Dean Martijn Cremers: A centennial in the midst of a pandemic
Author: Dean Martijn Cremers
When we began planning to commemorate the College’s centennial in late 2019, we considered things like hosting academic conferences, a celebration with alumni and a special staff appreciation day, among other activities. But for all of our planning, we had failed to factor in the possibility of a global pandemic.
The interruption to celebrating our 100th anniversary is minor compared to the many difficulties caused by the pandemic. Indeed, as I reflect back on the College during this past year, I am struck by the fact that through all of the disruption, the dedication of our faculty, staff, students, alumni and others was unwavering and an inspiration to me. I am proud of how we as a community – faculty, staff, students and alumni – stepped up and delivered amidst great adversity.
Mendoza is stronger in many ways for negotiating the challenges together, which is perhaps the truest test of a community’s commitment to a common cause. Overcoming challenges, growing stronger and remaining true to our Catholic mission are also the overarching themes of Mendoza’s 100-year history. Again and again, the College changed and adapted to vast shifts in world economies, geographies, technologies and the needs of the human community; grew stronger in its pursuit of academic excellence; and remained true to our imperative to “Grow the Good in Business.”
All during the pandemic, we remained intensely committed to our mission to educate each of our students as a whole person, and thus we prioritized teaching in-person. We were able to conduct about 95% of courses in-person during the 2020-2021 academic year. I am most grateful for all of the efforts of everyone involved – faculty, staff and students – who made it possible to be together in our classrooms and on campus. Like in-person teaching, it is important as a community that we have meals together, play sports together, cheer the Fighting Irish together, worship God together and even mourn together.
As we plan to celebrate our history and legacy over the next two years, we also keep our eyes on the future and what never changes: our commitment to our Catholic mission to educate business leaders who contribute to human flourishing, cooperate in solidarity and compete through growing toward the best version of themselves with the help of God and others.
Our mission inspires, endures and continually renews our hope, and we look forward to whatever the next 100 years might bring.
In Notre Dame,
Martin J. Gillen Dean
Mendoza College of Business
University of Notre Dame