University of Notre Dame
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University of Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame seal (2).svg
Latin: Universitas Dominae Nostrae a Lacu
MottoVita Dulcedo Spes (Latin)[1]
Motto in English
Life, Sweetness, Hope[2]
TypePrivate, coeducational, research, non-profit
EstablishedNovember 26, 1842 (1842-11-26)
FounderFr. Edward Sorin, CSC
Religious affiliation
Catholic Church
(Congregation of Holy Cross)
Academic affiliations
URA 568 Group
Endowment$13.1 billion (2018)[3]
Budget$1.3 billion
PresidentJohn I. Jenkins, CSC
ProvostThomas Burish
Academic staff
LocationNotre Dame, Indiana, U.S.
41°42?11?N 86°14?20?W / 41.702995°N 86.238972°W / 41.702995; -86.238972Coordinates: 41°42?11?N 86°14?20?W / 41.702995°N 86.238972°W / 41.702995; -86.238972
CampusSuburban: 1,250 acres (5.1 km2)
ColorsBlue and Gold[6]
NicknameFighting Irish
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division I - FBS (Independent), ACC
Big Ten (ice hockey)
University of Notre Dame logo.svg

The University of Notre Dame du Lac (or simply Notre Dame NOH-t?r-DAYM or ND) is a private, non-profit Catholic research university in the community of Notre Dame, Indiana, near the city of South Bend, in the United States.[7] The main campus covers 1,250 acres (510 ha) in a suburban setting and it contains a number of recognizable landmarks, such as the Golden Dome, the "Word of Life" mural (commonly known as Touchdown Jesus), the Notre Dame Stadium, and the Basilica. The school was founded on November 26, 1842, by Father Edward Sorin, CSC, who was also its first president.

Notre Dame is consistently recognized as one of the top universities in the United States, in particular for its undergraduate education.[8][9][10][11] Undergraduate students are organized into six colleges, Arts and Letters, Science, Engineering, Business, Architecture and Global Affairs. The School of Architecture is known for teaching New Classical Architecture and for awarding the globally renowned annual Driehaus Architecture Prize. The university offers over 50 foreign study abroad yearlong programs and over 15 summer programs.[12] Notre Dame's graduate program has more than 50 master, doctoral and professional degree programs offered by the five schools, with the addition of the Notre Dame Law School and a MD-PhD program offered in combination with the Indiana University School of Medicine.[13][14] It maintains a system of libraries, cultural venues, artistic and scientific museums, including the Hesburgh Library and the Snite Museum of Art. The majority of the university's 8,000 undergraduates live on campus in one of 31 residence halls, each with its own traditions, legacies, events, and intramural sports teams. The university counts approximately 134,000 alumni, considered among the strongest alumni networks among U.S. colleges.[15][16][17]

The university's athletic teams are members of the NCAA Division I and are known collectively as the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is known for its football team, which contributed to its rise to prominence on the national stage in the early 20th century; the team an Independent with no conference affiliation, has accumulated eleven consensus national championships, seven Heisman Trophy winners, 62 members in the College Football Hall of Fame, and 13 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[18] Other ND sport teams, chiefly in the Atlantic Coast Conference, have accumulated 17 national championships.[19] The Notre Dame Victory March is often regarded as one of the most famous and recognizable collegiate fight songs.

Started as a small all-male institution in 1842 and charter in 1844, Notre Dame reached international fame at the beginning of the 20th century, aided by the success of its football team under the guidance of coach Knute Rockne. Major improvements to the university occurred during the administration of the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh between 1952 and 1987 as Hesburgh's administration greatly increased the university's resources, academic programs, and reputation and first enrolled women undergraduates in 1972. Ever since, the University has seen steady growth, and under the leadership of the next two presidents, Rev. Malloy and Rev. Jenkins, many infrastructure and research expansions have been completed. Notre Dame's growth has continued in the 21st century, and it currently possesses one of the largest endowments of any U.S. university, at $13.1 billion.[20]



The Very Rev. Edward Sorin, founder of the university, arrived at Notre Dame in 1842. The picture was taken around 1890.

In 1842, the Bishop of Vincennes, Célestine Guynemer de la Hailandière, offered land to Father Edward Sorin of the Congregation of Holy Cross, on the condition that he build a college in two years.[21] Fr. Sorin arrived on the site with eight Holy Cross brothers from France and Ireland on November 26, 1842, and began the school using Father Stephen Badin's old log chapel. He soon erected additional buildings, including the Old College, the first church, and the first main building. They immediately acquired two students and set about building additions to the campus.[22]

The current Main Building, built after the great fire of 1879

Notre Dame began as a primary and secondary school, but soon received its official college charter from the Indiana General Assembly on January 15, 1844.[23] Under the charter the school is officially named the University of Notre Dame du Lac (University of Our Lady of the Lake).[24] Because the university was originally only for male students, the female-only Saint Mary's College was founded by the Sisters of the Holy Cross near Notre Dame in 1844.[25]

Early history

University of Notre Dame: Main and South Quadrangles
The University of Notre Dame "God Quad".JPG
The University's historic center, comprising the Basilica, the Golden Dome, and Washington Hall, was built in the early years of the University.
University of Notre Dame is located in Indiana
University of Notre Dame
LocationOff I-80/90, Notre Dame, Indiana
Area70 acres (28 ha)
Built1842 (1842)
Architectural styleMixed (more Than 2 Styles From Different Periods)
NRHP reference #78000053[26]
Added to NRHPMay 23, 1978

The first degrees from the college were awarded in 1849.[27] The university was expanded with new buildings to accommodate more students and faculty.[23] With each new president, new academic programs were offered and new buildings built to accommodate them.[28] The original Main Building built by Fr. Sorin just after he arrived was replaced by a larger "Main Building" in 1865, which housed the university's administration, classrooms, and dormitories. Under Fr. William Corby's first administration, enrollment at Notre Dame increased to more than 500 students. In 1869 he opened the law school, which offered a two-year course of study, and in 1871 he began construction of Sacred Heart Church, today the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame. Beginning in 1873, a library collection was started by Fr. Auguste Lemonnier, housed in the Main Building, and by 1879 it had grown to ten thousand volumes.[29]

This Main Building, and the library collection, was entirely destroyed by a fire in April 1879; school closed immediately and students were sent home.[30] The university founder, Fr. Sorin, and the president at the time, the Rev. William Corby, immediately planned for the rebuilding of the structure that had housed virtually the entire University. Construction was started on May 17, and by the incredible zeal of administrator and workers the building was completed before the fall semester of 1879. The library collection was also rebuilt and stayed housed in the new Main Building for years afterwards.[31] Around the time of the fire, a music hall was opened. Known as Washington Hall, it hosted plays and musical acts put on by the school.[32] By 1880, a science program was established at the university, and a Science Hall (today LaFortune Student Center) was built in 1883. The hall housed multiple classrooms and science labs needed for early research at the university.[33]


By 1890, individual residence halls were built to house the increasing number of students.[34] William J. Hoynes was dean of the law school 1883-1919, and when its new building was opened shortly after his death it was renamed in his honor.[35] The Rev. John Zahm became the Holy Cross Provincial for the United States (1896-1906), with overall supervision of the university. He tried to modernize and expand Notre Dame, erecting buildings and adding to the campus art gallery and library, and amassing what became a famous Dante collection, and pushing Notre Dame towards becoming a research university dedicated to scholarship. His term was not renewed by the Congregation because of fears he had expanded Notre Dame too quickly and had run the Holy Cross order into serious debt.[35] The movement towards a research university was subsequently championed by Fr. John W. Cavanaugh, who modernized the educational standards and attracted many scholars to campus. In 1917, Notre Dame awarded its first degree to a woman, and its first bachelor in 1922. However, female undergraduates did not become common until 1972.

The University of Notre Dame in 1903

In 1919 Father James A. Burns became president of Notre Dame; following in the footsteps of Cavanaugh, in three years he produced an academic revolution that brought the school up to national standards by adopting the elective system and moving away from the university's traditional scholastic and classical emphasis.[36][37] By contrast, the Jesuit colleges, bastions of academic conservatism, were reluctant to move to a system of electives; for this reason, their graduates were shut out of Harvard Law School.[38] Notre Dame continued to grow over the years, adding more colleges, programs, and sports teams. By 1921, with the addition of the College of Commerce,[39] Notre Dame had grown from a small college to a university with five colleges and a professional law school.[40] The university continued to expand and add new residence halls and buildings with each subsequent president.[41] By 1925 enrollment had increased to 2,500 students, of which 1,471 lived on campus.

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart, completed in 1888

One of the main driving forces in the growth of the University was its football team, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.[]Knute Rockne became head coach in 1918. Under Rockne, the Irish would post a record of 105 wins, 12 losses, and five ties.[42] During his 13 years the Irish won three national championships, had five undefeated seasons, won the Rose Bowl in 1925, and produced players such as George Gipp and the "Four Horsemen". Knute Rockne has the highest winning percentage (.881) in NCAA Division I/FBS football history. Rockne's offenses employed the Notre Dame Box and his defenses ran a 7-2-2 scheme.[43] The last game Rockne coached was on December 14, 1930, when he led a group of Notre Dame all-stars against the New York Giants in New York City.[44]

The success of Notre Dame reflected rising status of Irish Americans and Catholics in the 1920s. Catholics rallied around the team and listened to the games on the radio, especially when it defeated teams from schools that symbolized the Protestant establishment in America--Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Army.

A view of the old part of campus, with the Basilica and Main Building

Its role as a high-profile flagship institution of Catholicism made it an easy target of anti-Catholicism. The most remarkable episode of violence was a clash between Notre Dame students and the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist and anti-catholic movement, in 1924. Nativism and anti-Catholicism, especially when directed towards immigrants, were cornerstones of the KKK's rhetoric, and Notre Dame was seen as a symbol of the threat posed by the Catholic Church. The Klan decided to have a week-long Klavern in South Bend. Clashes with the student body started on May 17, when students, aware of the anti-Catholic animosity, blocked the Klansmen from descending from their trains in the South Bend station and ripped the KKK clothes and regalia. On May 19 thousands of students massed downtown protesting the Klavern, and only the arrival of college president Fr. Matthew Walsh prevented any further clashes. The next day, football coach Knute Rockne spoke at a campus rally and implored the students to obey the college president and refrain from further violence. A few days later the Klavern broke up, but the hostility shown by the students was an omen and a contribution to the downfall of the KKK in Indiana.[45][46]

South Quad, built in the 1920s-1940s, houses many residential halls

Expansion in the 1930s and 1940s

Frs. Charles L. O'Donnell (1928-1934) and John Francis O'Hara (1934-1939) fueled both material and academic expansion. During their tenures at Notre Dame, they brought numerous refugee and intellectuals to campus; such as W. B. Yeats, Frank H. Spearman, Jeremiah D. M. Ford, Irvin Abell, and Josephine Brownson for the Laetare Medal, instituted in 1883. O'Hara also concentrated on expanding the graduate school. New construction included Notre Dame Stadium, the law school building, Rockne Memorial, numerous residential halls, Cushing Hall of Engineering, a new heating plant, and more. This rapid expansion, which cost the University more than $2,800,000, was made possible in large part through football revenues. O'Hara strongly believed that the Fighting Irish football team could be an effective means to "acquaint the public with the ideals that dominate" Notre Dame. He wrote, "Notre Dame football is a spiritual service because it is played for the honor and glory of God and of his Blessed Mother. When St. Paul said: 'Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all for the glory of God,' he included football."[5]

The Rev. John J. Cavanaugh served as president from 1946 to 1952. Cavanaugh's legacy at Notre Dame in the post-war years was devoted to raising academic standards and reshaping the university administration to suit it to an enlarged educational mission and an expanded student body and stressing advanced studies and research at a time when Notre Dame quadrupled in student census, undergraduate enrollment increased by more than half, and graduate student enrollment grew fivefold. Cavanaugh also established the Lobund Institute for Animal Studies and Notre Dame's Medieval Institute.[47] Cavanaugh also presided over the construction of the Nieuwland Science Hall, Fisher Hall, and the Morris Inn, as well as the Hall of Liberal arts (now O'Shaughnessy Hall), made possible by a donation from I.A. O'Shaughnessy, at the time the largest ever made to an American Catholic university.[48] He also established a system of advisory councils at the university, which continue today.

Hesburgh era: 1952-1987

The Memorial Library, renamed The Theodore Hesburgh Library in 1987, is one of the greatest accomplishments of the Hesburgh presidency.

The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh served as president for 35 years (1952-87) of what Andrew Greeley calls a "dramatic transformation."[49] In that time the annual operating budget rose by a factor of 18 from $9.7 million to $176.6 million, and the endowment by a factor of 40 from $9 million to $350 million, and research funding by a factor of 20 from $735,000 to $15 million. Enrollment nearly doubled from 4,979 to 9,600, faculty more than doubled 389 to 950, and degrees awarded annually doubled from 1,212 to 2,500.[50]

Hesburgh is also credited with transforming the face of Notre Dame by making it a coeducational institution. Women had graduated from Notre Dame every year since 1917, but it was mostly religious sisters and generally limited to graduate programs.[51] In the mid-1960s Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College developed a co-exchange program whereby several hundred students took classes not offered at their home institution, an arrangement that added undergraduate women to a campus that already had a few women in the graduate schools. After extensive debate, merging with St. Mary's was rejected, primarily because of the differential in faculty qualifications and pay scales. "In American college education," explained the Rev. Charles E. Sheedy, Notre Dame's Dean of Arts and Letters, "certain features formerly considered advantageous and enviable are now seen as anachronistic and out of place.... In this environment of diversity, the integration of the sexes is a normal and expected aspect, replacing separatism." Thomas Blantz, C.S.C., Notre Dame's Vice President of Student Affairs, added that coeducation "opened up a whole other pool of very bright students."[52] Two of the male residence halls were converted for the newly admitted female students that first year,[53][54] while two others were converted for the next school year.[55][56] In 1971 Mary Ann Proctor became the first female undergraduate; she transferred from St. Mary's College. In 1972, Angela Sienko, who earned a bachelor's degree in marketing, became the first woman to graduate from the university.[57] In 1978, a historic district comprising 21 contributing buildings was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[58]

Recent history

In the 18 years under the presidency of Fr. Edward Malloy, (1987-2005), there was a rapid growth in the school's reputation, faculty, and resources.[] He increased the faculty by more than 500 professors; the academic quality of the student body has improved dramatically, with the average SAT score rising from 1240 to 1460; the number of minority students more than doubled; the endowment grew from $350 million to more than $3 billion; the annual operating budget rose from $177 million to more than $650 million; and annual research funding improved from $15 million to more than $70 million.[] Notre Dame's most recent (2014) capital campaign raised $2.014 billion, far exceeding its goal of $767 million, and is the largest in the history of Catholic higher education and was the largest of any University without a medical school at the time.[59]

Since 2005, Notre Dame has been led by Fr. John I. Jenkins, the 17th president of the university.[60] Jenkins took over the position from Malloy on July 1, 2005.[61] In his inaugural address, Jenkins described his goals of making the university a leader in research that recognizes ethics and building the connection between faith and studies. During his tenure, Notre Dame has increased its endowment, enlarged its student body, and undergone many construction projects on campus, including Compton Family Ice Arena, a new architecture hall, additional residence halls, and the Campus Crossroads, a $400 million enhancement and expansion of Notre Dame Stadium.[62]


