Together at Notre Dame

Notre Dame Principles of Diversity and Inclusion


Our commitment to diversity and inclusion arises from our aspirations about the community we want to be, the educational environment we hope to provide our students, and the moral character they will develop during their time with us. It goes to the heart of our mission, to who we are and to what we want to be.

Respect the dignity of every person.

We affirm the transcendent dignity and worth of every human person, from conception to natural death, regardless of race, nationality or ethnic group, religious tradition, gender, socioeconomic class, immigration status, sexual orientation, or anything else.

Build a Notre Dame community in which all can flourish.

Human beings are inescapably social, and the flourishing of each individual is possible only in a social context in which we each have responsibilities to others and others have reciprocal responsibilities to us. Together, we strive to realize the common good — that which enables any sort of community and its members to flourish individually and collectively.

Live in solidarity with all, particularly the most vulnerable.

We are called to live in solidarity with all people, which arises from recognizing that the well- being of each person is a concern for us all. We are all, in one way or another, our sister’s and brother’s keeper. Solidarity demands that we strive to overcome fragmentation and separation to see the deeper unity we share with all people.

Originally articulated by University of Notre Dame President Emeritus Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. at the President's Annual Address to the Faculty on September 20, 2016.

University Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

Venite ad me omnes—“Come to me all of you.”  That is the inscription on the base of the statue of Jesus that stands before the Golden Dome with arms extended in welcome.  His heart—the Sacred Heart—is exposed, the image of a love that is disclosed, that seeks us out, embraces us and shares our burdens. 

Jesus statue on main quad

The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the heart of our campus is a daily reminder of the kind of community we strive to be at Notre Dame—one that, recognizing the dignity of every member, welcomes each one fully,  treasures their gifts as a reflection of God, supports them and shares their struggles.  Such a community invites us out of isolation into something richer, more whole and sustaining.  The University Mission Statement recognizes that “the intellectual interchange essential to a university requires, and is enriched by, the presence and voices of diverse scholars and students.”  As an academic community, we strive to explore, discuss and, when appropriate, celebrate differences as well as commonalities, thus enriching our grasp of truth and understanding.   

Throughout its history, the Congregation of Holy Cross has made community—expressed in the image of a family—central to the life of the educational institutions it founded around the world, and we want all members, regardless of background, to feel included in that community.  We also remember that the University was founded by a small band of immigrants in this land, who then educated succeeding generations of immigrants– in time overcoming obstacles that were found in their path.  So we strive to reach out to those on the margins and work together to enable all to flourish.

In our commitment to diversity, we hope to reflect a global Church that is richly diverse ethnically and culturally, yet bound together in a family extending across the whole of the earth.        

At this moment, let us recommit ourselves to ensuring that every person who lives, teaches, studies and works on our campus is embraced into such a community.   In this way, we are co-creators of a Notre Dame community that seeks to embody ever more fully the love that radiates from the heart of Christ and the welcome of his open arms.   

Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C.
President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame
Fall 2016

Spirit of Inclusion

“Strangers and sojourners no longer...” (Ephesians 2:19)

The University of Notre Dame strives for a spirit of inclusion among the members of this community for distinct reasons articulated in our Christian tradition. We prize the uniqueness of all persons as God’s creatures. We welcome all people, regardless of color, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social or economic class, and nationality, for example, precisely because of Christ’s calling to treat others as we desire to be treated. We value gay and lesbian members of this community as we value all members of this community. We condemn harassment of any kind, and University policies proscribe it. We consciously create an environment of mutual respect, hospitality and warmth in which none are strangers and all may flourish.
One of the essential tests of social justice within any Christian community is its abiding spirit of inclusion. Scriptural accounts of Jesus provide a constant witness of this inclusiveness. Jesus sought out and welcomed all people into the Kingdom of God — the gentile as well as the Jew, women as well as men, the poor as well as the wealthy, the slave as well as the free, the infirm as well as the healthy. The social teachings of the Catholic Church promote a society founded on justice and love, in which all persons possess inherent dignity as children of God. The individual and collective experiences of Christians have also provided strong warrants for the inclusion of all persons of good will in their communal living. Christians have found their life together enriched by the different qualities of their many members, and they have sought to increase this richness by welcoming others who bring additional gifts, talents and backgrounds to the community.
The spirit of inclusion at Notre Dame flows from our character as a community of scholarship, teaching, learning and service founded upon Jesus Christ. As the Word through whom all things were made, Christ is the source of the order of all creation and of the moral law which is written in our hearts. As the incarnate Word, Christ taught the law of love of God and sent the Holy Spirit that we might live lives of love and receive the gift of eternal life. For Notre Dame, Christ is the law by which all other laws are to be judged. As a Catholic institution of higher learning, in the governance of our common life we look to the teaching of Christ, which is proclaimed in Sacred Scripture and tradition, authoritatively interpreted by Church teaching, articulated in normative understandings of the human person, and continually deepened by the wisdom born of inquiry and experience. The rich heritage of the Catholic faith informs and transforms our search for truth and our understanding of contemporary challenges in higher education.