Notre Dame Cited for Excellence in Character Development

"Presidential leadership" and "overall institutional distinction" lead an array of five citations for excellence awarded to the University of Notre Dame by the John Templeton Foundation in "The Templeton Guide: Colleges that Encourage Character Development."

The University's Academic Code of Honor, Alliance for Catholic Education, and Center for Social Concerns also are cited for programming excellence.

Notre Dame is one of just 20 universities to be honored both institutionally on the Templeton Honor Roll and for the quality of its presidential leadership. Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., the University's president, is singled out for his role as a teacher who throughout his presidency has continued to conduct a freshman seminar, "The People of the World and Their Cultures"; for his pastoral presence in Sorin Hall, the campus dormitory where he lives, and in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and residence halls across campus where he regularly presides at Mass; and for his national and local leadership in combating substance abuse and championing service learning.

"Father Malloy and Notre Dame's strong commitment to character development are a model for colleges and universities nationwide," said Arthur J. Schwartz, director of character development programs at the Templeton Foundation. "With the Templeton Guide, we hope to help prospective college students and their parents who want to know what colleges are doing to promote the core values of honesty, self-control, respect, and service to the less fortunate. The Templeton Guide identifies colleges that encourage students to understand the importance of civic responsibility, which will help them succeed in college and beyond.

"Father Malloy and Notre Dame's work in this area is most impressive."

  • In the category of volunteer service, the guide says Notre Dame's Center for Social Concerns "constitutes a living model of Gospel values and Catholic social teachings through educational experiences."
  • The University's Alliance for Catholic Education, cited in the category of faculty and curriculum initiatives, is praised as an innovative teacher training program that is "shaping talented new leaders for the future of education."
  • In the realm of academic honesty, the University's Academic Code of Honor is recognized as a "valuable educational tool for exercising the power of community and for expressing the Christian values of Notre Dame.

Programs cited for excellence were selected through a process that considered their clarity of vision and statements of purpose, access to institutional resources, involvement of university leaders, integration into the core curriculum, longevity, external recognition and awards, assessments, and their impact on students, faculty and the campus and community at-large.

In addition to these individual citations, Notre Dame's First Year of Studies, Campus Ministry, Alcohol and Drug Education office, Center for Ethics and Religious Values in Business, and Erasmus Institute all are featured on the Templeton Honor Roll.

Established in 1987, the John Templeton Foundation works closely with educators, scientists, theologians, medical professionals and scholars throughout the world to support more than 100 programs serving three chief purposes: encouraging character development in schools and colleges; encouraging appreciation of the benefits of freedom; and stimulating serious scientific research on the relationship between spirituality and health.

The foundation's College and Character Initiative seeks to foster widespread conversations within higher education about character development and to inform college-bound students, parents, policy makers, and the general public about how colleges and universities, individually and collectively, are responding to this challenge.

More information on the initiative and an on-line edition of the Templeton Guide are available at

The Templeton Guide caps a season of college and university ranking and review publications. Following is a synopsis of how those publications view Notre Dame:

U.S. News & World Report — "Schools whose freshmen return — and graduate — are clearly serving students well," reads the caption on a photograph of Notre Dame undergraduates studying in O'Shaughnessy Hall on campus. "Notre Dame gets high marks on both counts."

Notre Dame is the top-ranked religiously-affiliated university, and 19th overall, in the magazine's "Best National Universities" rankings.

The Best 331 Colleges — "Notre Dame is definitely America's premiere Catholic university," the editors write, adding that the University is "highly respected in virtually every academic field."

A publication of The Princeton Review, this guidebook uses student surveys and comments to describe academic and student life at 331 colleges and universities.

The Best College for You — "The University of Notre Dame is the most famous Catholic university in the country, and with good reason: it's a great school with almost mythical tradition. A definitely Catholic core curriculum includes the First Year of Studies program, which prescribes the entire freshman curriculum. Students say it's 'tough' here but, after graduation, 'Domers get jobs.'"

Also in the guide, Notre Dame is cited as one of nine universities with the nation's best social outreach and service learning programs.

The Best College for You is published by Time magazine and The Princeton Review.

By: Dennis Brown, Notre Dame Public Relations and Information
Date: November 24, 1999