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The greatest fraternity

Bill Voll | Thursday, January 14, 2010

 My father and mother were graduates of the Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s classes of 1917, respectively, and totally dedicated to both schools throughout their life times. I grew up with a constant stream of clergy and former classmates for dinner, picnics (the nuns didn’t come in the house in those days), assorted class activities and post football reunions. Whenever we traveled, there were alums to be visited and in times of need to be called upon for help. We were, it seemed, part of a giant fraternity-sorority that proceeded, I surmised later, from the friendships formed and the love expressed on these residential campuses. Friendships characterized by an extraordinary inclusiveness, which continue through life as most graduates who have traveled widely can attest.

It was no surprise, then, that my college experience began at Notre Dame. That it began in July 1943 in the Navy V-12 program and continued two semesters later in the NROTC at the University of Michigan was unexpected. Happily, when our class was commissioned a year and a half later, I had found a very special girl, 60 friends in my unit and a fine school, but the greatest fraternity on earth was in South Bend, not Ann Arbor and that’s where I wanted to be. So a year later I was back under the Dome to finish in that special environment that helps make Notre Dame unique.

Bill Voll


class of ‘48

Dec. 9