Notre Dame's campus is located in Notre Dame, Indiana, an unincorporated community in the Michiana area of Northern Indiana, north of South Bend and four miles (6 km) from the Michigan state line.[63] In September 2011, Travel+Leisure listed Notre Dame as having one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States.[64] Today it lies on 1,250 acres (5.1 km2) just south of the Indiana Toll Road and includes 143 buildings located on quads throughout the campus.[65] Notre Dame is a major tourist attraction in northern Indiana; in the 2015-2016 academic year, the campus was visited by more than 1.8 millions visitors, more than 857,250 of which from outside of St. Joseph County.[66]

Buildings and architecture

Historic Washington Hall on the Main Quadrangle, popularly termed the "God Quad"

Development of the campus began in the spring of 1843, when Fr. Sorin and some of his congregation built the "Old College," a building used for dormitories, a bakery, and a classroom. A year later, after an architect arrived, a small "Main Building" was built allowing for the launch of the college.[67][68] The Main Building burned down in 1879, and it was immediately replaced with the current one. It was topped with the Golden Dome, which today has become Notre Dame's most distinguishable feature. Close to the Main Building stands Washington Hall, a theater that was built in 1881 and has since then been used for theatrical and musical representation.

The Golden Dome, built by Fr. Sorin, has become the symbol of the University.

Because of its Catholic identity, a number of religious buildings stand on campus. The Old College building has become one of two seminaries on campus run by the Congregation of Holy Cross.[69] The current Basilica of the Sacred Heart is located on the spot of Fr. Sorin's original church, which became too small for the growing college. It is built in French Revival style and it is decorated by stained glass windows imported directly from France. The interior was painted by Luigi Gregori, an Italian painter invited by Fr. Sorin to be artist in residence. The Basilica also features a bell tower with a carillon. Inside the church there are also sculptures by Ivan Mestrovic. The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, which was built in 1896, is a replica of the original in Lourdes, France. It is very popular among students and alumni as a place of prayer and meditation, and it is considered one of the most beloved spots on campus.[70]

A Science Hall was built in 1883 under the direction of Fr. Zahm, but in 1950 it was converted to a student union building and named LaFortune Student Center, after Joseph LaFortune, an oil executive from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Commonly known as "LaFortune" or "LaFun," it is a 4-story building of 83,000 square feet (7,700 m2)[71] that provides the Notre Dame community with a meeting place for social, recreational, cultural, and educational activities.[72] LaFortune employs 35 part-time student staff and 29 full-time non-student staff and has an annual budget of $1.2 million.[71] Many businesses, services, and divisions of The Office of Student Affairs[72] are found within. The building also houses restaurants from national restaurant chains.[73]

A 70 acres (28 ha) historic district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 as University of Notre Dame: Main and South Quadrangles. The district covers 21 contributing buildings in the core of the original campus including the Main Administration Building and the Basilica.[58]

Autumn on the God Quad, formally known as the Main Quadrangle

Since the construction of its oldest buildings, the university's physical plant has grown substantially. Over the years 31 residence halls have been built to accommodate students and each has been constructed with its own chapel. Many academic building were added together with a system of libraries, the most prominent of which is the Theodore Hesburgh Library, built in 1963 and today containing almost 4 million books. Since 2004, several buildings have been added, including the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center,[74] the Guglielmino Complex,[75] and the Jordan Hall of Science.[76] Additionally, a new residence for men, Dunne Hall, began accepting residents for the Fall 2016 semester. Flaherty Hall was completed and began housing undergraduate women in Fall 2016 as well. A new engineering building, Stinson-Remick Hall, a new combination Center for Social Concerns/Institute for Church Life building, Geddes Hall, and a law school addition have recently been completed as well.[77] Additionally the new hockey arena opened in the fall of 2011. The Stayer Center for Executive Education, which houses the Mendoza College of Business Executive Education Department opened in March 2013 just South of the Mendoza College of Business building. Because of its long athletic tradition, the university features also many building dedicated to sport. The most famous is Notre Dame Stadium,[78] home of the Fighting Irish football team; it has been renovated several times and today it can hold more than 80 thousand people. Prominent venues include also the Edmund P. Joyce Center, with indoor basketball and volleyball courts, and the Compton Family Ice Arena,[79] a two-rink facility dedicated to hockey. Also, there are many outdoor fields, as the Frank Eck Stadium for baseball.[80]McCourtney Hall, an interdisciplinary research facility, opened its doors for the Fall 2016 semester, and ground has broken on a 60,000-square-foot architecture building on the South end of campus near the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Walsh Family Hall of Architecture will open in late 2018.[81]

Announced on January 29, 2014 as an integration of " the academy, student life and athletics,"[82] construction on the 750,000 square foot Campus Crossroads project began around Notre Dame Stadium on November 19, 2014. The construction project consists of three buildings - Duncan Student Center (west), Corbett Family Hall (east) and O'Neill Hall (south) - will house student life services, a recreation center, the career center, the departments of anthropology and psychology, a digital media center and the department of music and Sacred Music program. The east and west buildings also will include some 3,000 to 4,000 premium seats for the football stadium with supporting club amenities.

Legends of Notre Dame (commonly referred to as Legends) is a music venue, public house, and restaurant located on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, just 100 yards (91 m) south of Notre Dame Stadium. The former Alumni Senior Club[83] opened its doors the first weekend in September 2003 after a $3.5 million renovation and transformed into the all-ages student hang-out that currently exists. Legends is made up of two parts: The Restaurant and Alehouse and the nightclub.[84]

Environmental sustainability

The University of Notre Dame has made being a sustainability leader an integral part of its mission. The Office of Sustainability was created in the fall of 2007 at the recommendation of a Sustainability Strategy Working Group and appointed the first director in April 2008. The pursuit of sustainability is directly related to the Catholic Mission of the University. In his encyclical Laudato Si', Pope Francis stated, "We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all."

The University of Notre Dame received a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in 2014.[85] In 2016, The Office of Sustainability released their Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy in order to achieve a number of goals in the areas of Energy and Emissions, Water, Building and Construction, Waste, Procurement, Licensing and Food Sources, Education, Research, and Community Outreach.[86] As of April 2018, twelve buildings have achieved LEED-Certified status with nine of them achieving LEED Gold status.[87] Notre Dame's dining services sources 40% of its food locally and offers sustainably caught seafood as well as many organic, fair-trade, and vegan options.[88] The university also houses the Kellog Institute for International Peace Studies. Father Gustavo Gutierrez, the founder of Liberation Theology is a current faculty member.[89]

Global Gateways

The university owns several centers around the world used for international studies and research, conferences abroad, and alumni support.[90]

  • London. The university has had a presence in London, England, since 1968. Since 1998, its London center has been based in Fischer Hall, the former United University Club at 1 Suffolk Street in Trafalgar Square. The center enables the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Business Administration, Science, Engineering and the Law School to develop their own programs in London, as well as hosting conferences and symposia.[91] The university also owns a residence facility, Conway Hall, which was previously a hospital. It houses students studying abroad in London.[92]
  • Beijing. The university owns space in the Liangmaqiao Station area, Beijing. The center is the hub of Notre Dame Asia and it hosts a number of programs including study abroad.[93]
Kylemore Abbey, in Ireland, which entered a study abroad partnership with the university
  • Dublin. The university owns the O'Connell House, a building in Merrion Square at the heart of Georgian Dublin. It hosts academic programs and summer internships for both undergraduate and graduate students in addition to seminars and is home to the Keough Naughton Centre.[94] Since 2015, the university has entered a partnership with Kylemore Abbey. The university renovated spaces in the abbey, and the abbey will host academic programs for Notre Dame students.[95]
  • Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Global Gateway shares space in common with the Tantur Ecumenical Institute, also directed by the University of Notre Dame. The space is located in a 100,000-square-foot facility on the seam between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It hosts a number of religious and ecumenical programs.[96]
  • Rome. The Rome Global Getaway is located in Via Ostilia, very close to the Colosseum. It was recently acquired and renovated, and it now has 32,000 square-foot space and hosts a variety of academic and educational activities of the university. The university purchased a second Roman villa on the Caelian hill.[97]

