From the Archives: Notre Dame soccer stars and the World Cup

Though the U.S. men’s national team bowed out of the 2022 World Cup over the weekend, football fever remains strong around the globe as the “world’s greatest sporting event” continues. It wasn’t the case this year, but Fighting Irish fans often have an extra reason to pay attention to the World Cup, as Notre Dame soccer stars have historically been well-represented on both men’s and women’s national teams.

This week, From the Archives looked back at some of Notre Dame’s past World Cup participants. Starting with MLS and USMNT standout Matt Besler, we then highlight the extraordinary success of Notre Dame women’s soccer in the 1990s, which led to many Fighting Irish soccer players entering the international stage. While we lament this year’s disappointing finish for the American men, perhaps a return to the historical success of the women’s national team — in which Notre Dame alums have played a central role — will bring hope for the Women’s World Cup coming next summer.

Matt Besler: From a game-winning penalty kick to a World Cup appearance 

Nov. 3, 2005 | Kevin Brennan | Dec. 4, 2008 | Matt Gamber | Nov. 1, 2012 | Joseph Monardo | Sept. 24, 2014 | Alex Carson | Researched by Lilyann Gardner 

There is no doubt that soccer star Matt Besler left a mark on Notre Dame’s men’s soccer program. The defender from Overland Park, Kansas, was a standout player and student from 2005 to 2008 and racked up several awards during his time at the University. 

“Besler, who made 73 starts and 90 appearances as a defender in his Notre Dame career, was a two-time team captain, three-time member of the All-Big East team and an All-American his senior season,” wrote Joseph Monardo (‘14). 

Besler’s storied career got off to a fast start. His first goal for the Fighting Irish occurred during his freshman year and was the fifth and final shot of an intense penalty shoot-out against Syracuse to advance to the second round of the Big East Tournament. 

“It’s definitely exciting. I probably couldn’t have asked for a better first goal of my college career,” Besler (‘09) said. 

Matt Besler (right) playing in a 2-1 win over Georgetown during his senior season. Observer archives, Dec. 4, 2008.

Besler and the Irish appeared in the NCAA Sweet 16 three years in a row before losing in a season-ending match against Northwestern his senior year. Despite this disappointing end, Besler managed to lead the team to the Big East regular season title for the second straight year. 

The leadership and success Besler found in college resulted in his eighth overall selection in the 2009 MLS draft by the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City). Just two years into his professional career, Besler was recognized as a 2011 MLS All-Star.

Shortly after, Besler joined the U.S. men’s national team and represented his country from 2013 to 2017, making an appearance in the 2014 World Cup. 

“Defender Matt Besler started every match for the United States at this year’s World Cup and just recently signed a Designated Player contract to remain reigning champion Sporting Kansas City’s captain for the long haul,” Alex Carson (‘17) reported in a 2014 Observer article. 

Besler played twelve years with Sporting Kansas City before finishing his professional career with FC Austin in 2021. Besler now serves as an ambassador for the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan program and remains an inspiration to Notre Dame players and fans around the country. 

Irish women’s soccer in the 1990s: Future World Cup stars shine 

Sept. 18, 1995 | Joe Villinski | Nov. 20, 1995 | Joe Villinski | Dec. 4, 1995 | Dave Tyler | Sept. 1, 1997 | Allison Krilla | Researched by Cade Czarnecki

The 1990s was a seminal decade for women’s soccer at Notre Dame. After becoming a varsity sport in 1988, few could have predicted its rapid rise to prominence.

In 1994, the young Irish team would make its first big splash of the decade. Three freshmen — Holly Manthei, Kate Markgraf (née Sobrero), and Julie Maund (‘98) — all found their way into the starting lineup and led the team all the way to the national title game, although the game resulted in a blowout loss to North Carolina.

Kate Markgraf (née Sobrero) dribbles down the field during a Notre Dame soccer game. Observer archives, Aug. 25, 1998.

The spark from 1994 carried over into the following season, and once again it was a freshman at the forefront of the effort. Taking advantage of the opportunity to replace injured All-American midfielder Cindy Daws (‘97), future Irish legend Shannon Boxx (‘99), a freshman, scored seven goals during the season.

Boxx’s efforts in 1995 were epitomized by her performance against Wisconsin. Head coach Chris Petrucelli said he knew the day felt different going in: “At the beginning of the game I looked over and they [Wisconsin] were very excited about playing. The difference was we were a lot more excited. We were very prepared to play today.” Boxx was easily the most jubilant player on the field after tallying a hat trick in Notre Dame’s shutout win.

Shannon Boxx (center) and teammates celebrate Notre Dame’s victory over the University of Portland in the 1995 national championship. Observer archives, Dec. 4, 1995.

The 1995 season was capped off in dramatic fashion as Notre Dame trounced the University of Portland in a third overtime period to secure the Fighting Irish’s first national championship in women’s soccer. Cindy Daws put it best: “I’ve heard some people say we won ugly. It doesn’t matter though because we’re national champions.”

Notre Dame would make it back to the national title game in 1996 and 1999, finishing as a runner-up on both occasions. While the soccer program as a whole achieved outstanding success in the 1990s, the star power on Notre Dame’s roster during this decade would also translate into individual glory on the international stage moving into the 2000s.

 Notre Dame women in the World Cup

Strong of Heart: Profiles of Notre Dame Athletics | Aug. 25, 1998 | Joe Cavato | Sept. 6, 1999 | Brian Kessler | Aug. 22, 2012 | Matthew Robison | Sept. 8, 2015 | Renee Griffin | Researched by Thomas Dobbs

Following her graduation from Notre Dame, Kate Markgraf (‘98) prepared for an extraordinary opportunity to compete for a World Cup. After appearing in 97 games and scoring seven goals while donning blue and gold, Markgraf accustomed herself to an unfamiliar role on the national team: the bench.

However, Markgraf quickly cemented herself as a strong contributor to the national team, helping the United States claim the 1999 World Cup after a 5-4 shootout victory against China. Markgraf would ultimately appear in 12 matches across appearances in three World Cups. She ended her soccer career in 2010 after 201 international appearances, becoming only the 10th woman in FIFA history to eclipse the 200 game mark.

Monica Gonzalez (right) plays for Notre Dame shortly after returning from the 1999 World Cup, where she represented Mexico. Observer archives, Sept. 6, 1999.

Markgraf, however, was farm from the only Notre Dame woman to compete on the international stage. Only a college junior at the time, Monica Gonzalez (‘01) competed at the 1999 World Cup for the Mexican national team. Gonzalez, too, achieved a distinguished international career, competing in 83 games and scoring 10 goals for Mexico.

Perhaps no international match more prominently featured Notre Dame soccer legends than the 2012 Olympics semifinal matchup between Canada and the United States. Representing Canada were former Notre Dame standouts Melissa Tancredi (‘05) and Candace Chapman (‘06), while Shannon Boxx (‘99) represented the Stars and Stripes.

Then-Notre Dame women’s soccer coach Randy Waldrum commented on the matchup, stating that “[the game] was great for women’s soccer and … great for Notre Dame to have that kind of representation.”

Shannon Boxx (center) celebrates after a teammate’s goal in the 2011 World Cup. Observer archives, Aug. 22, 2012.

Boxx has become perhaps the most decorated Notre Dame soccer player of all time, winning a gold medal in three straight Olympic Games from 2004-2012. Boxx also helped the U.S. win the 2015 World Cup, the American’s first victory since the 1999 victory featuring Markgraf. In January 2022, Boxx was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Reflecting on her storied career, Boxx shared that sacrifices of others “pushed [her] to want to be successful” and that Notre Dame offered her the “first time [she] represented something bigger than just a little club team or myself.”

While Boxx, Markgraf, and Gonzalez have all retired, perhaps the Notre Dame women’s trip this fall to the NCAA quarterfinals, their first since the 2012 season, is a sign that the next generation of Irish talent is once again primed to play on the international stage.


From the Archives: A history of the senior marshmallow toss

This past weekend, Notre Dame’s football game against Boston College featured an abundance of fluffy white objects flying through the air. A number of these objects were, of course, snowflakes; but following tradition, seniors also celebrated their final home football game by throwing marshmallows en masse.

This week, From the Archives looks at the history of the senior marshmallow toss. The origin of this tradition is, as evident in the heated debate on internet forums, still unclear. However, Observer reporting over the years captures the ubiquitous controversy surrounding the student deployment of projectiles — which, in the past, have included not just harmless marshmallows but treacherous toilet paper and harmful aquatic animals. Ultimately, the stories below reveal the extremes to which seniors will go to participate in the tossing of objects and commemorate (or perhaps lament) their final Notre Dame football game.

The obscure origins of the senior marshmallow tradition

Sept. 13, 1989 | Janice Archer | Nov. 16, 1989 | James Otteson | Nov. 19, 2007 | Joseph McMahon | ND Nation Discussion Board | Researched by Thomas Dobbs

This past weekend during the football contest between Notre Dame and Boston College, a careful spectator would have observed members of the senior class participating in a student tradition whose origins are wrapped in ambiguity: the senior marshmallow toss. 

Some claim the tradition began in the 1970s with students tossing rolls of toilet paper. Others point to its origin in the late 1980s when Notre Dame students threw marshmallows and oranges onto the field, in apparent anticipation of an expected Orange Bowl bid in 1989.

Mention of the “marshmallow wars,” however, first appeared in the Observer on Sept. 13, 1989. Referring to Notre Dame’s final home game of the 1988 season, Janice Archer wrote that at halftime “marshmallows flew in the rain as students hurled them at one another.”

According to Archer, the “sticky fun” of the marshmallow toss was coordinated by a newly-formed club named Irish Insanity. Erich Straub ‘90 founded the club in the prior year, citing his desire to create a “single pep club” that would match Notre Dame’s “unparalleled” student body.

Though the official origin of the marshmallow tradition is unclear, the earliest Observer reporting on the “marshmallow wars” came in 1989 in reference to the new Irish Insanity club (pictured above), which coordinated a halftime marshmallow toss at a 1988 football game against Penn State. Observer archives, Sept. 13, 1989.

Not all, however, shared an appreciation for the new marshmallow tradition. In a Letter to the Editor, James Otteson argued that students who were “fervently throwing marshmallows and cups at each other” demonstrated that “they were unable to act responsibly on their own.”

Otteson believed that the administration should have acted after Irish Insanity “coach[ed] the students before the game in preparation for the marshmallow wars.”

Despite some viewing the marshmallow toss as immature or wasteful, many seniors see the tradition as an innocent way to celebrate their last home football game as students. After a disappointing 2007 season where Notre Dame’s first and only home victory came on senior day, Nick Ransom ‘08 shared that he enjoyed the marshmallow tradition “even more so because nobody cared about the game that much.”

While current and future seniors certainly do not hope that the marshmallow wars will be the defining memory as a student cheering in Notre Dame Stadium, this year’s edition of the marshmallow tradition provided a sweet reward to a string of Notre Dame victories.

Not just marshmallows: A brief history of other objects thrown at Notre Dame football games

 Oct. 12, 1977 | Letter to Editor | Nov. 5, 1998 | Spencer Stefko | Nov. 2, 1998 | Michelle Krupa | May 14, 1999 | Tim Logan | Researched by Cade Czarnecki

While the current projectile of choice for Notre Dame seniors is the marshmallow, an assortment of other objects have historically been thrown around the student section.

As early as 1977, students were tossing toilet paper rolls as a means of entertainment and humor at Notre Dame football games and pep rallies. Students claimed they intended it in good fun, though some took offense when cheerleaders were hit at a pep rally.

In response to this violent act, the University made one of its first efforts to minimize the throwing of projectiles at football-related events by issuing a statement telling the students to stop.

To no one’s surprise, students did not always listen to administrative authority. One especially bold student, Robert Jacques, sarcastically wrote in a letter to the editor about the efficacy of University statements: “Of course, local retailers will be forbidden the right to sell papers to ND students.”

The toilet paper proved to be the least of the University’s concerns in the following decades, though. In 1998, sea life began to make its way into Notre Dame Stadium.

A student flaunts an octopus during a 1998 football game, indicating the extreme evolution of the senior marshmallow toss. Observer archives, Nov. 2, 1998.

Reports of squids, fish and frogs being thrown at football games became somewhat common in the late 1990s. Most agreed that the line had been crossed but perpetrators were hard to identify.

At the same time, ushers began cracking down on marshmallows being brought into games as students had begun stuffing the sugar blobs with coins and golf tees in order to add weight to their projectiles and achieve a further throw.

Marshmallow violators were often ejected, but the aquatic life hurlers were never identified. The debauchery reached its peak in 1998 when a frog hit a 10-year-old girl in the face and resulted in severe lacerations.

A student flings a frog during halftime of an October 1998 football game versus Baylor. The increased use of marine projectiles that season induced multiple injuries, with victims including a 10-year-old girl. Observer archives, April 14, 1999.

Chuck Hurley, assistant director of Notre Dame Security tried to put an end to such actions and simultaneously salvage the University’s reputation, saying, “This is really out of character for Notre Dame.”

Yet, Colleen Killina, a Saint Mary’s senior in 1998, put student attitudes about the projectile launching tradition best: “People are still going to do it no matter what [the punishment is].”

Killina’s prediction has proven quite astute in regard to the marshmallows, although it has been over two decades since marine life was thrown at a football game.

Marshmallows become cause for ejections 

Oct. 17, 2003 | Scott Brodfuehrer | Nov. 20, 2003  | Matthew Klobucher, Ryan Gagnet, Kevin Conley and John McCarthy | Nov. 21, 2005 | Maddie Hanna | Researched by Lilyann Gardner

The annual senior marshmallow toss has always been about fun and games for Notre Dame students, but stadium ushers and personnel have been tasked year after year with shutting down these antics. 

Ushers under the direction of Cappy Gagnon, coordinator of stadium personnel, ejected hundreds of students throughout the football seasons of the early 2000s as stadium personnel believed that students were stuffing the marshmallows with small items such as pennies and golf tees.

Notre Dame seniors throw marshmallows at the last football game of the 2005 season, a contest at which 43 students were ejected for participating in the traditional tossing. Observer archives, Nov. 21, 2005.

“Gagnon said that his ushers, in addition to Notre Dame Security/Police officers, would be looking for ‘ringleaders’ during half time — students who are throwing a large amount of marshmallows,” wrote Scott Brodfuehrer (‘04). “However, he would not rule out the possibility that a student who threw just one marshmallow could be ejected.” 

The University claimed that all of these ejections were a necessary measure to prevent potential injuries or damage to NBC’s camera equipment, but several students shared that it was ridiculous to have a handful of students take the fall for the many participants. 

“It is hard to imagine more harmless things to throw, and we find it hard to believe that many students have been harboring such injurious designs of their peers by hiding by concealing coins and rocks within,” wrote seniors Matthew Klobucher, Ryan Gagnet, Kevin Conley and John McCarthy.

The aforementioned students from Stanford and Keough Halls shared their frustration with Gagnon’s policies after two of their companions were kicked out the 2003 BYU game. The seniors stated that an usher had ensured that their friends would not be removed if they ceased throwing the marshmallows but that the same usher returned with his captain later and ejected them anyway. 

More marshmallow action from the 2005 Syracuse game. Observer archives, Nov. 21, 2005.

The two seniors, however, were not the only individuals betrayed by the ushers, as students have continued to be ejected over the years. The final game of the 2005 season against Syracuse resulted in 43 ejections due to marshmallow-related incidents according to an Observer report by Assistant News Editor Maddie Hanna (‘08).

The number of ejections has fluctuated over time, but it is apparent that these ejections, although bothersome, have done little to deter the marshmallow fight from occurring: marshmallows were once again tossed this past weekend during a snowy final game of the season.

Contact Spencer Kelly at

Thomas Dobbs at

Cade Czarnecki at

Lilyann Gardner at


From the Archives: The final years of the Notre Dame Fieldhouse

This week, the men’s and women’s basketball teams ramp up their seasons at the Joyce Center, their home since 1968. Before the current venue was built, however, Irish basketball played at the Notre Dame Fieldhouse, a structure formerly located next to LaFortune Student Center, and now home to the commemorative Fieldhouse Mall.

Once the Joyce Center (initially called the “Athletics and Convocation Center”) was completed in 1968, the University planned to demolish the then-vacant Fieldhouse. However, a passionate campaign led by an unlikely campus demographic emerged to save the structure. The final years of the Notre Dame Fieldhouse feature a fascinating transformation of the historic building, one last hurrah which added another rich chapter to the Notre Dame history books.

Fieldhouse saved by an unlikely ally

 Dec. 6, 1968 | William Luking | Oct. 17, 1969 | Gaetano DeSapio | Nov. 20, 1969 | Paul Gallagher | Nov. 24, 1969 | Paul Gallagher | Dec. 2, 1969 | Tim Treanor | Jan. 9, 1970 | Paul Gallagher | Researched by Avery Polking

Any Notre Dame student who approaches LaFortune Student Center from the northeast crosses a tree-encircled space now known as Fieldhouse Mall. Yet, contrary to its name, no fieldhouse is seen anywhere in the vicinity. Behind this university crossroads is a long and arduous history of the old Notre Dame Fieldhouse and debates over its demolition. 

The Notre Dame Fieldhouse was a multi-purpose arena which housed an array of sporting events in the first half of the 20th century. However, sentiments started to stir against its existence in 1969 when the University shared plans for the Fieldhouse’s demolition. Soon, though, a group of passionate art students and faculty as well as others who cherished the tradition of the Fieldhouse as a Notre Dame landmark expressed their objections.

The University Arts Council (UAC) advertises a rally to save the Notre Dame Fieldhouse for use as an arts center. Observer archives, Nov. 24, 1969.

The administration and the newly-formed University Arts Council (UAC) butted heads for three months at the end of 1969 over the question of demolition. Dr. James Fern, Art Department Chair, organized a rally to promote his proposed $1.3 million renovation plan for the Fieldhouse place with hopes of preserving it not as an athletic institution, but a center for the arts.

Those who opposed the Fieldhouse and advocated for its demolition did so for aesthetic reasons, some calling it obsolete, ugly and awkwardly situated. The administration, for one, sought to raze the Fieldhouse because it was an “eyesore and architecturally unsound.”

Students gather inside the Notre Dame Fieldhouse at a rally to oppose the demolition of the building. Observer archives, Dec. 2, 1969.

Notably, the 1969 rally featured an endorsement from Student Body President Phil McKenna as well as a pledge from Fr. Hesburgh himself to do “all he could” to delay the demolition. Hesburgh further announced his admiration for the UAC for their determination in defense of the Fieldhouse.

After three months of social action by the UAC, on January 8, 1970, they received a letter from Fr. Hesburgh declaring a six-month moratorium on the fieldhouse demolition. This constituted victory for the UAC, but Fern’s labor was not over yet. He now had six months to set plans for the new art institute and to raise the funds required. 

Twilight in the life of the Notre Dame Fieldhouse

Jan. 12, 1970 | Paul Gallagher | March 13, 1970 | Dan O’Donnel | April 20, 1972 | Observer Staff | July 10, 1975 | Andy Praschak | Nov. 13, 1975 | John Hannan |  Researched by Spencer Kelly

While the Notre Dame Fieldhouse is best remembered as a sports venue, the twilight of its life was spent in a reimagined role as a center for arts and culture.

Days after the University granted a six-month demolition moratorium for the Fieldhouse, The Observer reported that renovations would begin promptly; “tomorrow at 4:15,” to be precise.

University Arts Council Chairman Tom Kronk promised that the new Fieldhouse would spark a “cultural renaissance on the Notre Dame campus.”

However, renovations were now estimated at $1.8 million — over $14 million today. Kronk believed funds could be raised, but by March, the Arts Finance Committee reported that “no major contributions” had been received.

At the end of the demolition moratorium, the University extended it indefinitely, keeping the Fieldhouse alive but in a precarious position.

The Notre Dame Fieldhouse was transformed into an arts center by 1971. Observer archives, Oct, 17, 1973.

By 1971, the Art Department had settled into the Fieldhouse. Department Chairman Thomas Fern said the building housed classrooms, studios and an art gallery, serving 800 students in total.

However, the Fieldhouse remained unrenovated, and money was still lacking. Fern reported “rather piddling” donations totaling $3,500, nowhere near the millions needed. Still, Fern maintained that the Fieldhouse should stand, saying “[it’s an] educationally valuable space and a viable space.”

The University remained noncommittal on the Fieldhouse’s future.

“You just kind of handle it on a year to year basis,” Fr. Blantz of the Office of Student Affairs said. “As you can see parts of the building are not in good repair. You don’t want to make any long term commitments with a building like that.”

The mid-1970s saw flickers — literal and figurative — of the “cultural renaissance” that Kronk had promised. In 1972, the Fieldhouse hosted a light sculpture exhibit. In strikingly poetic terms, The Observer described how “on the darkness shrouded main floor of the Fieldhouse, [the sculptures] stand out as highlights of brilliant colour [sic] and muted, coloured shadows.”

A faded half court logo is still visible during a 1975 ceramics workshop held on the floor of the Notre Dame Fieldhouse. Observer archives, July 10, 1975.

In 1975, the Fieldhouse held a ceramics workshop, hosting students, teachers and professional potters from around the country.

“This is the first time a workshop of this type has ever been offered in ceramics,” art professor Bill Kremer said.

“I can’t stress enough the convenience of the Fieldhouse for purposes such as this,” Kremer added. “I really hope the University doesn’t continue the discussion of tearing it down.”

Kremer admitted that the Fieldhouse was in decaying condition, noting that “students had to patch the roof.” Kremer was a staunch Fieldhouse supporter, though, citing its abundant space for creativity.

“We give everyone studio space, so they can develop their personality and not have their work thrown in with a mass of others,” Kremer said. “It helps them establish identity.”

Indeed, it seemed that the Fieldhouse itself was a key part of Notre Dame’s identity overall. Whether it was facilitating athletic or artistic endeavors, the Fieldhouse was always a space where the Notre Dame community could come together.

The fall of the Notre Dame Fieldhouse

Oct. 11, 1980 | John McGrath | Feb. 2, 1983 | Margaret Fosmoe | March 1, 1983 | Robert Walsh and Thomas Piernek | Researched by Thomas Dobbs

With the Fieldhouse showing its age by the early 1980s, students shared diverging opinions on its future.

Observer Production Manager John McGrath proposed that the Fieldhouse be converted into a “first-class student center.” McGrath advocated for the conversion of the Fieldhouse due to its “enormous size, its central location on campus and its rich tradition.”

Deirdre Murphy, an architecture student, helped McGrath outline a tentative floor plan. The plan included spaces such as a bowling alley, a 350-500 seat movie theater, a full-size nightclub and coffeehouse, and a multipurpose area for basketball, volleyball, or tennis courts.

McGrath estimated the Fieldhouse renovations at $2.5 million. Repurposing an existing structure, McGrath argued, would be less expensive given the cost of new student dormitories under construction, which he claimed “will cost the university over $3 million” each.

Not all students shared McGrath’s enthusiasm for the potential of the Fieldhouse. Saint Mary’s Executive Editor Margaret Fosmoe wrote that “the days of the Fieldhouse are gone.” After planned renovations of the structure fell through in the 1970s, Fosmoe pointed out that the art department occupied the space even as it “continued to decay around them.”

A photo taken weeks before its demolition shows the decaying state of the Notre Dame Fieldhouse. Observer archives, March 11, 1983.

It appears that the University recognized this decay and scheduled the Fieldhouse demolition for the week of spring break of 1983.

Robert Walsh (‘86) and Thomas Piernek outlined the storied history of the Fieldhouse in an ode to the structure in its final week before demolition.

The building functioned as the football locker room for Irish legends George Gipp, Jesse Harper and Knute Rockne. The Fieldhouse also had a rich political history, serving as the venue for a 1935 convocation featuring President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a site for a 1937 “nationwide tour against communism” featuring then-Director of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover.

Walsh and Piernek concluded that the demolition of the Fieldhouse showed that “Notre Dame has more important priorities” than preserving its history. While they predicted that future students would appreciate the fiscal conservatism the University showed in electing against renovating the Fieldhouse, the current students “can find consolation only in the often heard phrase, ‘Notre Dame … not quite the great University it intends to be.’”

The Notre Dame Fieldhouse was demolished during spring break of 1983. Observer archives, March 23, 1983.

Today’s student body would surely reject the assertion that Notre Dame is no longer a “great university.” Still, when Notre Dame demolished the Fieldhouse, this campus lost not just a sporting arena or an art space or a political venue but a piece of its history, now remembered only by a small pillar and a plaque at Fieldhouse Mall.

Contact Spencer Kelly at

Avery Polking at

Thomas Dobbs at


From the Archives: Badin, Walsh and the first female dorms at Notre Dame

In our edition celebrating 50 years of women at Notre Dame, we highlighted the often contentious nature of the coeducation process in the early 1970s. One aspect we couldn’t cover in detail was the decision over which of the men’s dorms would be converted to accommodate the new female students — a ruling arguably more controversial than the decision to go coed itself.

This week, From the Archives details the spirited saga that commenced when Badin and Walsh were selected as the first female dorms at Notre Dame. Residents of these halls were naturally displeased with the decision, conjuring up creative and even self deprecatory arguments for why the administration should reconsider. But eventually, the inevitable changes brought by co-education arrived at a reckoning, presenting enduring lessons for how to deal with change at a university steeped in history and tradition.

