The University of Notre Dame was founded by Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C. in 1842. The original curriculum, known as ratio studiorum, was inspired by the Jesuits at St. Louis University. Notre Dame’s Main Building, which in essence housed the entire university, burned down in 1879, after which point the school was rebuilt and expanded. Notre Dame came to national prominence in the early part of the 20th century and now maintains its reputation for competitive athletics and challenging academics.
Father Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C. served as president from 1987 to 2005. During his tenure, Malloy continued the expansion of the university while boosting the student minority population more than twofold. Notre Dame is now led by Father John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., an ND alum and former member of the faculty.
Notre Dame’s campus is known for its Gothic buildings, the golden dome that sits atop the administration building, and “Touchdown Jesus,” a giant mural overlooking the football stadium depicting Christ with his arms raised like those of a football referee.
Most students rarely venture off campus during the school week, so they can often be found in one of ND’s on-campus hangouts. LaFortune is the most popular spot: in addition to its study areas, LaFortune has a Subway, Burger King, Sbarro, Starbucks, and a small convenience store called Huddle Mart. During the school day, there are several other cafés where students meet to grab a quick coffee, such as Waddicks, located in O’Shaughnessy Hall.
Reckers is another popular hangout best known for being open and serving food 24/7. After a night out or on the way back from a party, many students head to Reckers for a smoothie or pizza.
Legends is another popular hangout, even though it is a farther walk for most students. Legends has a restaurant and bar (for those 21 and over, of course), and on the weekends frequently hosts stand-up comedians, concerts, and even events like speed dating and a dance club.
Notre Dame is located in South Bend, Indiana, a mid-size city covering approximately 40 square miles around the St. Joseph River. Located about 100 miles from Chicago, South Bend tends to rely on the university and its students to power the local economy. The city contains a regional airport, museums, and performance spaces. Lindsay Sena ’10 reports that “while ND’s campus is exceptionally beautiful and safe, the city of South Bend doesn’t have a ton to offer college students. While some students live off-campus as upperclassmen, the neighborhoods surrounding campus are not considered to be as safe as the campus.”
PigTostal is an unofficial ND tradition in which the swim team throws an enormous outdoor pig roast on the Saturday before AnTostal, an official week of campus games and events. At PigTostal, hundreds of students gather around kegs to socialize. It is an all-day event at an off-campus location that takes place rain or shine. Students can purchase tickets for $10 from any member of the swim team, which sells them in each dorm.
An unofficial campus tradition is the Bun Run, in which men from Zahm House, a notoriously ‘colorful’ men’s dorm, streak fully nude through LaFortune on the night before winter exams begin, making several laps around students who are eating, studying, or getting coffee. Although the University frowns on this tradition for obvious reasons, it continues and helps to lighten the mood for a lot of students - especially unsuspecting freshmen - during a very stressful week.
Every freshman is required to come to school a few days early for freshman orientation, or Frosh-O, when new students mingle with other freshmen in their dorm and participate in awkward events with other dorms. However, during the first couple weeks of school, upperclassmen have been known to throw disorientation, or Dis-O, events. Dis-O takes place at off-campus locations hosted by upperclassmen from each dorm. Freshmen aren’t hazed, but they are encouraged to drink heavily. During students’ first few weeks on campus, they may often be asked, ‘Are you going to the (insert dorm) Dis-O tonight?
Jerome Bettis (1993) is a former NFL running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Phil Donahue (1957) hosted television’s The Phil Donahue Show.
Mike Golic (1985) is a former NFL defensive lineman and current ESPN television and radio personality.
Earl “Curly” Lambeau (1919) was the founder and coach of the Green Bay Packers and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Joe Montana (1979) is a former NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Regis Philbin (1953) is a television personality best known for the programs Live With Regis and Kelly and Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Brady Quinn (2007) is an NFL quarterback with the Cleveland Browns.
Condoleezza Rice (M.A. 1975) is the United States Secretary of State under President George W. Bush.
Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (1976) is a motivational speaker and former walk-on for the Notre Dame football team who inspired the film Rudy.
Nicholas Sparks (1988) is the noted author of A Walk to Remember and The Notebook.
Joe Theismann (1971) is a former NFL quarterback for the Washington Redskins and current television commentator.
George Wendt (attended) is an actor known for his portrayal of Norm on NBC’s hit show Cheers.
Carl Yastrzemski (attended) is a former outfielder for the Boston Red Sox and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Without question, the biggest sport on Notre Dame’s campus is football. ND’s football team and even its fight song are arguably the most well-known in the country. The Fighting Irish have a long history of producing competitive teams and future pro talent, and the team is welcomed by fans wherever it travels. Students, alumni, faculty, and other Irish fans fill the stadium for every home game.
For many students, Notre Dame football is second only to God. Home football game weekends provide a whole new aspect to campus life and are truly a remarkable experience. While no team is as revered as the football squad, other popular teams include ND’s basketball and women’s soccer teams.
Also of note is Notre Dame’s men’s ice hockey team, which in 2008 made it to the NCAA Championship for the first time in its history, losing to rival Boston College.
Undergrads who don’t take part in NCAA sports are afforded plenty of opportunities to represent their dorms in intramural leagues.
More on Unigo:
(A little) More Than Just Football: Ten things freshmen should know about Notre Dame’s sports scene
The movie Rudy was filmed on location at Notre Dame.
There are a number of references to Notre Dame in the film Shrek, as some of its producers are Domers, or ND graduates. For example, the shape of the castle in the film is similar to that of Hesburgh Library, and the name “Lord Farquad” is presumably a nod to one of ND’s dorms that is set apart from the others on a “far quad.” The name of the town of Duloc is a reference to ND’s full name: the University of Notre Dame du Lac. It is also said that ND’s golden dome is visible on the back of Shrek’s vest.
Notre Dame’s fight song is extremely well-known, and many high schools adapt it for their own purposes.
The Corrs, a popular Irish band, wrote a song called “Here Come the Irish” about Notre Dame football.
In the television show The West Wing, Jed Bartlet, the fictional president, attended Notre Dame. The fictional Full Metal Jacket character Lt. Walter J. “Touchdown” Schinoski played football for Notre Dame.
-With special reporting by Lindsay Sena ’10
The dorms at Notre Dame are much more than simply where students sleep. There are 28 single-sex dorms on campus, 15 for men and 13 for women. Unlike at many other universities, the majority of students prefer to live in the dorms throughout their Notre Dame careers; at any given time, approximately 80% of students can be found living on campus.
Each dorm has its own unique structure and personality, including a dorm mascot and annual campus-wide ‘signature events.’ The oldest dorm, St. Edward’s Hall, was built in 1882, while the newest, Duncan Hall, opened for the 2008-2009 academic year. There is no shortage of opportunities to become involved in one’s dorm. Within each dorm there are various commissions and a ‘hall staff’ that includes Rectors, student Residence Assistants (RA), graduate-student Assistant Rectors (AR), and a dorm president and vice president. The dorm also elects one senator to serve in Student Government.
Because ND enforces ‘parietals,’ rules stating that no member of the opposite sex may be in a dorm’s bedroom area past midnight on weekdays or 2:00 a.m. on Friday or Saturday, many students choose to hang out in the dorm’s common lounges when parietals strike. Each dorm has these lounges available, which include couches, chairs, tables and televisions and are perfect for holding meetings, studying, or just talking.
There is no Greek life at Notre Dame, so most students find that their dorm forms the basis for their community of friends. In addition to hall events, each dorm has several intramural sports teams. Every dorm also has its own chapel and laundry facilities.