University of Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame du Lac

Seal of the University of Notre Dame
Latin: Universitas Dominae Nostrae a Lacu
Motto Vita, Dulcedo, Spes
Motto in English Life, Sweetness, Hope (in reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Established 1842
Type Private, Coeducational
Religious affiliation Congregation of Holy Cross (Catholic Church)
Endowment US$6.8 billion[1]
President Father John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
Provost Tom Burish
Academic staff 1,241[2]
Students 11,733[3]
Undergraduates 8,371
Postgraduates 3,362
Location Notre Dame, Indiana, USA
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
Campus Suburban: 1,250 acres (5.1 km2)

Gold and blue[4][5]

Athletics NCAA Division I
Sports 26 teams
Nickname Fighting Irish
Mascot Leprechaun
Affiliations Independent, Big East Conference, CCHA
ND Wordmark.png

The University of Notre Dame du Lac (or simply Notre Dame /ˌntərˈdm/) is a private Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States. The name of the university, "Notre Dame," is French meaning "Our Lady," a Catholic salutation in reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patron saint of the university.

It was founded by Father Edward Sorin, CSC, who was also the school's first president. It was established as an all-male institution on November 26, 1842, on land donated by the Bishop of Vincennes. The university first enrolled women undergraduates in 1972. Today, about 47 percent of the student body is female.[6] Notre Dame's Catholic character is evident in the many Holy Cross priests serving the school (most notably the president of the university), its explicit commitment to the Christian faith, numerous ministries funded by the school, as well as in architecture around campus, especially the Main Building's gold dome topped by a golden statue of St. Mary, a famous replica of the Lourdes grotto, the 134-foot-tall (41 m) mosaic of Christ on the side of the Hesburgh Library (entitled "The Word of Life," but affectionately called 'Touchdown Jesus' because of his upraised arms and proximity to the stadium), and the ornate Basilica of the Sacred Heart, along with numerous chapels, statuary and religious iconography.

The university today is organized into five colleges and one professional school, the oldest of which, the College of Arts and Letters, began awarding degrees in 1849. The undergraduate program was ranked 19th among national universities by U.S. News & World Report for 2010-2011.[7] Notre Dame has a comprehensive graduate program with 32 master's and 25 doctoral degree programs.[8][9] Additionally, the university's library system is one of the 100 largest in the United States.

More than 80% of the university's 8,000 undergraduates live on campus in one of 29 single-sex residence halls, each of which fields teams for more than a dozen intramural sports. Notre Dame's approximately 120,000 alumni are located around the world.[10]

Outside academia, Notre Dame is best known for its sports programs, especially its football team. The teams are members of the NCAA Division I, and are known collectively as the Fighting Irish, a name it adopted in the 1920s. The football team, an Independent, has accumulated eleven consensus national championships, seven Heisman Trophy winners, and sixty-two members in the College Football Hall of Fame. Other ND teams, chiefly in the Big East Conference, have accumulated 16 national championships.



Catholic character

The school was founded by a group of Catholic missionary priests and brothers from France, members of the Congregation of Holy Cross (in Latin, Congregatio Sanctae Crucis; more commonly referred to as "CSC," which is also the initials placed after all members' names). The land where they founded the school was donated to them by the Bishop of Vincennes, Indiana. A large part of their early mission was caring for and evangelizing the local Potawatomi tribes. Upon arrival on the lakeshore in the cold of winter, they dedicated their new school and all their endeavors to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the name Notre Dame du Lac, which is French for Our Lady of the Lake.

This Catholic mission of the Congregation, its schools at the site, and their successors has shaped the campus and the university in innumerable ways, both large and small.

While religious affiliation is not a criterion for admission, approximately 80% of undergraduates enrolled self-identify as Catholic. There are many Catholic clubs, organizations, and ministries on campus. There is a large campus ministry program and many volunteer opportunities. There is no compulsory participation in any religious liturgies. Students and clubs of other religions and Christian denominations are welcomed and supported.

Nearly every residence hall has a priest in residence. Every residence hall (and many academic buildings) contains a chapel, where Sunday mass is celebrated during the schoolyear. One dorm is named after a saint (Saint Edward). Sunday and daily masses as well as daily confessions are held in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in the center of campus.

Architecturally, the school has always celebrated its Catholic mission. Atop the Main Building's gold dome is a golden statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Immediately in front of the Main Building and facing it, is a copper statue of Christ with arms upraised with the legend "Venite Ad Me Omnes," which is Latin for "Come to me, all you" (Matthew 11:28a). Next to the Main Building sits the magnificent Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Immediately behind the basilica sits the famous, yet intimate Grotto - a Marian place of prayer and reflection. It is a replica of the grotto at Lourdes, France where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858. At the end of the main drive (and in a direct line that connects through 3 statues and the Gold Dome), is a simple, modern stone statue of Mary. Behind her approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) is a statue of the founder of the school, Rev. Edward Sorin. The 14-story Hesburgh Library sports a 134-foot-tall (41 m) stone mosaic on its southern face of Christ surrounded by the Apostles and notable scholarly saints and doctors of the Church. This mosaic is entitled "The Word of Life," but is affectionately referred to as 'Touchdown Jesus' because of Christ's upraised arms and the ability to see the mosaic from the stadium through the uprights of the northern endzone. Next to the library is Ivan Mestrovic's large bronze statue of Moses with finger upraised (affectionately known as 'Firstdown Moses').

The university is the major seat of the Congregation of Holy Cross (albeit not its official headquarters, which are in Rome). Its main seminary, Moreau Seminary, is located on the campus across St. Joseph lake from the Main Building. 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. Until the 1970s, many of the support staff were nuns and brothers.

The university supports many Church-related organizations and ministries.

The university has a highly regarded theology program, both undergraduate and graduate, with many world-renowned scholars such as Lawrence Cunningham, John Cavadini, Gary Anderson, and many others.

University by-laws require that the President of the University be a priest of the United States Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Until 1967, when governance was transferred to a lay board of trustees, the university was entirely governed by the leadership of the order.

Although the faculty was well over 85% Catholic before 1970, search practices have broadened. In recent years about half the new faculty hires have been Catholics, and Catholics now comprise 52% of the faculty.[11]

However, in a policy statement the University declares that "the Catholic identity of the University depends upon ... the continuing presence of a predominant number of Catholic intellectuals" on the faculty. As the provost has explained, the aim is "to have a majority of faculty who are Catholic, who understand the nature of the religion, who can be living role models, who can talk with students about issues outside the classroom and can infuse values into what they do."[12]

In 2009, the University received criticism from many Catholic bishops due to its conferral of an honorary degree on President Barack Obama, whose support of abortion rights and embryonic stem cell research conflicts with Church teachings on the sanctity of life.[13][14]


Since 1967, Notre Dame has been governed by a Board of Trustees, and not directly by the leadership of Holy Cross. The university is governed by two groups, the Board of Fellows and the Board of Trustees.[15] The Fellows of the University 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. The trustees select the president from the United States Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross. In addition to the president, these groups help to maintain the bylaws and elect other officers of the university.[16] Finally, the provost of the university, currently Dr. Thomas Burish, works under the president to oversee many of the academic activities and functions of the university.[17]


A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes on campus

Notre Dame's campus is located in Notre Dame, Indiana, an unincorporated community in north Indiana, just north of South Bend and four miles (6 km) from the Michigan state line.[18] Development of the campus began in the spring of 1843 when Father 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.[19] Today the campus lies on 1,250 acres (5.1 km2) just south of the Indiana Toll Road and includes 138 buildings located on quads throughout the campus.[20]

Close up of the famous Golden Dome, which sits atop the main building

A number of the buildings that Father Sorin built still stand on the campus, while others have been replaced. The Old College building has become one of two seminaries on campus run by the Congregation of Holy Cross.[21] The current Basilica of the Sacred Heart is located on the spot of Sorin's original church, which became too small for the growing college and the Main Building, after a fire destroyed parts of it, has become home to Notre Dame's administration. There are two lakes located on campus, and near the lakes is the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, which was built in 1896 as a replica of the original in Lourdes, France.[22]


The University of Notre Dame has made being a sustainability leader an integral part of their mission, creating the Office of Sustainability in 2008 to achieve a number of goals in the areas of power generation, design and construction, waste reduction, procurement, food services, transportation, and water.[23] Currently, four building construction projects are pursuing LEED Certified status and three are pursuing LEED Silver.[24] 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.[25] On the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s College Sustainability Report Card 2010, University of Notre Dame received a "B" grade.[26]

New buildings

The university continues to expand and add new buildings each year. Since 2004, many buildings have been built —- the most prominent being the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center,[27] the Guglielmino Complex,[28] and the Jordan Hall of Science.[29] Additionally, a new male residence hall, Duncan Hall, began construction on March 8, 2007,[30] and began accepting residents for the Fall 2008 semester. Ryan Hall has recently finished construction and began housing undergraduate women in the fall of 2009. 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.[31] Additional plans call for a new hockey arena to be completed by the fall of 2011.

