Evan Cobb Dr. Marco Clark, new Holy Cross College President, and First Lady Peggy Clark, receive a final blessing at the installation ceremony.
Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter
March 28, 2023 // Bishop

History made at Holy Cross College at Notre Dame

Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter

The words of Psalm 40 “Here I am, Lord: I come to do your will,” shared during the Inaugural Mass on the Solemnity of the Annunciation set the stage for a journey by Dr. Marco J. Clark, newly installed as the 6th President of Holy Cross College at Notre Dame, Indiana on Saturday, March 25. He is making history as the first president of the College who is not a Holy Cross brother or priest and doing so with an altruistic, deep commitment to Holy Cross College. 

“This is an historic moment for the college as I am the first non-priest or religious brother to serve in this role. While this weekend is quite special for Peggy and me, this is, more importantly, a celebration of the Holy Cross College community. After weathering some storms in recent years, this young college is poised for a bright future,” said Clark.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, the college held a Day of Service on Thursday, March 23, an academic symposium on Friday, March 24, and the official installation on Saturday.

Photos by Evan Cobb
Dr. Marco Clark is the newly installed 6th President of Holy Cross College at Notre Dame, Indiana.

The Day of Service was an opportunity for the college to demonstrate what it truly means to be a Saint, and participate in collaboration projects with local, non-profit partners. Visitors from the Boys and Girls Club of St. Joseph County, the Catholic Worker/Our Lady of the Road, LOGAN Industries, Real Services, Reins of Life, and Ronald McDonald House all manned information booths for students to network and learn about ways to get involved. A school supplies drive was held for La Casa de Amistad with the community purchasing items through Amazon that were shared with the organization. A toiletries drive was also held for the St. Vincent De Paul Society and items delivered to the organization on Thursday. Lastly, a blood drive and COVID vaccine clinic were hosted on campus.

Holy Cross College hosts Day of Service on Thursday, March 23, 2022.
Photo by Evan Cobb

The Academic Symposium, A Showcase of Holy Cross College and Its Catholic, Liberal Arts Education, was an opportunity to listen to talks about a wide range of topics connected to Holy Cross College.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades offers the homily as Holy Cross College hosts Dr. Marco Clark’s Inauguration Weekend on Saturday, March 25, 2022.

Brother Philip Smith, C.S.C., presented “Brother Columba O’Neill, C.S.C.: In Kind Love,” giving visitors a chance to learn more about the canonization process of Brother Columba and ways they can help the process continue forward. Students and faculty members of the science department shared a lecture about the types of research happening on campus. Students who went on an immersion trip to Lebanon during fall break shared details on their experiences in the communities they visited and research efforts happening in Lebanon. The day of learning ended with a lecture highlighting the newest majors on campus to enlighten the community and visitors on the next journey for Holy Cross College.

Holy Cross College hosts Dr. Marco Clark’s Inauguration Weekend on Friday, March 24, 2022.
Photo by Evan Cobb

An exhibition of literature, poetry, and art was on display in the Vincent Hall Atrium including works by students, faculty, staff, and students who are part of the Moreau College Initiative at Westville Prison. The Echoes, an acapella group from the University of Notre Dame that includes students from Holy Cross College, Notre Dame, and St. Mary’s College, delighted the crowd with a musical interlude of songs over the decades and the college’s alma mater.

Events on Saturday began with an Inaugural Mass on the Solemnity of the Annunciation celebrated by Most Reverend Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. During the celebration, Dr. Clark took the Oath of Fidelity.

Dr. Marco Clark, new Holy Cross College President, and First Lady Peggy Clark, enjoy a moment of jubilation as they exit the installation ceremony.

“This oath is one that is taken by religious men and women as part of their vows. It is not uncommon for lay leaders to also make this public declaration as a sign of their commitment to the work of the Church in bringing Christ to the world,” noted Clark. “The work of Catholic higher education is the work of the Church. Carrying out this apostolic mission is something I take quite seriously. I am honored to be in this position and continue to be grateful for the guiding hand of Providence and our continued fidelity to Christ and his Church. I chose to take this oath as a public declaration and as a reminder of the accountability and responsibility entrusted to me.”

The Installation Ceremony was held in the Pfeil Center on campus, and included members of the community, faculty, staff, and visitors. The entire Clark family was in attendance and First Lady Peggy Clark shared the stage with her husband during this momentous occasion in the college’s history.


