Friday, November 5, 2010

Fr. Jenkins -- A Letter to the Notre Dame Family

University of Notre Dame President, Rev. John Jenkins -- released this letter this afternoon to the Notre Dame family in the wake of the October 27th accident that took the life of Declan Sullivan -- and the on-going media conversation about what Notre Dame should do.  Here's the letter in its entirety:

Dear Notre Dame students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and friends,

The tragic accident that took Declan Sullivan's life just over a week ago, the Mass of Remembrance in the Basilica, and his family's faith-filled funeral for him this week have given each of us the chance to grieve, remember and pray. Declan was a bright and energetic young man who lived his life with passion. We will miss him, and we believe that he is in the loving embrace of our Lord. 

Over this past week, I have had the great privilege of meeting with and trying to provide some measure of support to Declan's parents, sister, brother and other members of his family. Many Notre Dame faculty, staff and students also have reached out to offer their assistance. Yet the Sullivan family, through their incredible grace and courage, has given us support and an example of how to respond. They ministered to us as we tried to minister to them. 

There is no greater sadness for a university community than the death of one of its students under any circumstances. Yet this loss is more devastating, for Declan died in a tragic accident while in our care. For that, I am profoundly sorry. We are conducting an investigation and we must be careful not to pre-judge its results, but I will say this: Declan Sullivan was entrusted to our care, and we failed to keep him safe. We at Notre Dame - and ultimately I, as President - are responsible. Words cannot express our sorrow to the Sullivan family and to all involved.

I am committed to determining why this accident happened and to ensuring the safety of our students. We have been conducting an internal investigation to examine this accident from every possible perspective and to draw conclusions and formulate recommendations for the future. In order to ensure that our inquiry has been thorough, unbiased and accurate, I have asked Dr. Peter Likins, former President of the University of Arizona, to provide an external review of our inquiry, and he has graciously accepted.

In selecting someone to review our investigation, I sought an individual experienced in higher education, with an impeccable reputation for integrity, intellect and independence. In Dr. Likins, we are fortunate to have just such a man. He brings numerous credentials to this assignment: as a world-renowned engineer; as a university administrator who served as provost at Columbia and president at Lehigh and Arizona; as a highly regarded member of numerous NCAA committees; and as a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

Investigations and external reviews such as this take time, but I assure you that, when complete, we will issue a public report on the outcome, including information on the events of the afternoon of Oct. 27, any institutional ramifications, and recommendations for safety policies in the future. 

Finally, in light of what I believe to be unfounded and unfair commentary and speculation, I want to say something about Coach Brian Kelly. Coach Kelly was hired not only because of his football expertise, but because we believed his character and values accord with the highest standards of Notre Dame. All we have seen since he came to Notre Dame, and everything we have learned in our investigation to date, have confirmed that belief. For those reasons I am confident that Coach Kelly has a bright future leading our football program.

Thank you for your concern, and your prayers. At the darkest moments, the love, and care, and faith of the Notre Dame family shines most brightly.

In Notre Dame,

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame

Rudy Ruettiger -- Still Telling His Story

Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger '76 -- was at Lake Erie College yesterday -- speaking to hundreds of students assembled for their Founder's Day celebration.  One of the local TV channels caught up with Rudy after his presentation -- here's a link:


Yankee Stadium Becoming ND's Home Field

The first football game in Yankee Stadium -- which is two weeks away -- is a "home" game for the University of Notre Dame.  And, the Yankee Stadium crew is busy at work -- turning their new $1.5 billion stadium into the home of the Fighting Irish football team for their November 20th game against Army.  The images above show them putting up a goal post and an artist's rendering of how they intend to fit a football field inside Yankee Stadium.  Looks like some walls and seats will be removed in the process.  It's going to be quite an event!

Montana & Page Named NFL's Greatest!

Former Notre Dame All-Americans; Joe Montana and Alan Page were named by the NFL Network as one of The Top 100:  NFL's Greatest Players.  Montana was ranked #4 on the list and Page was ranked #43.  Here's a link to the list:


ESPN'S Fixation With Notre Dame Football...

It's become quite obvious this season that there's college football and then there's NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL.  How else do you describe the amount of coverage ESPN is giving a football team that's 4-5 on the season and has lost it's last two games in a row to the Naval Academy and Tulsa?  I rarely peruse ESPN.COM -- but I did last night -- and I found all of these stories on Notre Dame football.  While they're not positive (ESPN enjoys taking shots at the Irish when they're down) -- it just goes to show you how relevant and important the Notre Dame Football brand is today.  And, by the way -- ESPN, you don't have a clue as to what makes Notre Dame -- Notre Dame for us fans.  Here's the links to the stories:


Coach Kelly Meets With Media Thursday...

I watched Coach Kelly's media session after practice yesterday (linked below) and it's quite obvious that he's not his normal self.  The events of these past two weeks have rocked this man's soul -- as it would anyone in his position -- and it's going to take some time for him to get his "Kelly" back.  I'm quite confident the Notre Dame Family continues to pray for the Sullivan family as they grieve over the loss of Declan -- please add Coach Kelly and his family too.  Here's a link to yesterday's media session: