Rev. Ernest Bartell, CSC

(January 22, 1932 - April 16, 2020)

Rev. Ernest Bartell, CSC, who played a pivotal role in establishing the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, passed away April 16, 2020, at Holy Cross House at Notre Dame, Ind. He was 88.

After the University of Notre Dame received an endowment for a center for international studies, Bartell was tasked by then-Notre Dame President Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, with turning the idea into a viable research institute. Bartell was key in attracting a group of highly-regarded scholars who helped cement the Kellogg Institute’s reputation as a respected center for the study of democracy and human development.

Bartell served as Kellogg’s executive director from the Institute's establishment in 1981 until 1997. He remained a faculty fellow through 2017 and was a member of the Kellogg Advisory Council until 2004.







University of Notre Dame Obituary                        Photo show                           Tributes from 2016


Fr. Ernie was a visionary.  He was always suspicious of easy “orthodoxies,” whether it be in his professional discipline of Economics, or in the way he thought about the role of faith in contributing to a more just and humane world.  His creativity knew no bounds, and was always most comfortable thinking and living “outside of the box.”  Personally, Ernie was both a mentor to me as a younger Holy Cross priest, and a friend and dear colleague as we both saw the years go by.  I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Ernie, who welcomed me back from Chile to the Kellogg Institute as a guest scholar in 1982, and introduced me to figures such as Guillermo O’Donnell, Scott Mainwaring and Alejandro Foxley, who would change my life forever.  We will miss Ernie, but will work tirelessly to continue his legacy of “promoción humana” at the Kellogg Institute, and beyond.  May he rest in the arms of our loving God. by Rev. Timothy Scully CSC
When I came to Kellogg in 1999, Fr. Ernie had already retired from his role as executive director of the Institute but he was very present, sharing his institutional memory, mentoring and advising Kellogg leaders and faculty, and spreading his infectious energy and enthusiasm for the Institute he built from scratch.  Over the years, he gave me a great deal of sage advice and he always had a better story about whatever situation I was facing.  I appreciated his friendship above all.  Those of us who were fortunate to know Fr. Ernie were blessed by his presence in our lives and, as others have said, everyone associated with the Kellogg Institute owes him a debt of gratitude for his visionary leadership in the early years.  He will be missed and remembered fondly.  by Sharon Schierling, Kellogg Managing Director 
Father Bartell is a person of great integrity, character, faith, and intelligence, and his leadership made possible the emergence of the Kellogg Institute as perhaps the world’s leading center in democratization studies. At a personal level, he was a wonderful predecessor as director of the Kellogg Institute. He was always unstintingly supportive, kind, thoughtful, and helpful. I was incredibly fortunate to be part of the Kellogg Institute from an early time and equally fortunate to have such a generous predecessor.  by Scott Mainwaring, Eugene P. and Helen Conley Professor of Political Science, Notre Dame 
Fr. Ernie had an active mind and a big heart. He dedicated himself to building an intellectual community that would address big and important questions, and point to ways we can improve the quality of life people enjoy. As a priest and an economist, he had a special passion for finding ways to address the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable in our world. The Kellogg Institute is in many ways a legacy of his vision and creativity. Fr. Ernie's life will continue to inspire those of us who were blessed enough to know him. by Rev. Robert Dowd CSC
I give thanks for the lasting gifts of Reverend Ernest Bartell, CSC, a "gentle giant," scholar, social activist, priest, and friend. Ernie was a champion for social justice, democracy, and a "broader sense of we," and his legacy will inspire generations to come. From his trips as a young student to Mexico as a CILA volunteer, to his tireless work to build the Kellogg Institute into one of the foremost research institutes for Latin American studies, he had a passion to drive change in this region he loved. Ernie is best known at Notre Dame for this work, however he "quietly" left his mark on the world in countless ways. As president of Stonehill College in Eastham, MA, in the racially turbulent 1970's, Ernie helped broker peace and unity in Boston high schools at the height of the desegregation movement. His infectious smile, quick wit, keen intellect, and kind spirit will be deeply missed. May he join his beloved CSC brothers, and rest in eternal peace, his job well done on Earth. by Tara Kenney, Kellogg Advisory Board 

I am very sad about Ernie's departure. He was a very dear personal friend. I had the immense privilege of working under his leadership when we collaborated together with another dear friend Gillermo O'Donnell in organizing and implementing that great and creative initiative of Father Hersburgh the Kellogg Institute of International Studies. Those were the most rewarding times in my academic experience. I have to once again thank him for that.

I will forever miss those wonderful months spent each year at Notre Dame, particularly when we were living under a terrible dictatorship in Chile. The academic community at Notre Dame was not only exceptional as academics but also outstanding human beings. I would like to thank you and all priests I met there for their friendship and support. Ernie was an outstanding member of that community. We will always keep missing him. by Alejandro Foxley 

Ernie’s passing is very sad news. Alejandro’s comment brings back many memories. Ernie was the key player in setting up the Kellogg Institute, and without his intervention, Erika and I would never have come to Notre Dame. He was very persuasive in his entreaties and full of enthusiasm in creating an Institute that he saw as a game-changer in terms of international studies at Notre Dame. He was right. by J. Samuel Valenzuela, Professor of Sociology
 Ernie has been a wonderful friend and mentor for over 50 years. He inspired and guided me for a Notre Dame summer service project as an undergraduate and soon thereafter to join the Peace Corps both in Peru's Lake Titicaca region. He opened my eyes to Latin America and the importance of the social sciences for combatting poverty and inequality. Years later he extended a helping hand at Kellogg enabling me to write-up a collection of case studies of exciting grassroots development experiences in Bolivia which I had supported at the Inter-American Foundation. I will remain eternally grateful for these and many other gifts Ernie bestowed on my life!!! by Kevin Healy
Among the many responsibilities I’ve held at the Kellogg Institute, the most precious has been transporting Fr. Ernie (and Fr. Bob Pelton before him) from Holy Cross House to Institute events. Fr. Ernie always greeted me with a big toothy smile, a kiss on the cheek, and many expressions of gratitude for spending time with his Kellogg family. During the 30 minute round trip, he loved telling the story of starting the Institute, not because it highlighted his accomplishments but because it spoke of trusting in God’s loving providence. Until we see each other again, rest in peace Fr. Ernie. by Denise Wright, Kellogg Assistant Director 
I will always hold dear the vivid description, enthusiasm, and sheer animation of Father Ernie’s recount of how he, Guillermo O’Donnell, and Alejandro Foxley sat on a beach in Rio de Janeiro and made a plan for a place at Notre Dame where international research would be special.  Father Ernie has left us with a tremendous legacy. An Institute that he built so many years ago has changed many lives over the years.

I smile when I recall the many conversations I had with Father Ernie over the years.  I guarantee that every one of those conversations was with an individual who brought so much life and energy that it was contagious.  Father Ernie’s pep has always kept and will continue to keep me moving forward toward keeping the Kellogg Institute a place at Notre Dame where international research will be special. by Therese Hanlon, Kellogg Institute Program Manager of Events

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