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Jenkins, Hesburgh praise Malloy’s ‘steady hand’

Heather VanHoegarden | Wednesday, April 27, 2005

University President-elect Father John Jenkins met University President Father Edward Malloy 27 years ago when he was a seminarian at Notre Dame and Malloy was a theology professor, and his thoughts on Malloy haven’t changed much since then.

“He was a thoughtful man,” Jenkins said of Malloy. “He was a theology professor here at the time – a highly- respected person, a person of judgment, a dedicated priest – those were my impressions then, and those are my impressions now.”

As Malloy’s 18-year term as president comes to an end, Jenkins said he can take much away from his predecessor’s term. However, the one thing that constantly comes to mind is Malloy’s reliability.

“As a leader, it’s important to be steady,” Jenkins said. “People look to you to set a course, and Monk’s been very steady.”

Jenkins also praised Malloy for the way he set the tone for others at Notre Dame.

“As a leader, it’s important that you set the tone for integrity, and I think he’s done that,” Jenkins said of his predecessor.

The president-elect said one of the things about Malloy he is most grateful for is the fact that the president let others do their jobs, and in turn, allowed him and others to learn and be successful.

“I think he has ability to let other people around him do their jobs well, because there’s a temptation that you have to be the center of attention at all time if you’re in charge, and that’s a disaster as a leader, and he doesn’t do that,” Jenkins said. “He hires good people, and he lets them flourish, he lets them do their job. I think those things are very important.”

Jenkins said another one of Malloy’s strengths was the fact that he maintained his ties to the Holy Cross community at Notre Dame. Malloy, a Holy Cross priest, never strayed far from those values, said Jenkins.

“He’s deeply committed to Notre Dame, to Holy Cross, to being a good priest,” Jenkins said of Malloy. “He gathers good people around himself, and it’s very clear that he’s a Holy Cross priest. There’s never any doubt about that central identity. I think in his decisions and how he approaches things, that’s evident.”

Before becoming president of Notre Dame, Malloy was an undergraduate, then a professor, then a vice president and associate provost of the University. He plans to stay at Notre Dame as a president emeritus, and as a result, Jenkins reiterated Malloy’s commitment to Notre Dame as one of the president’s strengths as the University’s leader.

“To be steady, to be committed to the University, to be dedicated as a priest, to exhibit good moral integrity in all you do, to be faithful to the Holy Cross community as he has been, I think those are the main things,” Jenkins said.

And the incoming president was not the only one to recognize Malloy’s steadiness through the years. University President Emeritus Father Theodore Hesburgh said Malloy will leave a legacy of consistency.

“I think he left a steady hand on the tiller of 18 years, and that’s a long time – probably three or four times longer than most presidents,” Hesburgh said. “I’m sure Father Jenkins will find a lot of strengths he is inheriting from Father Malloy.”

Jenkins agreed with Hesburgh, saying one of the best things about his predecessor was how no matter what, he stayed the course.

“He’s a steady person,” Jenkins said. “Things change and controversies come and go, but you just have to be steady.”

The new president said Malloy has given him advice on what to do during his term, which begins July 1.

“I think he’s said to be your own person and to do it the way you want to do it,” Jenkins said. “I think that’s part of what he does – he lets people flourish. [He said] to be dedicated to the Holy Cross community.”

Malloy has succeeded in that task, Jenkins said, by staying humble and true to his roots in the congregation.

“It’s funny because Monk was the president, and I will be the president of Notre Dame,” Jenkins said. “but you’re one among others in the Holy Cross community, and it’s important to be part of that, have dinner with people, not to feel like you’re more important than people, and I think Monk’s done that well.”

Now that it is almost time for Jenkins to take the helm of the University, he chiefly credits Malloy with one thing – allowing him to develop during the transition period before he officially takes over as president.

“I think the most important thing is he’s let me do what I need to do and he’s supported me,” Jenkins said. “I think that’s all he can do because the difficulty in his position is that if he tries to be too helpful, then people will look to him, and I think he’s been good about receding a bit, but being supportive. I think that’s all he can do, really, and I think he’s done that well.”