What's So Great About Notre Dame?

Author: Notre Dame Magazine staff

A list of ingredients—from then and now—that have made Notre Dame the special place it is.

The Golden Dome

Monk Malloy, the president, living in a single room in one of the oldest residence halls on campus

The band marching through campus, playing “The Victory March” late afternoon on a football Friday


A morning run around the lakes in autumn

Knute Rockne

Bookstore Basketball

Tom Dooley

Touchdown Jesus

The Congregation of Holy Cross

Interhall football in full pads

Screw Your Roommate dances

Junior Parents Weekend

The chariot race at An Tostal

Christmas in April

Neckties at dinner

The abolition of Saturday classes

Student shows at the Snite

A midnight walk across a hushed campus in January when big flakes of snow are falling, turning everything serenely white

The stay hall system

Single sex dorms


In loco parentis

UNDERC, LOBUND and the Medieval Institute

The Center for Tropical Disease Research and Training

Rad Lab

John Houck’s ethics class

Meeting your favorite teacher at the Pay Caf Oak Room to talk

The Keenan Revue

Freshman mixers

A Long John and Mello Yello at food sales in the basement of Farley

Sister Jean

The Bun Run

The Dog Book

The Milk Riots of 1951

The Beer Riots of 1984

The season’s first big snowball fight

The hall chapels and dorm Masses


Notre Dame Encounter retreat weekends

Kegs ‘n’ eggs

Quarter dogs

Notre Dame and Yale cited as the nation’s top two programs for the study of philosophy of religion

Notre Dame 71, UCLA 70, January 19, 1974


The bachelor dons

The Prefect of Discipline

Going to class

Getting out of class

Basketball at the Rock

Basketball games at the old Fieldhouse

“Badin Bog Ball”

Burning caloreis while watching TV at Rolfs

SMC chicks

The squirrels

Kellogg, Kroc, Cushwa, Keough and the Institute for Latino Studies

Regis, Phil and Condoleezza

The Folk Choir singing at Mass in Sacred Heart Basilica

The Glee Club caroling in the women’s halls during finals

Marshmallow wars at halftime

Architecture grads “styling” their mortarboards at commencement

The Center for Social Concerns

Eighty percent of all students doing volunteer service

The Collegiate Jazz Festival, Blues Festival and Sophomore Literary Festival

Seventy percent of all undergrads lettering in at least one varsity high school sport, with 38 percent having been team captain

The leprechaun

The shirt


The sprinklers watering the sidewalks

The 1960 Conference on Pornography and Censorship

Seven Heisman Trophy winners and 11 National Championships

Driving up Notre Dame Avenue when the dome is shining and the trees are orange, red and brilliant gold

A catholic Catholicism

Lights out at 10

6 a.m. sign-in at chapel

Frankie’s, Corby’s, Rosie’s, Nickie’s, Simeri’s, Louie’s, Rocco’s, Sweeney’s, Bridget’s, Coach’s, Boat Club, and the ’Backer

Sneaking in after midnight

Black Mack

The naked swim at freshman P.E.

Tackle football in a foot of snow

Circus lunch

The graffiti dance

Notre Dame 68, Purdue 66, April 1, 2001


King Kersten

Ronald Reagan as The Gipper

Martin Sheen as Josiah Bartlet

The abduction and travels of the Sorin statue

Julian Samora

Playing flag football under the lights on the fields by Stepan

Studying on the 10th floor of the library

Study breaks on the second floor

George Craig, Morris Pollard and Laszlo Barabasi

The South Shore to Chicago

250 Notre Dame clubs throughout the world

Tyrone Willingham

CILA, ACE and the Andrews Summer Service Projects

Al Sondej

Monogrammed waffles at the South Dining Hall

The Huddle

Angiers, London, Innsbruck, Rome, Tantur, Australia . . . Notre Dame first among major research universities in the percentage of students studying abroad

The road to Saint Mary’s

Father Griffin and Darby O’Gill

Joe Evans

Frasier Thompson

The Gipper column in Scholastic

The Observer at lunch

Ara, Leahy, Lou and Muffet

Meeting the team buses at the Circle

The ducks

A funeral ceremony for an alligator, complete with chants, hymns and burial behind Sorin Hall (and the subsequent sermonizing in The Religious Bulletin against the sacrilege of mocking Catholic rituals, which should not be made fun of under any circumstances)

The Religious Bulletin

Clashmore Mike

The fencing team

The Bengal Bouts

Wind tunnels, atom smashers and low-energy nuclear physics

Expert advice on the Dead Sea Scrolls

Notre Dame 1, Portland 0, December 3, 1995

John O’Hara, CSC

Moose Krause

The Irish Guard

The Fisher Regatta

Pep rallies in Stepan

Pep rallies in the Old Fieldhouse with its balcony and beams, dirt floors and aging brick walls

Hot Chili Is Groovy

The Naked Kahuna

Terry Buck

Ranking in the top 20 both academically (U.S. News & World Report) and athletically (the NACDA Directors Cup standings)

“Molarity” by Michael Molinelli daily in The Observer

Maid service

Laundry service


The Basilica bells tolling the hours

Siegfried freshmen getting their horns

The NBC contract

Alan Page, Chris Zorich and Ruth Riley

Nobel Laureate Eric Wieschaus

Dennis Jacobs, the 2002 U.S. Professor of the Year

Late-night coffee and conversation at Reckers

“You can talk about God here and no one snickers.”—Norman Mailer

Watching Knute Rockne All American in Washington Hall

Ralph McInerny and Dick McBrien, Charles Rice and Michael Baxter, CSC

“One of America’s most wired campuses”

The sitting U.S. president coming to campus to speak

Moratorium Day, 1969

Fifteen minutes to cease and desist

Notre Dame graduates getting accepted into med school at a rate twice the national average

The accounting department always in the top 10

The law school among the top four in teaching quality

Springtime on the south quad, lying on a blanket reading One Hundred Years of Solitude with music and Frisbees flying through the air

The 9/11 outdoor Mass

The look on the face of a freshman moving her stuff into Lyons

The look on the faces of her parents during commencement

The Grotto in springtime, when the western sky is rosy with sunlight at dusk

The Grotto in autumn, when the canopy trees are radiant and leaves are underfoot

The Grotto in winter, when the candles glow and snow blankets the night

The seniors singing Notre Dame, Our Mother at the end of the final home game

Emil T. Hofman

Frank O’Malley

Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC