Football weekend events center historic matchup with Tennessee State

Author: Erin Blasko

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Though distinct and celebrated universities in their own right, the values and histories of the University of Notre Dame and Tennessee State University align in many ways, including shared commitments to educational access and equity, civil rights, service and building community among students.

That said, the two schools — one a leading Catholic research university, the other a historically Black land-grant institution — have never met on the football field.

That changes on Saturday (Sept. 2), when the Fighting Irish host the visiting Tigers at Notre Dame Stadium. Game time is 3:30 p.m.

But it’s not all about football.

In addition to the normal gameday activities and traditions, including Trumpets at the Dome and the pre-game Victory March, Notre Dame will offer a number of unique campus events focused on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) history and future outlook as well as cultural enrichment, community engagement and individual and collective education.

Through a series of meetings, panel discussions and sharing sessions, representatives from ND and TSU will meet to cultivate and strengthen relationships, share expertise and explore common goals, with the aim of establishing a foundation for ongoing collaboration with TSU that can benefit higher education, educational and professional development access and the common good for years to come.

Rare Books and Special Collections will host a spotlight tour and open house for its newest exhibit on football and community at HBCUs. TSU head football coach and 1995 Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George will participate in a discussion about leadership, culture and the power of diversity. TSU President Glenda Baskin Glover will talk about the importance of race, gender and faith to the work of leadership. And members of Notre Dame Black-affirming student organizations will join with the South Bend Chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council to celebrate local talent and the traditions of historically Black fraternities and sororities. 

And those are just the highlights.

Details are as follows:

Thursday (Aug. 31)

Football and Community at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Library.

• “The Historical and Current Significance of HBCUs,” featuring Charlie Nelms, former chancellor of North Carolina Central University, along with Charles H. Galbreath Jr., president of the Tennessee State University National Alumni Association; Nyree McDonald, associate dean for graduate enrollment management at Notre Dame; Rev. Hugh Page, vice president for institutional transformation at Notre Dame; and Cidni Sanders, executive director of diversity communications at Notre Dame, 2 to 4 p.m., Patricia George Decio Theatre, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (free but ticketed).

ThinkND: Powerful Conversations with TSU President Glenda Baskin Glover, featuring Baskin and Angela Logan, the St. Andre Bessette Academic Director of the Master of Nonprofit Administration Program at Mendoza College of Business, 7 to 9 p.m., Smith Ballroom, Morris Inn.

Friday (Sept. 1)

Football and Community at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Library.

• Tom Mendoza Presents: Leadership, Culture and the Power of Diversity, featuring 1973 Notre Dame graduate Tom Mendoza, former Notre Dame football player Derrick Mayes, Tennessee State head football coach Eddie George, and Niele Ivey, the Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach of Notre Dame women’s basketball, noon to 1 p.m., Jordan Auditorium, Mendoza College of Business.

• Spotlight Exhibit Tour and Open House, Football and Community at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 2 to 4 p.m., Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Library.

South Bend National Pan-Hellenic Council Presents Beyond the Yard, featuring Notre Dame Black-affirming student organizations, vendors, a live DJ and a step show, 5 to 9 p.m., Four Winds Field (non-Notre Dame ticketed event).

Saturday (Sept. 2)

• Alumni Association Diversity Tailgate, hosted by Black Alumni of Notre Dame and co-sponsored by Native American Alumni of Notre Dame, Hispanic Alumni of Notre Dame, Alumni Rainbow Community of Notre Dame and Asian Pacific Alumni of Notre Dame, noon to 3 p.m., Notre Dame Stadium Lot (between pole 35 and Walsh Family Hall).

• North Dining Hall Tailgate, featuring distinctly Tennessee dishes including Nashville hot chicken, smoked BBQ ribs and fried catfish, 4:30 to 9 p.m., North Dining Hall.

For a full list of events, including performances, lectures and discussions, visit