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Inauguration of Father Jenkins as president set for Sept. 22-23

Author: Arts and Letters


An academic forum of world leaders, musical performances, a Mass and an academic procession will be among the events that mark the inauguration Sept. 22 and 23 (Thursday and Friday) of Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., as the 17th president of the University of Notre Dame.

The highlight of the two-day event will be the investiture of Father Jenkins at 3p.m. Sept. 23 in the Joyce Center arena. Board of Trustees Chair Patrick F. McCartan will present the Presidential Medal and University Mace, symbolizing the office and its authority, to Father Jenkins, who then will deliver his inaugural address.

The investiture will be preceded at 2p.m. by an academic procession that will begin at the Main Building and continue through the Main Quad to the Joyce Center. The Notre Dame Band will lead the procession and provide music with an international theme at five locations along the route. Following the investiture, a closing reception will take place at 4:45p.m. adjacent to the Hesburgh Library reflecting pool, and students will host an inaugural ball on the South Quad beginning at 7p.m.

Inaugural events are by invitation, and most require tickets. Students may register for event tickets online; tickets for other guests will be available for pickup at McKenna Hall on Sept. 22 and 23.

The inauguration will begin at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 22 with a breakfast hosted by Father Jenkins in the Joyce Center fieldhouse for Notre Dame staff members.

At 2p.m. Sept. 22, the first Notre Dame Forum will be convened in the Joyce Center. Titled “Why God? Understanding Religion and Enacting Faith in a Plural World,” the forum will feature four world leaders – Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan; Cardinal Oscar Andrs Rogrguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., of Honduras; Naomi Chazan, professor of political science and African studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a former member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, and a three-decade participant in the Israeli-Palestine peace process; and John C. Danforth, former U.S. senator and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Retired NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw will serve as the moderator.

Initiated by Father Jenkins, the Notre Dame Forum will be an annual event in which the University will bring world leaders to campus to share their experiences and advice with Notre Dame students who are preparing to enter the public debate and shape professional life.

Other events on Sept. 22 will include a celebratory reception and dinner – to be emceed by Notre Dame alumna and CBS Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm – and a variety of performances in the DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts.

Before the academic procession and investiture on Sept. 23, Father Jenkins will participate in a Mass at 10 a.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and a luncheon at 11:45 a.m. in the Joyce Center fieldhouse.

More inauguration information is available on the Web at .

Father Jenkins, 51, was elected April 30, 2004, by the Board of Trustees to a five-year term as president and began serving July 1. He is just the third Notre Dame president in 53 years, following Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., who led the University for 35 years, from 1952 to 1987, and Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., who served for the past 18 years.

Notre Dame’s bylaws stipulate that the president of the University must be a priest from the Indiana Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the institution’s founding religious community.

A professor of philosophy and member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1990, Father Jenkins had served from July 2000 until his election as president as a vice president and associate provost at the University.

Prior to his service in the provost’s office, Father Jenkins had been religious superior of the Holy Cross priests and brothers at Notre Dame for three years. As religious superior, he was a Fellow and Trustee of the University, but he relinquished those posts to assume his duties in the provost’s office.

Father Jenkins specializes in the areas of ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy and the philosophy of religion. He is the author of “Knowledge and Faith in Thomas Aquinas,” published by Cambridge University Press in 1997.

Father Jenkins earned master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy from Oxford University in 1987 and 1989. He earned his master of divinity degree and licentiate in sacred theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, Calif., in 1988. Prior to entering the Congregation of Holy Cross, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy from Notre Dame in 1976 and 1978, respectively.

Father Jenkins was ordained a priest in Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart in 1983. He served as director of the Old College program for Notre Dame undergraduate candidates for the Congregation of Holy Cross from 1991 to 1993.

Father Jenkins was born Dec. 17, 1953, in Omaha, Neb., where he was raised as the third-born in a family of 12 children.

Originally published by Dennis Brown at on September 08, 2005.