Who we are

Rooney Center Full Color Logo

The mission of the Francis and Kathleen Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy is to examine politics and policymaking in the United States—leaving Notre Dame’s distinctive imprint on the study of American democracy. With a grounding in Notre Dame’s Catholic mission, the Center facilitates research on the critical issues facing America’s democratic system and encourages Notre Dame’s students to be engaged in both civic and political life. 

What we do

The Center sponsors a variety of activities for both faculty and students, including a bi-weekly seminar seriesconferences, graduate research grants, and other support. 

The Rooney Center and its affiliates also offer a variety of undergraduate programming. The Hesburgh Program in Public Service offers interdisciplinary programming designed for undergraduate students interested in public policy or public service. And the Washington Program offers undergraduate students the ability to study off-campus, becoming immersed in the political and cultural life of Washington DC.

Matt Hall Candid


The Rooney Center’s central mission is to better understand American democracy, to share that understanding with the broader society, and to instill that knowledge in the next generation of American citizens and leaders. As the U.S. experiences rising polarization, misinformation, and distrust in democratic institutions, that mission is more important than ever.

— Matthew E.K. Hall

2022-23 Year in Review

Rooney Center Year in Review 2021-22


2021-22 Year in Review

2020-21 Year in Review

2019-20 Year in Review

2018-19 Year in Review

Washington Program Wordmark

Our Affiliates

Washington Program

The University of Notre Dame Washington Program offers students the ability to study off-campus, becoming immersed in the political and cultural life of Washington D.C. In the semester-long program, students take classes focused on politics and policy as well as intern part-time. The program provides students with a unique opportunity to gain work experience and engage in career discernment. 

The Hesburgh Program in Public Service

Hesburgh Program Text treatment graphic

The Hesburgh Program seeks to prepare Notre Dame students for an active life devoted to the pursuit of effective and just responses to issues in American society. Students in the program become knowledgeable about the processes and institutions formulating policies in the United States, the tools by which policies are analyzed, implemented, and evaluated, and the underlying values of American society.


The Francis and Kathleen Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy welcomes your support in any number of ways. We value the time, talent, and treasure of our graduates and friends and welcome collaborative efforts to further our work. Make a gift here or contact the center about other ways to get involved.