Notre Dame's fundraising: Thank you, Barack Obama?

As part of the protests over Barack Obama's appearance at Notre Dame, one alum, David DiFranco, launched a website to get ND president Father John Jenkins fired and to tally donations withheld from the university as a way of quantifying the displeasure and pressuring the board to replace Jenkins. The site'slast public tally, on May 13, counted $13.9 million in funds withheld.Yesterday, Notre Dame announced that it raised$1.54 billion as part of its "Spirit of Notre Dame" campaign--and did so two years ahead of shedule.

In May 2007 the school announced it wanted to raise money to support four areas: undergraduate education; research and graduate studies; diversity and international studies; and Catholic intellectual life.The Rev. John Jenkins, the university president, said the challenge now is to build on the campaign's success and fully fund all of the priorities.University vice president Louis Nanni said there is still work to be done, including raising more money for financial aid in these tough economic times.

The disparity seems to echo the disparity within the student body in terms of support for Obama's appearance, and the disparity in the Catholic populace. Though not in the conservative Catholic echo chamber. Here's a thought: Maybe Obama's appearance--and the opposition to him--actually boosted ND's fundraising.H/T: CWNews

David Gibson is a national reporter for Religion News Service and author of The Coming Catholic Church (HarperOne) and The Rule of Benedict (HarperOne). He blogs at dotCommonweal.

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