LaFortune Student Center

The LaFortune Student Center, commonly known as "LaFortune" or "LaFun," is a 4-story building of 83,000 square feet[32] that provides the Notre Dame community with a meeting place for social, recreational, cultural, and educational activities. The building was constructed in 1883 as a science building but was converted to a student center during the 1950s.[33] LaFortune employs 35 part-time student staff, 29 full-time non-student staff, and has an annual budget of $1.2 million.[32]

Many businesses, services, and Divisions of Student affairs[33] are found within. The building also houses national food chains such as Starbucks, Sbarro, and Burger King, with their Subway franchise ranking No. 1 in Indiana in sales nationwide.[34]

Legends of Notre Dame

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 south of Notre Dame Stadium. The former Alumni Senior Club[35] opened its doors the first weekend in September 2003[36] 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.

London Centre

The university has had a presence in London since 1968. Since 1998, its London Centre has been based in the former United University Club at 1, Suffolk Street in Trafalgar Square. The Centre enables the Colleges of Arts & Letters, Business Administration, Science, Engineering and the Law School to develop their own programs in London, as well as hosting conferences and symposia.[37]


The university's Coat of Arms

As of fall 2006, Notre Dame has a student body population of 11,603 total students and employs 1241 full-time faculty members and another 166 part-time members to give a student/faculty ratio of 13:1.[2] Named by Newsweek as one of the "25 New Ivies,"[38] it is also an Oak Ridge Associated University.[39]


The College of Arts and Letters was established as the university's first college in 1842 with the first degrees given in 1849.[40] The university's first academic curriculum was modeled after the Jesuit Ratio Studiorum from Saint Louis University.[41] Today the college, housed in O'Shaughnessy Hall,[42] includes 20 departments in the areas of fine arts, humanities, and social sciences, and awards Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in 33 majors, making it the largest of the university's colleges. There are around 2,500 undergraduates and 750 graduates enrolled in the college.[43]

The College of Science was established at the university in 1865 by then-president Father Patrick Dillon. Dillon's scientific courses were six years of work, including higher-level mathematics courses.[44] Today the college, housed in the newly-built Jordan Hall of Science,[45] includes over 1,200 undergraduates in six departments of study – biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, pre-professional studies, and applied and computational mathematics and statistics (ACMS) – each awarding Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees.[46] 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.[47]

The School of Architecture was established in 1899,[48] although degrees in architecture were first awarded by the university in 1898.[49] Today the school, housed in Bond Hall,[50] offers a five-year undergraduate program leading to the Bachelor of Architecture degree. One year of study is completed in Rome by all students enrolled in the school.[51]

The College of Engineering was established in 1920,[52] however, early courses in civil and mechanical engineering were a part of the College of Science since the 1870s.[53] Today the college, housed in the Fitzpatrick, Cushing, and Stinson-Remick Halls of Engineering,[54] 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.[55]

The Mendoza College of Business was established by Father John Francis O'Hara in 1921, although a foreign commerce program was launched in 1917.[56] Today the college offers degrees in accountancy, finance, management, and marketing and enrolls over 1,600 students.[57] In the 2010 Bloomberg/Businessweek Undergraduate Business School Rankings, The Mendoza College of Business was ranked as the top overall school.

