The idea of establishing the institute had its origins on the Danube River in the early 1990s.
Robert and Elizabeth Nanovic were participants in a Notre Dame-sponsored tour of central and eastern Europe, complemented by daily lectures with J. Robert Wegs, a history professor at Notre Dame. “We had been thinking for some time about what we could do for Notre Dame,” Bob Nanovic remembers. “The idea of a program that could grow, evolve, and have an impact on the lives of students appealed to me.”
The institute was created in 1992, first as a center for European studies which sponsored an annual conference and administered an undergraduate minor. Following the expansion of its programs, it was designated an institute in 1997. Nanovic’s second director, A. James McAdams, oversaw the development of the institute’s first formal strategic plan in 2002. The goal of this plan was to use the nstitute’s resources to provide greater intellectual coherence to the educational experience of undergraduate and graduate students, integrate faculty research, and enhance the internal and external visibility of European studies at Notre Dame. McAdams also led the development of the institute's second strategic plan, which established its ongoing presence in Notre Dame’s Global Gateways.
In recent years, under the leadership of Nanovic’s fourth director, Clemens Sedmak, the institute has written a new Nanovic Constitution and the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan, both developed in conversation with university leadership and the Institute’s Advisory Board and Faculty Fellows, which outlines Nanovic’s vision and strategic goals.
Directors of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies
Clemens Sedmak (Director, 2020-current)
Professor of Social Ethics, Keough School of Global Affairs
William Collins Donahue (2018-2020)
Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., Professor of the Humanities
A. James McAdams (2002-2018)
William M. Scholl Professor of International Affairs
James Robert Wegs (1993-2002)
Professor Emeritus of History
Year in Review Archives
The Nanovic Institute creates an annual publication highlighting activities from the preceding academic year, illustrating and reflecting upon how the Institute has furthered its mission to enrich the intellectual culture of Notre Dame and its community through the promotion of European Studies. A complete list and links to previous annual reviews may be found under News & Media.