Liberal Catholic Colleges and Their Liberal Trustees: No Likely Support From Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees For Rescinding Obama Invite

A great deal of criticism has been leveled at Notre Dame President, Rev John I. Jenkins, for his choice to honor President Obama at this year’s commencement. But Fr. Jenkins, like all university presidents, must consider the will of the school’s governing board. The Notre Dame Board of Trustees is a powerful organization, comprised of top international business owners, chairs of rich endowments, academic leaders, judges, attorneys, faculty, and prominent clergy. These individuals are typically very wealthy, well-connected and highly accomplished; many with broad interests outside the university. A closer look at the board and its affiliations might shed light on just how Notre Dame came to this decision. Many of the influential alumni on the Notre Dame board are from the nearby Chicago area, and are part of the same Chicago power structure that President Obama ascended. Richard and Peggy Notebaert are leading members of the ND community, and Notebaert is chair of the Notre Dame trustees. While Obama served in the senate, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, received federal funding earmarked by Obama.. Key Obama campaign fundraiser, Frank Clark served on the board of the Notebaert Museum at the time.