive. Anyone who gets in here can go here, regardless of their financial situation,” Hatch said. “If you look at why we have so many more minorities, the single most important reason is financial aid.”

Malloy was consistently committed to defying modern economic injustice by accommodating students whose families could not afford a Notre Dame education on their own. He was determined to bring worthy students to Notre Dame, focusing on not just racial diversity but also socioeconomic. During Malloy’s presidency, Notre Dame has seen a 1,000-fold increase in University-administered financial aid. In just the 2004-05 school year, scholarship and financial aid increased 10 percent.

Catholic Identity

When asked to describe his boss on a personal level, Hatch literally pulled out a quote from his pocket.

The words, highlighted in a newspaper obituary, read, “The true measure of a man is how he treats those who can do him no good.”

“Monk treats everyone with the same respect and honor. That is a great virtue,” Hatch said. “And he is a priest – that kind of character is a key quality for a Catholic university.”

To his closest colleagues, Malloy’s sincerity and humility were the anchors that kept the University grounded to its Catholic roots.

“Notre Dame’s foremost mission established by Father Sorin is clear, and Monk has overseen that execution,” Hatch said.

To critics, Malloy’s mission might seem to be a paradox in itself. Some claimed that the preservation of a traditional Catholic identity could not coexist with a Notre Dame that holds academic freedom high on its priority list.

For example, Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop John D’Arcy has opposed Notre Dame’s decision to host the Queer Film Festival and the Vagina Monologues, exchanging letters with Malloy and eventually releasing public statements denouncing each event.

“Freedom in the Catholic tradition, and even in the American political tradition, is not the right to do anything,” D’Arcy’s statement on the Monologues read. “[Pope John Paul II] indicates certain parameters relative to freedom; namely, truth and the common good. This play violates the truth about women; the truth about sexuality; the truth about male and female; and the truth about the human body. It is in opposition to the highest understanding of academic freedom … A Catholic university seeks truth.”

Paradox or not, Malloy and his colleagues feel just the opposite. In their eyes, Notre Dame will continue to advance and seek its own truth, and the Virgin Mary will steadfastly watch over its progress.

“We’ve had debates every year I’ve been here about ‘what does it mean to be a Catholic university?'” Malloy said. “It is a Catholic university in the best sense of the term – not that it’s an alien place for non-Catholics, but where the fundamental mission and identity of the school has been preserved and is fostered and is very much at the center of people’s consciousness.”

Under Malloy’s leadership, the University constructed a building in his name to house the philosophy and theology departments. The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies is pioneering the promotion of peace.

To define Notre Dame’s Catholicism in terms of debates, buildings or dollar allocations alone is not adequate, Malloy said. To him, Notre Dame’s identity is woven into the quilt of those who call its campus home.

“There are always debates. Are we too Catholic or not enough? Is it how many people go to Mass, is it the Center of Social Concerns, is it the required courses in philosophy and theology?” Malloy said. “…All I can say is that it is a living, vibrant community of people of good will.”

Academic Reputation

The steady progression of Notre Dame in the rankings of the best national universities means little to Saracino.

Despite his position as the chief ‘cheerleader,’ so to speak, of Notre Dame, the University’s national ranking is of minor importance to Saracino. Though slightly ironic, the statement is highly indicative of the widespread belief that Notre Dame has become a university in a class by itself.

“The rankings are not that big of a deal to us, we don’t put much stock in them,” Saracino said. “But it’s nice to be recognized by your peers.”

Saracino did say, however, that Notre Dame was not in the list of the top 25 universities when Malloy began his presidency.

“We were out of the top 20 but now we’re consistently in it,” Saracino said.

Mendoza College of Business Dean Carolyn Woo believes that Notre Dame’s rise to national prominence can be attributed to the school’s ability to attract faculty on the frontiers of their fields.

“Father Malloy and Nathan Hatch have taken great care to build an outstanding faculty that excels in teaching and research,” Woo said. “Faculty are unquestionably the University’s principal resource.”

In the end, there are two key ingredients for increasing a university’s academic status, and Woo believes Malloy has been deftly mixing the two throughout his presidency.

