The arch in Lyons Hall and the smaller pass-through arch beneath the tower of Howard Hall make graceful transitions to another world, varying by season and time of day. There is the arrival at the top of the stairs leading to Lyons’ arch, set on the diagonal, where one can pause to look back at Saint Mary’s Lake. Passing through reveals the expansive cross-quad, now in full light. The diagonal is aimed almost precisely at South Dining Hall, connecting the lake and dining hall with one another in that brief moment of recognition. I often think at such times of Ralph Adams Cram and especially of Francis Kervick, the professor of architecture in the 1920s whose genius placed these buildings in this relationship in his plan for the campus. Kervick and Vincent Fagan designed Howard, Morrissey and Lyons and were instrumental in securing the internationally famous Cram for the dining hall. I like to think of these men in mutual respect for one another’s abilities to create places of great beauty.
When I return to my car, passage through Howard is from shadow into light, when the angles of the sun are low from the west. That is when the approach to the Lyons arch is its most magical. As one moves toward Lyons along the quad across the face of Morrissey, the lake begins to reveal itself. In the autumn it can be spectacular, in summer it speaks of a lush and quiet repose—but in winter, with the lake and trees covered in snow, it becomes a place of serene beauty framed by the arch as a passage to another world.
— Norman Crowe, professor, School of Architecture
What I look forward to every day is starting in Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in the Mendoza College. By habit, I must bring a mug of coffee to chapel, wrap my hands around it, take in the aroma of the coffee and start my prayer regimen. I go through the readings for the day, give thanks for blessings, entrust my family, friends and colleagues to the care of God and go through the tasks and challenges of the day.
I feel like I am in the kitchen of a home: Sharing everything and nothing in particular, setting up what might unfold in the day, beginning a conversation that will be continued later in the evening. I go out of sorts when this routine breaks. The chapel has been the anchor for my work here.
—Carolyn Woo, dean, Mendoza College of Business Administration
I had the great joy of being ordained a priest in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on June 24, 1943. That memory of lying prostrate in the sanctuary, feeling the oils being rubbed upon my hands, which would handle the sacred host, and the hands of my bishop in ordination over my head were moments that, of course, endear this sanctuary to me in so many special ways, even in the years since, when I have participated in other ordinations and the funeral services for so many of my dear friends.
However, there is a kind of private special place and, believe it or not, it is in my office on the 13th floor of the library. It is not because my office is a gracious room full of books, which I have enjoyed over the years, but the fact that I can simply turn in my chair at the desk and look out the window and see Our Lady of Notre Dame resplendent in her gold atop a Golden Dome. How often I have encountered problems that seemed impossible to solve and yet I have simply looked out the window at this marvelous vision and have said: “Lady, this is your University and we have problems that are beyond me. I know you know how to solve them and I leave them in your hands and know, with the greatest faith, that they will be solved.” I must add, they always were.
For that, I am most grateful.
— Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC, ’39, president emeritus
When I give one of my frequent campus tours, I like to begin at the plaque just east of Old College. I always get goose bumps when I read the words, “This college cannot fail to succeed. It will grow on a grand scale. It will become a great force for good in the world.”
Similarly, I like to go to the Community Cemetery and see the large array of identical crosses where members of the CSC order are now resting. Father Sorin’s cross is the same size as everyone else’s, and I am moved when I see his name along with those of many priests I knew from my student days nearly 50 years ago.
I also like standing just north of main circle. On July 3, 1961, I made my first visit to Notre Dame. I had not decided which colleges I was going to apply to, never mind which one I wanted to attend. As soon as I looked up and saw the Gold Dome, the ivy covered walls on the Law School and the beauty of the South Quad and God Quad, I turned to my mother and said, “This is where I’m going to school.”
— Russell T. “Cappy” Gagnon ’66, coordinator of stadium personnel
I fondly recall spending many hours studying as an undergraduate at a carrel among the stacks in the tower of the Hesburgh Library. The tower provided a place of quiet study and, from the right carrel, a glimpse of campus from above. These were the first times I had seen it from a significant height and now, having access to the tops of our buildings, viewing the campus from rooftops is my favorite perspective. Looking down from the Golden Dome during its re-gilding was an incredible experience. I never tire of seeing campus from an airplane window and I always lean over to see what I can during the landing flight path. I even have an aerial photo of the campus wall papered in my office right across from my desk.
— Douglas Marsh ’82, University architect
Many students have a favorite study spot in the upper floors of the library. But when I need to tuck away for the long haul I head to Flanner Hall—to the conference room of the Center for Ethics and Culture. It’s usually quiet, but what draws me to the place is the presence of greatness. David Solomon, its director, always greets visitors with real warmth Ralph McInerny, author of untold dozens of books, may have become emeritus, but he still comes by often. Father Michael Sherwin O.P., a rising star in moral theology, is visiting for the year. Guests have included papal biographer George Weigel and Archbishop Elias Chacour of Galilee, the leading Christian representative to the peace process in the Middle East. And finally, there is Alasdair MacIntyre, whose office is just around the corner.
I am a philosophy major writing my senior thesis. I chose MacIntyre instead of another major thinker, not to earn brownie points with my professor but because I intend to pursue graduate studies in ethics and his work has had the greatest impact on me. The ability to take a question I have in the books I’m struggling with to their author, whose office is next door, is the reason why there’s “Nowhere Else but Notre Dame” that I belonged.
— Brian Boyd ’08, executive editor, The Irish Rover
Sitting on the organ bench in the choir loft of the Basilica, I’ve been privileged to hear many an inspiring sermon by our talented Holy Cross priests or visiting bishops from around the world. I’ve witnessed the nuptials of friends, former students and choir members who are witnesses of God’s grace and love. From this perch I hear the stories of people dear to Notre Dame who are being escorted to their final earthly resting place. I can hear the inspiring voices and instruments of so many talented students who have come through the Folk Choir, which is about as close as anyone can get to heaven on earth. I’ve accompanied voices rising to the heavens in hymns that the faithful have been singing for generations. And I’ve offered myself as a vehicle for interpreting great works of organ literature on a fine instrument that has been tuned for praise of our loving God. I know that lives are being changed as people come to worship at our beloved Basilica of the Sacred Heart. I can look down below and see my loving husband and three beautiful children in the pew and know that I am blessed beyond belief.
— Karen Kirner, director of celebration and handbell choirs
As a member of the cross-country and track teams I would regularly run the lakes in the early morning before class. The figure-eight was exactly two miles. Depending upon the weather, a jump in Saint Joseph’s Lake completed the workout. Other runs finished at the Grotto. The path around the lakes also provided me with numerous opportunities to convince my future wife, Marcia, that I might just be the one for her.
Forty years later, while I no longer “run the lakes,” I find that walk tremendously calming. And then a brief visit to the Grotto sends me back home or to my office.
— Dan Saracino ’69, ’75M.A., assistant provost for enrollment
The “Great Table of Knowledge” located in the main entryway of O’Shag. I gave it that name my first semester at Notre Dame because I would study there with fellow students in between classes. We spread out our notes, pored over books and textbooks, and drank massive amounts of coffee.
— Shannon Reabe ’08