Hall Portrait: Morrissey Manor

Author: Ed Cohen


Year built: 1925

Capacity: 273

Male or female? Always male.

They Call Themselves: Manorites or Men of the Manor, owing to the castle-like architecture of the dorm; prior to that, the Marauders, a tribute to their interhall football success in the 1970s.

Named for: Father Andrew Morrissey, CSC (1860-1921), president of Notre Dame from 1893 to 1905. Morrissey was unexpectedly chosen as Notre Dame’s seventh president by his dying predecessor, Father Thomas Walsh, CSC. He opposed plans for expansion and strived to maintain Notre Dame’s reputation as a “compact, tidy little boarding school.” His efforts failed, and he oversaw construction of many additions to campus, including Corby Hall, the Grotto and the first central heating plant.**

Distinguishing Features: Patterned after buildings at Oxford, Morrissey boasts unique architectural details reminiscent of both English and Spanish architecture, including a west-wing balcony that was originally designed as a pulpit for passing funeral processions. In fact, the entire dorm is an experiment in Gothic design. Architect Francis Kervick incorporated asymmetrical details including an off-center front door, a one-sided spire and mismatched roof-lines. A statue of Morrissey’s patron saint, the apostle Andrew, stands to the left of the dorm’s entrance. Inside, the entrance hall’s rich wood paneling and oversized fireplace were once surrounded by crests of Oxford and Cambridge, painted on the walls by students in the 1930s. The crests disappeared when the Navy moved into the residence during World War II. Morrissey is notorious for having the smallest rooms on campus; all 127 were built as singles. Morrissey’s fifth-floor tower, formerly a residential space, is now a study lounge.

History Made There: Manorites take pride in their dorm being one of the first to have its own fight song. According to legend, “Fight on for Morrissey” was written by former Manorite Bill Murphy ‘74 in an attempt to rally the hall’s football team over arch-rival Dillon. Sung to the tune of what Murphy then thought to be the second-greatest college fight song ever—USC’s “Fight On”—"Fight on for Morrissey" spurred both the football and hockey teams on to interhall championships in 1972.

They Lived There as Students: the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, Joseph Scheidler ‘50; national security adviser to President Reagan, Richard V. Allen ’57, ’58; baseball legend Carl “Yaz” Yastrzemski ’61; former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, J. David Hoppe ’73; co-founder of Bookstore Basketball, Vince Meconi ’75; basketball star Kelly Tripucka ’81; starting forward for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, Troy Murphy ’02.

Lore: Although Morrissey currently enjoys a reputation as the “gentleman’s dorm,” civility was not always its trademark, particularly in the case of the “Dirty Thirty.” The unsavory nickname was given to a group of 30 residents who lived in the dorm’s popular basement-level rooms, sharing only one bathroom. In 1996, a poll by Link, The College Magazine, named Morrissey named the worst residence hall in the United States. The Dirty Thirty rooms were converted into laundry facilities and social space during Morrissey’s 1997-98 renovation, partially due to the ungovernability of male residents with ground-level windows.

Traditions: On the morning of the first home football game each year, Morrissey residents wake at 7:15 to take part in the “Breakfast Club.” In an attempt to rally fellow Domers for game-day festivities, Manorites parade around campus singing the hall’s fight song and wearing only their boxer shorts. Morrissey also has a Christmas dance, formerly held in the hall. More recent additions include a campuswide golf tournament and Yaz’s, a student-run food-sales operation said to offer the “finest in freezer-food name brands.” The most popular Morrissey event is the Manor Knockdown, a semiannual tournament of wrestling matches held in the third-floor lobby, referred to as “God’s Courtroom.” The Knockdown has been known to feature both brother vs. brother and roommate duels.

—Susie Schaab ’03