University of Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame seal (2).svg
Latin: Universitas Dominae Nostrae a Lacu
Motto Vita Dulcedo Spes (Latin)[1]
Motto in English
Life, Sweetness, Hope (In reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary)[2]
Type Private research university
Established November 26, 1842; 177 years ago (1842-11-26)
Founder Edward Sorin
Religious affiliation
Catholic Church (Congregation of Holy Cross)
Academic affiliations
URA 568 Group
Endowment $13.8 billion (2019)[3]
Budget $1.3 billion (2019)[4]
President John I. Jenkins
Provost Marie Lynn Miranda
Academic staff
1,396 (Fall 2020)[5]
Students 12,681 (Fall 2020)[5]
Undergraduates 8,731 (Fall 2020)[5]
Postgraduates 3,950 (Fall 2020)[5]
Location , ,
United States

41°41′59″N 86°14′13″W / 41.6995885°N 86.2370781°W / 41.6995885; -86.2370781Coordinates: 41°41′59″N 86°14′13″W / 41.6995885°N 86.2370781°W / 41.6995885; -86.2370781
Campus Suburban: 1,261 acres (5.10 km2)
Colors Blue and gold[6]
Nickname Fighting Irish
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IFBS (Independent), ACC
Big Ten (ice hockey)
Mascot Leprechaun
University of Notre Dame logo.svg

The University of Notre Dame du Lac (or simply Notre Dame /ˌntərˈdm/ NOH-tər-DAYM, or ND) is a private Catholic research university in Notre Dame, Indiana, outside the city of South Bend.[8] It was founded in 1842 by Edward Sorin. The main campus covers 1,261 acres (510 ha) in a suburban setting; it contains a number of recognizable landmarks, such as the Golden Dome, the Word of Life mural (commonly known as Touchdown Jesus), Notre Dame Stadium, and the Basilica.

Notre Dame has been recognized as one of the top universities in the United States, in particular for its undergraduate education.[9][10][11][12] The university is organized into seven schools and colleges. The School of Architecture is known for teaching New Classical Architecture and for awarding the annual Driehaus Architecture Prize. The university offers over 50 year-long study programs abroad and over 15 summer programs.[13] Notre Dame's graduate program has more than 50 master, doctoral and professional degrees offered by the six schools, including the Notre Dame Law School and an MD–PhD program offered in combination with the Indiana University School of Medicine.[14][15] 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's approximately 134,000 alumni constitute one of the strongest college alumni networks in the U.S.[16][17][18][19]

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 11 consensus national championships, seven Heisman Trophy winners, 62 members of the College Football Hall of Fame, and 13 of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[20] Notre Dame teams in other sports, chiefly in the Atlantic Coast Conference, have accumulated 17 national championships.[21] The Notre Dame Victory March is one of the most famous and recognizable collegiate fight songs.

Notre Dame's profile grew in the early 20th century, aided by the success of its football team under coach Knute Rockne. Major improvements to the university occurred during the administration of Theodore Hesburgh between 1952 and 1987, as his administration greatly increased the university's resources, academic programs, and reputation. The university first enrolled women undergraduates in 1972. Since then, the university has seen steady growth, and under the leadership of the next two presidents, Edward Malloy and John I. Jenkins, many infrastructure and research expansions have been completed. Notre Dame's growth has continued in the 21st century; its $13.8 billion endowment is one of the largest of any U.S. university.[22]



Edward Sorin, founder of the university, photographed in 1890

In 1842, the Bishop of Vincennes, Célestine Guynemer de la Hailandière, offered land to Edward Sorin of the Congregation of Holy Cross (Latin: Congregatio a Sancta Cruce, abbreviated postnominals: "CSC"), on the condition that he build a college in two years.[23] Sorin arrived on the site with eight Holy Cross brothers from France and Ireland on November 26, 1842, and began the school using Stephen Badin's old log chapel. After enrolling two students, they soon erected more buildings, including the Old College, the first church, and the first main building.[24]

Notre Dame began as a primary and secondary school; in 1844 it received its official college charter from the Indiana General Assembly.[25] Under the charter the school is officially named the University of Notre Dame du Lac (University of Our Lady of the Lake).[a] Because the university was originally all-male, the female-only Saint Mary's College was founded by the Sisters of the Holy Cross near Notre Dame in 1844.[27][unreliable source?]

Early history

The current Main Building, built after the great fire of 1879
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
Location Off I-80/90, Notre Dame, Indiana
Area 70 acres (28 ha)
Built 1842
Architectural style Mixed (more Than 2 Styles From Different Periods)
NRHP reference No. 78000053[28]
Added to NRHP May 23, 1978

The college awarded its first degrees in 1849.[29] The university was expanded to accommodate more students and faculty.[25] With each new president, new academic programs were offered and new buildings built to accommodate them.[30] The original Main Building built by Sorin just after he arrived was replaced with a larger one in 1865, which housed the university's administration, classrooms, and dormitories. Under 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. Two years later, Auguste Lemonnier started a library in the Main Building; by 1879, it had reached 10,000 volumes.[31]

This Main Building and the library collection were destroyed by a fire in April 1879; the school closed immediately and students were sent home.[32] The university founder, Sorin, and the president at the time, 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 administrators 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 afterward.[33]