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 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.[58] The program also includes a Learning Resource Center which provides time management, collaborative learning, and subject tutoring.[59] This program has been recognized previously, by U.S. News & World Report, as outstanding.[60]

Graduate and professional schools

The exterior of the Notre Dame Law School

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.[61] Today each of the five colleges offer graduate education. 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.[62] Additionally, the Alliance for Catholic Education program 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.[63]

In addition to the programs offered by each of the colleges, the Notre Dame Law School offers a professional program for students. Established in 1869, Notre Dame was the first Catholic university in the United States to have a law program.[64] Today the program has consistently ranked among the top law schools in the nation according to US News and World Report.[65] The Law School grants the professional Juris Doctor degree as well as the graduate LL.M. and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees.[62] Currently, the law school is experiencing an expansion that will double the size of its learning space and is expected to be in operation for the Spring 2009 semester. It is the only accredited American law school to offer a full year of study abroad in London.[citation needed]

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 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.[66]

Though Notre Dame does not have a medical school of its own, it hosts a regional campus of the Indiana University School of Medicine,[67] where Indiana University medical students may spend the first two years of their medical education before transferring to the main medical campus at IUPUI.


The library system of the university is divided between the main library and each of the colleges and schools. The main building is the fourteen-story Theodore M. Hesburgh Library, completed in 1963, which is the third building to house the main collection of books.[68] 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.[69][70] Another piece of artwork associated with the Library is the statue of Moses by Joseph Turkalj. This statue, popularly known as "First Down Moses" because of the manner in which his right arm is outstretched with his right index finger in the air, is at a side entrance to the building. The library system also includes branch libraries for Architecture, Chemistry & Physics, Engineering, Law, the Life Sciences, 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.[71] The library system holds over three million volumes, was the single largest university library in the world upon its completion,[72] and remains one of the 100 largest libraries in the country.[73]


University rankings (overall)
Forbes[74] 33
U.S. News & World Report[75] 19
Washington Monthly[76] 22
ARWU[77] 201-302
Times[78] 63

In 2010-2011, Notre Dame ranked 19th overall among "national universities" in the United States in U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges 2011.[79]'s America's Best Colleges ranks Notre Dame 33rd among colleges in the United States for 2010.[80] U.S. News and World Report also lists Notre Dame Law School as 22nd overall.[65] BusinessWeek ranks Mendoza College of Business undergraduate school as 1st overall.[81] It ranks the MBA program as 20th overall. Additionally, The Washington Monthly ranked the university 13th nationally in its 2006 edition.[82] The Philosophical Gourmet Report ranks Notre Dame's graduate philosophy program as 15th nationally,[83] while ARCHITECT Magazine ranked the undergraduate architecture program as 12th nationally.[84] 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.[85] According to, undergraduate alumni of University of Notre Dame have a mid-career median salary $121,000, making it the 8th highest among colleges and universities in the United States. The median starting salary of $55,300 ranked 41st in the same peer group.[86]



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 Zahm (1851–1921) 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.[87]

Other science

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.[88] Study of nuclear physics at the university began with the building of a nuclear accelerator in 1936,[89] and continues now partly through a partnership in the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics.

Lobund Institute

The Lobund Institute 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. Though 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.[90]


Richard Sullivan taught English from 1936 to 1974 and published six novels, dozens of short stories, and various other efforts. Though published by major houses, he never became an important mainstream writer but was known as a regional writer and a Catholic spokesman.[91]

During his long tenure as an English professor during the 1930s-60s, Frank O'Malley emerged as the exemplary American Catholic intellectual. Influenced by 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 Clandel, and Gerard Manley Hopkins.[92]

European émigrés

The rise of Hitler and other dictators in the 1930s forced numerous Catholic intellectuals to flee Europe; resident John O’Hara, brought many to Notre Dame. From Germany came Anton-Hermann Chroust (1907–1982) in classics and law,[93] 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.[94] Ivan Meštrović (1883–1962), a renowned sculptor, brought Croatian culture to campus, 1955-62.[95] 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 (1882-73) was a frequent visitor to campus.[96]

The exiles developed a distinctive emphasis on the evils of totalitarianism. For example the political science courses of Gerhart Niemeyer (1907–97) explained 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.[97]

Political science

The Review of Politics was founded in 1939 by 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.[98]

Research today

Today, research continues in many fields, as the current university president, Father Jenkins, described his hope that Notre Dame would become "one of the pre–eminent research institutions in the world" in his inaugural address.[99] 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.[100] Recent research includes work on family conflict and child development,[101][102]genome mapping,[103] the increasing trade deficit of the United States with China,[104] studies in fluid mechanics,[105] and marketing trends on the Internet.[106]


