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Kernan to teach at University

Mary Kate Malone | Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Joseph Kernan, former governor of Indiana, has been hired by the Notre Dame political science department to teach a single credit, gubernatorial leadership seminar beginning next year, acting chair of political science John Roos said.

Kernan’s class, titled “The Executive Branch and Public Policy,” will have about 20 students and will be offered during the spring semester of 2006, according to a University press release.

“Joe has an enormous life experience of balancing multi-billion dollar budgets, dealing with a state legislature, working in the governor’s office and being mayor of South Bend for nine years,” Roos said. “He has a wide range of political experience he can share with his students. He’s a real leader.”

Kernan’s class will focus on state and local budgets, welfare, economic development, health care, capital punishment, urban development and crime. He will give periodic lectures throughout the year on politics and public service and be available for individual meetings with students seeking career advice.

“This is somebody that’s always been devoted to public service,” Roos said. “He’s a really, really good guy.”

Roos said Kernan’s hiring was pursued by both the University and Kernan.

“Joe was always interested, he just didn’t know if he wanted to do something both semesters or one, or how it was going to be structured,” Roos said. “We talked together [about the position]. We’ve known each other for a long time.”

Kernan is a 1968 graduate of Notre Dame and former mayor of South Bend – a position he held for nine years. He was South Bend’s longest-serving mayor when he resigned to become lieutenant governor under Frank O’Bannon in 1996. When O’Bannon suffered a massive stroke in 2003, Kernan assumed command as Indiana’s 48th governor.