Popular Resources

Past Presidents

Joan Develin Coley, Ph.D.*

(2013–2014)

Dr. Joan Develin Coley served in the transitional year before the installation of Dr. Marylou Yam. In a brief time, Dr. Coley made a major impact on campus life and in the hearts of all through her inspirational leadership and her gracious manner.

James F. Conneely, Ph.D.

(2012–2013)

The first male President to lead the University, Dr. James F. Conneely focused on enhancing student life, engagement and retention. He was a vocal advocate for the importance of women’s education and emphasized service to others and social responsibility.

Mary Pat Seurkamp, Ph.D.

(1997–2012)

The first permanent lay President, Dr. Seurkamp spearheaded the vast expansion of adult and graduate programs, including the launch of the School of Pharmacy, and led Notre Dame through the historic move to University status.

Rosemarie Nassif, SSND, Ph.D.

(1992–1996)

Guided by the newly adopted Strategic Plan, Sister Rosemarie Nassif planned for a period of rapid academic and technological innovation.

Dorothy M. Brown, Ph.D.*

(1996–1997)

As an alumna and former faculty member, Dr. Dorothy Brown was elected interim president.

Kathleen Feeley, SSND '50

(1971–1992)

Sister Kathleen Feeley continued to pursue growth with the creation of Continuing Education, Weekend College and Graduate Studies programs, which brought entirely new student populations to the campus. The MBK Athletics Complex was completed during her tenure, while Rice Hall, Noyes House and Gibbons Hall were renovated.

M. Elissa McGuire, SSND '45

(1968–1971)

Sister M. Elissa McGuire supervised the Quest '70 meeting, during which the Notre Dame community decided that Notre Dame should remain a women-only institution. Cooperative ventures, such as course exchanges, would continue, but Notre Dame remained an independent women's college.

Margaret Mary O'Connell, SSND '26

(1950–1968)

Under Sister Margaret Mary O'Connell's guidance, scholarship grants to students quadrupled. She also oversaw the construction of Doyle Hall, the Doyle Hall addition, and Knott Science Center and signed the agreement for Loyola/Notre Dame Library, the first library in the United States to be owned jointly by two institutions.

M. Frances Smith, SSND

(1935–1950)

Sister M. Frances Smith was the first president to serve full-time, apart from the role of superior of the SSND convent. She supported faculty governance and student government and supervised the construction of Fourier Library, completed in 1941.

M. Ethelbert Roache, SSND

(1929–1935)

Sister M. Ethelbert Roache stabilized enrollment numbers during the Great Depression with an innovative promotional campaign directed toward high school students.

M. Philemon Doyle, SSND

(1919–1929)

Sister M. Philemon Doyle oversaw continued growth in academic programs and enrollment. Notre Dame also attained Middle States Association accreditation under her leadership. She hired Dr. Elizabeth Morrissy, a nationally renowned professor of history and economics who advised President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Mother M. Theophila Bauer, SSND

(1895–1904)

As the first president of Notre Dame, Mother M. Theophila Bauer was charged with paying the debt for the campus land and the construction and expansion of what is now Gibbons Hall, the academic heart of the University.

M. Florentine Riley, SSND

(1904–1919)

Sister M. Florentine Riley supervised the construction of College Hall, now known as Meletia Hall, greatly expanding academic and residential facilities for students.

*Interim president