In addition to the five Global Getaways, the University also holds a presence in Chicago where it owns the Santa Fe Building.[98]

Community development

The first phase of Eddy Street Commons, a $215 million development located adjacent to the University of Notre Dame campus and funded by the university, broke ground on June 3, 2008.[99][100] The Eddy Street Commons drew union protests when workers hired by the City of South Bend to construct the public parking garage picketed the private work site after a contractor hired non-union workers.[101] The second phase, a 90 million dollar project, broke ground in 2017. Combined, the two phases constitute a 300 million dollar investment in the Northeastern Neighborhood.[102]

Organization and administration

The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh was the 15th and longest-serving president.

The university of Notre Dame is under the leadership of the president, who is a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The first president was Fr. Edward Sorin and the current president is Fr. John I. Jenkins. As of 2018, the provost of the university, who oversees academic functions, is Thomas Burish.[103] Until 1967 Notre Dame had been governed directly by the Congregation, but under the presidency of the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh two groups, the Board of Fellows and the Board of Trustees were established to govern the University.[104] The Fellows are a group of six Holy Cross religious and six lay members who have final say over the operation of the university. The Fellows vote on potential trustees and sign off on all major decisions by that body.[105] The Trustees elect the president and provide general guidance and governance to the university.[106]


Notre Dame's financial endowment was started in the early 1920s by university president James Burns, and increased to US$7 million by 1952 when Hesburgh became president. By the 1980s it reached $150 million, and in 2000, it returned a record 57.9% investment.[107] For the 2007 fiscal year, the endowment had grown to approximately $6.5 billion, putting the university in the top-15 largest endowments in the country.[108] In October 2018, the University listed its endowment at National Association of College and University Business Officers published Notre Dame's endowment at $13.1 billion.


As of fall 2014, Notre Dame had 12,292 students and employed 1,126 full-time faculty members and another 190 part-time members to give a student/faculty ratio of 8:1.[4]


  • The College of Arts and Letters was established as the university's first college in 1842 with the first degrees given in 1849.[109] The university's first academic curriculum was modeled after the Jesuit Ratio Studiorum from Saint Louis University.[110] Today the college, housed in O'Shaughnessy Hall,[111] includes 20 departments in the areas of fine arts, humanities, and social sciences and awards Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in nearly 70 majors and minors, making it the largest of the university's colleges. There are more than 3000 undergraduates and 1,100 graduates enrolled in the college, taught by 500 faculty members.[112]
  • The College of Science was established at the university in 1865 by president Father Patrick Dillon. Dillon's curriculum involved six years of course work, including higher-level mathematics courses.[113] Today the college, housed in the newly built Jordan Hall of Science,[114] includes over 1,200 undergraduates in several departments of study - Biology, Neuroscience & Behavior, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mathematics, Physics, pre-professional studies, applied and computational mathematics and statistics (ACMS), Science-Business, Science-Computing, Science-Education, and Statistic - each awarding Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees.[115] According to university statistics, its science pre-professional program has one of the highest acceptance rates to medical school of any university in the United States.[116]
    Bond Hall, house of the School of Architecture
  • The School of Architecture was established in 1899,[117] although degrees in architecture were first awarded by the university in 1898.[118] Today the school, housed in Bond Hall,[119] offers a five-year undergraduate program leading to the Bachelor of Architecture degree. All undergraduate students study the third year of the program in Rome.[120] The faculty teaches (pre-modernist) traditional and classical architecture and urban planning (e.g., following the principles of New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture).[121] It also awards the renowned annual Driehaus Architecture Prize.[122]
  • The College of Engineering was established in 1920;[123] however, early courses in civil and mechanical engineering were a part of the College of Science since the 1870s.[124] Today the college, housed in the Fitzpatrick, Cushing, and Stinson-Remick Halls of Engineering,[125] includes five departments of study - aerospace and mechanical engineering, chemical and biomolecular engineering, civil engineering and geological sciences, computer science and engineering, and electrical engineering - with eight B.S. degrees offered. Additionally, the college offers five-year dual degree programs with the Colleges of Arts and Letters and of Business awarding additional B.A. and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees, respectively.[126]
  • The Mendoza College of Business was established by Father John Francis O'Hara in 1921, although a foreign commerce program was launched in 1917.[127] Today the college offers degrees in accountancy, finance, management, and marketing and enrolls over 1,600 students.[128] In 2016, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Mendoza's undergraduate program as second in the country[129] after five consecutive years in the first position.[130] For its 2017 rankings, U.S. News and World Report ranked the Graduate school 29th, tied with Rice University and Georgia Tech.[131]
  • The Keough School of Global Affairs was established in 2014 by Father John I. Jenkins, CSC. The first new school in nearly a century, it builds on the presence of seven institutes founded for international research, scholarship, and education at Notre Dame. The school offers six doctoral programs related to international peace studies, a Masters in Global Affairs focused either in peace studies or sustainable development, and five undergraduate majors.

Special programs

All of Notre Dame's undergraduate students are a part of one of the five undergraduate colleges at the school or are in the First Year of Studies program.

The Hesburgh Library, which is the center of the campus' intellectual life

The First Year of Studies program was established in 1962 to guide incoming freshmen in their first year at the school before they have declared a major. Each student is given an academic advisor from the program who helps them to choose classes that give them exposure to any major in which they are interested.[132] The program also includes a Learning Resource Center which provides time management, collaborative learning, and subject tutoring.[133] This program has been recognized previously, by U.S. News & World Report, as outstanding.[134] The program is designed to encourage intellectual and academic achievement and innovation among first year students. It includes programs such as FY advising, the Dean's A list, the Renaissance circle, NDignite, the First year Urban challenge and more.

Each admissions cycle, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions selects a small number of students for the Glynn Family Honors Program, which grants top students within the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Science access to smaller class sizes taught by distinguished faculty, endowed funding for independent research, and dedicated advising faculty and staff.[135]

Graduate and professional schools

The Law School in winter

The university first offered graduate degrees, in the form of a Master of Arts (MA), in the 1854-1855 academic year. The program expanded to include Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Master of Civil Engineering in its early stages of growth, before a formal graduate school education was developed with a thesis not required to receive the degrees. This changed in 1924 with formal requirements developed for graduate degrees, including offering Doctorate (PhD) degrees.[136]