Notre Dame's financial endowment was started in the early 1920s by then-president of the university, Father James Burns, and increased to $7 million by 1952 when Father 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] As of October, 2009, Notre Dame's endowment is valued at $5.5 billion.[108]


The Notre Dame student body consists of 11,733 students, with 8,371 undergraduates and 3,362 graduate and professional students.[3] Around 21–24% of students are children of alumni,[109] and although 37% of students come from the Midwestern United States, the student body represents all 50 states and 100 countries.[3] The Princeton Review ranks the school as the fifth highest "dream school" for parents to send their children.[110] The school has been previously criticized for its lack of diversity,[111] and The Princeton Review ranks the university highly among schools at which "Alternative Lifestyles [are] Not an Alternative."[112] However, it has also been commended by some diversity oriented publications; Hispanic Magazine ranks the university ninth on its list of the top–25 colleges for Latinos,[113] and the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education recognizes the university for raising enrollment of African-American students.[114] With 6,000 participants, the university's intramural sports program has been named by Sports Illustrated as the best program in the country,[115] while The Princeton Review named it as the top school where "Everyone Plays Intramural Sports."[116] The annual Bookstore Basketball tournament is the largest outdoor five-on-five tournament in the world with over 700 teams participating each year,[117] while the Notre Dame Men's Boxing Club hosts the annual Bengal Bouts tournament that raises money for the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh.[118]

The strictly measured federal graduation rate for athletes was 86% for freshmen who entered between 2000 and 2002. This is one of the highest in the country.[119]

Residence halls

About 80% of undergraduates and 20% of graduate students live on campus.[3] 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 29 residence halls.[120] Because of the religious affiliation of the university, all residence halls are single-sex, with 15 male dorms and 14 female dorms.[121] The university enforces a visitation policy (known as parietals) on those students who live in dormitories, specifying times when members of the opposite sex are allowed to visit, however, all residence halls have 24-hour social spaces in which parietals are not enforced. Many residence halls have at least one nun and/or priest as a resident. There are no fraternities or sororities at the university, but a majority of students live in the same residence hall for all four years. Some intramural sports are based on residence hall teams, where the university offers the only non-military academy program of full-contact intramural American football.[122] At the end of the intramural season, the championship game is played on the field in Notre Dame Stadium.

Religious life

With the university affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross, its Catholic identity permeates into student life. More than 93% of students identify as Christian, with over 80% of them being Catholic.[123] The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is on campus and each residence hall has a chapel. Collectively, Catholic Mass is celebrated over 100 times per week on campus.[122] There are multitudes of religious statues and artwork around campus, most prominent of which are the statue of Mary on the Main Building, the Notre Dame Grotto, and the Word of Life mural on Hesburgh Library depicting Christ as a teacher. Additionally, every classroom displays a crucifix.[111] There are many religious clubs at the school, including Council #1477 of the Knights of Columbus (KOC), Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM), Jewish Club, Muslim Student Association, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, The Mormon Club, and many more. The Notre Dame KofC are known for being the first collegiate council of KofC, operating a charitable concession stand during every home football game and owning their own building on campus which can be used as a cigar lounge.[124]

Student-run media

Like most universities, Notre Dame's students run a number of media outlets. The nine student-run outlets include three newspapers, both a radio and television station, and several magazines and journals. The newspapers have varying publication interests, with The Observer published daily and mainly reporting university and other news.[125] The Observer is staffed by students from both Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College, the women's college located nearby. 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. Likewise, in 2003, when other students believed that the paper showed a liberal bias, the conservative paper Irish Rover went into production. Neither paper is published as often as The Observer, however all three are distributed to all students.[126]

The television station, NDtv, grew from one show in 2002 to a full 24-hour channel with original programming by September 2006.[127] 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, however, has since been airing independently and can be streamed from the Internet.[128] Begun as a one-page journal in September 1876,[129] 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.[126] The Dome yearbook is published annually. Finally, in Spring 2008 an undergraduate journal for political science research, Beyond Politics, made its debut.[130]

Community development

Eddy Street Commons

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.[131][132] 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.[133] The developer, Kite Realty out of Indianapolis, has made agreements with major national chains rather than local businesses, a move that has led to criticism from alumni and students.[134][135]


