Mullen Family Gift Builds Next Generation of Peace Scholars


A family with many Notre Dame graduates who are committed to peace has made a campaign gift that will help launch a new Ph.D. program in peace studies. The John R. and Diane Mullen Family Endowment will provide ongoing support for two Ph.D. fellowships at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

“The world is in a frightening situation right now, and the Kroc Institute can make a big difference,” said Jack Mullen ’53 (above, second from left), chair of the Kroc Institute Advisory Council.

“We were not put on the earth to be complacent, but to be apostles of peace. As a family we’re thrilled with the work of the Kroc Institute and believe it is the best place to spread the gospel of peace and educate peacemakers. The new Ph.D. program creates an opportunity for Notre Dame to provide leadership in peace studies to other academic institutions around the world.”

The Mullen family includes Jack’s late wife of 53 years, Diane (above, far left), their adult children and spouses—Michael K. Mullen, Shannon P. and Eileen C Mullen, Paddy Mullen, Neilli Mullen Walsh and Peter Walsh, and Mary Killeen Mullen--and their grandchildren. Four of the five Mullen children are graduates of Notre Dame; only one, as Jack likes to say, “escaped to Duke.”

“As a family, we’ve been blessed in so many ways by Notre Dame,” said Jack. “Each one of us feels the bond of faith and the spirit of Notre Dame.”

The Kroc Institute’s new Ph.D. program is a partnership with four departments in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. Beginning in fall 2008, students will pursue Ph.D. degrees in History and Peace Studies, Political Science and Peace Studies, Psychology and Peace Studies, or Sociology and Peace Studies.  The program is distinctive for its broad interdisciplinary approach and focus on research that helps build a just and sustainable peace.

The Mullen family has an inspiring ability to envision a new generation of scholars making important contributions to world peace, said R. Scott Appleby, professor of history and John M. Regan Jr. director of the Kroc Institute. “This generous and shrewdly targeted gift exemplifies their commitment to pursuing peace through world-class education, analysis, and policy reform.”

A doctoral program has long been part of the vision of the institute, said the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., president emeritus of Notre Dame, who founded the institute with the late philanthropist Joan B. Kroc in 1986.

“The new Ph.D. program magnificently unites the academic strength of Our Lady’s university with our call to be peacemakers,” said Father Ted. “The Mullen gift will build on the legacy of Mrs. Kroc and advance the vision for peace.”

Contact: Robert C. Johansen, (574) 631-6971,, or Joan Fallon, (574) 631-8819,