Message from the Executive Vice President
It is an exciting time for Our Lady’s University. As we look forward to celebrating our 175th anniversary next year, we continue to exhibit the kind of growth in many facets that is an ongoing fulfillment of the vision of our founder, Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C.
It’s easy to see the changing face of campus as the unprecedented boom of construction projects draws ever closer to completion. Yet one of the most notable signs of progress in the last year involved the surrounding region. The State of Indiana granted $42 million to fund economic development in St. Joseph, Elkhart, and Marshall Counties as part of the Regional Cities Initiative. This program has already provided the occasion for strong collaboration between Notre Dame and municipalities across our region, and will continue to spur a beneficial regionalism as we work to provide a more robust economy in our area. Our University is stronger when the communities surrounding it are thriving, and Regional Cities is a major step toward that goal.
Moreover, we recognize in light of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, progress must include responsible stewardship of our natural resources and our planet. In September, a committee of Notre Dame faculty, staff, and students submitted a comprehensive but achievable plan for reducing our carbon footprint in a variety of ways. Some of the action items contained in the plan are already taking shape, as geothermal systems are being installed at several locations around campus as part of our goal to stop using coal as a source of energy by 2020. Other measures are less visible but no less important, including education programs to teach our community about sustainable best practices and conservation. In total, the plan accepted by Father John provides a holistic and realistic approach to being mindful custodians as we advance Our Lady’s University.
The model of sustainable progress is applicable to the financial climate in which we’re operating. As outlined in this report, the University maintains a healthy standing because of the continued measured approach we exhibit, including the maintenance of a sustainable rate of payout on the endowment.
In addition to these initiatives, we continue to be stewards of Father Sorin’s vision for Notre Dame. Fulfilling that vision is not the work of one individual or office, but is a collective effort that requires diligence in the task. Thank you for the steadfast support you have provided Our Lady’s University as we chart the course for the next 175 years.
John F. Affleck-Graves
Executive Vice President