Notre Dame launches Inspired Leadership Initiative to help accomplished ‘retirees’ discern and catalyze the next stage of their lives

The University of Notre Dame is launching a program to help accomplished individuals discern optimal paths toward personal fulfillment and equip them to further their positive impacts on society in the next phase of their lives.

Called the Inspired Leadership Initiative, the one-year program will welcome its inaugural cohort of fellows in mid-2018.

Fellows will first be afforded the opportunity to thoughtfully address some of the most critical questions facing highly accomplished people who have finished their traditional career yet are not ready to retire. They will explore ways to align their personal values and goals with pathways to greater meaning and impact in their later years. 


As part of the exploration and discovery process, fellows will be provided customized access to the world-class academic, intellectual, spiritual and social offerings of the University, both on the main campus and at Notre Dame’s Global Gateways in locations such as Rome, Dublin, Jerusalem, London and Beijing.

“Many highly accomplished leaders reach a stage in their lives when they wish to find new ways to be forces for good in their communities and in the wider world,” said Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. “This program will serve as a catalyst for intellectual challenge, spiritual growth and discernment about sharing their gifts in the next chapter of their lives.”   

As they engage with Notre Dame’s faculty, the fellows will draw on extensive University resources in the arts, humanities, sciences, international relations, theology and many other fields, said Thomas G. Burish, Charles and Jill Fischer Provost.

“Our primary aim is to expose accomplished individuals from many backgrounds who have retired from full-time careers to Notre Dame’s rich spiritual and academic environment, as they discern the next stage of their lives,” Burish said. “We will enable them to explore the issues and fundamental normative questions that are important to them. We also believe the fellows will enrich our campus community with the vast knowledge, experience and relationships they bring to our University.”

The program is being led by 1984 Notre Dame alumnus Tom Schreier, who sees this as a chance for the University to embrace those who are ready for change while helping them discover novel approaches to leveraging their considerable talents.

“The opportunity for accomplished people from diverse backgrounds to reimagine their later years in Notre Dame’s rich and dynamic learning environment will be life-changing for participants,” Schreier said. “Engaging with such talented people will also be tremendous for our faculty and students.”

The program will help fellows get to know the region, as well, said founding co-director Chris Stevens, a 1974 Notre Dame graduate and assistant teaching professor in the University’s Mendoza College of Business.

“In addition to Notre Dame’s rich resources, the South Bend community boasts its own outstanding social, artistic, athletic and volunteer opportunities,” he said. “Our fellows will find no shortage of inspiration as they discern the next steps in their lives.”

For more information, visit


Contact: Patrick Gibbons, executive director academic communications, 574-631-1405,

Originally published by Notre Dame News at on October 25, 2017.