Spring at Notre Dame is the season of colorful blossoms — and senior champagne photos. The relatively new custom involves groups of about four to eight female graduates-to-be who don short, white dresses and pose for photos — some taken by professional photographers — at favorite spots around campus, but mostly on Main Quad. The women often wear colorful academic stoles around their necks and spray bottles of champagne during the shoots. (Some male students also arrange photo shoots, but the tradition is dominated by women.) Shared on social media, champagne commencement photos are now de rigueur at colleges and universities across the country. The practice at Notre Dame seems to have started in the mid-2010s and has increased in popularity ever since.
In May, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, based at Notre Dame, marked 50 years of music performance and education. The event has grown into the largest and longest-running chamber music competition in the United States, sharpening young musicians and delivering free musical programming to the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and the surrounding community. The yearlong celebration includes a co-commissioned piece of music by the Grammy-nominated, New York-based British composer Anna Clyne that will premiere at DPAC on October 22.
Hungry students have a new, delivery-only weekend food option: Gipper’s Late Night Kitchen. The offerings include Detroit-style pizza, chicken wings, cookies and gelato, and the hours run 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. All orders arrive via the University’s food-delivery robots.
Notre Dame has a new winningest coach. The Fighting Irish softball team’s 8-0 road victory over Michigan State on April 11 marked win No. 849 for head coach Deanna Gumpf, who passed former women’s basketball head coach Muffet McGraw for the most wins in the history of Notre Dame athletics. After four years as an assistant coach at Notre Dame, Gumpf took the top job in 2002 and has since led the Irish to 21 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
The priests in Corby Hall eat their breakfast pancakes with maple syrup tapped near Saint Mary’s Lake. Campus Dining Director Luigi Alberganti told The Observer that his staff harvested 800 gallons of sap this past winter — their third year of collection — boiling it down into about 18 gallons of maple syrup. The process takes three to four days. “Collecting the sap and cooking it and watching processes is a labor of love,” Alberganti says. “At the end, it is liquid gold.”
“If you don’t have facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. Without these three, we have no shared reality. You can’t solve any problem, let alone have a functioning democracy,” says Maria Ressa, who spoke in March at an event hosted by Notre Dame’s Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies. The Filipino and American journalist, who co-founded the news website Rappler, based in Manila, won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for her reporting on abuses of power in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte, and for her work to safeguard freedom of expression. Ressa has faced personal attacks and threats of years in prison for her efforts. Each challenge, she says, has made her more determined in her life’s mission. Read more about Ressa’s visit here.
A collection of works by artists from the Pokégnek Bodéwadmik — the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi — now decorates the walls and shelves in the coffeehouse in Geddes Hall, home to the Center for Social Concerns, the
McGrath Institute for Church Life and other programs embodying the Catholic social and theological tradition. The display — which includes paintings, photography, baskets, pottery and fiber arts — debuted in February. Headquartered 20 miles north of campus in Dowagiac, Michigan, the Pokagons formerly lived on the land that became the University of Notre Dame.
Visitors to campus this fall may notice a special luster to the Golden Dome. Work is underway this summer to regild the University’s centerpiece for the first time since 2005. Installation of scaffolding atop the Main Building began in May, and the project, which involves the application of several pounds of gold leaf across the entire iron surface of the Dome and the 19-foot statue and pedestal of Our Lady, is expected to be complete by mid-October — the 11th such regilding since the Dome was completed in 1882, the statue placed in 1883 and the first gilding in 1886.
On Good Friday evening, the Notre Dame Folk Choir performed its latest work, The Passion, for an audience of several hundred people on South Quad. The multimedia work explores the Gospel stories leading up to and including Jesus’ crucifixion and burial through song and spoken word. Students were invited to compose original lyrics and music and perform in the staged production. Last summer, the choir made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and recorded the album at the Jerusalem Music Centre. The album was released in February. “When you walk the Way of the Cross and then go sing about the crucifixion, you’re going to approach it differently” than if you remained on campus, says Folk Choir director J.J. Wright ’14MSM, ’17DMA. The choir also performed The Passion during a five-stop spring break tour of the East Coast.
Notre Dame is now a member of the Association of American Universities, a consortium of the nation’s leading public and private universities. It’s a distinction the University has sought for more than two decades. Founded in 1900, the AAU includes 71 member universities — 69 in the United States and two in Canada. The association’s mission is to help shape policy for higher education, science and innovation; promote best practices in higher ed; and strengthen the contributions that leading research universities make to society. Membership, which is by invitation only, is based on the breadth and quality of a university’s research and educational programs.
The Snite Museum of Art closed its doors to the public forever on April 29, but the new Raclin Murphy Museum of Art will open on campus’ southern edge in November. In the meantime, Notre Dame Magazine is chronicling the work of packing and moving the art collection to its new home, and you can follow the progress here. The former museum space, which opened to the public in 1980, will become the Snite Research Center in the Visual Arts.