Jenkins speaks to ND staff at morning meal
Maddie Hanna | Friday, September 23, 2005
University staff members started Thursday bright and early with jelly, jam and University President Father John Jenkins in the Joyce Center.
“You are the foundation of what we do,” Jenkins told staff at a breakfast that kicked off his inauguration weekend. “Notre Dame is you, the people who work here.”
Jenkins recalled letters written by University founder Father Edward Sorin about the six Holy Cross brothers who served as his staff.
“He realized that they were critical to what Notre Dame would become,” Jenkins said. “You are the successors of those people who worked so hard to build Notre Dame.”
He focused on “the spirit of Notre Dame” and the importance of positive attitude, “of warmth, of welcome, of dedication, a sense of community amongst yourselves.”
“When we work that way, all our jobs become easier, more pleasant,” he said.
Both Jenkins and new Provost Thomas Burish have professed lofty goals for the future of the University, preaching themes like “advancement” and “greatness.” But Jenkins assured staff of their integral part in the process.
“Whatever we do, we will always try to remember, is made possible because of what you do,” he said. “We can only do what we do and bring Notre Dame ahead because of that, what you bring to this job. I just want to thank you in advance.”
Staff members reacted very positively to the speech and expressed excitement for the inauguration of Jenkins, who spent most of the breakfast circulating from table to table, introducing himself to guests.
“It’s an historic event,” Mendoza College of Business advisor Jennifer Dujka said. “There haven’t been that many [Notre Dame] presidents – hopefully we’ll have him for quite a while.”
Morris Inn rooms manager Sherri Tubinis compared the weekend to University President Emeritus Father Edward Malloy’s inauguration, which she recalled fondly.
“I still remember all the details of that,” Tubinis said. “I think the staff, faculty and students should take advantage of the opportunities.”
For Tubinis, the most standout of Malloy’s events was the most traditional – the inauguration ceremony.
“The main event I remember was the actual inauguration at the Joyce Center. It was totally full. It was just a very moving, inspirational [ceremony], and I’m sure this one will be just as eventful,” she said.
Tubinis emphasized the “inclusive” nature of Jenkins’ inauguration.
“They have planned so many events for staff, students and faculty,” she said. “This staff breakfast didn’t happen before.”
Both Tubinis and Morris Inn reservation sales employee Shannen Mears said they felt comfortable with Jenkins as president.
“I thought he seemed very warm, friendly, down-to-earth,” Mears said.
“We like his smile,” Tubinis said.
Mears said “30-something” members of Jenkins’ family who traveled to Notre Dame from Omaha and checked in at the Morris Inn Wednesday. She mentioned how they all smiled at the check-in desk.
All of Jenkins’ family members, Tubinis said, “are just as friendly as he is.”
Even with so many family members and activities to attend to, Jenkins said he was not stressed, but excited about his jam-packed two days.
“I think the biggest challenge will be to keep my energy up,” he said.