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Notre Dame College President J. Michael Pressimone, Ed.D., reflects on acts of violence throughout the country and world already in this new year.

He leads the Notre Dame community in setting a standard for viewing difference in light and resolving issues peacefully. He calls others— individuals, colleges and Catholic organizations, among others, to join in discussion..

“We must be a resource for the community beyond our campus borders and show that there is a better way,” he wrote.

The College recently conducted a free, week-long summit on campus, “Transformation: Leading Ourselves and Our Communities to a Bright Future,” to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Learn more about Notre Dame’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

View a video of the president asking the world to celebrate light.

The complete message from the president is reprinted below.

February 2, 2023

As we enter a new year, we often do so with hope for the year to come. It’s a new beginning. It’s a clean slate. It’s not just my hope; it’s a communal hope. We see it displayed on television in major cities around the country and around the world. We collectively wait for the ball to drop.

Then the reality of our brokenness becomes all too evident.

Six mass shootings were reported on New Year’s Day alone. These happened all across the country in small towns in the large cities. And the violence continues.

According to the Gun Violence Archive as reported in The New York Times, “by the start of the fourth week of January, the tally had grown to include at least 39 separate shootings in which four or more people were injured or killed.”

Then we see yet another violent arrest leading to the death of Tyre Nicols. It is sickening to watch. A moment that stands out to me is when Tyre was calling out to his mom. How many times, as children, do we remember doing that very same thing? However, we probably did not think of it as our last, living, furtive plea.

Why is there such anger and violence in our country? What have we become? Some have speculated that this has to do with pent-up frustrations stemming from the pandemic, but these behaviors and reactions were evident even before it began.

On too many occasions the first response is knee-jerk and vitriolic. If we disagree with someone, we attack them on social media. If we are angry for real or even a perceived mistreatment, we justify taking a gun and shooting. If we see a young black man, we assume the worst.

We must do better. At Notre Dame, I talk about all of our students as unique and beautiful creations of a loving God. When we encounter strangers – even before we encounter them – we should be compelled to view them in this same light.

Notre Dame College stands for something. As part of this community, we all have an obligation to find, explore, and travel the better paths. We must treat each other as we wish to be treated. We must model behavior that we want to see in our students and our communities. We must teach our students the ways of civil discourse and peaceful conflict resolution. We must be a resource for the community beyond our campus borders and show that there is a better way.

I pray for all of those who have lost their lives to violence last month. I pray for their families. I pray for Tyre and the mom now grieving. But prayer is not enough. We must act. I call on our campus community to enter into meaningful dialogue about this plague of violence and to join me on the journey toward greater civility and less violence. I have asked Ted Steiner [Notre Dame Chief Mission Officer], Chris Gill [Dean of Students] and Sandra Golden [Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion] to join me in planning a time to begin this dialogue later this spring.


Michael Pressimone, Ed.D. | President

February 2023

About Notre Dame College

Notre Dame College is a private, Catholic, liberal arts college in South Euclid committed to teaching students how to make a good living and live a good life. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. For more information, visit