Fr. Jim Lies withdraws from presidential appointment

Surprise announcement leaves little time for presidential search

By Austin De Dios | March 12, 2021 4:50pm

Father Jim Lies has declined his appointment as interim University president. Photo courtesy of the University of Notre Dame.

Father Jim Lies has decided not to accept his appointment as interim University president, according to a campus-wide email today from Board of Regents Chair Thomas Arnodorfer. Lies was scheduled to assume the role July 1, after current President Fr. Mark Poorman steps down.

“While honored to have been offered the position, he [Lies] has come to believe that his skills are better suited elsewhere in his service to God and the mission of the Congregation of Holy Cross,” Arndorfer wrote. “On behalf of the Board of Regents, I thank him for considering the position.”

The email did not elaborate on Lies’ decision, and The Beacon was unable to reach him for comment. 

The unexpected development gives the Board of Regents a little over three months to appoint an interim president, and Arndorfer’s email said the Board will start the search immediately. 

Poorman announced his resignation on Feb. 18 in the midst of a tumultuous year, given the COVID-19 pandemic and an internal investigation sparked by former Vice President for Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator Sandy Chung. 

The Board of Regents chose Poorman as president in 2014. Lies, a former associate professor of psychology and director for the Garaventa Center at UP, was the other finalist.

He now serves as interim senior director for academic initiatives and partnerships for the University of Notre Dame. 

The Beacon will continue to follow this developing story.

Austin De Dios is the News and Managing Editor of The Beacon. He can be reached at