Badin and Walsh revealed as the first female dorms

Feb. 9 1972 | Maria Gallagher | Feb. 11 1972 | Ann McCarry | Researched by Thomas Dobbs

On Feb. 8, 1972, vice president of student affairs Rev. Thomas Blantz designated Badin and Walsh as the first residences for female undergraduates at Notre Dame for the 1972-1973 academic year.

According to Rev. Blantz, Badin and Walsh were selected as they offered “appropriate security for young women … adequate physical facilities … and room available for social and recreational activities.” 

This explanation did not suffice for many displaced Badin and Walsh residents who expressed “confusion” and “disappointment” with the decision. Badin Hall President Buz Imhoff ‘72 called the decision a “most illogical choice.” 

An Observer headline announces Badin and Walsh as the first female dorms at Notre Dame. Observer archives, Feb. 9, 1972.

In an attempt to persuade university leaders to reconsider their decision, Badin residents presented a two-sided defense of their hall. On one hand, Badin resident and Hall Life Commissioner Bob Higgins (‘73) argued that Badin’s spirit was “excellent” and was “the only thing that keeps guys wanting to live there.” 

Imhoff contributed some decidedly self-deprecatory arguments, claiming that Badin offered inadequate “lounge space” and overall “dismal” conditions that would forbid female inhabitance. The focus on Badin’s spacial shortcomings led to the crux of Higgins’s proposal: “Girls should be offered at least livable conditions” and that current Badin Hall residents could sacrifice by remaining in apparent “unlivable” conditions.

In a Feb. 10 address in the Howard Hall chapel to approximately 100 Walsh and Badin residents, University President Fr. Theodore Hesburgh urged students that “if you want the value of girls on campus, you have to have static … no matter what halls you choose.”

Residents of Badin and Walsh Halls appear unhappy at a meeting with then University President Fr. Theodore Hesburgh discussing the decision to convert their dorms into female residences. Observer archives, Feb. 11, 1972.

Although displacement was not a welcome move for Badin residents, Badin Hall Council appeared satisfied with Fr. Hesburgh’s argument, announcing that they “realize that some hall must be chosen for the purpose of female housing.”

Badin Hall Council, however, did offer some suggestions for the University, requesting that they be allowed to preserve their sections in moves to other halls and that they not be displaced again “in the spirit of fairness.” In his original announcement, Fr. Blantz had outlined the displacement procedure, in which approximately 330 students Badin and Walsh Student were to be distributed among the other 18 residence halls based on “its ability to absorb upperclass transfers.”

In apparent recognition of the concerns of Badin Hall about further displacement, Fr. Hesburgh reminded students that he expected to follow the same procedure in the coming years as female enrollment expanded and other dorms were converted for female use.

Thoughts on the Badin and Walsh transition

Feb. 14, 1972 | Marlene Zloza | Feb. 16, 1972 | Jerry Lutkus | Feb. 17, 1972 | Letter to Editor | May 4, 1972 | Observer Staff | Researched by Cade Czarnecki

While the Badin Hall Council accepted the University’s decision to turn their dorm into a female residence, the early months of 1972 saw significant pushback from many residents of Badin and Walsh and from other members of the tri-campus community.

The men that were being forced out of Badin and Walsh were told by the University and housing committee that, “since we wanted the women, we should be prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to house them on campus.”

Badin and Walsh residents countered with the rationale that the burden should be shared across all dorms on campus, pointing out the fact that it was not exclusively Badin and Walsh men that wanted women at Notre Dame.

“A girl’s room next year?” asked a caption below a picture of an unspecified resident of Badin or Walsh Hall. Observer archives, Feb. 14, 1972.

Counter proposals were offered to the “ad hoc housing committee” that was formed to sort out the relocation of Badin and Walsh men. One proposal to the committee was to have each hall on campus allocate 10 to 15 beds in a section together for “blocks” of exiled Badin and Walsh residents to move to.

Pushback to the removal of men and implementation of women in Badin and Walsh did not exclusively come from males, though. Marlene Zloza, a Saint Mary’s freshman, toured both Badin and Walsh, and her report on the state of the dorms was mixed.

Zloza highlighted the amenities in Walsh and, in doing so, pointed out the various flaws in Badin. Complaints included minimal lounge space and the presence of metal closets in the hallways. She continued to say that there was no real space for a kitchen or laundry room in Badin either.

After highlighting the bats that called Walsh home and the friendly neighborhood mice in Badin, Zloza concluded that women would not want to live in Badin and would be better housed in Walsh.

Residents of Badin Hall hang a wreath outside their dorm, mourning the decision to turn their dorm into a women’s residence. Observer archives, Feb. 14, 1972.

Yet, these opinions had little sway over the whole situation. Men were to be forced out and women were to be forced in.

In a solemn display in their final days in the building they had called home, Badin men hung a black wreath outside their dorm, signifying the death of their beloved residence hall.

The ghosts of coed integration at Notre Dame

​​Sept. 2, 1972 | Jerry Lutkus | Sept. 8, 1972 | Jerry Lutkus | Researched by Avery Polking

When women were first admitted to Notre Dame in 1972, they were welcomed by most of the campus community. But some male students lamented the profound changes that coeducation entailed, changes perhaps embodied best in the conversion of Badin and Walsh to female dorms.

One of Notre Dame’s first female undergraduates moves into her new dorm room in the fall of 1972. Observer archives, Sept. 8, 1972.

A common refrain among Notre Dame men was feeling a loss of tradition over the introduction of women. Many felt like coeducation subverted an integral part of Notre Dame’s identity. But the author of “The Ghost of Badin” argued for a more progressive view of this monumental announcement.

Jerry Lutkus wrote that the nature of the real world must take precedent over tradition. Even though tradition is a “quantity around which legends are based,” tradition is notoriously bad at locating points of issue it creates because of its longevity and form. Neglecting to educate women, Lutkus wrote, is one of these points of issue.

Therefore, integrating women into Notre Dame, according to its proponents, was an act that brought Notre Dame into the real world. After all, “women and men are equals in society, why should they not be equal in education? At Notre Dame?”

A cartoon satirizes a former Walsh resident coming around to the idea of coeducation and its associated changes. Observer archives, Sept. 8, 1972.

Lutkus concluded by admitting that the “ghosts of tradition” left by men of Badin Hall no longer resided within its walls. This, however, was not a bad thing. The departure of old ghosts made way for new traditions created by the new female undergraduates who would call Badin home.

“So, that tradition that you think is destroyed at Notre Dame is actually not destroyed,” Lutkus wrote. “It is simply enhanced, expanded. It is added to and given a dimension it’s never seen before.”

Still seeping in tradition, Lutkus’ message to Notre Dame remains as salient as ever. While we can and should continue to honor the legacy of this historic University, many students and administrators today believe tradition should never preclude Notre Dame from evolving and improving to create a more inclusive campus environment.

As Lutkus put it fifty years ago, when we update our traditions, practices, and policies, “Notre Dame hasn’t become just any other college because it is still Notre Dame. But it is a new Notre Dame. A new Notre Dame with some new tradition added to the old and some openings for compatriots to keep company with the ghosts of ages past.”

Contact Spencer Kelly at

Thomas Dobbs at

Cade Czarnecki at

Avery Polking at


From the Archives: Off-campus living over the years

Though the fall semester is not yet halfway over, The Observer’s recent off-campus housing guide notes that “as October arrives, sophomores and juniors (and even first-years) begin to think about their off-campus migration.”

To add some historical perspective to this trendy topic, From the Archives looked back at off-campus living over the years at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. The still-relevant concerns and opinions in these blurbs can aid potential off-campus migrants in their housing decisions, while the stories of off-campus parties contain entertaining insights for anyone who may spend a Saturday night in one of South Bend’s numerous student abodes.

​​Off-campus housing trends and student concerns

Oct. 15, 1990 | Oct. 16, 1990 | Oct. 17, 1990 | Kate Manuel | Researched by Cade Czarnecki

In a three-part series, the Observer examined the state of off-campus housing in the 1990s, highlighting contemporary trends but also revealing student opinions that remain pertinent today.

The 1990-91 school year saw an uptick in students moving off-campus. There were 1,157 undergraduates that declined on-campus housing options and chose to seek out their own off-campus arrangements, up from 1,085 the previous year.

A closer look at the demographic split reveals an interesting story: almost five times as many senior males moved off-campus as senior females. Surprisingly, this was actually representative of a decreasing gap between off-campus men and women.

A three-part series in the 1990s indicated the increasing popularity of off-campus housing. Observer archives, Oct. 15, 1990.

