Who Is a Rector?
A Residence Life Model Steeped in the Educational Tradition of the Congregation of Holy Cross
A Holy Cross education begins with the goal of developing one’s intellect, but recognizes that a person’s moral and religious formation takes place both in and beyond the walls of a classroom. When Fr. Edward Sorin, C.S.C. arrived at the site that would become the University of Notre Dame as a 28-year-old priest, he had already absorbed the principle that Holy Cross educates students in both mind and heart.
That belief remains the foundation of residence hall ministry today. Well-trained rectors, assistant rectors, and senior RAs provide multiple layers of pastoral care for the students who call a Notre Dame residence hall “home.” Notre Dame is one of the few universities where a high proportion of rectors have years of educational experience and advanced degrees, sometimes to the Ph.D. level. They are priests, brothers, sisters, and lay people with backgrounds in campus ministry, classroom teaching, educational administration, professional counseling, parish, or hospital ministry. Notre Dame rectors are mature proven professionals with the life experience to employ a pastoral approach that assists others in their journeys of intellectual and spiritual development.
Students require good mentors, and residence halls at Notre Dame have always been positioned as purposeful, formative environments. When the day’s classroom learning is done, we emphasize the need for students to return to halls that are homes, where they will encounter wise mentor rectors with the capacity to understand the yearnings of their hearts and souls. The Holy Cross model presumes that education is not value-neutral but part of a larger need for moral and religious formation that is designed to form students intellectually, spiritually, and practically for service to the Church and world.