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Duncan dedicated with mass, reception

Aaron Steiner | Monday, October 6, 2008

Residents and benefactors gathered with University officials Friday to dedicate Duncan Hall, the first dorm built on the Notre Dame Campus since 1997.

The Board of Trustees and the Duncan family, including hall benefactor Raymond Duncan and his wife, Sally Duncan, were invited to attend a dedication mass, hall blessing, and reception at the dorm, organized by dorm staff and residents.

The Duncan family and Board of Trustees were also invited to a formal dinner with hall staff and hall government representatives at South Dining Hall, following the dedication ceremony and reception at the hall.

Assistant Rector Dan Allen said the events were a success.

“It was a very positive reception overall,” he said. “You could really see a sense of gratification on the faces of the Duncans.

“It was nice to see how pleased they were.”

Duncan Hall vice president Tom Bacsik, a junior, said he thought the dedication mass was particularly moving, seeing the entire Duncan family present and filling the Chapel of St. Walter of Pontoise.

University president Father John Jenkins presided over the mass, and University vice president of Student Affairs Father Mark Poorman delivered the homily, Bacsik said.

“It was striking for me,” Bacsik said, to see the family gathered together and recognize what they had provided to the University.

Bacsik said the family’s ties to Notre Dame are deep. The family’s history at Notre Dame dates back to Raymond Duncan’s father, who graduated in 1912, and leads all the way to his grandson, Matt Duncan, a freshman living in Duncan Hall, will graduate in 2012.

In addition, a new dorm rivalry has risen out of the Duncan family’s history at Notre Dame. Just as a connection between the donors of Siegfried and O’Neill halls has led to a rivalry between those halls, now there is a new rivalry between O’Neill and Duncan, as a friendship also exists between the two families, Bacsik said.

The family is committed to Notre Dame, Bacsik explained.

“They’re so invested in this school,” he said, giving their time, money and energy to make Notre Dame a better place.

Allen said he thought residents were actively involved and wanted to meet and be able to personally thank the Duncan family.

“We really stressed to the residents that this was our chance to say thank you to the Duncans for their generosity … so the guys really bought into it,” Allen said.

Residents helped with the hall tours following the ceremonies and also helped with the reception.

At the reception, Raymond and Sally Duncan were presented with a dorm T-shirt and banner, and the residents posed for a photograph with the dorm’s donors.

Allen said he particularly enjoyed seeing the interaction between Ray and Sally Duncan and the hall residents, noting residents of most halls on campus – especially older dorms – typically don’t get the chance to meet the donors.

Duncan Hall residents discussed what goals the residents have for the hall and in school with the hall benefactors, Allen said.

“Making that connection from the people in the portrait on the wall and the guys who live in the dorm was a pretty neat connection,” Allen said.