Holy Cross College hosts Dr. Marco Clark’s Inauguration Weekend on Friday, March 24, 2022.
Photo by Evan Cobb

In his remarks during the ceremony, student government president Dion Payne-Miller talked about how fortunate the students have been these last few months getting to know Dr. Clark on campus. They appreciate their time with him and look forward to the future.

“In my collaborations with Dr. Clark, I have found him to be an inspirational leader and someone who has inspired all students to reach high and work towards the common good. As someone who also tried to be an inspirational leader through my role in student government, it has been an honor to collaborate with someone whose beliefs and values are near and dear to my own heart,” said Payne-Miller. “Dr. Clark always tells us to ‘keep the main thing the main thing,’ and as a student, this message has helped me stay focused, keeps me inspired to do my best, and has spoken to the entire student body about our role here at Holy Cross College. Under Dr. Clark’s leadership, we are all becoming engaged scholars, courageous citizens, virtuous leaders, and passionate disciples armed with the message of being global citizens with the competence to see and courage to act.”

Bishop Rhoades took a moment to welcome the first couple to the area on behalf of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. He noted the couple’s deep love of faith, noting how fitting it is they chose Holy Cross Catholic Church in South Bend, Indiana, as their home parish.

Holy Cross College hosts Dr. Marco Clark’s Inauguration Weekend on Saturday, March 25, 2022.
Photo by Evan Cobb

“From the very beginning, Holy Cross College has had a close relationship with our diocese. Indeed, it has been a vital presence as part of the body of Christ in this portion of the vineyard of the Lord that is the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Through the years and today, many of the students of Holy Cross College come from our diocese not only from the South Bend area but increasingly from the Fort Wayne area. Marco, I’m grateful to you already for your active participation in our diocese and for your recognition that Catholic colleges born from the heart of the Church are called to communion with the local bishop and have as an essential part of their mission to the service of the Church,” said Rhoades. “I am very grateful to you and your commitment to the poor and the needy of our community as you already serve as a member of the Board of Directors of our diocesan Catholic Charities, and I know how committed you are to making Holy Cross College accessible to young people who may otherwise not be able to afford a college education. I’m very grateful for your commitment to the Catholic identity and mission of Holy Cross College and to the promotion of this identity and mission through its teaching and daily activity, it’s life of prayer and worship, and the vibrant campus ministry. I’m also deeply grateful for the college’s outreach to the high school youth of our diocese through the Saints and Scholars summer program. Marco, I’m excited for Holy Cross College as you officially assumed the presidency today, and I look forward to our continuing work together in service of the Lord and His Church. May the Holy Spirit guide you and your leadership. Again, a warm welcome to you and Peggy to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, your new spiritual home.”

Dr. Clark was overwhelmed and humbled by the great support of the entire community throughout the weekend. He said he feels that Holy Cross College got its beginnings in 1966 as a community college and to continue to thrive means it needs to become a college for the community.

“There are three words that resonate with me from this weekend — grateful, humbled, and hopeful. It was particularly gratifying that our children and grandchildren were all in attendance. My father and brother, numerous in-laws, and friends and colleagues from all over the country attended as well. I was particularly gratified by the support of the entire tri-campus area and the entire family of Holy Cross — brothers, sisters, and priests. This zip code is a special place whose roots were established here nearly 200 years ago. It is a tremendous honor for me to continue this legacy standing on the shoulders of the Holy Cross men and women who came before me,” said Clark.

Holy Cross College hosts Dr. Marco Clark’s Inauguration Weekend on Friday, March 24, 2022.
Photo by Evan Cobb

Dr. Clark often tells people that C.S.C. might not be initials after his name, but they are a very strong part of his DNA. The appointment to Holy Cross College is a vocation to him, a calling to bring hope and zeal to others during a time when people are looking for a place to call home. He wants to make sure that all students are educated in the heart and mind as global citizens with the courage to see and competence to act. It’s imperative that Holy Cross College dedicate their efforts to educate engaged scholars, courageous citizens, virtuous leaders, and passionate disciples.

“To see just how special the Holy Cross College community is,” said Clark about what he hopes people took away from the weekend. “We are blessed to have a world-class faculty and staff, talented and passionate students, and a community that works daily with zeal to make God known, loved, and served. I hope that people leave this weekend with confidence and hope for a bright future for the college and the difference that this college can make in the world through the students that we are blessed to accompany.”

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