An office in the Division of Student Affairs, the Gender Relations Center (GRC) designs and implements programs about healthy relationships, gender, and sexuality consistent with the Catholic character of the University. The GRC seeks to create dialogue on campus by collaborating with student groups, other departments at Notre Dame, and cross-campus partners at Saint Mary’s College and Holy Cross College. It was the first office of its kind within collegiate student affairs nationwide.
The GRC promotes moral formation consistent with our Catholic identity, mission and values in an effort to create a healthy culture at the University of Notre Dame. Committed to the spiritual, emotional and intellectual development of all students, the GRC seeks to engage the campus in respectful dialogue and seeks to build a community that fully honors the human dignity of each person as a child of God.
Fall 1972: Notre Dame admits the first class of women
Spring 2002: Brooke Norton, first female student body president, calls for creation of University-sponsored Center for Women and Men
Fall 2003: Student Senate Gender Issues Committee produces a detailed report proposing a University Gender Center
Spring 2004: Gender Center proposal passes in the Student Senate and Campus Life Council; accepted by Fr. Mike Poorman, C.S.C, Vice President of Student Affairs
Spring 2004: Fr. Poorman announces the creation of the Gender Relations Center and names Heather Rakoczy, Rector of Pangborn Hall, the founding Director
Fall 2004: Gender Relations Center opens on a half-time basis
Fall 2005: Gender Relations Center becomes newest department in Student Affairs, supervised by Ann Firth, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Fall 2010: Gender Relations Center begins its seventh year, having more than quadrupled initial office space, budget, and programming
Summer 2012: Gender Relations Center expands, hiring an Assistant Director to expand programming and initiatives on men & masculinity
Summer 2013: Gender Relations Center further expands, hiring Assistant Director for LGBTQ Student Concerns, a position created out of the Pastoral Plan
2014-2015: Gender Relations Center celebrates 10 years, with five full-time staff members, a graduate student intern, and over 70 student leaders serving as FIRE Starters, Event Facilitators, Dorm Commissioners, and student workers
Summer 2019: Gender Relations Center relocates into a renovated space on the 2nd floor of LaFortune Student Center
The Gender Relations Center logo incorporates the triquetra, or Celtic Trinity knot as symbol of our mission. Traditionally, the knot represents the Blessed Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We also see the three parts of the knot representing the Holy Cross vision to educate students in mind, body, and spirit. The GRC adds another layer of meaning to this tripartite symbol by seeking to guide students as they develop healthy relationships with God, self, and others. By integrating all three types of relationships in our lives, we are better able to become people of faith, hope, and love.