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ND in talks to hire ex-governor

Mary Kate Malone | Friday, October 28, 2005

The Notre Dame department of political science is currently in talks to add former governor of Indiana Joseph Kernan to its faculty.

Kernan, a 1968 graduate of Notre Dame, has expressed interest in teaching a single-credit gubernatorial leadership class at the University, political science professor John Roos said Wednesday.

“Ex-governor Kernan loves his alma mater and has an extraordinary knowledge in politics and government,” Roos said. “He’s dealt with billion dollar budgets, capital punishment crime cases [and] property taxes. He has a range of experience about politics that would be of use to students.”

Kernan served as mayor of South Bend from 1987 to 1996. 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.

Kernan – who resides in South Bend – left his post as governor on Jan. 10 after Republican Mitch Daniels defeated him in the 2004 gubernatorial election.

Roos said Kernan’s class could be available as soon as spring 2006. The course would likely be small and focus on different dimensions of state politics, Roos said. Kernan would use his experience in politics to shape parts of the class around major issues he faced while serving in the public sector.

“Healthcare, budgets, welfare, transportation, capital punishment,” Roos said. “He would draw upon his experiences in the statehouse and take students through the actual Indiana budget, for example, to show the politics of putting a budget together.”

In addition to teaching the course, Kernan would give talks periodically and serve as an advisor for students interested in public affairs.

“He loves South Bend, he loves Notre Dame,” Roos said. “He loves to work with young people and he would be a terrific asset if we could get him.”