When asked why she chose to move off campus, Cecelia Burger, a senior woman, cited a desire for independence and respite: “I want to be on my own. It does give me a place to physically remove myself from the stress of campus.”

Yet, Burger also noted that there are drawbacks of moving off campus, such as the social life. She mused, “If you really want to be around people all the time, don’t move off campus.” This sentiment was echoed by many. Off-campus students shared that they often felt isolated from on-campus students and events.

The other main consideration for off-campus students was security. Looking to address some of these concerns, Observer news writer Kate Manuel reached out to Notre Dame’s security department.

The department explained that Notre Dame was not “directly responsible” for the security of off-campus students. Notre Dame security believed its role in the lives of off-campus students was only to assist local law enforcement if necessary. Still, Notre Dame security made an effort to advise off-campus students of best practices.

A series of mailings were sent out to off-campus undergraduates reminding them of security practices, such as looking for “hidden areas” where burglars could hide and contacting the police department before they leave for breaks. The latter bit of information was shared because “[Local police departments] will put your house on a list to be checked at least three times in a twenty-four hour period: one time every eight-hour shift at a minimum.”

Today, off-campus students continue to embrace their option to live more independently off campus. However, the aforementioned concerns of social life and security remain important considerations.

Inside the SMC off-campus housing campaign

March 19, 1969 | Ann Conway | Dec. 10, 1969 | Jim Hayes | Jan. 16, 1970 | Observer Staff | March 17, 1970 | Prue Wear | Researched by Thomas Dobbs

Lacking the off-campus option their Notre Dame neighbors had, a student-led campaign to allow off-campus housing was first initiated at Saint Mary’s during the Student Body President race in March 1969. As a commitment to the student body, candidate Susan Turnbull pledged that “off-campus housing be approved and in use by 1970.”

The following year, Turnbull, now Student Body President, met her campaign promise and launched a petition to the Board of Trustees on Dec. 10, 1969, to convince the Board to “re-evaluate their position against off-campus housing.”

The proposal addressed a relevant issue for Saint Mary’s: given an operational deficit of $460,015 in 1969, Saint Mary’s was apparently considering “admitting more students than can be comfortably housed.” 

Allowing off-campus housing, the petition argued, would enable the school to grow its student population and tuition revenue without having to construct more dorms or force some students into crowded conditions.

In a follow-up editorial, proponents further claimed that off-campus housing would “allow for greater opportunity for individual freedom and responsibility.”

Anticipating safety as an obvious concern with off-campus living, advocates pointed out the lack of safety on the Saint Mary’s campus. They claimed that off-campus housing “should be much less suspect than Saint Mary’s where just this past Christmas Campus Security was unable to halt the nightly theft of 30-foot trees and where numerous assaults, attempted and completed, have occurred each year.”

St. Patrick’s Day of 1970 was indeed a lucky one for Saint Mary’s students as the Board of Trustees approved off-campus housing for the first time. Observer archives, Arch 17, 1970.

Although the Board of Trustees offered no statement on the state of campus safety, the Board passed the off-campus housing proposal on March 17, 1970, as an experimental one-year trial. This policy ultimately proved permanent and remains an option for seniors today.

Off-campus parties encounter police crackdown

Sept. 5, 1984 | John Lavelle | Researched by Avery Polking

In the 1980s, several stories of unruly off-campus parties made Observer headlines and resulted in stricter police regulations.

One article from September 1984 detailed the “large, out of control parties” of up to 600-700 people which police deemed intolerable. This specific instance involved seven on-the-scene arrests and two more the following morning. 

Officers insisted this was ordinary enforcement with no extra pressure specifically on off-campus parties, despite a new alcohol policy at Notre Dame which seemed connected to the increase in arrests. However, it appears that actions may draw clearer conclusions than words.

The next year, the Observer covered a direct warning of this increased pressure by the police. It involved noise-measuring devices to determine a party’s level of public disturbance. Over 65 decibels at night and 72 decibels during the day warranted tickets for individuals involved. 

South Bend police officers seemed more benign in their communications than students may have liked to admit, giving recommendations on ways to abate trouble on the weekends. Some advice included calling substations to inform them of party details beforehand, but no insight was gathered on students’ receptiveness to these comments.

A proliferation of “large, out-of-control” parties at off-campus apartments like Campus View (pictured above) in the 1980s led to increased police activity and arrests. Observer archives, Sept. 5, 1984.

Another off-campus incident in the 1980s that drew particular attention was when two resident assistants were fired for supplying alcohol to underage students. From the RAs’ perspectives, though, their punishment was too severe.

For context, the RAs were at a party where they started selling empty cups to other, often underage, students who would then fill them with alcohol. One of the students relieved of their RA position defended themselves, saying they didn’t think that what they were doing was illegal. Another defense was the fact that neither of them was actually drinking that night, with one claiming, “all I had was a glass of milk.”

Despite their objections, though, these two students were fired from their duties as resident assistants, their relationship with the University seeming more like that of employees rather than students in this situation. 

Today’s off-campus parties seem devoid of similarly dramatic scenarios, so these stories provide a glimpse into an apparently turbulent time. But a more salient insight can also be gleaned from these situations: be wary of ill-advised actions from people who drink milk at parties.

Contact Spencer Kelly at

Cade Czarnecki at

Thomas Dobbs at

Avery Polking at


From the Archives: An early history of parietals at Notre Dame — Part 2

This week, From the Archives continues its coverage on the early history of parietals at Notre Dame. Part one ended in 1969 with some early issues and complaints regarding initial parietal policies, but an overall sense of optimism that this new system would work out.

We pick up our story in early 1970, as the then-all male student body of Notre Dame increased its calls for expanded hours and more autonomy over visitation policies. While the students got some of what they wanted, the administration ultimately drew a line in the sand. The University’s ultimate decision against hall-determined parietals set a powerful precedent that shaped student life at Notre Dame for decades to come, and remains the basic framework for parietals half a century later.

Student opinions on parietal policies

March 10, 1970 | Gary Gereffi | Researched by Cade Czarnecki

Before 1970, real discussions about parietal hours were often confined to various committees and boards. Never before had a direct appeal to the undergraduate population been made. To rectify this oversight, the Student Survey Service, established by the Notre Dame chapter of the national sociological honor fraternity, Alpha Kappa Delta, conducted a student survey on parietals.

At the time, the main debate surrounded whether parietal hours were to be made and enforced by the University administration or by individual residence halls. A random sample of students was taken that was guaranteed to be representative. The Student Survey Service ensured that “95 times out of 100 these findings will not vary by more than 3.5% in either direction from a given result.”

The results were overwhelmingly in favor of hall established and enforced parietal hours. In fact, “only 3% of the sample preferred University established parietal hours, while 68% preferred hall established parietals. And hall enforced parietals were favored by 94%.”

The same sentiment was echoed when it came to the responsibility of individual students. Respondents shared that they were almost twice as likely to report parietal violations if the rules were set by their hall as opposed to the University.

A survey of the student body showed overwhelming support for hall-determined parietals, and a sense that parietal hours, though only recently instituted, were not a privilege but a right. Observer archives, March 10, 1970.

Possibly the most significant question students were asked to respond to was whether or not they would still bring girls into their room if parietal privileges were taken away. Seventy seven percent responded affirmatively. In the words of Gary Gereffi, director of the student survey, “The responses suggest the interpretation that parietal hours, ostensibly a privilege, are felt by the students to be a right.”

The final two questions of the survey asked about the national image of Notre Dame. The first dealt with whether or not the removal of parietal hours would tarnish the University’s national reputation, and the second asked if this should even be a consideration in the parietals debate. Seventy nine percent of students responded “no” to the first question and 82 percent responded “no” to the second.

The sentiment was clear: parietal hours, perceived to be a right, should be set by halls, regardless of what the administration or the general public may think.

Board of Trustees extends parietal hours, hall autonomy

April 16, 1970 | Edmund A. Stephan | Researched by Lilyann Gardner 

With Notre Dame students clamoring for increased authority over parietals, the Board of Trustees agreed to loosen their leash, albeit within well-defined limits.

In April 1970, the Board announced that they would allow halls to individually decide women’s visitation hours. However, the outer limit on possible parietal hours was set at 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 p.m. on all other days of the week. Further, the halls would be under the regulation of a new Hall Life Board.

The nine member Hall Life Board, composed of three administration representatives, three students and three faculty members, was specifically created to regulate parietals and other residential life issues as a separate entity of the Student Life Council (SLC). 