Notre Dame alumni number near 120,000,[136] and are members of 275 alumni clubs around the world.[137] Many alumni give yearly monetary support to the university, with a school-record 53.2% giving some donation in 2006.[138] Many buildings on campus are named for those whose donations allowed their building, including residence halls,[139][140] classroom buildings,[141] and the performing arts center.[27]

Notre Dame alumni work in various fields. Alumni working in political fields include state governors,[142] members of the United States Congress,[143] and former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.[144] A notable alumni of the College of Science is Nobel Prize winner Eric F. Wieschaus.[citation needed] A number of university heads are alumni, including Notre Dame's current president, Rev. John Jenkins.[145] Additionally, many alumni are in the media, including talk show hosts Regis Philbin[146] and Phil Donahue,[147] and television and radio personalities such as Mike Golic[148] and Hannah Storm.[149] 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 Theisman, Joe Montana,[150] Tim Brown, Rocket Ismail, Megan Duffy,[151] Jeff Samardzija,[152] Jerome Bettis, Brett Lebda Olympic gold medalist Mariel Zagunis, former football coaches such as Charlie Weis[153] and Knute Rockne,[154] and NBA Hall of Famers Austin Carr and Adrian Dantley. Other notable alumni include prominent businessman Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr., and astronaut Jim Wetherbee.[155][156]


The ND monogram is the logo for the university's athletic teams

Notre Dame's NCAA Division I teams are known as the Fighting Irish. This 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.[157] The official colors of Notre Dame are gold and blue[158] which are worn in competition by its athletic teams. In addition, the color green is often worn because of the Fighting Irish nickname.[159] 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.[160]

The university offers 26 varsity sports, 13 each for men and women.[161] 22 of these teams compete in the Big East Conference,[162] while football is Independent,[163] both fencing teams are in the Midwest Fencing Conference,[164] and the hockey team is in the Hockey East.[165] 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.[166] 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.[167] 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.[167]

According to some analysts, Notre Dame promotes Muscular Christianity through its athletic programs.[168][169]


The Notre Dame football team has a long history, first beginning when the Michigan Wolverines football team brought football to Notre Dame in 1887 and played against a group of students.[170] In the long history since then, 13 Fighting Irish teams have won consensus national championships (although the university only claims 11),[161] along with another nine teams being named national champion by at least one source.[171] Additionally, the program has the most members in the College Football Hall of Fame,[172][173] is tied with Ohio State University with the most Heisman Trophies won,[174] and have the second highest winning percentage in NCAA history.[175] 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 the second greatest college football rivalry ever.[176]

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.[177] 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.

Today the team competes in Notre Dame Stadium, an 80,795-seat stadium on campus.[178] Charlie Weis was named head coach on December 12, 2004,[153] and was fired after losing four straight games, the last to Stanford, on November 29, 2009.[179][180] After 5 years coaching the Fighting Irish, Weis accumulated a 35–27 record,[181] and led his team to two Bowl Championship Series bowl games.[182] However, the 2007 team had the most losses ever for the school.[183] 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.[184]

Men's basketball

The men's basketball team has over 1,600 wins, one of only 12 schools who have reached that mark, and have appeared in 28 NCAA tournaments.[185] Former player, Austin Carr, holds the record for most points scored in a single game of the tournament with 61.[186] Although the team has never won the NCAA Tournament, they were named by the Helms Athletic Foundation as national champions twice.[185] 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.[187] 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.[185] The team plays in newly renovated Purcell Pavilion, which opened for the beginning of the 2009-2010 season,[188] The team is coached by Mike Brey, who, as of the 2006–07 season, his seventh, has achieved a 142–78 record.[189] Just in 2009 they were invited to the NIT, where they advanced to the semifinals 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.

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 seven,[190] followed by the men's tennis and women's soccer teams each with two.[191][192] The men's cross country,[192] men's golf,[192] and women's basketball teams have each won one in their histories.[193]

In the first ten years that Notre Dame competed in the Big East Conference its teams won a total of 64 championships.[194] In 2006-07, Notre Dame's hockey team finished the regular season ranked #1.[citation needed] 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)."Notre Dame Claims 14th Consecutive BIG EAST Title". Retrieved 2010-05-17. 


The Band of the Fighting Irish is the oldest university marching band in continuous existence.[195] It was formed in 1846. The all-male Glee Club was formed in 1915.[196]

Fight song

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."[167]

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. 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.


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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.
  • 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.

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