Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Friday, Feb. 23, 2024
The Observer

Fr. Ernest J. Bartell, inaugural director of Kellogg Institute, dies at 88

Fr. Ernest J. Bartell, a retired economist and director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, died Thursday at the age of 88, the University announced in a press release.

“Father Bartell served Notre Dame and the Congregation in many ways for decades,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the release. “We will miss his discerning leadership and his many contributions as a Holy Cross priest, faculty member, Trustee and administrator. May God rest his soul.”

Bartell earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Notre Dame in 1953, the release said. Additionally, he held master’s degrees from the University of Chicago and Holy Cross College in economics and theology, respectively.

According to the release, he was received into the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1961. Bartell then received a PhD in economics from Princeton University in 1966.

Bartell served as the president of Stonehill College in Massachusetts from 1971 to 1977. Immediately after, he worked in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare from 1977 to 1980 as the director for the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education.

After Bartell’s return to Notre Dame, he spent 65 years with the University and the Congregation of the Holy Cross. During this time, he initiated Notre Dame’s first international service program for undergraduate volunteers –– the Community for the International Lay Apostolate –– taught and conducted research in the economics department and served as the inaugural director of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies.

“He was integral in attracting a group of highly regarded scholars who helped cement Kellogg’s reputation as a respected center for the study of democracy and human development, particularly in Latin America,“ the release said.

In 1974, Bartell was elected as a trustee of the University and also served as a faculty fellow.

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be a private committal service at the community cemetery at Notre Dame,” the release said. “Later, when family, friends and former colleagues can travel and gather together, there will be a memorial Mass at the University’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart.”

Contributions in memory of Bartell can be made to to the United States Province of Priests and Brothers to support the Holy Cross missions and ministries or online at