“Our ability to excel in teaching and research rests upon two critical factors: empowering professors with the necessary time and funding to conduct research and creating endowed chair positions for eminent faculty scholars,” Woo said.

Thanks to the recruitment of superior professors, research at Notre Dame increased significantly during Malloy’s presidency. Hatch estimates the University received 25 million in research funding 10 years ago. He now estimates that number at approximately 75 million.

“If we want to train lots of Catholic leaders, we need to be the best we can be,” Hatch said. “As we get better and better faculty and students, they are going to be doing more research.”

Malloy and Hatch both emphasized the importance of undergraduate research.

“[Research] is not to the detriment of a commitment to undergraduate quality – we need more undergraduates participating in research,” Malloy said.

This emphasis on undergraduate research remains unique to a University founded on a Catholic identity because of its humanitarian goals.

Dean of the College of Science Joseph Marino believes that projects such as studying Third World diseases or Father Tom Streit’s Haiti project show the level of commitment Notre Dame students have to making sure their research is serving to help those who cannot help themselves.

“These projects are direct examples of how Notre Dame students are concerned about humanity,” Marino said. “A lot of the research here is directed toward improving the quality of life. Call it science for humanity.”

Though many alumni are fearful of Notre Dame’s progression towards more research-based learning, some officials, like Dean of Arts and Letters Mark Roche, feel that these strides must continue in order for the University to remain competitive.

“We need competitive research to have a voice as a Catholic university in the scholarly world and the public arena,” Roche said. “Monk understood these principles very well.”

Big Moments

For many people, particularly in the U.S., Sept. 11 is the one day in recent history that stands out above all others as life-changing. For Malloy, the day was no different. Above all other days in 18 years as president, Sept. 11 left an imprint on his memory and his heart.

“The single most memorable moment was 9/11 and the Mass on the quad and all the events surrounding it, because in a sense it was not only a traumatic occasion, but a tremendous rallying by every element of Notre Dame,” Malloy said.

The planes struck the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. early on that Tuesday morning, and, though the time was unexpected and shocking, Malloy said the community joined together and acted as a pillar of strength, holding a moving liturgy in the late afternoon.

“It wasn’t just because we’re a Catholic university and had a Mass. It was the Muslim students were there, people from other religious traditions were there, people from South Bend were there,” Malloy said. “I would say that for me, for all the things I’ve done at Notre Dame that stands as the most memorable.”

Sept. 11 was not the first time Malloy had to deal with a crisis at Notre Dame. On Jan. 24, 1992, tragedy directly struck the University. The Notre Dame women’s swim team was returning to South Bend from a meet at Northwestern University when its bus overturned on the Indiana Toll Road late at night. Two athletes, sophomore Colleen Hipp, 20, and freshman Meghan Beeler, 19, were killed in the accident. Thirty-eight others were injured. One student, Haley Scott, was temporarily paralyzed.

“Related to [Sept.11] were the events surrounding the accident of the women’s swim team, when two were killed and one was seriously hurt,” Malloy said. “I wasn’t here when that happened. I was in Washington, D.C., but I came in the next day and that was another example of the community’s rising together in support.”

The Notre Dame community gathered together at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Malloy said, to pray for those killed, injured or affected by the accident.

“There were many dimensions of that, and once again, Sacred Heart was so packed there wasn’t room for the people and some were outside, kind of displaying solidarity and support for those who had lost life, but also those who were injured,” Malloy said. “And many of the people on the bus were there for the liturgy.”

However, Malloy remembers some of the more positive times at Notre Dame – like winning national titles.

“I’ve had some very upbeat things – winning national championships in football, women’s basketball, soccer, fencing, those occasions when you celebrate that are full of fun and a sense of satisfaction,” Malloy said.


In Malloy’s 18 years as president, 27 new buildings were erected and 20 renovations of older buildings took place.

“I [also] knew that some of the involvement of various levels of the strategic plan that if we were going to [achieve our goals] we’d need more buildings, either modifying or improving our older buildings or building new ones,” Malloy said.