“The Hall Life Board will be appointed by the President of the University, and charged with the responsibility of evaluating the proposals of each residence hall board feels [sic] will successfully provide the best hall environment consistent with good order,” Observer staff wrote. 

The Hall Life Board permitted hall regulation of parietal hours until a final decision could be made during their meeting in March 1971 with the SLC and Board of Trustees, but they also maintained that a visitor sign in should be kept in place until that date. 

Observer archives, April 16, 1970.

In a statement letter from, Edmund A. Stephan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, to Professor James Massey, Chairman of the SLC, it was emphasized that students should play a larger role in determining the ordering of hall life but only if they are willing to enforce rules in the case of “flagrant violations.” 

The rules regarding student life were acknowledged as being able to either aid or detract from hall quality and Notre Dame traditions, depending on the particular hall and hall staff. Thus, it was determined that those halls with an established and disciplined fraternal community would need less restrictions and assistance than the halls experiencing disorder.  

“The Student Life Council has recognized that each residence hall has special problems, requiring solutions which are peculiar to that hall. It has recommended that each hall be authorized to prepare its own suggested visiting hours and enforcement mechanisms under the supervision of a regulatory body, which must ultimately approve or disapprove the hall’s plan,” Stephan wrote. 

The extended parietal visitation hours, which are reminiscent of today’s parietal hours, were dependent on a mutual understanding that halls would abide by the boards’ expectations of rule enforcement and regulation. In other words, the University maintained an untrusting attitude toward the students, proving ever-hesitant to relinquish control over parietals to the halls themselves.

Hesburgh denies hall-determined parietals

Sept. 28, 1971 | Ed Ellis | Oct. 15, 1971 | Fred Schaefer | Oct. 29, 1971 | Observer Staff | Researched by Thomas Dobbs

Still unsatisfied with slightly expanded control over parietals, Notre Dame students made one last push for full autonomy. On Sept. 28, 1971, an estimated student crowd of 600 attended an SLC meeting concerning sanctions for violations of University drinking and parietal regulations.

The council unceremoniously referred the report back to the Steering Committee for revision. Students were reportedly frustrated by the lack of action. Le Mans resident Jackie Stone relayed the sentiment with her claim that dean of students Fr. James L. Riehle’s public hearing was a “token” gesture.

A crowd of 600 students gathered at the September 1971 meeting of the Student Life Council to push for expanded autonomy over parietals. Observer archives, Sept. 28, 1971.

Students did not have to wait long, however, for a more meaningful confrontation on University policies. Almost three weeks later on Oct. 15, 1971, the SLC voted to adopt two parts of the Hall Life Committee Report. 

The approved amendments outlined sanctions “for assault, larceny, and the sale or distribution of drugs” and also proposed that “halls be allowed to determine their own parietal hours.” Their proposal now awaited University President Fr. Theodore Hesburgh’s consent.

The proposal did make an effort, albeit a rather vague one, to address potential abuses of hall autonomy. After appropriating autonomy over parietals to hall leadership, the SLC first reminded halls to “construct rules that are in accordance with Indiana State Laws.”

Proposed hall policies would also be subjected to approval by a supervisory board, which would base decisions on a hall showing “maturity, responsibility, and the ability to use this freedom wisely.”

The SLC received their response from Fr. Hesburgh on Oct. 29, 1971. Hesburgh rejected the parietals proposal, writing that “neither the Board at large nor I are convinced that it would be either practical or wise to leave the determination of parietal hours to the individual halls.”

Fr. Hesburgh rejected the SLC’s proposal for hall-determined parietals in a precedent-setting move that has largely determined Notre Dame parietal policies for the past half century. Observer archives, Oct. 29, 1971.

It appeared that Fr. Hesburgh’s reply surprised few students. An Observer contributor responded that the University’s decision on parietals “should be greeted by a yawn.”

Unbeknownst to the students at the time, Hesburgh’s response cemented an unchanging policy for decades to come. The University has preserved its jurisdiction over parietals, much to the disappointment of Notre Dame students over the decades.

Contact Spencer Kelly at

Cade Czarnecki at

Lilyann Gardner at

Thomas Dobbs at


From the Archives: An early history of parietals at Notre Dame — Part 1

Parietals continue to be a consistently controversial topic at Notre Dame, almost universally igniting the ire of the student body. While this policy may seem to be an eternal annoyance, in fact parietals as we know them date only to the late 1960s and are intertwined with the process of coeducation at Notre Dame, now in its 50th year.

In this two-part series, From the Archives will explore the early history of parietals. In this first installment, we uncover the University administration’s initial opposition to parietal hours, their subsequent change in heart and the promises and pitfalls that arose when parietals were first implemented.

Hesburgh’s “emphatic” opposition to parietals

Nov. 9, 1967 | Observer Staff | April 1, 1968 | Observer Staff | Researched by Avery Polking

Though the social structure of Notre Dame is defined by many things, perhaps one of the most concrete influences on daily life — and the most adverse to students — is parietal hours. While its vast unpopularity among students is well documented, less known is that University administration was initially against them as well.

A November 1967 Observer headline announced, “Hesburgh Emphatic: No Parietal Hour.” The article examined the implications of a comment then-University President Fr. Theodore Hesburgh made in which he effectively called parietal hours pointless, commenting that he “[has] no stomach for laws which don’t mean anything.”

“I’m sure that parietal hours will not be allowed,” Hesburgh declared.

University president Fr. Theodore Hesburgh was initially “emphatic” in his opposition to parietals. Observer archives, April 1, 1968.

The Observer expanded on Hesburgh’s stance, reporting that “The University’s reason for not allowing girls in the dormitory stems mostly from the social repercussions of entertaining a girl in a bedroom and the disruption such a practice would initiate in a mens’ dorm which is interpreted by many university officials as a men’s club.”

Hesburgh valued a community in which men and women could work together without the burden of time restrictions, calling this dynamic a “tension modulated by love.”

But not long after in April 1968, Hesburgh showed signs of a softening stance by reinstating four students who had been suspended by James Riehle, dean of students, for an unspecified parietal violation.

Hesburgh acknowledged that there was “moral ambiguity” present in current restrictions and that he was “in the process of outlining a program” he hoped would clarify matters.

Parietals were ultimately approved by the Board of Trustees a year later. However, the contentious conditions under which parietal hours were first debated surely reflects their controversial nature, still evident today.

Parietals approved

March 18, 1969 | Observer Staff | March 28, 1969 | Ted Price | Researched by Lilyann Gardner

Parietals are perhaps an outdated practice in the opinion of many present-day Notre Dame students, but their initial approval was likely considered a win in the eyes of the entirely male student population of 1969. 

Despite Father Hesburgh’s ostensibly “emphatic” opposition to parietals, in March 1969 the Board of Trustees approved the expansion of female visitation hours from just 11 weekends per year to every weekend, with the expectation that certain changes would have to be made to residence halls.

“The Executive Committee ratified the Student Life Council’s proposals for a reorganization of the residence hall governments, including a written constitution, a hall president, a hall legislative council, and a hall judicial board,” The Observer reported. 

The Student Life Council and Board of Trustees made it clear that should any hall fail to make the necessary changes, they would not be granted the privilege of expanded visitation rights. 

Parietals, although approved by administrative powers, were entirely experimental and relied on student cooperation. However, disgruntlement about these mandatory changes was not an issue. 

After parietals were approved in March 1969, an Observer caption said that “No longer will St. Mary’s girls or hometown honies [sic] be forced to sit on the grass for entertainment. Instead, when the new parietal hours go into effect, they can sit on the chair in your room from 5 to 12 Friday.” Observer archives, March 18, 1969.

Roughly a week later, six out of the 12 residence halls were approved to implement the new parietal rules. These halls included Badin, Carroll, Keenan, Lyons, Pangborn and Zahm with the other six following after minor changes in their hall constitutions were made. 

These residence halls moved forward with detailed weekend visitation hours that share similarities and differences with the parietal hours instituted after the move to co-education. 

“The legislation passed by the SLC and approved by the trustees permits women visitation hours in the residence halls for a total of no more than twenty-four hours from 5 p.m. Friday through 11 p.m. Sunday. However, no hall’s may extend beyond 1 a.m. any day nor begin earlier than 1 p.m. any day but Friday,” Ted Price (‘71) wrote. 

Violations of parietals were expected, but the Board of Trustees believed that the additional hall councils and authority figures would help maintain a certain level of maturity and morality in the campus community. 

Whether or not parietals are a necessary good or a necessary evil is up for debate today, but at the time of their approval parietals seemed to be a positive step toward creating a more inclusive campus community

Early parietal problems: sign-ins and citations

Oct. 1, 1969 | Observer Staff | Nov. 6, 1969 | Don Ruane | Researched by Cade Czarnecki

Though approval of parietals was met with enthusiasm, their implementation quickly led to a proliferation of student complaints.

