Honorary Doctorate for Notre Dame USA President

17 May 2023

The University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA) has awarded an Honorary Doctorate to Rev John Jenkins CSC for his outstanding contributions to the University, Catholic education and the Church.

Rev Jenkins is the President of the University of Notre Dame USA and has been a trustee of UNDA since January 2018.

He has continued to lead the important contribution Notre Dame has made to our university, including through a commitment to a study abroad relationship between the universities.

An Honorary Doctorate of Laws was conferred last week during a visit to the American campus by UNDA Chancellor, The Honourable Christopher Ellison, and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Midwifery and Health Sciences, Professor Rathan Subramaniam.

“Rev Jenkins has made, and continues to make, an outstanding contribution to Catholic education and to the Church, and provides continued support and counsel for the development of UNDA, including through his role on the Board of Trustees,” Mr Ellison said.

“This not only strengthens the bond between the Church in USA and Australia, it also strengthens the important relationship between the two countries.”

The University of Notre Dame was instrumental in the establishment of UNDA more than 30 years ago. The leadership presence and encouragement of Notre Dame gave the Archdiocese of Perth, the Catholic Education Commission and the WA State Government the confidence the Australian university could succeed.

Rev Jenkins said he was honoured to receive the degree from UNDA, describing the University’s progress over the past 31 years as impressive.

“The University of Notre Dame Australia has a long and close relationship with Notre Dame in the US, through my predecessors Fathers Hesburgh and Malloy, and their progress in the few decades of their existence is truly impressive,” he said.

“It is a tremendous honour for me to receive this degree from UNDA, a vibrant and growing institution with which we have a deep bond.”

A Memorandum of Understanding between Notre Dame United States and the University of Notre Dame Australia was also signed during the visit to encourage collaboration on short-term immersions, research projects, academic staff exchange and the exchange of academic materials.

Notre Dame originally sent 25 study abroad students to Australia to spend the inaugural semester on the Fremantle campus in 1992.

Since then, more than 1000 Notre Dame students have come to Australia to study, and the two universities last year expanded their partnership to give Australian students the chance to study at Notre Dame’s Global Gateways in London and Jerusalem, as well as the main campus in Indiana.

Under the leadership of Rev Jenkins, Notre Dame has increased the diversity of its student population, expanded its global footprint and continued to increase financial aid to students in need.

Rev Jenkins has a Doctorate in Philosophy from Oxford University, and a Master of Divinity and Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology.

He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010, and a year later appointed to the Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Rev Jenkins has been awarded a Lilly Teaching Fellowship, has received the Catholic Extension Spirit of Francis Award, and has published a book and a number of scholarly articles.

Media Contact: media@nd.edu.au