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Monday, Feb. 26, 2024
The Observer

Fr. Robert Dowd elected as Notre Dame's next president

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The Board of Trustees elected Fr. Robert Dowd as the University's next president on Dec. 4, 2023.

The Board of Trustees elected Fr. Robert Dowd as Notre Dame’s 18th president Monday.

Board chair Jack Brennan announced Dowd’s election in an email to the University community, writing that Dowd will assume the duties of the presidency on July 1, 2024.

Dowd currently serves as Religious Superior of the Holy Cross Community at Notre Dame and is a fellow and trustee of the University. He is an associate professor of political science and since 2021 has held the position of vice president and associate provost for interdisciplinary initiatives. He previously served as an assistant provost for internationalization with Notre Dame International and founded Notre Dame’s Ford Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity.

As part of his current role, Dowd oversees academic units and institutes on campus including the Center for Social Concerns, Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate, ROTC programs and Raclin Murphy Museum of Art, among others.

Originally from Michigan City, Indiana, Dowd graduated from Notre Dame in 1987 with a degree in psychology and economics before entering Moreau Seminary. He currently lives in Cavanaugh Hall as the dorm's priest-in-residence. As a political scientist, Dowd's scholarship has focused largely on Africa and includes the book "Christianity, Islam, and Liberal Democracy: Lessons from sub-Saharan Africa." Dowd spent 18 months in East Africa while in the seminary.

The current Notre Dame president, Fr. John Jenkins, announced on Oct. 13 that he would step down from the presidency at the end of the 2023-24 academic year after 19 years in office.

Notre Dame has had three presidents in the past 70 years — Jenkins, Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy and Fr. Theodore Hesburgh.

“We can all be grateful for Fr. Jenkins’ selfless and courageous leadership for almost two decades. Working together with others, his efforts have positioned the University extremely well in every way,” Dowd said. “We will build on those efforts. Informed by our Catholic missions, we will work together so that Notre Dame is an ever-greater engine of insight, innovation and impact, addressing society’s greatest challenges and helping young people to realize their potential for good.”