Indiana General Assembly recognizes Notre Dame’s 175th anniversary

by Dennis Brown

University of Notre Dame

The Indiana General Assembly passed a resolution Tuesday (April 18) recognizing and honoring the University of Notre Dame on its 175th anniversary.

Notre Dame was founded Nov. 26, 1842, by Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C., a 28-year-old priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, who was accompanied by seven Holy Cross brothers. The group had traveled 300 miles from Vincennes, Indiana, to a 524-acre site with two lakes north of South Bend with the intention of founding a Catholic school.

With just three dilapidated buildings and a few hundred dollars, Sorin named the school in his mother tongue – L’Universite de Notre Dame du Lac (the University of Our Lady of the Lake) – and began constructing new facilities and offering courses. Just over a year later, on Jan. 15, 1844, the University was officially chartered by special act of the Indiana state legislature.

Through many trials and triumphs over the past 175 years, Notre Dame stands today as the nation’s leading Catholic university and one of the top 15 institutions of higher learning in the country.

The General Assembly’s resolution, which was authored by State Sen. Joe Zakas (R-Granger) and sponsored by State Rep. B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend), recognizes the growth of the University from its humble founding to its current status and makes specific reference to the journey by Father Sorin and his compatriots.

“Notre Dame is proud of its founding 175 years ago on Indiana soil, and grateful today for the legislature’s recognition,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University.

“Notre Dame’s positive impact on our community, the nation and the world cannot be overstated,” Zakas said. “The General Assembly’s awareness of these contributions generated solid support for the 175th anniversary resolution.”

As part of the anniversary celebration, the University will sponsor the Notre Dame Trail, a pilgrimage in August re-enacting the journey of Father Sorin and the Holy Cross brothers. The public is invited to join in the final days of the event, and more information is available at trail.nd.edu.

Besides Zakas and Bauer, other legislators who joined in sponsoring the resolution include Sens. David Niezgodski (D-South Bend), Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen), Blake Doriot (R-Syracuse), Ed Charbonneau (R-Valporaiso), Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne), Frank Mrvan (D-Hammond), Andy Zay (R-Huntington), Mike Bohacek (R-Michiana Shores) and Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago); and Reps. Dale DeVon (R-Granger), Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend), Joe Taylor III (D-South Bend) and Tim Wesco (R-Osceola).