Around the time of the fire, Washington Hall was built; it hosted plays and musical acts put on by the school.[34] By 1880, a science program was established, 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.[35]


The University of Notre Dame in 1903

By 1890, individual residence halls were built for students.[36] William J. Hoynes was dean of the law school from 1883 to 1919, and when its new building was opened shortly after his death it was renamed in his honor.[37] John Zahm became the Holy Cross Provincial for the United States, with overall supervision of the university. He sought to modernize and expand Notre Dame by erecting buildings and adding to the campus art gallery and library, amassing what became a famous Dante collection, and pushing Notre Dame towards becoming a research university dedicated to scholarship. The congregation did not renew his term because of fears he had expanded Notre Dame too quickly and had run the order into serious debt.[37]

The movement towards a research university was subsequently championed by John W. Cavanaugh, who modernized educational standards and attracted many scholars to campus. In 1917, Notre Dame awarded its first degree to a woman, and its first bachelor's, in 1922. However, female undergraduates did not become common until 1972.

In 1919 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.[38][39] 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.[40] Notre Dame continued to grow over the years, adding more colleges, programs, and sports teams[41]

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

By 1921, with the addition of the College of Commerce,[41] Notre Dame had grown from a small college to a university with five colleges and a law school.[42] It continued to expand and add new residence halls and buildings with each subsequent president.[43] By 1925 enrollment had increased to 2,500 students; almost 1,500 of whom lived on campus.[44]

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.[45] Knute Rockne became head coach in 1918. Under Rockne, the Irish would post a record of 105 wins, 12 losses, and five ties.[46] 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.[47] 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.[48]

The success of Notre Dame reflected the 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.[45]

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 (KKK), 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. Two days later thousands of students massed downtown protesting the Klavern, and only the arrival of college president Matthew Walsh prevented any further clashes. The next day, Rockne spoke at a campus rally and implored the students to obey Walsh and refrain from further violence. A few days later the Klavern broke up, but the hostility shown by the students contributed to the downfall of the KKK in Indiana.[49][50]

Expansion in the 1930s and 1940s

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

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 refugees 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.[51]

New construction included Notre Dame Stadium, the law school building, Rockne Memorial, numerous residential halls, Cushing Hall of Engineering and a new heating plant. This rapid expansion, which cost the university more than $2.8 million 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."[52]

John J. Cavanaugh served as president from 1946 to 1952. He devoted his efforts to raising academic standards and reshaping the university administration to better serve its enlarged educational mission and an expanded student body. He also stressed advanced studies and research while quadrupling the university's student population, with undergraduate enrollment seeing an increase by more than half, and graduate student enrollment growing fivefold. Cavanaugh also established the Lobund Institute for Animal Studies and Notre Dame's Medieval Institute.[53] 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.[54] He also established the university's system of advisory councils.[55][56]

Hesburgh era: 1952–1987

The Hesburgh Library, decorated by the Word of Life mural.

Theodore Hesburgh served as president for 35 years (1952–1987) of and under his presidency Notre Dame underwent saw huge growth and transformation from a school mostly known for its football to a top-tier university, academic powerhouse, and preeminent Catholic university.[57][58][59][60] 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.[61]

Hesburgh also made Notre Dame coeducational. Women had graduated every year since 1917, but it was mostly religious sisters in graduate programs.[62] 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 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, Notre Dame's vice president of Student Affairs, added that coeducation "opened up a whole other pool of very bright students."[63] Two of the residence halls were converted for the newly admitted female students that first year,[64][65] with two more converted the next school year.[66][67] In 1971 Mary Ann Proctor, a transfer from St. Mary's, became the first female undergraduate. The following year Mary Davey Bliley became the first woman to graduate from the university, with a bachelor's degree in marketing.[68][69] In 1978, a historic district comprising 21 contributing buildings was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[70]

Recent history

In the 18 years Edward Malloy was president, the school's reputation, faculty, and resources grew rapidly.[71][72][73] He added more than 500 professors and the academic quality of the student body 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.[71]

Notre Dame's most recent (2014) capital campaign raised $2.014 billion, far exceeding its goal of $767 million. It was the largest in the history of Catholic higher education and the largest of any university without a medical school at the time.[74]

The Rev. John I. Jenkins took over from Malloy in 2005 .[75][76] In his inaugural address, Jenkins described his goals of making the university a leader in research that recognizes ethics and builds 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.[77]


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 (6.4 km) from the Michigan state line.[78] Development of the campus began in the spring of 1843, when Sorin and some of his congregation built the Old College, used as a residence, a bakery, and a classroom. A year later, after an architect arrived, the first Main Building was built and in the decades to follow the university expanded.[79][80] Today it lies on 1,250 acres (5.1 km2) just south of the Indiana Toll Road including around 170 buildings and athletic fields located around its two lakes and seven quadragles.[81]

It is consistently ranked and admired as one of the most beautiful university campuses in the United States and around the world, particularly noted for the Golden Dome, the Basilica and its stained glass windows, the quads and the greenery, the Grotto, Touchdown Jesus, and its statues and museums.[82][83][84][85][86] Notre Dame is a major tourist attraction in northern Indiana; in the 2015–2016 academic year, more than 1.8 million visitors, almost half of whom were from outside of St. Joseph County, visited the campus.[87]