  • Each of the five colleges offers graduate education in the form of Masters and Doctoral programs. Most of the departments from the College of Arts and Letters offer PhD programs, while a professional Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program also exists. All of the departments in the College of Science offer PhD programs, except for the Department of Pre-Professional Studies. The School of Architecture offers a Master of Architecture, while each of the departments of the College of Engineering offer PhD programs. The College of Business offers multiple professional programs including MBA and Master of Science in Accountancy programs. It also operates facilities in Chicago and Cincinnati for its executive MBA program.[137] Additionally, the Alliance for Catholic Education program[138] offers a Master of Education program where students study at the university during the summer and teach in Catholic elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools across the Southern United States for two school years.[139] The Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame is dedicated to research, education and outreach on the causes of violent conflict and the conditions for sustainable peace. It offers PhD, Master's, and undergraduate degrees in peace studies. It was founded in 1986 through the donations of Joan B. Kroc, the widow of McDonald's owner Ray Kroc. The institute was inspired by the vision of the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh CSC, President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame. The institute has contributed to international policy discussions about peace building practices.[140]
  • The Notre Dame Law School offers a professional program for students, where they can earn a degree in the law. Established in 1869, Notre Dame was the first Catholic university in the United States to have a law program.[141] Today the program has consistently ranked among the top law schools in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report.[142] The Law School grants the professional Juris Doctor degree as well as the graduate LL.M. and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees.[137]
  • Although Notre Dame does not have a medical school of its own, it offers a combined MD-PhD though the regional campus of the Indiana University School of Medicine, where Indiana University medical students may spend the first two years of their medical education before transferring to the main medical campus at IUPUI.[143][144]

In 2014, Notre Dame announced plans to establish the Donald R. Keough School of Global Affairs, a professional school focused on the study of global government, human rights, and other areas of global social and political policy. The creation of the school is funded by a $50 million gift from Donald Keough and Marilyn Keough and will be housed in Jenkins Hall on Debartolo Quad. The school is scheduled to open in August 2017.[145]


The interior of the Kresge Law Library at the Notre Dame Law School

The library system of the university is divided between the main library and each of the colleges and schools. The main building is the 14-story Theodore M. Hesburgh Library, completed in 1963, which is the third building to house the main collection of books.[146] The front of the library is adorned with the Word of Life mural designed by artist Millard Sheets. This mural is popularly known as "Touchdown Jesus" because of its proximity to Notre Dame Stadium and Jesus' arms appearing to make the signal for a touchdown.[147][148]

Clarke Memorial Fountain

The library system also includes branch libraries for Architecture, Chemistry and Physics, Engineering, Law, and Mathematics as well as information centers in the Mendoza College of Business, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, and a slide library in O'Shaughnessy Hall.[149] A theology library was also opened in fall of 2015. Located on the first floor of Stanford Hall, it is the first branch of the library system to be housed in a dorm room. The library system holds over three million volumes, was the single largest university library in the world upon its completion,[150] and remains one of the 100 largest libraries in the country.[151]


Notre Dame is known for its competitive admissions, with the incoming class enrolling in fall 2018 admitting 3,610 from a pool of 20,371 (17.7% acceptance rate in 2018).[152] The academic profile of the enrolled class continues to rate among the top 10 to 15 in the nation for national research universities. Of the most recent class, the Class of 2020, 48% were in the top 1% of their high school, and 94% were in the top 10%. The median SAT score was 1510 and the median ACT score was 34. The university practices a non-restrictive early action policy that allows admitted students to consider admission to Notre Dame as well as any other colleges to which they were accepted.[153] 1,400 of the 3,577 (39.1%) were admitted under the early action plan.[154] Admitted students came from 1,311 high schools and the average student traveled more than 750 miles to Notre Dame, making it arguably the most representative university in the United States. While all entering students begin in the College of the First Year of Studies, 25% have indicated they plan to study in the liberal arts or social sciences, 24% in engineering, 24% in business, 24% in science, and 3% in architecture.[155]


USNWR graduate school rankings[164]

Business 29
Engineering 48
Law 20

USNWR departmental rankings[164]

Biological Sciences 84
Chemistry 60
Clinical Psychology 47
Computer Science 60
Earth Sciences 88
Economics 47
English 33
Fine Arts 114
History 27
Mathematics 41
Physics 54
Political Science 37
Psychology 60
Sociology 32

In 2016-2017, Notre Dame ranked 7th for undergraduate teaching and 15th overall among "national universities" in the United States in U.S. News & World Reports Best Colleges 2016.[165][166] In 2014, USA Today ranked Notre Dame 10th overall for American universities.[167]Forbes's "America's Top Colleges" ranks Notre Dame 13th among colleges in the United States in 2016, 8th among Research Universities, and 1st in the Midwest.[168]U.S. News & World Report also lists Notre Dame Law School as 22nd overall.[142]BusinessWeek ranks Mendoza College of Business undergraduate school as 1st overall.[169] It ranks the MBA program as 20th overall. The Philosophical Gourmet Report ranks Notre Dame's graduate philosophy program as 15th nationally,[170] while Architect Magazine ranked the undergraduate architecture program as 12th nationally.[171] Additionally, the study abroad program ranks sixth in highest participation percentage in the nation, with 57.6% of students choosing to study abroad in 17 countries.[172] According to PayScale, undergraduate alumni of University of Notre Dame have a mid-career median salary $110,000, making it the 24th highest among colleges and universities in the United States. The median starting salary of $55,300 ranked 58th in the same peer group.[173]

Named by Newsweek as one of the "25 New Ivies,"[174] it is also an Oak Ridge Associated University.[175]



Jordan Hall of Science

Father Joseph Carrier, C.S.C. was Director of the Science Museum and the Library and Professor of Chemistry and Physics until 1874. Carrier taught that scientific research and its promise for progress were not antagonistic to the ideals of intellectual and moral culture endorsed by the Church. One of Carrier's students was Father John Augustine Zahm who was made Professor and Co-Director of the Science Department at age 23 and by 1900 was a nationally prominent scientist and naturalist. Zahm was active in the Catholic Summer School movement, which introduced Catholic laity to contemporary intellectual issues. His book Evolution and Dogma (1896) defended certain aspects of evolutionary theory as true, and argued, moreover, that even the great Church teachers Thomas Aquinas and Augustine taught something like it. The intervention of Irish American Catholics in Rome prevented Zahm's censure by the Vatican. In 1913, Zahm and former President Theodore Roosevelt embarked on a major expedition through the Amazon.[176]

In 1882, Albert Zahm (John Zahm's brother) built an early wind tunnel used to compare lift to drag of aeronautical models. Around 1899, Professor Jerome Green became the first American to send a wireless message. In 1931, Father Julius Nieuwland performed early work on basic reactions that was used to create neoprene.[177] Study of nuclear physics at the university began with the building of a nuclear accelerator in 1936,[178] and continues now partly through a partnership in the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics.[179]

Lobund Institute

The Lobund Institute (Laboratory Of Biology University of Notre Dame) grew out of pioneering research in germ-free-life which began in 1928. This area of research originated in a question posed by Pasteur as to whether animal life was possible without bacteria. Although others had taken up this idea, their research was short lived and inconclusive. Lobund was the first research organization to answer definitively, that such life is possible and that it can be prolonged through generations. But the objective was not merely to answer Pasteur's question but also to produce the germ free animal as a new tool for biological and medical research. This objective was reached and for years Lobund was a unique center for the study and production of germ free animals and for their use in biological and medical investigations. Today the work has spread to other universities. In the beginning it was under the Department of Biology and a program leading to the master's degree accompanied the research program. In the 1940s Lobund achieved independent status as a purely research organization and in 1950 was raised to the status of an Institute. In 1958 it was brought back into the Department of Biology as integral part of that department, but with its own program leading to the degree of PhD in Gnotobiotics.[180]

Hallway within Hurley Hall


Richard T. Sullivan taught English from 1936 to 1974 and published six novels, dozens of short stories, and various other efforts. He was known as a regional writer and a Catholic spokesman.[181]

The new wing of the Law School

Frank O'Malley was an English professor during the 1930s-1960s. Influenced by philosophers Jacques Maritain, John U. Nef, and others, O'Malley developed a concept of Christian philosophy that was a fundamental element in his thought. Through his course "Modern Catholic Writers" O'Malley introduced generations of undergraduates to Gabriel Marcel, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Sigrid Undset, Paul Claudel, and Gerard Manley Hopkins.[182]

