The first event of its kind for managing Church assets

The Role of Notre Dame and FIRE
In Service to the Church

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What is the Church? What is a church? Is real estate part of the Church’s mission? Is a particular property serving the mission of the Church? Is a property taking too many resources? What are the needs of the local Church? Are we disproportionately attached to a building? Have we let a structure come before the people? Is this property part of the patrimony of the Church? What are we obliged to support in the Church?

Ward Fitzgerald, partner & head of EQT Exeter (one of the largest real estate investment managers in the world) and founder of the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate (FIRE) at the University of Notre Dame, explores the fundamental moral and theological issues involved in owning Church property, focusing on key aspects that are of the utmost importance when making decisions regarding real estate for the Church, while discussing the important work of the FIRE Institute and its role in the ever changing landscape of real estate, the Church’s reality and the local socio-economic factors.

Conversing with moderator Dan Kelly, Faculty Director at FIRE and professor of law at the University of Notre Dame, Ward Fitzgerald discusses the real life implications of owning property, exploring what the goal of Church property should be, the reality of real estate and the importance for property to be a reflection of the Church’s mission, furthering her salvific mission and helping out God’s people and not a burden for the Church or her people. 

Ward Fitzgerald

Ward Fitzgerald is Partner and Head of EQT Exeter, which is among the largest real estate investment managers in the world, focused on acquiring, developing and managing logistics/industrial, office, life science and residential properties.

Ward has held the position of Chief Executive Officer and Senior Managing Principal of Exeter Property Group, an international real estate private equity fund investment group and real estate development and operating company with office in 32 locations in the US, Europe, Asia, Brazil, and Mexico. During his leadership of the firm, founded in 2006, the organization has raised over 20 investment vehicles totaling over $15 billion in equity capital representing pension, sovereign wealth, endowment, insurance, and foundation partners from around the globe that have consummated over 1,000 real estate transactions in the warehouse/logistics and office/life science sectors totaling in excess of $25 billion.

Prior to Exeter, Mr. Fitzgerald worked as part of the senior management team at Rouse/Liberty Property Trust, a $7 billion publicly traded office and industrial REIT, which he helped take public in 1994. In addition to his business endeavors, Mr. Fitzgerald has served on the Board of Trustees for LaSalle College High School and holds Board and/or Advisory positions with Jefferson Hospital, The Ehlers Danlos Society, The Papal Foundation, National Centre for Padre Pio and currently sits on the Business Advisory Council at the University of Notre Dame.

Mr. Fitzgerald holds an MBA from Harvard Business School (’89) and a BA in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame (’85).

Dan Kelly


Dan Kelly serves as the Faculty Director for the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate and is a Professor of Law at Notre Dame. He teaches courses on property law and law and economics, has published in leading academic journals, and currently serves as an Associate Reporter for the Restatement (Fourth) of Property. Before joining Notre Dame, Dan was a judicial clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, an attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City, and a research fellow at Yale University and Harvard University. He earned a B.A. in Economics and History from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

©2022 Global Institute of Church Management and Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate at the University of Notre Dame. All rights reserved.

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