Buildings and architecture

The Golden Dome, built under Sorin, has become the symbol of the university

The Main Building burned down in 1879; it was soon replaced with the current one. Atop it is the Golden Dome, today Notre Dame's most distinguishable feature. Close to the Main Building stands Washington Hall, a theater built in 1881.[88]

Historic Washington Hall on the Main Quadrangle, popularly termed the "God Quad" [89]

There are several religious buildings. The Old College building has become one of two seminaries on the campus run by the Congregation of Holy Cross.[90] The current Basilica of the Sacred Heart is located on the spot of Sorin's original church, which had become too small for the growing college. It is built in French Revival style, with stained glass windows imported from France. The interior was painted by Luigi Gregori, an Italian painter invited by Sorin to be an 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 was built in 1896 and serves as a replica of the original in Lourdes, France. It is very popular among students and alumni as a place of prayer and meditation.[91]

Science Hall, built in 1883 under the direction of John Zahm, was converted to a student union building in 1950 and renamed LaFortune Student Center, after Joseph LaFortune, an oil executive from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Commonly known as "LaFortune" or "LaFun," it is a four-story 83,000-square-foot (7,700 m2)[92] building of that provides the Notre Dame community with a meeting place for social, recreational, cultural, and educational activities.[93] LaFortune employs 35 part-time student staff and 29 full-time non-student staff and has an annual budget of $1.2 million.[92] Many businesses, services, and divisions of The Office of Student Affairs[93] are found within. The building also houses national chain restaurants.[94]

A 116-acre (47 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 includes 21 contributing buildings in the core of the original campus such as Main Administration Building and the Basilica.[70]

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

There are 31 residence halls, each with its own chapel. Many academic buildings were built with a system of libraries, the most prominent of which is the Hesburgh Library, built in 1963 and today containing almost four million books. Since 2004, several buildings have been added, including the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center,[95] the Guglielmino Complex,[96] and the Jordan Hall of Science.[97]

The new wing of the Law School

Additionally, a new residence for men, Dunne Hall, began accepting residents in fall 2016. Flaherty Hall, for women, was completed and opened that semester 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 were completed at the same time.[98]

A 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 many athletic buildings, particularly Notre Dame Stadium,[99] home of the Fighting Irish football team; it has been renovated several times and today can seat more than 80,000 people. Prominent venues include also the Edmund P. Joyce Center, with indoor basketball and volleyball courts, and the Compton Family Ice Arena,[100] a two-rink facility dedicated to hockey. There are many outdoor fields, such as the Frank Eck Stadium for baseball.[101] McCourtney Hall, an interdisciplinary research facility, opened its doors for the fall 2016 semester, and ground was broken on the 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) Walsh Family Hall of Architecture on the south end of campus near the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center; a late 2018 opening is planned.[102]

Announced in 2014 as an integration of "the academy, student life and athletics,"[103] construction on the 750,000-square-foot (70,000 m2) Campus Crossroads project began around Notre Dame Stadium in November 2014. Its three buildings—Duncan Student Center (west), Corbett Family Hall (east) and O'Neill Hall (south) house student life services, an indoor gym, a recreation center, the career center, a 500-seat student ballroom, 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 include 3–4,000 premium seats for the stadium with supporting club amenities.[104]

Legends of Notre Dame (commonly referred to as Legends) is a music venue, public house, and restaurant located on campus, just 100 yards (91 m) south of the stadium. The former Alumni Senior Club[105] opened in September 2003 after a $3.5 million renovation and became an all-ages student hang-out. Legends is made up of two parts: The Restaurant and Alehouse and the nightclub.[106]

Environmental sustainability

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.[107] 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."[108] Additionally, other resources and centers on campus focusing on sustainability include the Environmental Change Initiative, Environmental Research Center, and the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame.[109] The university also houses the Kellog Institute for International Peace Studies. Gustavo Gutierrez, the founder of liberation theology, is a current faculty member.[110]

Notre Dame received a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in 2014; in 2017 it was downgraded to silver.[111] In 2016, the Office of Sustainability released its Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy to achieve its goals in a wide area of university operations.[112] As of April 2018, 12 buildings have achieved LEED-Certified status with nine of them earning Gold certification.[113] Notre Dame's dining service sources 40 percent of its food locally and offers sustainably caught seafood as well as many organic, fair-trade, and vegan options.[114] In 2019, irrigations systems improvements lead to 244 million fewer gallons of water being used and a 50 percent reduction in water consumption over 10 years.[115]

In 2015, Notre Dame announced major environmental sustainability goals, including eliminating the use of coal by 2020 and reducing its carbon footprint by half by 2030.[109] Both these goals were reached early, in 2019.[116][117] This was achieved by implementing energy conservation, energy efficiency strategies, temperature setpoints, low-flow water devices, and diversifying its energy sources and infrastructures.[116] New sources of renewable energy on campus include geothermal wells on East Quad and by the Notre Dame Stadium, substitution of boilers with gas turbines, solar panels located on Fitzpatrick Hall and Stinson-Remick Hall and off-campus, a hydroelectric facility at Seitz Park in South Bend powered by the St. Joseph River, and heat recovery strategies.[118][117][109] Future projects outlined by the university's utilities long-range plan include continual diversification of its energy portfolio, future geothermal wells in new buildings and some existing facilities, and a collaboration with the South Bend Solar Project. Current goals include cutting Notre Dame's carbon footprint by 83 percent by 2050 and eventually become carbon neutral, diverting 67 percent of all waste from landfills by 2030.[109][117][116]

