Message from the President

This year’s annual report is exceptional in one important, bittersweet way. It is the last in which a message from John Affleck-Graves as executive vice president of the University of Notre Dame will appear.

Having announced his retirement effective June 30, 2019, John and his wife, Rita, will enjoy a well-deserved respite from the daily demands of so crucial a role. Behind the numbers arrayed in the consolidated financial statements in this report, one finds clues as to how, in fulfilling his responsibilities, John made Notre Dame stronger than ever. Chair of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees John J. Brennan said of John: “He shepherded the greatest expansion and modernization of Notre Dame’s physical plant, including research and residential facilities, in ways which were fiscally responsible, environmentally sound, and beautiful. At the same time, John has stewarded a huge increase in financial aid for our students to more than $155 million from $58 million during his tenure.”

As the University’s chief financial officer, and as illustrated in this report, John expertly oversees the operating budget, endowment, finance, information technology, human resources, campus safety, event management, construction, building services, landscaping, food services, and auxiliary operations, including the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, Morris Inn, and licensing.

He led with a head for finance and a heart for people that exemplified the best of Notre Dame.

Despite an often volatile national economy during his tenure, John kept a firm grip on Notre Dame’s fiscal operations necessary for its continued growth as one of the nation’s leading research universities.

During John’s time as executive vice president—14 years to date—Notre Dame’s annual operating budget more than doubled to nearly $1.6 billion, and the Notre Dame Endowment Pool more than tripled to $13.1 billion. Thirty-six new buildings were constructed under his oversight, including the 800,000-square-foot addition of three buildings surrounding Notre Dame Stadium that stands as the largest building initiative in Notre Dame’s 176-year history.

I am particularly proud of the fact that Notre Dame never once furloughed an employee during John’s tenure. He found ways, even in the crippling recession of 2007–2009, to keep everyone employed. He led with a head for finance and a heart for people that exemplified the best of Notre Dame.

Please enjoy this annual report—a success story in which you will find the unmistakable imprint of John Affleck-Graves. The pages that follow illustrate how our stewardship of investments and benefaction remain healthy and highlight certain milestones, like the enrollment of the first class at the new Donald R. Keough School of Global Affairs. 

As the University welcomes Shannon Cullinan as our incoming executive vice president, we are poised to build on the success Notre Dame has enjoyed thus far. Shannon will provide superb leadership, working closely with our Board of Trustees, our deans and faculty, and our administrators and staff. I have never been more confident in our ability to advance Notre Dame’s standing as a preeminent research university that offers an unsurpassed undergraduate education, always in the context of our mission as a Catholic institution. I look forward to a bright future and to all that lies ahead.

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.