The Review of Politics was founded in 1939 by Waldemar Gurian, modeled after German Catholic journals. It quickly emerged as part of an international Catholic intellectual revival, offering an alternative vision to positivist philosophy. For 44 years, the Review was edited by Gurian, Matthew Fitzsimons, Frederick Crosson, and Thomas Stritch. Intellectual leaders included Gurian, Jacques Maritain, Frank O'Malley, Leo Richard Ward, F. A. Hermens, and John U. Nef. It became a major forum for political ideas and modern political concerns, especially from a Catholic and scholastic tradition.[183]

Kenneth Sayre has explored the history of the Philosophy department. He stresses the abandonment of official Thomism to the philosophical pluralism of the 1970s, with attention to the issue of being Catholic. He pays special attention to the charismatic personalities of Ernan McMullin and Ralph McInerny, key leaders of the department in the 1960s and 1970s.[184]

European émigrés

The rise of Hitler and other dictators in the 1930s forced numerous Catholic intellectuals to flee Europe; president John O'Hara brought many to Notre Dame. From Germany came Anton-Hermann Chroust (1907-1982) in classics and law,[185] and Waldemar Gurian a German Catholic intellectual of Jewish descent. Positivism dominated American intellectual life in the 1920s onward but in marked contrast, Gurian received a German Catholic education and wrote his doctoral dissertation under Max Scheler.[186]Ivan Me?trovi? (1883-1962), a renowned sculptor, brought Croatian culture to campus, 1955-62.[187]Yves Simon (1903-61), brought to ND in the 1940s the insights of French studies in the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition of philosophy; his own teacher Jacques Maritain (1882-1973) was a frequent visitor to campus.[188]

The Pieta by Ivan Me?trovi?, a European émigré

The exiles developed a distinctive emphasis on the evils of totalitarianism. For example, the political science courses of Gerhart Niemeyer (1907-97) discussed communist ideology and were particularly accessible to his students. He came to ND in 1955, and was a frequent contributor to the National Review and other conservative magazines.[189] In 1960, then President Theodore M. Hesburgh, at the urging of Niemeyer and political science department head, Fr. Stanley Parry, C.S.C., invited Eric Voegelin (1901-1985), who had escaped Nazi-occupied Austria, to guest lecture at Notre Dame, which he did until his retirement in 1968.

Current research

As of 2012 research continued in many fields. The university president, John Jenkins, described his hope that Notre Dame would become "one of the pre-eminent research institutions in the world" in his inaugural address.[190] The university has many multi-disciplinary institutes devoted to research in varying fields, including the Medieval Institute, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Kroc Institute for International Peace studies, and the Center for Social Concerns.[191] Recent research includes work on family conflict and child development,[192][193]genome mapping,[194] the increasing trade deficit of the United States with China,[195] studies in fluid mechanics,[196]computational science and engineering,[197]supramolecular chemistry,[198] and marketing trends on the Internet.[199] As of 2013, the university is home to the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index which ranks countries annually based on how vulnerable they are to climate change and how prepared they are to adapt.[200]

Student life

In 2014 the Notre Dame student body consisted of 12,179 students, with 8,448 undergraduates, 2,138 graduate and professional and 1,593 professional (Law, M.Div., Business, MEd) students.[5] Around 21-24% of students are children of alumni,[201] and although 37% of students come from the Midwestern United States, the student body represents all 50 states and 100 countries. 32% of students are U.S. students of color or international citizens.[5] As of March 2007The Princeton Review ranked the school as the fifth highest 'dream school' for parents to send their children.[202] As of March 2015 The Princeton Review ranked Notre Dame as the ninth highest.[203] It has also been commended by some diversity oriented publications; Hispanic Magazine in 2004 ranked the university ninth on its list of the top-25 colleges for Latinos,[204] and The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education recognized the university in 2006 for raising enrollment of African-American students.[205]

The strictly measured federal graduation rate for athletes was 90% for freshmen who entered between 2005 and 2008. This is the second highest in the country.[206]

Student events

With 6,000 participants, the university's intramural sports program was named in 2004 by Sports Illustrated as the best program in the country,[207] while in 2007 The Princeton Review named it as the top school where "Everyone Plays Intramural Sports."[208] The annual Bookstore Basketball tournament is the largest outdoor five-on-five tournament in the world with over 700 teams participating each year,[209] while the Notre Dame Men's Boxing Club hosts the annual Bengal Bouts tournament that raises money for the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh.[210] In the fall, the Notre Dame Women's Boxing Club hosts an annual Baraka Bouts tournament that raises money for the Congregation of the Holy Cross Missions in Uganda.

Many of the most popular student events held on campus are organized by the 30 Residential Halls, which are the core of the student community. Among these, the most notable are the Keenan Revue, the Fisher Hall Regatta, Keenan Hall Muddy Sunday, the Morrissey Hall Medallion Hunt, the Dillon Hall Pep Rally, the Keough Hall Chariot Race and many others. Each dorm also hosts many formal and informal balls and dances each year.

Howard Hall, one of the fifteen female dormitories on campus

Residence halls

Residentiality is a primary and defining characteristic of a Notre Dame undergraduate education and is embedded in the Mission Statement of the University. About 80% of undergraduates and 20% of graduate students live on campus.[5] The majority of the graduate students on campus live in one of four graduate housing complexes on campus, while all on-campus undergraduates live in one of the 31 residence halls.[211] All residence halls are single-sex, with 16 male dorms, 14 female dorms, and one small house of formation for male college students discerning entrance into the Congregation of Holy Cross.[212] The university maintains a visiting policy (known as parietal hours) for those students who live in dormitories, specifying times when members of the opposite sex are allowed to visit other students' dorm rooms; however, all residence halls have 24-hour social spaces for students regardless of gender.

Every hall is led by a rector. Rectors are made up of priests, religious sisters or brothers, and laypersons trained in ministry and/or education. They are full-time, live-in professionals who serve as pastoral leaders, chief administrators, community builders and university resources to their residents. Rectors often coordinate with professors, academic advisors, and counselors to look after students and guide their formation into adulthood. They select, hire, train, and supervise hall staff: resident advisors (only chosen from the seniors) and assistant rectors (graduate students). Many residence halls also have at least one priest or lay faculty member in residence. Every hall has its own chapel and liturgical schedule with masses celebrated multiple times per week during the academic year.

There are no traditional social fraternities or sororities at the university, but a majority of students live in the same residence hall for all four years. The residence halls are the primary places for students to develop community and identity. Every hall has its own colors, mascot, signature events, and lore. Hence, when two alumni meet, the first question asked is often, "Where did you live?". Most intramural (interhall) sports are based on residence hall teams, where the university offers the only non-military academy program of full-contact intramural American football.[213] At the end of the interhall football season, the championship game is played on the field in Notre Dame Stadium.

Religious life

Basilica of the Sacred Heart at night

The university is affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross (Latin: Congregatio a Sancta Cruce, abbreviated postnominals: "CSC"). While religious affiliation is not a criterion for admission, more than 93% of students identify as Christian, with over 80% of the total being Catholic.[214] There are 47 chapels on campus, including one in every residence hall. Collectively, Catholic Mass is celebrated over 100 times per week on campus, and a large campus ministry program provides for the faith needs of the community.[213][215] Fifty-seven chapels are located throughout the campus.[216] There are also the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM), Jewish Club, Muslim Student Association, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, The Mormon Club, and many more.