Global Gateways

The university owns several centers around the world used for international studies and research, conferences abroad, and alumni support.[119]

  • London. The university has had a presence in London since 1968. Since 1998, its London center has been based in Fischer Hall, the former United University Club in Trafalgar Square. The center hosts the university's programs in the city, and conferences and symposia.[120] The university also owns a residence facility, Conway Hall, for students studying abroad.[121]
  • Beijing. The university owns space in the Liangmaqiao Station area. The center is the hub of Notre Dame Asia and it hosts a number of programs including study abroad.[122]
  • 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.[123] Since 2015, the university has partnered with Kylemore Abbey, renovating spaces in the abbey so it could host academic programs.[124]
  • Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Global Gateway shares space with the university's Tantur Ecumenical Institute, in a 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) facility on the seam between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It hosts religious and ecumenical programs.[125]
  • Rome. The Rome Global Getaway is located in Via Ostilia, very close to the Colosseum. It was recently acquired and renovated, and now has 32,000 square feet (3,000 m2) of space to host a variety of academic activities. The university purchased a second Roman villa on the Caelian hill.[126]

In addition to the five Global Getaways, the university also owns the Santa Fe Building in Chicago, where it offers its executive Master of Business Administration program.[127]

Community development

The first phase of Eddy Street Commons, a $215 million development adjacent to campus funded by the university, broke ground in June 2008.[128][129] The project 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.[130] The $90 million second phase broke ground in 2017.[131]

Organization and administration

The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, photographed in 2012, was the 15th and longest-serving president of Notre Dame.

The university's president is always a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross. The first president was The Rev. Edward Sorin and the current president is The Rev. John I. Jenkins. As of July 2020, Marie Lynn Miranda is the provost, overseeing academic functions.[132] 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.[133] The 12 fellows are evenly divided between members of the Holy Cross order and laity; they have final say over the operation of the university. They vote on potential trustees and sign off on all that board's major decisions.[134] The trustees elect the president and provide general guidance and governance to the university.[133]


Notre Dame's endowment was started in the early 1920s by university president James Burns; it was $7 million by 1952 when Hesburgh became president. By the 1980s it reached $150 million, and in 2000, it returned a 57.9 percent return on its investments, which the university says is a record for any American university in a single year.[135] For the 2007 fiscal year, the endowment had grown to approximately $6.5 billion, putting the endowment among the 15 largest in the country.[136] In 2019, the university reported its endowment at $13.8 billion.[137][138]



  • The College of Arts and Letters was established as the university's first college in 1842, with the first degrees granted seven years later.[139] The university's first academic curriculum was modeled after the Jesuit Ratio Studiorum from Saint Louis University.[140] Today, the college, housed in O'Shaughnessy Hall,[141] 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 3,000 undergraduates and 1,100 graduates enrolled in the college, taught by 500 faculty members.[142]
Jordan Hall of Science
  • The College of Science was established in 1865, by president Patrick Dillon. The curriculum involved six years of coursework, including higher-level mathematics.[143] Today, the college, housed in the Jordan Hall of Science,[144] includes over 1,200 undergraduates in several departments, each awarding Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees.[145] 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.[146]
  • The College of Engineering was established in 1920;[147] however, courses in civil and mechanical engineering had been taught in the College of Science, since the 1870s.[148] Today, the college, housed in the Fitzpatrick, Cushing, and Stinson-Remick Halls of Engineering,[149] includes five departments of study, with eight B.S. degrees offered. The college also 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.[150]
Bond Hall, house of the School of Architecture from 1964 until 2019
  • The School of Architecture was established in 1899,[151] the year after Notre Dame first granted degrees in the field.[152] Today, the school, housed in Bond Hall,[153] offers a five-year undergraduate program leading to a bachelor's degree. All undergraduates spend their third year in Rome.[154] The faculty teaches (pre-modernist) traditional and classical architecture and urban planning (e.g., following the principles of New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture).[155] It also awards the annual Driehaus Architecture Prize.[156]
  • The Mendoza College of Business was established by John Francis O'Hara in 1921, although a foreign commerce program had been launched in 1917.[157] Today, the college offers degrees in accountancy, finance, management, and marketing and enrolls over 1,600 students.[158] In 2016, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Mendoza's undergraduate program as second in the country,[159] after five consecutive years in the first position.[160] For its 2017 rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked the graduate school 29th, tied with Rice University and Georgia Tech.[161]
  • The Keough School of Global Affairs was established in 2014 by John I. Jenkins. 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.[162] It is focused on the study of global governance, human rights, and other areas of global social and political policy. The creation of the school was funded by a $50 million gift from Donald Keough, a former Coca-Cola executive, and his wife Marilyn. The school officially opened in August 2017, in Jenkins Hall on Debartolo Quad.[163]
The Hesburgh Library, which is the center of the campus's intellectual life

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.[164]

