The President's Message

Dear Members of the Notre Dame Family:

On Monday, October 8, 2007, from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., we will hold the third annual Notre Dame Forum at the Joyce Center. The Forum has become our way of inaugurating each new academic year, allowing us to intellectually engage a significant issue for our nation, our world, and the Church. This year our topic is immigration, an issue that has raised our national conscience and provoked the need for legislative reform. Still unresolved, immigration will continue to register as one of our nation’s most important matters in the upcoming Presidential campaign and election.

We have assembled a panel of knowledgeable, distinguished and provocative speakers. They include:

  • U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who came to this country from Cuba at age 15 and has been a leader in the Senate’s legislative battles on immigration;
  • Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, California, leader of the largest diocese in the United States and an advocate for the protection of immigrants;
  • Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona, who wrestles daily with the moral, social and political dilemmas of immigration on the Arizona-Mexico border; and
  • Mayor Louis J. Barletta of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, who introduced a controversial municipal ordinance aimed at discouraging undocumented immigrants from settling in his city.

Serving as moderator of this year’s Forum will be Ray Suarez, senior correspondent of PBS’s The Newshour with Jim Lehrer.

By way of preparation for the Forum, we are offering a free, online “course” intended to create a sustained dialogue about the various facets of immigration. Over the next four weeks, selected articles will be posted each Monday on the Notre Dame Forum website. The readings will cover the economics of immigration, Catholic Social Teaching on immigration and the current immigration debate in our country. Notre Dame faculty experts will guide Internet conversations on the articles for those on and away from campus, and in the week following the event, a Notre Dame undergraduate student will facilitate a discussion on the site. All students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other interested parties are encouraged to visit the website and participate in the online course.

I also wish to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the following individuals whose time and expertise made this course possible: Jeffrey Bergstrand, Allert Brown-Gort, Teresa Ghilarducci, Michael McKenna, Timothy Matovina, Karen Richman, Todd Whitmore, Abigail Wozniak, and Marty Wolfson.

I encourage each of you to attend the Forum, and I hope this academic year proves to be one of enlightened insight and discovery for us all.


Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.