The university is the major seat of the Congregation of Holy Cross (albeit not its official headquarters, which are in Rome).[217] Its main seminary, Moreau Seminary, is located on the campus across St. Joseph lake from the Main Building.[218]Old College, the oldest building on campus and located near the shore of St. Mary lake, houses undergraduate seminarians. Retired priests and brothers reside in Fatima House (a former retreat center), Holy Cross House, as well as Columba Hall near the Grotto.[219]

Student-run media

As at most other universities, Notre Dame's students run a number of news media outlets. The nine student-run outlets include three newspapers, both a radio and television station, and several magazines and journals. Begun as a one-page journal in September 1876,[220] the Scholastic magazine is issued twice monthly and claims to be the oldest continuous collegiate publication in the United States. The other magazine, The Juggler, is released twice a year and focuses on student literature and artwork.[221] The Dome yearbook is published annually. The newspapers have varying publication interests, with The Observer published daily and mainly reporting university and other news,[222] and staffed by students from both Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College. Unlike Scholastic and The Dome, The Observer is an independent publication and does not have a faculty advisor or any editorial oversight from the University. In 1987, when some students believed that The Observer began to show a conservative bias, a liberal newspaper, Common Sense was published. "Common Sense" is no longer published. In 2003, when other students believed that the paper showed a liberal bias, the Irish Rover went into production. The Irish Rover is a fully independent non-profit paper that is published twice a month and features regular columns from alumni and faculty in addition to coverage of campus matters. The Observer and the Irish Rover are both distributed to all students.[221]Finally, in Spring 2008 an undergraduate journal for political science research, Beyond Politics, made its debut.[223]

The television station, NDtv, grew from one show in 2002 to a full 24-hour channel with original programming by September 2006.[224]WSND-FM serves the student body and larger South Bend community at 88.9 FM, offering students a chance to become involved in bringing classical music, fine arts and educational programming, and alternative rock to the airwaves. Another radio station, WVFI, began as a partner of WSND-FM. More recently, however, WVFI has been airing independently and is streamed on the Internet.[225]


Notre Dame teams are known as the Fighting Irish. They compete as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, primarily competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for all sports since the 2013-14 school year.[226] The Fighting Irish previously competed in the Horizon League from 1982 to 1983 to 1985-86, and again from 1987 to 1988 to 1994-95, and then in the Big East Conference through 2012-13. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, fencing, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, fencing, golf, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. The football team competes as a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Independent[227] since its inception in 1887. Both fencing teams compete in the Midwest Fencing Conference,[228] and the men's ice hockey team competes in the Big Ten Conference

Football Stadium during a game

Notre Dame's conference affiliations for all of its sports except football and fencing changed in July 2013 as a result of major conference realignment, and its fencing affiliation changed in July 2014. The Irish left the Big East for the ACC during a prolonged period of instability in the Big East;[229][230] while they maintain their football independence, they have committed to play five games per season against ACC opponents.[231] In ice hockey, the Irish were forced to find a new conference home after the Big Ten Conference's decision to add the sport in 2013-14 led to a cascade of conference moves that culminated in the dissolution of the school's former hockey home, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, after the 2012-13 season. Notre Dame moved its hockey team to Hockey East.[232] After Notre Dame joined the ACC, the conference announced it would add fencing as a sponsored sport beginning in the 2014-15 school year.[233]

There are many theories behind the adoption of the athletics moniker[234] but it is known that the Fighting Irish name was used in the early 1920s with respect to the football team and was popularized by alumnus Francis Wallace in his New York Daily News columns.[235] The official colors of Notre Dame are navy blue and gold,[236] which are worn in competition by its athletic teams. In addition, the color green is often worn because of the Fighting Irish nickname.[237] The Notre Dame Leprechaun is the mascot of the athletic teams. Created by Theodore W. Drake in 1964, the leprechaun was first used on the football pocket schedule and later on the football program covers. The leprechaun was featured on the cover of Time in November 1964 and gained national exposure.[238]

On July 1, 2014, the University of Notre Dame and Under Armour reached an agreement in which Under Armour provides uniforms, apparel, equipment, and monetary compensation to Notre Dame for 10 years. This contract, worth almost $100 million, is the most lucrative in the history of the NCAA.[239] The university marching band plays at home games for most of the sports. The band, which began in 1846 and has a claim as the oldest university band in continuous existence in the United States, was honored by the National Music Council as a "Landmark of American Music" during the United States Bicentennial.[240] The band regularly plays the school's fight song the Notre Dame Victory March, which was named as the most played and most famous fight song by Northern Illinois Professor William Studwell.[241] According to College Fight Songs: An Annotated Anthology published in 1998, the "Notre Dame Victory March" ranks as the greatest fight song of all time.[241]

According to some analysts without direct connection to the university or its athletic department, Notre Dame promotes Muscular Christianity through its athletic programs.[242][243]


The Notre Dame football team's history began when the Michigan Wolverines football team brought the game of football to Notre Dame in 1887 and played against a group of students.[244] Since then, 13 Fighting Irish teams have won consensus national championships (although the university only claims 11),[226] along with another nine teams being named national champion by at least one source.[245] Additionally, the program has the most members in the College Football Hall of Fame,[246] is tied with Ohio State University with the most Heisman Trophies won,[247] and have the highest winning percentage in NCAA history.[248] With the long history, Notre Dame has accumulated many rivals, and its annual game against USC for the Jeweled Shillelagh has been named by some as one of the most important in college football[249] and is often called the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football in the country.[250][251][252][253]

Notre Dame playing against Navy

George Gipp was the school's legendary football player during 1916-20. He played semiprofessional baseball and smoked, drank, and gambled when not playing sports. He was also humble, generous to the needy, and a man of integrity.[254] It was in 1928 that famed coach Knute Rockne used his final conversation with the dying Gipp to inspire the Notre Dame team to beat the Army team and "win one for the Gipper." The 1940 film, Knute Rockne, All American, starred Pat O'Brien as Knute Rockne and Ronald Reagan as Gipp. The team competes in Notre Dame Stadium, an 80,795-seat stadium on campus.[255] The current head coach is Brian Kelly, hired from the University of Cincinnati on December 11, 2009.[256] Kelly's record in midway through his sixth season at Notre Dame is 52-21. In 2012, Kelly's Fighting Irish squad went undefeated and played in the BCS National Championship Game. Kelly succeeded Charlie Weis, who was fired in November 2009 after five seasons.[257][258] Although Weis led his team to two Bowl Championship Series bowl games,[259] his overall record was 35-27,[260] mediocre by Notre Dame standards, and the 2007 team had the most losses in school history.[261] The football team generates enough revenue to operate independently while $22.1 million is retained from the team's profits for academic use. Forbes named the team as the most valuable in college football, worth a total of $101 million in 2007.[262]

Football gameday traditions

During home games, activities occur all around campus and different dorms decorate their halls with a traditional item (e.g., Zahm Hall's two-story banner). Traditional activities begin at the stroke of midnight with the Drummers' Circle. This tradition involves the drum line of the Band of the Fighting Irish and ushers in the rest of the festivities that will continue the rest of the gameday Saturday. Later that day, the trumpet section will play the Notre Dame Victory March and the Notre Dame Alma Mater under the dome. The entire band will play a concert at the steps of Bond Hall, from where they will march into Notre Dame Stadium, leading fans and students alike across the campus to the game.[263]

Men's basketball

The Joyce Center, where basketball is played

As of the 2014-2015 season, the men's basketball team has over 1,898 wins; only 8 other schools have more wins,[264] and Fighting Irish teams have appeared in 28 NCAA tournaments.[265] Former player Austin Carr holds the record for most points scored in a single game of the tournament with 61.[266] Although the team has never won the NCAA Tournament, they were named by the Helms Athletic Foundation as national champions twice.[265] The team has orchestrated a number of upsets of number one ranked teams, the most notable of which was ending UCLA's record 88-game winning streak in 1974.[267] The team has beaten an additional eight number-one teams, and those nine wins rank second, to UCLA's 10, all-time in wins against the top team.[265] The team plays in newly renovated Purcell Pavilion (within the Edmund P. Joyce Center), which reopened for the beginning of the 2009-2010 season.[268] The team is coached by Mike Brey, who, as of the 2015-16 season, his fifteenth at Notre Dame, has achieved a 356-177 record.[269] In 2009 they were invited to the NIT, where they advanced to the semi-finals but were beaten by Penn State who went on and beat Baylor in the championship. The 2010-11 team concluded its regular season ranked number seven in the country, with a record of 25-5, Brey's fifth straight 20-win season, and a second-place finish in the Big East. During the 2014-15 season, the team went 32-6 and won the ACC conference tournament, later advancing to the Elite 8, where the Fighting Irish lost on a missed buzzer-beater against then undefeated Kentucky. Led by NBA draft picks Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton, the Fighting Irish beat the eventual national champion Duke Blue Devils twice during the season. The 32 wins were the most by the Fighting Irish team since 1908-09.