The First Year of Studies program was established in 1962 to guide freshmen through their first year at the school before they have declared a major. Each student is given an academic advisor who helps them to choose classes that give them exposure to any major they are interested in.[165] The program also includes a Learning Resource Center which provides time management, collaborative learning, and subject tutoring.[166] It has been recognized as outstanding by U.S. News & World Report.[167] First Year of Studies 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.[168]

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.[169]

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 (LLM) 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 doctorates.[170]

  • Each of the five colleges offers graduate education in the form of master's and doctoral programs. Most of the departments from the College of Arts and Letters offer PhDs, while a professional Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program also exists. All of the departments in the College of Science offer PhDs, 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 PhDs. 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.[171] Additionally, the Alliance for Catholic Education program[172] 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 South for two school years.[173] The Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, founded in 1986 through the donations of Joan B. Kroc, the widow of McDonald's owner Ray Kroc, and inspired by Father Hesburgh, is dedicated to research, education, and outreach, on the causes of violent conflict and the conditions for sustainable peace. It offers Ph.D., master's, and undergraduate degrees in peace studies. It has contributed to international policy discussions about peacebuilding practices.[174]
  • Notre Dame Law School offers a professional program for students. It was the first law program at a Catholic university in the United States, when it was established in 1869.[175] Today, the program is consistently ranked among the top American law schools by U.S. News & World Report.[176] The law school grants the professional Juris Doctor degree, as well as the graduate Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees.[171]
  • 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 medical students may spend the first two years of their medical education before transferring to the main medical campus at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.[177][178]

Centers and Institutes

The university hosts several different centers and institutes. These include the Center for Social Concerns, the Eck Institute for Global Health, the Institute for Educational Initiatives, the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the McGrath Institute for Church Life, the Medieval Institute, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and the Tantur Ecumenical Institute. There are also several college-based institutes such as UNDERC, the Harper Cancer Research Institute, the Initiative for Global Development, the Institute for Flow Physics and Control, the Institute for Latino Studies, the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, and the Wireless Institute.

In 2019, Notre Dame announced plans to rename the Center for Ethics and Culture, an organization focused on spreading Catholic moral and intellectual traditions. The new de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture was funded by a $10 million gift from Anthony and Christie de Nicola.[179][180] The University is also home to the McGrath Institute for Church Life, which "partners with Catholic dioceses, parishes and schools to address pastoral challenges with theological depth and rigor."[181]


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, the 14-story Theodore M. Hesburgh Library, and each of the colleges and schools. The Hesburgh Library, completed in 1963, is the third building to house the main collection.[182] The front of the library is adorned with the Word of Life mural by Millard Sheets, popularly known as "Touchdown Jesus" because of its proximity to Notre Dame Stadium and Jesus' arms appearing to make the signal for a touchdown.[183][184]

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.[185] A theology library, opened in fall of 2015 on the first floor of Stanford Hall, is the first branch of the library system to be housed in a dorm room. With over three million volumes, the library system was the single largest university library in the world at the time of completion.[186] It remains one of the hundred largest libraries in the country.[187]


Admission to Notre Dame is highly competitive; the fall 2020 incoming class admitted 3,515 from a pool of 22,199, for 15.8 percent acceptance rate.[188] 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 percent were in the top 1 percent of their high school, and 94 percent were in the top 10 percent. 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 that accepted them.[189] This process admitted 1,400 of the 3,577 (39.1 percent) who requested it.[190] Admitted students came from 1,311 high schools; the average student traveled more than 750 miles (1,210 km) to Notre Dame. While all entering students begin in the College of the First Year of Studies, 25 percent have indicated they plan to study in the liberal arts or social sciences, 24 percent in engineering, 24 percent in business, 24 percent in science, and 3 percent in architecture.[191]


For 2020, Notre Dame ranked 11th for best undergraduate teaching, 24th for "best value" school and tied for 15th overall among "national universities" in the United States in U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges report.[202] In 2015, USA Today ranked Notre Dame 10th overall for American universities.[203] Forbes's "America's Top Value Colleges" ranks Notre Dame 21st among colleges in the United States in 2018, 17th among research universities, and 3rd in the Midwest.[204] U.S. News ranks Mendoza College of Business undergraduate school as tied for 12th best in the U.S. in 2020.[205] The Philosophical Gourmet Report ranks Notre Dame's graduate philosophy program as 17th nationally.[206] 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.[207]

Named by Newsweek as one of the "25 New Ivies,"[208] it is also an Oak Ridge Associated University.[209]



Joseph Carrier, director of the Science Museum and the library, was a 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 Catholic Church. One of Carrier's students, John Augustine Zahm, was made professor and co-director of the science department at 23; by 1900 he was a nationally prominent scientist and naturalist. He 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.[210]

In 1882, Albert Zahm, John's brother, built an early wind tunnel to compare lift to drag of aeronautical models. Around 1899, professor Jerome Green became the first American to send a wireless message.[211] In 1931, Julius Nieuwland performed early work on basic reactions that was used to create neoprene.[212] The study of nuclear physics at the university began with the building of a nuclear accelerator in 1936,[213] and continues now partly through a partnership in the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics.[214]


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.[215]

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.[216]

The Review of Politics, modeled after German Catholic journals, was founded in 1939 by Waldemar Gurian. 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, Maritain, 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.[217]

