Professor John McGreevy set to begin time as provost on July 1

Prof. John McGreevy, former Dean of the College of Arts and Letters and former Chair of the History Department, will serve as the next provost of the University of Notre Dame. The announcement was made by the university on April 12, 2022.

“The search committee assessed each candidate with respect to a published list of desired experiences and attributes, and 60 percent of the candidates we interviewed were women or people of color,” stated University President John Jenkins, C.S.C., “After a thorough process, due to his successful tenure as dean of our largest college, his scholarly achievements, his deep understanding of Catholic higher education and support for Notre Dame’s mission, and his commitment to diversity and inclusion, John emerged as the clear choice.”

Upon his election, Prof. McGreevy expressed his hopes for his tenure as provost: “Notre Dame’s aspiration to become one of the world’s leading research universities while sustaining and deepening its Catholic identity is one of the most exciting projects in global higher education. Given the many challenges we face in our nation, the Church, and the world, this project has never been more important. I am honored to assist in this effort and look forward to working with faculty, staff, and students to advance the work of Notre Dame.”

McGreevy has spent the past two and half decades working for his alma mater, and he will now continue to do so as her chief academic officer: the second-ranking officer behind the university president.

In serving as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, he pushed several initiatives, including instituting several new doctoral programs and significantly increasing the number of students in Arts and Letters who write senior theses. He also conducted the most recent review of the university core curriculum.

In this curriculum review, McGreevy sought to reduce the philosophy and theology requirements from two courses to one in order to grant more freedom for students to study within their preferred field rather than university-mandated general requirements. The final revision of the core kept the two theology courses, but it reduced the philosophy requirement, replacing the second philosophy course with a “Catholicism across the Disciplines” course.

Other top Catholic universities including Georgetown, Boston College, and Villanova still require at least two courses of philosophy and theology in their core curricula.

McGreevy has also been vocal on issues of faith and public life in the last two decades. Recently, in June 2021, he published an article in Religion & Politics titled “U.S. Catholic Bishops Succumb to Partisan Politics in Eucharist Debate,” in which he argues that Catholics should not make abortion their preeminent political issue and that American bishops should not deny the Eucharist to pro-choice politicians.

He frequently publishes articles in Commonweal Magazine and on the magazine’s blog dotCommonweal. In Commonweal, he has written about the “false perception” that Notre Dame has begun to depart from her Catholic identity during the past few decades, arguing especially that a decreasing number of Catholic faculty does not demonstrate that such a departure is occurring.

He argues this response to an article in America Magazine by Fr. Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C. entitled “The Faculty Problem: How can the Catholic identity be preserved?” Fr. Miscamble argued that Notre Dame needs to focus on hiring Catholic faculty committed to the university’s mission in order to accomplish the task which the apostolic constitution on Catholic higher education, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, called for: “to consecrate itself without reserve to the cause of truth.”

McGreevy stated in his article that he came back to Notre Dame to teach “out of sympathy with the university’s effort to at once work toward academic excellence and sustain a serious commitment to Catholic intellectual life.”

He continued, “I’ve found the place even better than advertised.” He also held that giving greater emphasis to hiring Catholic, mission-aligned faculty “diminishes the chance that the church [sic] will benefit from the first-rate scholarship it needs.”

As stated in the Notre Dame press release announcing McGreevy’s election, “As the chief academic officer, McGreevy will be responsible for the overall operation of the academic enterprise, including the faculty, colleges, schools, institutes, centers, libraries and student advising,” giving him broad power to influence the university towards his vision of what Catholic education ought to be.

Fr. Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C.—Prof. McGreevy’s predecessor as chair of the history department—told the Rover, “John McGreevy is a terrific teacher, an excellent historian and a most capable administrator. I pray he will apply his notable talents effectively in guiding Notre Dame to stay faithful to its distinct Catholic mission and identity.”

W. Joseph DeReuil is a sophomore studying philosophy and classics. For the next couple weeks, he will likely be found camping out in the library writing essays until finals week is over. He can be reached at

Photo credit: University of Notre Dame News