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Affleck-Graves named to No. 3 post

Claire Heininger | Monday, May 3, 2004

For nearly a year after the resignation of Father Timothy Scully, University President Father Edward Malloy assumed the traditional duties of executive vice president in addition to his own – a move that ultimately allowed Notre Dame to follow its recent precedent of electing both top officials at once. Malloy said the Board of Trustees waited to announce the choice of John Affleck-Graves – the first layperson to hold Notre Dame’s third-ranking post – to coincide with the selection of the new president, as Father John Jenkins’ input was instrumental in both the selection process and in Affleck-Graves’ formal approval.”At a certain point, I was asked my recommendation and I enthusiastically supported [Affleck-Graves],” Jenkins said, adding that his formal endorsement was also solicited as a decision approached. “I responded with unbounded enthusiasm,” he said. “[Affleck-Graves] is going to be a great executive vice president.”Affleck-Graves’ appointment takes effect immediately, Malloy said.Jenkins and Affleck-Graves have worked closely for three years. While serving side by side as associate provosts under University Provost Nathan Hatch, the pair developed a relationship both men believe will serve them well in their future roles.”I find him a wonderful colleague and also a good friend,” Jenkins said. Malloy stressed the importance of the president’s ability to have a strong relationship with his executive vice president, whose duties include overseeing many financial aspects of the University. Malloy’s two previous executive vice presidents left their posts under tumultuous circumstances. In 2000, Father William Beauchamp, who at the time was responsible for overseeing the University’s athletic program, resigned after Notre Dame’s football program was placed on NCAA probation for the first time in school history. Three years later, Scully resigned before the Board of Trustees was scheduled to hear a report on his behavior. The South Bend Tribune reported that Malloy said he would step aside if Scully did not – a rare breach in a partnership traditionally crucial to Notre Dame’s operations.”The top three officers in the University have historically collaborated on just about everything,” Malloy said, referring to Hatch as well as Jenkins and Affleck-Graves. “You can take it for granted that those three officers will be in each other’s company constantly.”The collaboration between the officers will be aided, not diminished, by Affleck-Graves’ status as the first executive vice president who is not a Holy Cross priest, Jenkins believes.”I don’t see an issue,” he said. “I think the wonderful thing about Notre Dame is that you have priests and lay persons working together on a common issue.”Affleck-Graves shared this belief, praising the willingness of the Congregation of Holy Cross to share leadership across the University.”As a lay person, I support the Catholic mission of the University hopefully as strongly as everybody,” he said. “Our priority is to be a Catholic University, and we buy into every part of that.”Protecting the University’s financial future now falls to the 53-year-old Affleck-Graves, a native of South Africa and a naturalized U.S. citizen whose duties as executive vice president will include administering a $650 million annual operating budget and a $3 billion endowment, as well as overseeing more than 4,000 Notre Dame employees and directing the University’s construction program. While he is looking forward to learning more about these day-to-day processes of the University, Affleck-Graves is already well-versed in its financial operations. After teaching at his alma mater, the University of Cape Town in South Africa, for 11 years, he joined the Notre Dame faculty as a finance professor in 1986 and ascended to department chair. His successor, professor Roger Huang, offered a glowing endorsement.”I don’t think there was any better chairman than he was,” Huang said. “For the post of executive vice president, I think they finally got one who was totally dedicated to Notre Dame, immensely talented, very collegial and extremely knowledgeable of the ins and outs of the University.”Affleck-Graves said his relationship with the finance office will be critical in ensuring Notre Dame a fiscally sound future. He also recalled the past, praising Father Edmund Joyce – whose relationship with President Emeritus Father Theodore Hesburgh initiated the closeness between the two positions – as setting an impeccable standard for the executive vice president position.”I think it’s a standard that no one else can achieve, but everyone can aspire to,” Affleck-Graves said. “He was dedicated, hardworking, disciplined, energetic – but at the same time he was visionary.” Stepping into the mold Joyce created and the vacancy Scully left, Affleck-Graves will try to continue that vision.”It’s an enormous challenge,” he said, “but one I look forward to.”