Sister Catharine Julie Cunningham Chair for Visiting Scholars

NDNU introduces students to outstanding scholars from beyond the bounds of the university through an endowment established to honor a former president. The Sister Catharine Julie Cunningham Chair for Visiting Scholars was established in 1980. The funds are used to bring distinguished visiting faculty to the campus. Normally, the visiting scholar teaches a semester length course at the graduate or undergraduate level and gives a public lecture open to members of the local community.

The following Sister Catharine Julie Cunningham Scholars have brought academic distinction to NDNU and provided opportunity for cultural enrichment to the regional communities:

  • Spring 2012: Michelle Richmond (Creative Writing)
  • Spring 2011: Dr. Joan Burke, SNDdeN (Anthropology)
  • Spring 2002: Fred Luskin (Education)
  • Fall 2002: Mary Orna (Chemistry)
  • Spring 2002: Marc Jacobs (Theatre)
  • Spring 2002: Linda Gantt (Art Therapy)
  • Spring 2002: John Walker (Art)
  • Spring 2002: Clay Carson (History)
  • Spring 2001: Davis Ostwald (Music)
  • Spring 2001: Stephanie Sanchez (Art)
  • Spring 2000: George Takei/Steven Okazaki (Theatre/Film)
  • Spring 2000: Donald Weygandt (Art)
  • Spring 1999: Gloria Steinem (Student Affairs)
  • Spring 1999: Carl Djerassi (English)
  • Spring 1999: Diane Muddlebrook (English)
  • Fall 1998: Sara Schley (Management Systems)
  • Fall 1998: Jon Carroll (History)
  • Spring 1998: Julianne Malveauz (Business)
  • Spring 1998: John Williams (Biology)
  • Spring 1997: Douglas Kent Hall (Art)
  • Spring 1995: Kay Gilliland (Math)
  • Spring 1991: Charles Fee (Theatre Arts)
  • Fall 1990: Rose Guilbault (Communication)
  • Fall 1990: Dr. Harry Edwards (Social Science/History)
  • Spring 1990: Dr. Michael Kirst (Public Administration/Education)
  • Fall 1989: Dr. Lewis Winters (Public Administration)
  • Summer 1989: Patrick Arbore (Social Science)
  • Spring 1989: Dr. Manuel Velasquez (Business)
  • Spring 1989: Dr. Ilan Chaby (Chemistry/Physics)
  • Spring 1988: Hassel Smith (Art)
  • Spring 1986: Dr. Robert Bellah (Behavioral Science)
  • Summer 1985: Dr. Lincoln Moses (Mathematics)
  • Spring 1985: Alain Renoir
  • Spring 1985: Dr. Frances Anderson (Art Therapy)
  • Fall 1984: Margaret Keyes (Art Therapy)
  • Summer 1983: Dr. Seamus Heaney (English)
  • Spring 1983: Dr. Lawrence Ryan (English)

About Sister Catharine Julie Cunningham

Sister Catharine Julie Cunningham
Sister Catharine Julie Cunningham

Catharine Daley Cunningham, a child of a comfortable Irish-American family, was born October 22, 1910 in San Francisco. Having attended Notre Dame elementary and high school, she was drawn to the spirit of the sisters and shared her desire to enter the convent with her family.

At the suggestion of her mother, Mary McCarthy Cunningham, she attended college and completed her studies with a BA from UC Berkeley in history.

Following her entrance into the congregation of sisters and several teaching assignments, she completed her master’s degree in history and philosophy at the Catholic University of America. She then continued with teaching and principal assignments in Alameda, San Jose and Belmont until her appointment as president of then College of Notre Dame in 1956.

As president she became a builder in many ways. To her, CND owed the expansion of courses, development of the evening and alumni divisions, the admission of men and the development of the board and faculty programs to the growing CND community. Her constant struggle to fund raise at a time when small Catholic colleges were not at the top of the list of corporations or single donors and the initiation of the graduate school were tasks Sister Catharine Julie took the initiative to spearhead.

These steps were just the beginning of her efforts to professionalize the college. As a builder she erected the apartments, St. Joseph’s residence hall, the expansion of the dining facilities, the Toso Residences, the Library and the star of her heart, the Memorial Chapel.

Sister Catharine Julie’s warmth of personality, her quiet depth of spirituality, openness of person and huge sense of humor attracted persons such as Norman Cousins, United Nations Chief Adebo, William Buckley and Shirley Temple Black. At her retirement, a chair of education was established in her honor to bring outstanding academicians to CND/NDNU. Her last efforts were as chancellor of the College with a special care of Ralston Mansion.

She died in her own home of Namur Hall on October 15, 1984, surrounded by such persons as Father Xavier Harris, OFM, her Sisters of Notre Dame and a few friends — all of whom loved her dearly. She had presided over CND for twenty-four years and had seen many of her visions realized.