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.[218]

Current research

As of 2019 research continued in many fields. President Jenkins described his hope that Notre Dame would become "one of the pre-eminent research institutions in the world" in his inaugural address.[219] The university has many multi-disciplinary research institutes, including the Medieval Institute, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Kroc Institute for International Peace studies, and the Center for Social Concerns.[220] Recent research includes work on family conflict and child development,[221][222] genome mapping,[223] the increasing trade deficit of the United States with China,[224] studies in fluid mechanics,[225] computational science and engineering,[226] supramolecular chemistry,[227] and marketing trends on the Internet.[228] 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.[229] In the fiscal year 2019, the university received the all-time high research funding of $180.6 million, increased $100 million from 2009 and 275 from the previous year, with top funded and cutting edge projects including vector-borne diseases, urbanism, environmental design, cancer, psychology, economics, philosophy of religion, particle physics, nanotechnology, and hypersonics.[230] Notre Dame has a strong background in the humanities, with 65 National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, more than any other university. Focus areas includes anti-poverty economic strategy, the premier Medieval Institute, Latino studies, sacred music, Italian studies, Catholic studies, psychology, aging and stress, social good, and theology.[231] In the sciences, research focuses and specilized centers include the Harper Cancer Research Institute, the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases, the Center for Nano Science and Technology, the Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, the Eck Institute for Global Health, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center, Topology and Quantum Field Theory, the Nuclear Physics Research Group, and the Environmental Change Initiative.[232]

European émigrés

The Pieta by Ivan Meštrović, a European émigré

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 in classics and law,[233] 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.[234] Ivan Meštrović, a renowned sculptor, brought Croat culture to campus.[235] Yves Simon brought to ND in the 1940s the insights of French studies in the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition of philosophy; his own teacher Maritain was a frequent visitor to campus.[236]

The exiles developed a distinctive emphasis on the evils of totalitarianism. For example, the political science courses of Gerhart Niemeyer discussed communist ideology and were particularly accessible to his students. He came to the university in 1955 and was a frequent contributor to the National Review and other conservative magazines.[237] In 1960 Hesburgh, at the urging of Niemeyer and political science department head, 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.[238]

Student life

As of Fall 2020, the Notre Dame student body consisted of 12,681 students, with 8,731 undergraduates and 3,950 graduate and professional (Law, M.Div., Business, MEd) students.[5] An estimated 21–24 percent of students are children of alumni,[239] and the student body represents all 50 states and 100 countries. Thirty-seven percent of students come from the Midwestern United States, and thirty-two percent of students are U.S. students of color or international citizens.[240] As of March 2015 The Princeton Review ranked Notre Dame as the ninth-highest 'dream school' from a parental perspective.[241] 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,[242] and The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education recognized the university in 2006 for raising enrollment of African-American students.[243]

The strictly measured federal graduation rate for athletes was 98 percent for freshmen who entered between 2007 and 2010, the highest in the country.[244]

Residence halls

The residence halls, or dorms, are the focus of the student social and intramural life.[245][246] About 80 percent of undergraduates and 20 percent of graduate students live on campus. Each of the 30 undergraduate residence halls has its own colors, mascot, sport teams, signature events, traditions, and lore.[240][246] Residence halls range in population from the largest (Dillon Hall) with 332 undergraduates to the smallest (Carroll Hall) with only 100 undergraduates. The halls are single-sex, with 16 male dorms and 14 female dorms, and Old College, a house of formation for male college students discerning entrance into the Congregation of Holy Cross.[247] 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 sex.[248] The majority of the graduate students on campus live in one of four graduate housing complexes on campus[249] Each hall is led by a rector, a full-time, live-in professional who serves as leader, chief administrator, community builder and university resources to the residents, and is either a priest, religious sister or brother, or layperson trained in ministry and/or education.[250] Rectors direct the hall community, foster bonding, and often coordinate with professors, academic advisors, and counselors to watch over students and assist them with their personal development.[251] Rectors select, hire, train, and supervise hall staff: resident assistants (required to be seniors) and assistant rectors (graduate students).[252] Many residence halls also have a priest or faculty members in residence as faculty fellows, who provide an additional academic and intellectual experience to residential hall life.[253] Every hall has its own chapel, dedicated to the hall's patron saint, and liturgical schedule with masses celebrated multiple times a week during the academic year, in the tradition of individual chapels at English university colleges.[254]

Fraternities and sororities are not allowed on campus, as they are described as in opposition to the university's educational and residential mission.[255] The residential halls provide the social and communal aspect of fraternities, but in line with the university's policy of inclusion and zero tolerance of hazing, and according to former director of admissions Dan Saracino without "any of the disadvantages [of the Greek system] – rush, the cliques, deciding on whether you're good enough to join them, monthly ‘dues’ and a much lower diversity of people living together”.[256][257]

Howard Hall, one of 15 women's dormitories

Over four-fifths of students live in the same residence hall for three consecutive years and about one-third of students live in the same residence hall for all four years As of October 2017.[258] A new policy was put into effect which requires undergraduate students to live on-campus for three years starting in 2018. In spring 2019 the university also announced a policy that prohibits students living off-campus from participating in dorm activities such as intramural sports and dorm dances.[259] 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.[260] At the end of the interhall football season, the championship game is played in Notre Dame Stadium.[261]

