Georgetown political science professor Patrick Deneen has publicly announced his move to Notre Dame this fall. He is the founding director of the Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of American Democracy, an accomplished scholar, and a devout Catholic. His announcement has rocked Georgetown's Government Department, and is a cause for celebration at Notre Dame. Read more about his reasons for moving to Notre Dame in his blog post "Why I am leaving Georgetown."
"Notre Dame has recruited me explicitly because they regard me as someone who can be a significant contributor to its mission and identity, particularly the Catholic identity of the institution. Considerations of “mission fit” has become a criterion for faculty hiring at Notre Dame – indeed, it was a major consideration in seeking to hire me – whereas it is generally not a consideration at Georgetown. Without such a criterion, Georgetown increasingly and inevitably remakes itself in the image of its secular peers, ones that have no internal standard of what a university is for other than the aspiration of prestige for the sake of prestige, its ranking rather than its commitment to Truth. Its Catholic identity, which should inform every activity of the community, from curriculum to dorm life to faculty hiring, has increasingly been cordoned off to optional activities of Campus Ministry. I would like to be a contributor to a more widely-embraced institutional mission in the life of my institution and community. I don’t doubt that there will shortcomings at Our Lady’s University. But, there are at least some comrades-in-arms to share in the effort."
Read a Georgetown student's analysis of the loss here. An excerpt from "The State of the University":
"Perhaps more alarming, though, is Deneen's explicit grievance at the lack of Catholicism at this place. We are Georgetown, the nation's oldest and preeminent Roman Catholic college, founded by no less than the first Catholic bishop in the United States. We are the touchstone of Catholic education in this country. If Georgetown loses the faith, who indeed is left to defend it?
In a word, it is a tragedy that brilliant Catholic academics who wish to integrate their religious convictions into their vocation no longer feel welcome in Washington. We will never go back to being a small religious school. To have the space compressed, however, for those who would defend the old ways, and to squeeze them out slowly is the best example of eradicating intellectual diversity from a place that ostensibly prizes free discourse and thought."