Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. | November 12, 2017
Good evening. Thank you for your presence here.
I begin by thanking Ben Heller, chair of the Faculty Senate, and the Senate for inviting me to deliver this address at tonight’s meeting. I suggested to Ben that we might try this venue for the faculty address for a year, and the Senate graciously agreed to extend an invitation.
In this address, as in previous addresses, I will not attempt to discuss every topic of significance, nor even treat in great depth those I will discuss. I will highlight several topics of particular prominence at this time: the University’s 175th anniversary, new facilities, the internationalization of Notre Dame, the Keough School of Global Affairs, interreligious dialogue, on-campus residency for our undergraduates, innovation and commercialization, the financial landscape for the University and the recently settled lawsuit regarding the provision of a range of contraceptive services. There will be some time for questions after my address.
The academic year got underway for me on August 13 in Vincennes, Indiana, when I joined a group to retrace the steps of Fr. Sorin and his companions to campus. Sorin and his companions had arrived in Vincennes, the largest city in the state at the time, from France a year earlier and had spent a frustrating year looking for the opportunity to establish a university. In the fall of 1842, the Bishop of Vincennes offered Sorin 500 acres of land some 300 miles to the north, near the south bend of the St. Joseph River, on the condition that he would start a school in two years. Sorin and his companions did not hesitate. They loaded all their possessions in an oxcart and made the long trek by foot in eleven days, arriving on November 26, 1842.