Student clubs

The hall of the Notre Dame Council of the Knights of Columbus

There are over 400 active student clubs at the University of Notre Dame, with the financial oversight of each club delegated the student-run Club Coordination Council.[262] The university subsidizes clubs, providing almost 15 percent of clubs' collective projected expenditures of $2.2 million during the 2018–2019 academic year.[263] There are a variety of student clubs on campus, including nine for students from different states,[264] about three dozen clubs that represent different nationalities and origins,[265] and clubs dedicated to Catholic theology,[266] diverse faith practices, social service, political advocacy and awareness, competitive athletics, professional development and networking, performing arts, academic debate, foreign affairs, fraternal brotherhood, women's empowerment, and many other interests.[267] The university hosts their annual Student Activities Fair early in the fall semester for all students interested in joining clubs or other student organizations.[268]

Student events

With 6,000 participants, the university's intramural sports program was named the best in the country in 2004 by Sports Illustrated,[269] while in 2007 The Princeton Review named Notre Dame as the top school where "Everyone Plays Intramural Sports."[270] Over 700 teams participate each year in the annual Bookstore Basketball tournament;[271] while the Notre Dame Men's Boxing Club hosts the annual Bengal Bouts tournament to raise money for the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh.[272] 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.[273]

Many of the most popular student events held on campus are organized by the 30 residential halls. 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.[274]

Religious life

Basilica of the Sacred Heart at night

While religious affiliation is not a criterion for admission, more than 93 percent of students identify as Christian, with over 80 percent of those being Catholic.[275] There are 57 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.[260][276] Fifty-seven chapels are located throughout the campus.[277] There is an also active council of the Knights of Columbus on campus, which is the oldest and largest college council of the international Catholic men's organization.[278][279] Non-Catholics also are given access to spiritual resources on campus, including the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM), Jewish Club, Muslim Student Association, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, and many more.[280]

The university is the major seat of the Congregation of Holy Cross (albeit not its official headquarters, which are in Rome).[281] Its main seminary, Moreau Seminary, is located on the campus across St. Joseph lake from the Main Building.[282] 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.[283]

Student-run media

Notre Dame students run nine media outlets: three newspapers, a radio and television station, and several magazines and journals. The Scholastic magazine, begun as a one-page journal in 1876,[284] 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.[285] The Dome yearbook is published annually. The newspapers have varying publication interests, with The Observer published daily and mainly reporting university and other news,[286] 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.[287]

In 1987, when some students believed that The Observer began to show a conservative bias, a liberal newspaper, Common Sense was published; it has since folded. In 2003, when other students believed that the paper had a liberal bias, they started the Irish Rover. It 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 distributed to all students.[285] In Spring 2008, Beyond Politics, an undergraduate journal for political science research, made its debut.[288]

The television station, NDtv, grew from one show in 2002 to a full 24-hour channel with original programming by 2006.[289] 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;it now airs independently and is streamed on the Internet.[290]


Notre Dame's sports 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 except football since the 2013–14 school year.[291] The Fighting Irish previously competed in the Horizon League for two periods in the 1980s and 1990s, then in the Big East Conference through 2012–13. Notre Dame men compete in baseball, basketball, cross country, fencing, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field; women's sports are 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[292] since its inception in 1887. Both fencing teams compete in the Midwest Fencing Conference,[293] 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;[294][295] while they maintain their football independence, they have committed to play five games per season against ACC opponents.[296] In ice hockey, the Irish were forced to find a new conference 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, following the 2012–13 season. Notre Dame moved its hockey team to Hockey East.[297] After Notre Dame joined the ACC, the conference announced it would add fencing as a sponsored sport beginning in the 2014–15 school year.[298]

There are many theories behind the adoption of the team name[299] 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.[300] The official colors of Notre Dame are navy blue and gold.[301] Green is sometimes worn because of the Fighting Irish nickname.[301]

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. It was featured on the cover of Time in November 1964.[302]

In 2014, the University of Notre Dame and Under Armour reached an agreement in which the company 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.[303]

According to some analysts without direct connection to the university or its athletic department, Notre Dame promotes Muscular Christianity through its athletic programs.[304][305]


Notre Dame playing against Navy

The Notre Dame football team's history began when the Michigan team brought the game to Notre Dame in 1887 and played against a group of students.[306] Since then, 13 Fighting Irish teams have won consensus national championships (although the university only claims 11),[291] along with another nine teams being named national champion by at least one source.[307] The program has the most members in the College Football Hall of Fame,[308] is tied with Ohio State for the most Heisman Trophies won by players,[309] and has the highest winning percentage in NCAA history.[310] Notre Dame has accumulated many rivals; the annual game against USC for the Jeweled Shillelagh has been described as one of the greatest in college football.[311][312][313][314][315]

Coach Knute Rockne

George Gipp was the school's legendary football player of the late 1910s. He played semiprofessional baseball and smoked, drank, and gambled when not playing sports. He was also described as humble, generous to the needy, and a man of integrity.[316] In 1928 coach Knute Rockne used his final conversation with the dying Gipp to inspire the Notre Dame team to beat Army and "win one for the Gipper"; that scene became the climax of 1940 film, Knute Rockne, All American, starring Pat O'Brien as Rockne and Ronald Reagan as Gipp.[317]

