Suzanne Shanahan named Director of Notre Dame Center for Social Concerns

Suzanne Shanahan headshot in front of graphical backgroundSuzanne Shanahan, the Nannerl O. Keohane Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics and Associate Research Professor in Sociology, will depart Duke on September 30, 2021 to serve as the new Leo and Arlene Hawk Director at the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame.

“Suzanne has served the Kenan Institute and Duke University in innumerable ways,” said Provost Sally Kornbluth. “She has championed curricular and co-curricular efforts to make moral purpose and character central elements of the Duke experience, and to create a culture where ‘Ethics Matters Everywhere.’”

Shanahan joined Duke in 1997 after earning her Ph.D. at Stanford and teaching at University College Dublin. During her 24-year tenure at Duke, she directed the Kenan Refugee Project, a six-country, community-based project on forced migration; ran the DukeEngage-Dublin program; and led multiple Bass Connections and Focus programs. She was appointed Associate Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics in 2007, co-Director from 2015-2017, and has been the Nannerl O. Keohane Director of the Institute since 2017. Under her leadership, the Institute has expanded its portfolio to include ongoing work with more than 2,000 students, 150 faculty from all 10 schools, and more than 100 community partners in 36 countries. Most recently, Shanahan helped launch The Purpose Project at Duke, a multi-year, university-wide effort to make matters of character, questions of purpose, and explorations of one’s life work signature features of the Duke experience.

“For 14 years I have walked with a sense of wonder and joy from my house behind Duke’s Baldwin Auditorium across the first-year quad to the Institute in the East and West Duke Buildings, thinking how lucky am I to do such impactful work with such insanely talented students, staff, faculty, and community partners” Shanahan said. “Every day I was inspired by their alacrity, wisdom and commitment. Every day they made me laugh out loud. I am so very proud of what everyone has accomplished together and know the Kenan Institute will continue to flourish in new and different ways long into the future.”

David Toole, Associate Professor of the Practice of Theology, Ethics, and Global Health and Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Initiatives at Duke, will serve as interim director. Toole has a longstanding relationship with the institute, leading the Ethics & Society Certificate, the Purpose Project, and so much more. He will work closely with Ada Gregory, Associate Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, who will continue to lead the staff, day-to-day operations, and a range of programs with her usual focus. Inga Peterson, Associate Director of DukeEngage, will continue to lead DukeEngage.

Read the Notre Dame announcement.