Author: Notre Dame Magazine

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After closing for about two years amid a labor shortage and the coronavirus pandemic, Legends of Notre Dame Restaurant & Alehouse Pub reopened to the public in January. The popular dining spot near Notre Dame Stadium now features a new menu and large black-and-white photographs of campus on the walls.

The pandemic disrupted University food service operations. Most restaurants and cafés have since reopened, with some exceptions. Café de Grásta in Grace Hall remains closed, and Café Commons in the Mendoza College of Business no longer offers food service. The restaurant space in the rear of South Dining Hall, the longtime home of Reckers but most recently known as Pizza Pi, is now a location for grab-and-go student meals.


The military dog tag a United States Marine lost in Vietnam nearly 60 years ago was returned to the late veteran’s family in February — and the story involves a teaching trip that included 30 Notre Dame students.

The tag belonged to Corporal Larry Hughes and was returned to his next of kin during a ceremony in Inglis, Florida, covered by Fox 13 in Tampa and The Washington Post.

Last fall, Notre Dame political science professor Michael Desch and former U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Navy James Webb took a group of students on an 11-day tour of Vietnam based on Webb’s own war service as a Marine. Desch is the Brian and Jeannelle Brady Family Director of the Notre Dame International Security Center. Webb is a NDISC distinguished fellow.

When the group stopped at the abandoned An Hoa airstrip, a farmer approached them on a bicycle and told them in Vietnamese that he had found a dog tag in a rice field and had kept it on his keychain. The tag included the name “L.A. Hughes” and the Marine’s blood type and service number. Desch bought the tag from the man for $20.

Once back in the United States, Webb contacted the Marines’ Senate liaison office and learned that Hughes had died, but he was able to track down Hughes’ son, Carl. Webb had the tag framed with Hughes’s combat ribbons and a photo of the students, and presented it to Carl Hughes and Patricia Hughes Prickett, the late Marine’s sister.

“Here we were standing on this airstrip where Marines had fought and died, and along comes this dog tag after all these years,” Webb told the Post. “To me, it was symbolic. He represented every Marine. I wanted to find his family for every Marine who fought in Vietnam.”


Mike Pence drew inspiration from Rudy while writing his 2016 acceptance speech for the Republican vice-presidential nomination, he reveals in his memoir, So Help Me God, published in 2022. “I put on my headphones, listening to music from the soundtrack of Rudy, one of my favorite movies, based on the story of Daniel ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger [’76], an underdog walk-on member of the Notre Dame football team, and started writing,” the former vice president and Indiana governor recalls.

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A section of the Notre Dame power plant was demolished during the winter to remove parts of the plant once used for burning coal and controlling its pollution. The scrapped materials included two circa-1952 boilers, an ash silo, induced-draft fans and other parts. The University ceased using coal in fall 2019.

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Turkish pilav, Mennonite perogies and Croatian seafood stew are among the “Dome-Cooked” recipes available on Salmon Tales, a blog of Notre Dame graduate student life named for the Salmon of Knowledge, a wisdom figure in Irish mythology. In each post, a grad student shares a recipe from his or her hometown or family and provides a short video explaining how to prepare the dish. Get cooking:


A group of 80 Notre Dame undergraduates will be able to live in apartment-style campus housing during the 2023-24 academic year. Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible to apply for housing at Fischer apartments, the complex on the east side of campus that has been reserved primarily for graduate students.

Two students will live in each unit, which include single bedrooms with a shared bathroom and kitchen. The new community is open to male and female undergraduates. It will have some features familiar to the Notre Dame residential experience, including a rector, hall staff and moral and spiritual formation in community.

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During a January visit to campus, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh reflected on lessons he learned during his education in Catholic schools. “To be a good judge and to be a good person, it’s important to understand other people’s perspectives. When you’re on our court, you need to think about the 330 million people in this country who have a lot of differences on a lot of big issues,” he said. Kavanaugh’s comments came during a question-and-answer session at Notre Dame Law School during the Notre Dame Law Review’s
federal courts symposium. 


A death knell rang from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart for 15 minutes on December 31 to mark the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at age 95. Notre Dame’s relationship with Benedict began in the 1960s when then-University President Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC, offered a faculty position to then-Rev. Joseph Ratzinger, a German theologian.

“I was searching around the world for an up-and-coming theologian,” Hesburgh said in a South Bend Tribune interview in 2005, just after Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope. He wrote a letter of invitation to the young cleric, inviting him to join the faculty for a year or permanently. According to Hesburgh, Ratzinger replied, “I’d love to come, but I don’t think my English is good enough yet.”


Construction work is underway on the second floor of LaFortune Student Center to create a Center for Diversity and Inclusion that will open in the fall. The center will comprise Multicultural Student Programs and Services, the Office of Student Enrichment and the Gender Relations Center. The LaFortune Ballroom and Montgomery Auditorium have closed permanently to allow for the changing use of space in the building.

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During a series of tests in November at the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory, the Atlanta-based aerospace startup Hermeus reached a milestone in hypersonic flight. The company’s hybrid engine, Chimera, switched between turbojet and ramjet power — believed to be the first time a private company has accomplished that goal.

The successful tests bring economically feasible hypersonic air travel one step closer to reality. Turbojet engines are commonly used in commercial aircraft, while ramjet is a much more powerful engine technology that relies on forward motion for its power and operates most efficiently at higher speeds. Chimera, named for “a mythical fire-breathing creature with parts taken from various animals,” deploys both engine types, allowing it to “cover an immense range of flight speeds,” the lab said in a release.

The Notre Dame lab developed a new testing facility for the trials, which enabled it to store and burn fuel and simulate high-Mach temperatures and pressures. Hermeus is seeking to build the first-ever Mach 5 commercial aircraft. Flight testing of the startup’s first Quarterhorse aircraft is set for late this year.