Photo of the Week: Alan Page’s ‘Impossibly Perpendicular Pinky’

Author: Jason Kelly ’95

Matt Cashore ’94

Alan Page ’67 doesn’t get bent out of shape when people ask what happened to his pinky. In fact, students always wonder about it when he visits elementary schools, inspiring Page and his daughter Kamie to write the children’s book Alan and His Perfectly Pointy Impossibly Perpendicular Pinky, an ode to youthful curiosity.

Frequent dislocations during his football playing days with Notre Dame and the Minnesota Vikings gave the legendary defensive lineman’s little finger that distinctive sharp left turn.

The former Minnesota Supreme Court justice visited the Law School on October 11, when photographer Matt Cashore ’94 snapped the image above. “Football, Civil Rights, and Doing Justice: A Conversation with Justice Alan Page” touched on weightier matters than his perpendicular pinky — scroll down for the video of his discussion with law professor Jennifer Mason McAward, the director of the Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights.

McAward noted that “most of us mere mortals” struggle to imagine the path Page followed from football’s highest level to Minnesota’s highest court, but he dismissed the premise that he possessed capabilities his audience did not — at least in the quest to produce a more just society.

“To bend the moral arc,” Page said, “we all have that power.”

To bend a metacarpal, on the other hand . . .  


Photo of the Week highlights images from campus and from the Notre Dame family around the world. Have a snapshot you think we should see? Email jkelly30@nd.edu to be considered for publication.