The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

What’s the Obama flap costing Notre Dame? 8.2 million

They say that money talks — but some information coming from a group of unhappy Notre Dame alumni suggests that it also shouts.

From U.S. News & World Report:

The effort of some Notre Dame alumni to discourage donors from supporting the university because of its commencement invitation to Barack Obama is bearing some fruit. The alumni leading the effort just sent out this release:
DEARBORN, MI (April 27, 2009)—Organizers of, an online effort urging alumni and donors to the University of Notre Dame to withhold donations, announced Monday that they have personally confirmed over $8.2 million in withheld donations as a part of their national outreach effort.


The website has received over 900 pledges from alumni and donors promising to withhold future donations. Several of the largest gifts include estate bequests to the University that have been removed from donors’ wills. organizers have personally confirmed a majority of the largest donations, and continue to verify the validity of millions of additional gifts. spokesperson David DiFranco (Class of ’95) commented: “We knew many donors and alums were unhappy with the decision to honor a pro-abortion president, but we never expected this large of a response. We can hardly keep up, and this is only the beginning. We can only imagine what fundraisers at the University are experiencing, but understandably not reporting.”


“The process of verifying the largest donors has been carefully conducted,” DiFranco explained. “We dismissed the obvious bogus submissions, and are not counting a huge number of larger donations that we are still in the process of verifying. We are speaking directly with donors, and in several cases we have spoken with estate attorneys to confirm that Notre Dame has been stripped from a donor’s will. We are going about this process with a critical eye in order that the numbers we report are accurate. For that reason, the $8.2 million we are reporting today is actually very conservative.”

Alumni and financial supporters of the University of Notre Dame launched the online effort just over one week ago in an effort to withhold donations from Notre Dame, until Rev. John Jenkins, CSC is replaced. The coalition website——urges supporters to withhold all contributions to the Notre Dame General Fund until President Jenkins is replaced with someone who is committed to the authentic identity of Notre Dame, grounded in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

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James L. Shumaker

posted April 30, 2009 at 11:55 am

Sounds like blackmail to me withholding $8 million plus from the Alumni Association. I am one ND alumnus who supports Jenkins and his invitation to Obama to speak at commencement. I wish I could increase my financial support to the university. I like this U.S. president that we have and I haven’t heard praise for abortion from him. I think he is a reasonable man and is learning about our convictions about when life begins. Maybe he will revise his Pro-Choice stance to include the zygote. James L. Shumaker, MD BS Notre Dame 1956

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posted April 30, 2009 at 1:33 pm

not like 8.2 million is a lot to Notre Dame or any major university

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posted April 30, 2009 at 9:45 pm

I find it interesting. When Catholics (or those with Conservative views) refuse to donate, then we are mean-sprited, blackmailers, etc.When a member of the left urges a boycott (no spending of $$, etc.), it is seen as an expression of free speech, of the right to protest, etc.Talk about your Orwellian speech.

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Deacon Volker

posted May 1, 2009 at 12:17 am

Dearest Doctor Shumaker,If you “…haven’t heard praise for abortion from him…” I respectfully suggest you aren’t listening.As in any sport. Don’t look at his eyes, watch what he’s doing with the ball! Our President has a sad history here in Illinois concerning his total disregard for the unborn. Total.I pray as unceasingly as my life will allow that our Lord will work in his heart for a change that will become evident not only in what he says, but in what he does off screen as well. I will join in your hope/prayer that he will revise his Pro-Choice stance and suggest we should all beseech our Mother’s intercession in same.

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posted May 1, 2009 at 1:38 am

Our family is part of those witholding funds. Over the years, our family has donated a fairly large sum of money to ND. We are adding our name to the list. There are over 30 of us that are involved, so each is not as much, but together, we have given ND a good chunk of change over the years. Only 4 of the 30 are ND alums so we are joining the site under their name. If Obama is given the honor, we will stop until ND replaces the president and signs an agreement never to do anything without the approval of the local bishop again. That after all is the way a Catholic University should operate if it is truly Catholic. Can’t be pro choice and be a Catholic and since the democratic party is pro choice and the choice is to murder an innocent baby, that choice cannot be made as a Catholic. Not sure why this is so hard to understand.

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posted May 2, 2009 at 1:04 am

Update on this issue. We talked with three other alumni groups that are being formed by those truly upset over this issue. They want to do far more than hold up donations which they plan to add, but to focus that money in a way that will have an impact on the issue at hand, the holocaust of babies. They have some interesting ideas floating around. Watch for this to be released with the Obama visit if it happens. This is not just a one time donation slap, but these people have given every year as we have for decades. They like us will never donate again unless ND actually makes massive changes to truly become a Catholic University.

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