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Fr. Jenkins reasserts devotion to excellence

| Tuesday, March 4, 2014

University President Fr. John Jenkins led the spring 2014 town hall meeting Monday in Washington Hall, which focused on campus expansion projects as well as ways to improve Notre Dame for future students.

Jenkins discussed the importance of constantly adapting and revising Notre Dame, making it better for the future.

“Notre Dame’s commitment to education, scholarly engagement, internationality and faith sets it apart as an outstanding research university.” Jenkins said. “Everybody should be asking questions. Everyone should be engaged in discovering new truths — that is what sets Notre Dame apart from other top schools.”

Jenkins described the “Strategic Plan”, which involves many important additions to the campus.

“The current residence halls are filled to 106 percent, which is a major problem,” Jenkins said.

In response, the University will build two new residence halls behind Grace Hall. Other projects include a new architecture building, Nanovic Hall, Jenkins Hall, a new research complex and the expansion of the Hesburgh Library.

Town Hall, Caroline GencoKatie McCarty | The Observer

Jenkins also addressed the Campus Crossroads Project, which aims to maximize use of space around Notre Dame stadium.

“One of the goals is to keep the campus compact — Notre Dame is a walking campus, and it should always be a walking campus,” Jenkins said. “This project will work because it will recapture space that isn’t being used but is still in the walking zone.”

According to Jenkins, new buildings will be built around the stadium including new professor offices, a music building and a new student center.

Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves also discussed the “ImproveND Project”, which is essentially a survey to identify the school’s weaknesses and strengths.

The survey showed that Notre Dame is strongest in campus safety, library services and fitness and recreation services, he said. Lower scores were in timeliness and openness to suggestions, campus eateries and catering and performance management.

The president and faculty are constantly working to identify areas of improvement, set achievable goals  and monitor progress in order to create accountability and show commitment to justice and fairness in light of Notre Dame’s Catholic mission, Jenkins said.  These changes are working to modernize and evolve Notre Dame to keep in competitive among top international universities.

The question is whether Fr. Sorin would look at Notre Dame today and see the fulfillment of his dream for the University, Jenkins said.

“If we’ve done our job, Sorin would look around and say ‘this is what I dreamed of,” Jenkins said.

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