Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., Professor of the Humanities
William Collins Donahue joined Notre Dame as Cavanaugh Professor and chair of the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literature in 2015. He previously worked at Duke, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, and Rutgers, prior to which he received his Ph.D. and M.T.S. from Harvard and his M.A. from Middlebury College. Publishing widely in academic and popular publications in both English and German, he has authored the monographs Holocaust as Fiction: Bernhard Schlink's 'Nazi' Novels and their Films (2010/2011 in German) and The End of Modernism: Elias Canetti’s Auto-da-Fé, and served as editor for over a dozen books, book series, and special journal issues.
With a bequest from Rev. John A. O’Brien, the University created the Cavanaugh Professorships in honor of Notre Dame’s 14th president. Father O’Brien, a Catholic apologist whose books, articles, and pamphlets reached millions, spent 40 years teaching and writing at Notre Dame. He was an early advocate of Church renewal issuing from the Second Vatican Council.