The parietal policy, as it initially existed, required visitors to sign both in and out on a sheet in the entrance of the hall they were visiting, denoting the time of both arrival and departure.

A hall member was required to sit next to the sign-in book and ensure that all visitors adhered to the policy. The consensus among the student body was that the sign-in process was a ridiculous and unnecessarily tedious requirement.

As evidence of the absurdity of the requirement, an Observer article shared that “hall presidents [asked] each of their halls to enforce the sign-in procedure [on the] weekend to the letter and to make fathers visiting their sons sign in their wives and small daughters.”

The grievances did not stop there. Others writing in The Observer opined that the sign-in process served no real purpose: “No one…ever stated what the [sign-in] list was to be used for — whether to check as to if the women had left at the sign-out hour or what.”

Parietal violations began to occur almost as soon the policy was enacted — some due to ignorance and others due to protest.

Transgressing halls were often reported by rectors of other dorms. In fact, the Hall Life Board conducted an investigation into seven halls known to be repeat parietal offenders: Holy Cross, Dillon, Walsh, Alumni, Flanner, Carroll and Morrissey.

The implementation of parietals was characterized by widespread complaints and frequent violations. Observer archives, Nov. 6, 1969

The Hall Life Board threatened these halls with the suspension parietals as a whole if they did not clean up their acts. The board also promised a follow up investigation to ensure the appropriate changes in conduct were made in these recurrently offending halls.

While some saw the actions of the Hall Life Board to be oppressive, executive coordinator Ron Mastriana defended its investigation, saying, “The purpose of the Hall Life Board is to help the halls along and to make sure that everything is working as it should.”

While Mastriana’s comments undoubtedly soured some students even further on the Hall Life Board, there was a general belief that the Hall Presidents Council would actively work to help revise the parietals system in a way agreeable to all parties involved.

Contact Spencer Kelly at

Avery Polking at

Lilyann Gardner at

Cade Czarnecki at


From the Archives: False starts — Deceptively disappointing openings in Notre Dame football

The fanfare that characterized the beginning of the Freeman Era has all but silenced at this point. Even after capturing his first win against the California Golden Bears on Saturday, another shaky Irish performance has skeptics of Marcus Freeman continuing to question his faculty as a head coach.

But as some reporters have pointed out, subpar starts can be deceptive. This week, From the Archives looked back at coaching careers and individual seasons that started slow but ended in success. Ultimately, history shows that Irish fans should maintain hope that the loss-filled opening of the Freeman Era will be nothing more than a misleading moment en route to a triumphant future.

Lou Holtz: Overcoming early missteps

Sept. 22, 1986 | Marty Strasen | Researched by Thomas Dobbs

In Lou Holtz’s first year as coach, the Fighting Irish fell short in the first two games in heartbreaking fashion.

After a narrow 24-23 loss to No. 3 Michigan, Holtz and his squad traveled the quick 160-mile journey to East Lansing to face Michigan State.

With a chance to claim victory on a potential game-winning drive, “Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein dropped back with just more than a minute remaining in the game, and promptly fired an interception to seal the win for Michigan State.”

Sound familiar? Late in the fourth quarter against Marshall, Notre Dame’s quarterback Tyler Buchner also launched a devastating pick six that ultimately sealed the game.

Although it may have been tempting to attribute the early defeats of the ‘86 Irish squad to a few unfavorable plays, assistant sports editor Marty Strasen wrote that this accusation “would be like convicting a mass murderer for jay-walking.”

Future Heisman-winner Tim Brown is tackled by a Michigan State defender in Notre Dame’s second straight loss to open Lou Holtz’s career. / Observer Archives, Sept. 22, 1986

Stressing the team-wide failure, future Heisman-winning receiver Tim Brown shared after the loss that “Everything we did, we did to ourselves. They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect. We just couldn’t execute like we wanted to.”

The embrace of accountability spread to Holtz himself, who identified the need to emphasize proper execution: “Our football team played hard, but each time we went to the brink, we came away empty-handed.”

Notre Dame tight end Joel Williams articulated his team’s motivation moving forward: “We’re not going to give up. It’s only two games and two games don’t make a season.”

It was promising for an Irish player to respond to adversity with such maturity and focus, and this attitude was emblematic of a larger shift within the program. The Irish soon bounced back with a 41-9 thrashing of in-state rival Purdue the following week. Just two years later, Holtz and the Irish captured a national championship.

Both the strengths and challenges of Holtz’s rocky start can provide a lesson for current Notre Dame football staff and players. Within two years at the helm, Holtz won the Irish a national championship.

A Stanford defeat starts a new era of hope

Sept. 27, 2010 | Sam Stryker | Chris Allen | Matt Gamber | Researched by Cade Czarnecki

The start of the 2010 football season felt like a breath of fresh air. While the previous three seasons had been forgettable, finishing 3-9, 7-6 and 6-6 in ’07, ’08 and ’09 respectively, the hiring of new head coach Brian Kelly rejuvenated hope in both fans and players.

Yet after winning the season opener at home against Purdue, the luck of the Irish ran out. The following two weeks saw Notre Dame lose in dramatic fashion to Michigan and Michigan State. While fans were largely encouraged by the competitiveness of the games — losing the first by a margin of four and the second by three points in overtime — they were desperate for the Kelly era to get back in the win column. Then came the game against Stanford.

The battle for the Legends Trophy was sure to be a good test of the Irish, with Stanford entering the game ranked No. 16 in the nation and touting future first overall NFL draft pick Andrew Luck as quarterback.

Notre Dame struggled to score throughout the game, and their first touchdown did not come until late in the fourth quarter. It ended in a disappointing score of 37-14, dropping Notre Dame to a 1-3 record on the season and further delaying the promised rise to prominence that the Kelly era seemed to ensure. As Observer sports writer Matt Gamber put it, “The Irish just need to learn how to win.”

Coach Brian Kelly on the sideline during Notre Dame’s defeat to Stanford in 2010. / Observer Archives, Sept. 27, 2010

But Catherine Flatley shared a more patient sentiment in response to the season’s slow start.

“Obviously the loss was really disappointing, but everyone seemed to hope it would go a lot better than it did,” Flatley said. “People just do not seem thrilled relative to our expectations this year. However, I don’t know if you can judge everything Coach Kelly has done in just a few games.”

Flatley’s hesitancy to judge the new coach proved astute, as Kelly rallied the Irish to a 7-2 record over the final nine games of the season, finishing 8-5.

A slow start to his career did not indicate future misfortune, either. While many fans thought the Stanford loss would prove fatal for Kelly’s career, others remained supportive. Alex Sajben was one such hopeful fan: “I’ve lived through all the disappointment, but I stayed there [at the Stanford game] the whole game because that is what you do as fans.” Sajben would be rewarded by the rest of Kelly’s career, only seeing one losing season over the head coach’s 12-year tenure.

From a shocking loss to a chicken soup victory

Sept. 11, 1978 | Ray O’Brien | Sept. 25, 1978 | Ray O’Brien | Jan. 18, 1979 | Paul Mullaney | Researched by Avery Polking

Perhaps an appropriate parallel to the less-than-optimal start to this Notre Dame football season would be the 1978-79 team. As we’ve seen time and time again, what can be described as the “beginning of a nightmare” for Notre Dame is no indication of concluding results, especially when there’s chicken soup involved.

That haunting phrase was used to describe the early phases of the 1978 bout between Notre Dame and Missouri. With five turnovers to Missouri’s two, the Irish cited clumsiness and anxious plays as two large contributors to their 3-0 defeat to the unranked Tigers. 

An Observer headline captures the shock of Notre Dame’s loss to unranked Missouri to open the 1978 season. / Observer Archives, Sept. 11, 1978

“Only a numb feeling persisted” in the silent Notre Dame locker room immediately after the game, even though the Irish prevailed in all statistics other than turnovers. But they would have to restore their senses in time for a home game against No. 5 Michigan the following week.

Notre Dame opened the first half strong, with quarterback Joe Montana leading the Irish to a 14-7 advantage at halftime. However, the Irish regressed in the second half. Marked by a Montana fumble and interception, this half ended in a 28-14 Notre Dame loss. 

As in 2022, Notre Dame’s record dropped to 0-2 for the first time since 1963, punctuated by The Observer’s simple remark: “Notre Dame has never been 0-3.” Irish fans carried this looming assertion into the next game — and perhaps for the entire 1978 season — but its final conclusion undoubtedly blew any record-related concern off the table.

