Rev. Gerard J. Olinger, C.S.C., serves as Vice President for Student Affairs, a role he began in June 2021. In this role, Fr. Olinger oversees five areas comprised of multiple departments related to residential life, campus ministry, student development, health and wellness, and career development. He also ministers as an in-residence priest in Alumni Hall.
Fr. Olinger previously served as Vice President for Mission Engagement and Church Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, where he stewarded and deepened Notre Dame’s Catholic and Holy Cross mission and served as the University’s liaison to the Congregation of Holy Cross, the U.S. Bishops, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and its affiliates, and the Holy See. He also oversaw the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem and provided critical leadership for the University’s ecumenical and interfaith outreach. In addition, Fr. Olinger directed the Notre Dame-Newman Center for Faith and Reason in Dublin and the Grotto Network, the University’s digital media network for evangelizing Catholic young adults.
Before returning to the University of Notre Dame in 2018, Fr. Olinger served in several senior administrative roles at the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon, including Vice President for University Relations, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Executive Assistant to the President. He was also a concurrent assistant professor of political science in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, teaching courses in character ethics and on the U.S. judicial system.
A native of Springfield, Pennsylvania, Fr. Olinger graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in history and government from Notre Dame. He also earned two post-graduate degrees from Notre Dame: a juris doctor cum laude in 2004 and a master of divinity in 2009. During law school, he served as executive notes editor for the Journal of Legislation and a member of the Student Bar Association. After law school, Fr. Olinger entered formation with the Congregation of Holy Cross, made his final vows in August 2009, and was ordained a priest in April 2010.
A current member of the board of directors for King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and a trustee of Strada Education Network, Fr. Olinger served for four years on Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees. He also served on the board of directors for the Association for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities and the board of trustees for De La Salle North Catholic High School in Portland. He is a member of the state bars of Indiana and Pennsylvania