The team competes in 80,795-seat Notre Dame Stadium.[318] The current head coach is Brian Kelly, hired from the University of Cincinnati in 2009.[319] Kelly's record through his ninth season at Notre Dame is 65–35. In 2012, his Fighting Irish squad went undefeated and played in the BCS National Championship Game. Six years later it was forced by the NCAA to vacate all those victories because an investigation found that ineligible players had taken part.[320]

Kelly succeeded Charlie Weis, who was fired in November 2009 after five seasons.[321][322] Although Weis led his team to two Bowl Championship Series bowl games,[323] his overall record was 35–27,[324] mediocre by Notre Dame standards, and the 2007 team had the most losses in school history.[325] 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.[326]

During home games, activities occur all over campus and dorms decorate their halls with a traditional item (e.g., Zahm Hall's two-story banner). Traditional activities begin at midnight with the Drummers' Circle, involving the Band of the Fighting Irish's drumline and beginning the other 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, then march into the stadium, leading fans and students alike across campus to the game.[327]

Men's basketball

The Joyce Center, home stadium for Notre Dame's basketball teams

As of the 2014–2015 season, the men's basketball team has over 1,898 wins; only eight other schools have more,[328] and Fighting Irish teams have appeared in 28 NCAA tournaments.[329] Former player Austin Carr holds the record for most points scored in a single game of the tournament with 61.[330] Although the team has never won the NCAA Tournament, they were named by the Helms Athletic Foundation as national champions twice.[329] The team has orchestrated a number of upsets of top-ranked teams, the most notable of which was ending UCLA's record 88-game winning streak in 1974.[331] Notre Dame 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.[329]

The team plays in the newly renovated Purcell Pavilion (within the Edmund P. Joyce Center), which reopened for the 2009–2010 season.[332] The team is coached by Mike Brey, who, as of the 2019–20 season, his 20th at Notre Dame, has achieved a 412–205 record.[333] In 2009 Notre Dame was invited to the NIT, where they reached the semi-finals. 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 tournament, later advancing to the Elite 8, where they lost on a missed final shot 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.[334]

Other sports

Notre Dame has won an additional 14 national championships in sports other than football. Three teams have won multiple national championships; the fencing team leads with 10,[335] followed by the men's tennis and women's soccer teams each with two.[336][337] The men's cross country,[337] and golf[337] teams have won one and Notre Dame women's basketball has won two.[338]

In the first 10 years that Notre Dame competed in the Big East Conference its teams won a total of 64 championships.[339] 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).[340]

Band and "Victory March"

The Band of the Fighting Irish was formed in 1846 and is the oldest university band in continuous existence.[341] The marching band plays at home games for most sports. It regularly plays the school's fight song, the "Notre Dame Victory March", identified as the most played and most famous fight song by Northern Illinois professor William Studwell.[342] According to College Fight Songs: An Annotated Anthology published in 1998, the Victory March is the greatest fight song.[342] It was honored by the National Music Council as a "Landmark of American Music" during the United States Bicentennial.[343]

The Victory March was written by two brothers. 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!"[344]

In the film Knute Rockne, All American as Knute Rockne (played by Pat O'Brien) delivers the famous "Win one for the Gipper" speech, 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.[345]

The all-male Glee Club was formed in 1915.[346] The internationally recognized "Notre Dame Folk Choir" was founded by Steven "Cookie" Warner in 1980.[347]


The school has more than 130,000 alumni and 275 alumni clubs around the world.[348][349] Many give yearly monetary support to the university, with a school-record 53.2 percent giving some donation in 2006.[350] Many buildings on campus are named for major donors, including residence halls,[351][352] classroom buildings,[353] and the performing arts center.[95]

Alumni working in politics include state governors,[354] members of the United States Congress,[355] and former United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.[356] Notable alumni from the College of Science are Eric F. Wieschaus, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in medicine,[357] and Philip Majerus, discoverer of the cardioprotective effects of aspirin.[358] Many university officials are alumni, including the current president, The Rev. John Jenkins.[359] Alumni in media include talk show hosts Regis Philbin[360] and Phil Donahue,[361] and television and radio personalities such as Mike Golic[362] and Hannah Storm.[363] A number of sports alumni have continued their careers in professional sports, such as Joe Theismann, Joe Montana,[364] Tim Brown, Ross Browner, Rocket Ismail, Ruth Riley, Jeff Samardzija,[365] Jerome Bettis, Justin Tuck, Craig Counsell, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Brett Lebda, Olympic gold medalist Mariel Zagunis, professional boxer Mike Lee, former football coaches such as Charlie Weis,[366] Frank Leahy and Knute Rockne,[367][368] and Basketball Hall of Famers Austin Carr and Adrian Dantley. Other notable alumni include prominent businessman Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. and astronaut Jim Wetherbee.[369][370] Two alumni have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (Alan Page and Edward J. DeBartolo Jr.), and two the Congressional Gold Medal (Thomas Anthony Dooley III and Bill Hanzlik).

Popular culture

The University of Notre Dame is the setting of several works of fiction, as well as the alma mater of some fictional characters.[371] 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.[372]



Other media

See also