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John Affleck-Graves announces retirement as executive vice president of Notre Dame

| Wednesday, August 22, 2018

After serving as Notre Dame’s executive vice president since 2004, John Affleck-Graves will retire on June 30, the University announced in a press release emailed to the Notre Dame community Wednesday.

“It is with mixed emotions that I send along the attached press release announcing the retirement in June 2019 of the University’s executive vice president, John Affleck-Graves, a trusted colleague, cherished friend and highly regarded member of the faculty,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the email. “John informed me of his decision to retire from the EVP role earlier this summer, and we agreed that we would make this news public soon after the start of the new academic year.”

Affleck-Graves said he appreciated the opportunity to work with Notre Dame’s administration during his tenure, and thanked the University’s staff for its service.

“It has been a privilege to work with Fr. John, Provost Tom Burish and the Board of Trustees for these 15 years,” he said in the release. “I have been blessed to have a tremendous team of leaders in the EVP Division and am especially grateful for the commitment and dedication of all the staff who deliver such exceptional service to our campus community on a daily basis.”

The University will search for a successor to Affleck-Graves in the coming months, Jenkins said in the email.

“I am confident that, working closely with our Board of Trustees, we will identify a visionary leader who will carry forward and build on John’s extraordinary legacy,” he said.

Affleck-Graves has also served as chief financial officer of the University, managing “the operating budget, endowment, finance, information technology, human resources, campus safety, event management, construction, building services, landscaping, food services and auxiliary operations, including the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, Morris Inn and licensing,” the release said.

“John Affleck-Graves is key to why Notre Dame is universally respected for its superb management by institutional leaders across the country,” John J. Brennan, the University’s chair of the Board of Trustees, said in the release. “He shepherded the greatest expansion and modernization of Notre Dame’s physical plant, including research and residential facilities, in ways which were fiscally responsible, environmentally sound and beautiful. At the same time, John has stewarded a huge increase in financial aid for our students to more than $147 million from $58 million during his tenure.”

Since 2004, when Affleck-Graves began his tenure, the University’s endowment has grown from $3.5 billion to $11.8 billion and its operating budget has increased from $650 million to $1.5 billion, according to the release. Notre Dame has added 3.3 million square feet in new structures, through the 36 buildings constructed under Affleck-Graves’s tenure, including the Campus Crossroads project. According to the release, the University “maintained its construction timelines and never laid off employees,” under Affleck-Graves, despite pressures to do so during the economic recession that began in 2007.

“The University has benefited immeasurably from John’s intelligence, good judgment, leadership ability, tireless work ethic and, above all, his devotion to Notre Dame and its mission,” Jenkins said in the release. “It has been a personal privilege to work with him as a colleague and a friend for 18 years.”

Originally from South Africa, Affleck-Graves earned an undergraduate degree in finance at the University of Cape Town, as well as a master’s degree in the same field. He also holds a doctorate degree in mathematical statistics from the University of Cape Town.

His career includes 11 years as a professor and researcher at the University of Cape Town. He first came to Notre Dame in 1986 and stayed until 2000, serving as chair of the Department of Finance and Business Economics in his last three years. He then spent a year at Florida State University, before returning to Notre Dame and serving as associate provost, vice president and Notre Dame Chair in Finance.

Affleck-Graves’s predecessors include Congregation of Holy Cross priests, Fr. Edmund Joyce, Fr. E. William Beauchamp and Fr. Timothy Scully. According to the release, he is the first lay executive vice president.

Affleck-Graves has been recognized with eight teaching awards at Notre Dame and two at the University of Cape Town, the release said. During his tenure, it stated, he has served on “the Academic Council, Academic Code of Honor Committee and Faculty Senate and as chair of the Provost’s Task Force on Curricular Innovation.” As chair of the Regional Development Authority in north central Indiana, he played a key role in procuring at $42 million state grant for his work in cross-county development plans.

According to the email announcing Affleck-Graves’s retirement, the University administrator plans to continue teaching at Notre Dame, traveling and spending more time with his children and grandchildren during his retirement.

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