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New $14 million building to house ICL, CSC

Author: Arts and Letters


Gifts totaling $14 million, primarily from Michael and Sheila Geddes and Thomas and Mary Cabot, will fund the construction of a new building for the Institute for Church Life (ICL) and the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) at the University of Notre Dame.

To be called Geddes Hall, the building will be approximately 64,000 square feet in size and will include a chapel named after the Cabot family. The facility will be located on an expanded site in the same area as the current Center for Social Concerns. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2008 and completed by the fall of 2009.

“The Institute for Church Life and the Center for Social Concerns are important components in Notre Dame’s Catholic mission to better serve students, society and the Church,” said the University’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. “This new building will provide the expanded and enhanced space which the institute and center need because of the growth in demand for their services and programs. In addition, it will help foster many synergistic opportunities for the two entities to work more closely together on programs involving students, alumni and other Notre Dame constituents in service to the Church and society. We are deeply appreciative of the extraordinary generosity of our donors in making this important growth opportunity possible.”

Michael Geddes earned his bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame and a master of business administration degree from Harvard University. A member of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees, he is chairman and president of Geddes and Company of Phoenix, a private investment and consulting firm he founded in 1978. He also is chairman of several other Phoenix-basedcompanies engaged in engineering, consulting, financial services and real estate.

Geddes is active in numerous civic and service organizations in Phoenix and serves as a Trustee liaison on Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life Advisory Council. He has been awarded an honorary monogram from Notre Dame and was the 2006 recipient of the University’s Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C., Award.

Thomas D. Cabot is a 1944 graduate of Harvard University, where he studied the then-emerging field of electronics. He served in World War II as an officer in naval aviation and spent his business career in venture capital and worldwide petrochemicals.

Cabot currently is in the top management of a dozen family-owned companies and trusts in Massachusetts, Maine and Colorado, including the Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation, which he helped to create to promote philanthropy within his parents’ 98-member Cabot family. Mary Cabot has been equally involved in these as well as other activities. The youngest of their six children, James, is a 1990 graduate of Notre Dame.

The Cabots have been active in nearly every aspect of education, primarily in Greenwich, Conn., and with the Archdiocese of Bridgeport, Conn. They now reside in Naples, Fla., and have been members of the ICL Advisory Council since 1996. They are the primary sponsors of the CSC’s international Summer Service initiative, which helps those in need in underdeveloped nations and broadens the experiences and perspectives of the Notre Dame students who serve.

The Institute for Church Life (ICL) was established in 1976 as the Institute for Pastoral and Social Ministry. It was renamed in 1992 and is under the direction of John Cavadini, chair and associate professor of theology.

The ICL augments the University’s larger mission of teaching, research and service to society and to the Catholic Church. Through its resources, projects and affiliate centers, the institute reaches out to the whole spectrum of Church leaders – its bishops, clergy, religious and laity – to provide training and service, as well as opportunities for spiritual rejuvenation and personal growth.

Primary ICL initiatives include the Satellite Theological Education Program, which provides quality theological education nationwide via the Internet to pastoral ministers and otheradult Catholics; the Center for Catechetical Initiatives, a program that offers new and creative approaches to preparing more qualified people to serve as parish catechetical leaders and that encourages dioceses to offer realistic paths for young people seeking careers in catechetical ministries; and ND Vision, a program designed to foster a sense of vocation among young people. The institute also works on many activities in collaboration with the University’s Center for Liturgy, Center for Social Concerns and various academic units, particularly the Department of Theology.

Responding to the University mission statement “where learning becomes service to justice,” the Center for Social Concerns was founded in 1983 as Notre Dame’s community-based learning, research and service center. The CSC actively engages students, faculty, staff and alumni to think critically about today’s complex social realities and consider their responsibilities within them.

Using its proven experiential learning model, the center exposes more than 2,000 undergraduate students annually to social justice issues through courses ranging from one week to three months in communities worldwide. Through these experiences, and through direct service in the local community, Notre Dame students provide more than 265,000 hours of community service each year.

The center also fosters 70 community-based learning courses and advances community-based research through grants and awards that enable University faculty and students to collaborate with members of the local community on various initiatives. These projects have included, among others, reducing child neglect among high-risk mothers, examining variables for assessing risks of heart disease, and developing learning strategies for at-risk youth.

Originally published by Dennis Brown at on February 23, 2007.