New buildings include four West Quad dormitories, four Mod Quad dormitories, the DeBartolo Classroom Building, Malloy Hall, the Coleman Morse Center, the Marie P. DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts, Hammes Mowbray Hall, the Eck Center, Rolfs Sports Recreation Center, Fisher Graduate Housing and Pasquerilla Center, among others. In 1997, the University remodeled the football stadium, which was originally built in 1930.

When University President-elect Father John Jenkins assumes the presidency on July 1, he will also inherit numerous projects begun, but not completed, during Malloy’s term. These include the Guglielmino Family Athletics Center, Jordan Hall of Science and Ernestine Raclin and O.C. Carmichael Jr. Hall and W.M. Keck Center for Transgene Research.

To Malloy, the addition of new buildings on campus was necessary due to the increase in faculty by roughly 15 per year.

“That’s a huge increase in faculty size, and that means you need buildings to house them – research labs and library and computing resources to support what we do,” Malloy said.


While Malloy is proud of the fact that he was able to accomplish many things simultaneously during his tenure, his time as University president was not without its share of bumps.

Malloy said he has seen turnovers in every position since he assumed office.

“There is nobody in my administration now that was in it when I started,” Malloy said. “And some people have left the administration by retirement, and some by ill health or just natural evolution, going back to the faculty or whatever.”

More publicly, Malloy faced the loss of two executive vice presidents.

In 2000, Father William Beauchamp was removed from the position after serving as the University’s No. 3 official for 13 years. After reviews by the NCAA of Notre Dame’s athletic department, which Beauchamp oversaw, the University received its first major penalty and san
tion in December 1999 after booster Kimberly Dunbar was suspected of giving Irish football players improper gifts. Dunbar was said to have embezzled more than $1.2 million from her employer. Two scholarships were revoked and the football team was placed on probation for two years a result. Michael Wadsworth, who had served as athletic director for five years, also resigned as a result of the incident.

In May 2000, Father Timothy Scully assumed the role of executive vice president. However, he resigned in May 2003 after a reported confrontation with a WNDU cameraman and reporter earlier in the year. Scully resigned before the Board of Trustees was scheduled to hear a report on his behavior. The South Bend Tribune then reported that Malloy said he would step aside if Scully did not resign from his position.

The executive vice president position then went vacant for a year before the Board of Trustees elected John Affleck-Graves on April 30, 2004. Affleck-Graves became the first layman to hold the position.

Malloy expressed pleasure that Affleck-Graves was chosen as the University’s executive vice president. Though he is not a Holy Cross priest, Malloy is confident that the University will be well served by his stewardship.

“I’m pleased that he was chosen, and I think he is going to be a tremendous asset to Father Jenkins’ administration after July 1,” Malloy said. “I feel very good about where we are in the executive vice president ranks, and if there were a few challenges earlier than that, I think we’ve moved beyond them and we’re back to a healthy position here.”

The struggling economy also affected Malloy’s plans for the University. In 2002, the Board of Trustees decided to halt many building campaigns due to a decrease in the endowment. All University budgets were also decreased at this time, though financial aid remained constant and consistent with rising tuition costs.

Earlier in his tenure, however, Malloy completed the Generations campaign, which raised $1.1 billion and opened many doors for the University, in areas like financial aid, faculty and student research, capital campaigns and increased diversity.

Malloy said the only regret of his presidency was that he wasn’t always able to rise to the occasion when the situation demanded it. However, these memories do not weigh heavily on his shoulders.

“It’s not like I carry a huge burden,” Malloy said. “I’m not haunted by them – I’m just very aware of the [human] reality.”

Balancing goals

Looking back over his years under the Dome, Malloy observed that those in leadership posts such as his own often garner excessive praise as well as excessive criticism.

“In these high positions, you get more credit than you deserve and more blame than you deserve,” Malloy said.

If there is something he does deserve credit for, Malloy said, it is his balancing of multiple goals – the University’s and his own.

“I’m proudest that we were able to do many things simultaneously,” he said. “…I had many goals, and the thing I’m most pleased about is that if you take any of those as an example, I think we’ve made real progress in each of them.”