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Father Scully receives Presidential Citizens Medal

Author: Arts and Letters

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Rev. Timothy R. Scully, C.S.C., professor of political science and director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI) at the University of Notre Dame, received a 2008 Presidential Citizens Medal in an Oval Office ceremony held Wednesday (Dec. 10).

One of the highest honors the president can confer upon a civilian – second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the Presidential Citizens Medal recognizes U.S. citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for the nation. Since its establishment by executive order in 1969, some 100 people have received the award.

One of 24 recipients of this year’s medal, Father Scully was honored for “committing his life to strengthening communities through faith-based education that prepares individuals for a lifetime of achievement, service and compassion,” according to a White House statement.

“Through his leadership at the University of Notre Dame, he has developed innovative ways to support under-resourced schools. The United States honors Father Scully for demonstrating that every human being has boundless potential,” the statement concluded.

The co-founder of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program and a fellow of the University’s Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Father Scully focuses his research on comparative political institutions, especially political parties and democratic governability. He oversees the work of the University’s Center for Research on Educational Opportunity and ACE, Notre Dame’s signature program that provides hundreds of Catholic schoolteachers to under-served communities across the country.

Father Scully served as Notre Dame’s executive vice president from 2000 to 2003, and as vice president and senior associate provost from 1994 to 2000. He serves as a Fellow and Trustee of the University.

Ordained a Holy Cross priest in 1981, Father Scully was graduated from Notre Dame in 1976 and earned master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the Trinity Foundation Board in Dublin, Ireland; the Woodrow Wilson Center Board; and the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C., as well as the New York Council on Foreign Relations. He serves as a trustee of the University of Notre Dame, Australia.

Established in 1994, the ACE program provides college graduates an opportunity to earn master of education degrees while serving as teachers in understaffed Catholic schools nationwide. In exchange for a modest stipend and a tuition-free graduate program, the ACE participants make a two-year commitment to teach in these schools.

More than 85 recent college graduates from a wide variety of educational disciplines enter ACE each year. They take courses and participate in teacher training projects at Notre Dame during their two summers in the program and are assigned to full-time teaching positions at schools in some 30 cities and 14 states during the academic year. After two years, the students graduate with a master’s degree, and about 75 percent elect to remain in education.

Accompanying Father Scully from Notre Dame to the White House for the ceremony were Rev. Lou DelFra, C.S.C., program coordinator for the Office of Campus Ministry; Rev. Sean McGraw, C.S.C., co-founder of ACE and the program’s chaplain; and Rev. Richard V. Warner, C.S.C., director of Campus Ministry.

Contact: Terri Prister, 574-631-9002,

Originally published by Julie Hail Flory at on December 10, 2008.