In one of the best games in the worst weather in Notre Dame football history, the Irish closed out the 1978 season with a game oft-described with various uses of the word “greatest.” 

Chicken soup consumed, quarterback Joe Montana talks with coach Dan Devine moments before throwing the game-winning touchdown in the 1979 Cotton Bowl. / Observer Archives, Jan. 18, 1979

Most notable was Joe Montana’s second-half rescue after having been debilitated by the flu, which helped the Irish score 23 points in the final seven minutes after he famously ate a bowl of chicken soup at halftime. Notre Dame beat Houston in an unprecedented Dallas ice storm at the Cotton Bowl Classic, 35-34. 

Tailback Vagas Furguson summed up not just the game, but the turnaround from earlier in the season: “We got the momentum back, and everything started clicking.”

This momentum seems to be vital for Fighting Irish football to channel, especially when the start of a season doesn’t bode well. The Irish never did fall into that 0-3 deficit, and they kept true to that in 2022.

Contact Spencer Kelly at

Thomas Dobbs at

Cade Czarnecki at

Avery Polking at


From the Archives: Forgotten fidos of the Fighting Irish

From the Archives previously explored the origins of the “Fighting Irish” nickname. Today, this name is represented by, and synonymous with, the leprechaun. Whether it be the iconic fighting leprechaun logo or the student mascot leaping around at football games, leprechauns have come to embody the Notre Dame spirit.

However, from the 1930s through the 1960s, Notre Dame’s mascot was not a leprechaun, but a dog. A succession of Irish Terriers with names like “Shaun Rhue” and “Clashmore Mike” rallied Notre Dame fans over these four decades, heroically representing the university and its athletic teams. In this edition of From the Archives, we forget the unfortunate events of the past weekend and instead remember the more positive past of these peppy pooches.

Shaun Rhue: trailblazing terrier

Dec. 9, 1932 | Oct. 23, 1932 | Nick Lamberto | Researched by Spencer Kelly

In 1932, Notre Dame football filled a crucial yet previously-open roster spot.

That fall, Shaun Rhue, fittingly an Irish Terrier breed, became the new mascot for the Fighting Irish football team.

“Our mascot comes from the best of stock, with reams and reams of affidavits attesting his lineage, and naturally is quite proud of blue blood,” proclaimed Scholastic Magazine.

After a quiet puppyhood in Ohio with owner Charlie Otis, Rhue arrived on the Notre Dame sidelines for their matchup against Navy on Nov. 14, 1932, played in his hometown of Cleveland.

The Irish won 12-0 against the Midshipmen and again the next week against Army, 21-0. It seemed that the newest and furriest member of the squad provided the spark for these two victories.

“His presence on the bench lent color to the scene and fire to the Irish attack,” Scholastic asserted. “He has Irish blood, and the Irish fight. And already he has love of the Irish team.”

However, Shaun Rhue’s career came to an abrupt end after the end of the 1932 season. As Nick Lamberto reported in 1936, Rhue “disappeared” in the spring of 1933, never to return.

Lamberto reflected on the terse tenure of Rhue. “Shaun was a likable dog in many ways, but also had a few bad traits. He, like many students, enjoyed nothing better than a little vacation in the form of a week-end…his latest ‘week-end’ extending from the spring of 1933 until now. His mental alertness was also of the questionable [sic] quality as he was often known to stand nonchalantly in the path of oncoming cars, only escaping injury and death because of the driver’s quick action with the brakes.”

While Rhue’s time with the team was short, he was still a trailblazing terrier who set the stage for future Irish mascots. Whether it be the cadre of Clashmore Mikes or the living leprechauns that leap around today, all owe a little something to Shaun Rhue.

A portrait of Clashmore Mike. Observer archives, Jan. 22, 1987.

“Facing mules, goats and panthers”: the history of Clashmore Mike

Oct. 23, 1974 | Dan Reagan | Researched by Christina Cefalu

The tales of Clashmore Mike, the chain of Irish Terriers that served as the Notre Dame mascot before the introduction of the leprechaun, have been immortalized in writing, on screen and through the very architecture of campus. Though the likeness of Clashmore Mike stands proudly over South Quad, almost leaping out from Alumni Hall, this treasure of Notre Dame is too often forgotten. The Observer’s Dan Reagan recounted the glamorous history of the furry performer in 1973, almost 10 years after his retirement.

Mike appeared before the crowds of Notre Dame fans in color-coordinated, blue and gold outfits created by the Spalding Brothers. The terrier is remembered for his gameday antics, challenging opposing teams’ mascots, reportedly chasing the Navy Goat, Army Mule and Pitt Panther around the field. Though Clashmore was at first sheepish when he encountered the Pitt Panther, their meeting ended with Mike victoriously chasing the cat into the stands in true Notre Dame spirit. 

The dog was also known for his “frequent vacations” from campus, and his darting off brought national attention to both Notre Dame and the hero Clashmore himself. Though his free spirit often troubled the Notre Dame staff who went to great lengths to ensure his recovery, Mike won the hearts of the football team. In 1944, there was serious consideration given to Clashmore’s retirement from the traveling squad. However, when faced with a number of furious football players, coach Ed McKeever reversed his decision. 

Clashmore Mike became a crucial member of the team. In an unauthorized biography by B.J. Williams, it is said that head coach Frank Leahy trained Clashmore to nab the football when Notre Dame had run out of timeouts to halt the game. And in 1956, Notre Dame finished their season with two wins and eight losses, a tragedy that Mike commemorated by walking over to a sign reading “1956, Notre Dame’s 68th Football Season,” and relieving himself on it.

1964 team captain Jim Carroll and head coach Ara Parseghian with their terrier teammate. Observer archives, Oct. 23, 1974.

The dog was first introduced to the Notre Dame family in the early 1930s as a gift to Knute Rockne and was then cared for by a student manager. In 1932, after Rockne’s passing, another Irish Terrier appeared, Shaun Rue, in response to Navy’s goat mascot. The tradition continued when Clashmore Mike II was gifted to Head Coach Hugh Devore, followed by Shannonview Mike.

There are no remaining chronological records of the dogs after Shannonview, but it is known that at least two more terrier mascots followed him: Clashmore Mike III, and Shannonview Rudy. Beyond a picture from 1964, there are no further records to explain the disappearance of the Clashmore legacy. Though the memory of Clashmore Mike has faded, his role in leading Notre Dame football and warming the hearts of students and fans everywhere is nothing short of legendary.

Calls for the return of Clashmore Mike 

Jan. 22, 1987 | Noreen O’Connor | Jan. 30, 1987 | Marge Andre | Researched by Lilyann Gardner 

Memories of Clashmore Mike can be found in photos, on football banners and even on the east wall of Alumni Hall, but the beloved Irish Terrier has not acted as Notre Dame’s mascot since the 1960s. 

No one knows why Clashmore Mike was phased out in favor of the leprechaun, but Marge Andre, an active member of the Irish Terrier Club of Chicago, believed that 1986 was the time to revitalize the old mascot tradition. 

“She has more than 3500 [sic] signatures from 48 states, the District of Columbia and eight countries as well as endorsements from such prominent people as ex­-mayor of Chicago, Jane Byrne; actor, Burgess Meredith; sports columnist, Bill Gleason; ND full back ‘60, 61, 62, Mike Lind and donor of the first Irish Terrier, Queenie Otis-Hanna, just to name a few,” features writer Noreen O’Connor wrote.

Andre hoped that her petition to bring back Clashmore Mike would revitalize Notre Dame’s football zeal by having the dog work alongside the leprechaun. 

A cartoon depicting Clashmore Mike and the leprechaun, who some hoped would team up to form a formidable mascot duo. Observer archives, Jan. 22, 1987.

The two were intended to make a formidable team as they were said to have shared the same Irish spirit. However, the decision to reinstate the terrier was rejected by the athletic department in December 1986 in favor of keeping the leprechaun as the sole mascot. 

A week after The Observer announced the decision in late January 1987, Andre wrote a letter to the editor expressing that she would continue to work on bringing Clashmore Mike back to Notre Dame. She even went on to state that the losing hex on Notre Dame football would remain until the Irish Terrier was back on the field. 

“Laugh if you will, but when the current student body is old and gray, they will realize there was not a football championship in their lifetime,” Andre wrote.

Andre’s comments proved comically incorrect as Notre Dame won a national championship shortly after in 1988. But there is still much love for the legacy of Clashmore Mike and all the faithful fidos of the Fighting Irish.

Contact Spencer Kelly at

Christina Cefalu at

Lilyann Gardner at


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