Tom Harvey seemed too good to be true.
In 2005, then Mendoza Dean Carolyn Woo needed to find a director who could turn around the college’s Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) degree program. Established in 1954 by Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, as an MBA for religious order members running Catholic nonprofit institutions, the degree had fallen on hard times. With fewer vocations in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, the program gradually lost its student base, finally bottoming out in the 1990s.
“It was a time of tremendous change,” recalls Woo, who now is the CEO of Catholic Relief Services. ‘“We stopped admitting students to the old program, [which had been re- named the Master of Science in Administration (MSA) after Notre Dame began a traditional MBA program in 1967.] We completely redesigned it.”
Woo needed a visionary leader to head the reshaped program. Ideally, she was hoping to find someone with the necessary academic credentials who had turned around a faltering organization, knew the world of nonprofits and understood Mendoza’s Catholic mission.
Harvey’s résumé was tailor-made. He had more than 40 years of experience running Catholic nonprofit organizations, including a stint as CEO of Catholic Charities where he reorganized and rebranded that organization. He knew everybody who was anybody in the nonprofit sector.
His academic pedigree included a graduate degree in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University specializing in rational planning, plus training in nonprofit administration from the Wharton School of Business.
Additionally, he had written and spoken widely on Catholic social teaching and the Second Vatican Council.
In short, he was the dream candidate.