Other sports

Notre Dame has been successful in other sports besides football, with an additional 14 national championships in various sports. Three teams have won multiple national championships with the fencing team leading them with ten,[270] followed by the men's tennis and women's soccer teams each with two.[271][272] The men's cross country,[272] men's golf,[272] teams have one one and the women's basketball has won two in their histories.[273]

In the first ten years that Notre Dame competed in the Big East Conference its teams won a total of 64 championships.[274] As of 2010, the women's swimming and diving team holds the Big East record for consecutive conference championships in any sport with 14 straight conference titles (1997-2010).[275]

Band and "Victory March"

The Band of the Fighting Irish is the oldest university band in continuous existence.[276] It was formed in 1846. The all-male Glee Club was formed in 1915.[277] The Internationally recognized "Notre Dame Folk Choir" was founded by Steven "Cookie" Warner in 1980.[278]

The "Notre Dame Victory March" is the fight song for the University of Notre Dame. It was written by two brothers who were Notre Dame graduates. The Rev. Michael J. Shea, a 1904 graduate, wrote the music, and his brother, John F. Shea, who earned degrees in 1906 and 1908, wrote the original lyrics. The lyrics were revised in the 1920s; it first appeared under the copyright of the University of Notre Dame in 1928. The chorus is, "Cheer cheer for old Notre Dame, wake up the echos cheering her name. Send a volley cheer on high, shake down the thunder from the sky! What though the odds be great or small, old Notre Dame will win over all. While her loyal sons are marching, onward to victory!"

The chorus of the song is one of the most recognizable collegiate fight songs in the United States, and was ranked first among fight songs by Northern Illinois University Professor William Studwell, who remarked it was "more borrowed, more famous and, frankly, you just hear it more".[241]

In the film Knute Rockne, All American, Knute Rockne (played by Pat O'Brien) delivers the famous "Win one for the Gipper" speech, at which point the background music swells with the "Notre Dame Victory March". George Gipp was played by Ronald Reagan, whose nickname "The Gipper" was derived from this role. This scene was parodied in the movie Airplane! with the same background music, only this time honoring George Zipp, one of Ted Striker's former comrades. The song also was prominent in the movie Rudy, with Sean Astin as Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, who harbored dreams of playing football at the University of Notre Dame despite significant obstacles.


Notre Dame alumni number near 120,000, and are members of 275 alumni clubs around the world.[] Many alumni give yearly monetary support to the university, with a school-record 53.2% giving some donation in 2006.[279] Many buildings on campus are named for those whose donations allowed their building, including residence halls,[280][281] classroom buildings,[282] and the performing arts center.[74]

Notre Dame alumni work in various fields. Alumni working in political fields include state governors,[283] members of the United States Congress,[284] and former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.[285] Notable alumni from the College of Science are Eric F. Wieschaus, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in medicine,[286] and Philip Majerus, discoverer of the cardioprotective effects of aspirin.[287] A number of university heads are alumni, including Notre Dame's current president, the Rev. John Jenkins.[288] Additionally, many alumni are in the media, including talk show hosts Regis Philbin[289] and Phil Donahue,[290] and television and radio personalities such as Mike Golic[291] and Hannah Storm.[292] With the university having high-profile sports teams itself, a number of alumni went on to become involved in athletics outside the university, including professional baseball, basketball, football, and ice hockey players, such as Joe Theismann, Joe Montana,[293]Tim Brown, Ross Browner, Rocket Ismail, Ruth Riley, Jeff Samardzija,[294]Jerome Bettis, Brett Lebda, Olympic gold medalist Mariel Zagunis, professional boxer Mike Lee, former football coaches such as Charlie Weis,[295]Frank Leahy and Knute Rockne,[296][297] and Basketball Hall of Famers Austin Carr and Adrian Dantley. Other notable alumni include prominent businessman Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr. and astronaut Jim Wetherbee.[298][299]

Popular culture

The University of Notre Dame is the setting for numerous works of fiction, as well of the alma mater of many fictional characters. In mid-20th century America it became "perhaps the most popular symbol of Catholicism," as noted by The Routledge Companion to Religion and Popular Culture:

By combining religion, ethnicity, masculinity, and athletics into a potent mixture of an aggressive and uniquely Catholic gospel of athletics, Notre Dame football became the emblematic program that represented American Catholic self-identity.[300]

Dealing with the era before coeducation, James P. Leary, an alumnus who is now a folklore professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has contrasted two self-images of the Notre Dame student. They coexist uneasily, the first appearing in official documents the second in popular culture. Leary states:

Two opposing cultural systems have long coexisted at the University of Notre Dame. The former is normative, overt, official while the latter is deviant, largely covert, and unofficial. Catholicism, academic excellence, and athletics are prominently featured in university publications, in the rhetoric of administrator and alumni, and in serious histories of the campus. Meanwhile, the drunken rowdiness of sex-starved, animalistic dirtballs is confined to dormitory rooms, the talk of students, occasional periods of license, and playful ephemeral publications. Both systems have been integral to the experience of Notre Damers.[301]



Other media

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Further reading

  • Burns, Robert E. Being Catholic, Being American: The Notre Dame Story, 1934-1952, Vol. 2. (2000). 632pp. excerpt and text search
  • Corson, Dorothy V. A Cave of Candles: The Spirit, History, Legends and Lore of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's (2006), 222pp.
  • Hesburgh, Theodore M. God, Country, Notre Dame: The Autobiography of Theodore M. Hesburgh (2000)
  • McAvoy, Thomas T. "Notre Dame, 1919-1922: The Burns Revolution." Review of Politics 1963 25(4): 431-450. in JSTOR
  • McAvoy, Thomas T. Father O'Hara of Notre Dame (1967)
  • Massa, Mark S. Catholics and American Culture: Fulton Sheen, Dorothy Day, and the Notre Dame Football Team. (1999). 278 pp.
  • O'Brien, Michael. Hesburgh: A Biography. (1998). 354 pp.
  • O'Connell, Marvin R. Edward Sorin. (2001). 792 pp.
  • Pilkinton, Mark C. Washington Hall at Notre Dame: Crossroads of the University, 1864-2004 (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011) 419 pp.
  • Rice, Charles E., Ralph McInerny, and Alfred J. Freddoso. What Happened to Notre Dame? (2009) laments the weakening of Catholicism at ND
  • Robinson, Ray. Rockne of Notre Dame: The Making of a Football Legend. (1999). 290 pp.
  • Sperber, Murray. Shake Down the Thunder: The Creation of Notre Dame Football. (1993) 634 pp.
  • Yaeger, Don and Looney, Douglas S. Under the Tarnished Dome: How Notre Dame Betrayed Its Ideals for Football Glory. (1993). 299 pp.

External links

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