Author: Notre Dame News

Basilica of the Sacred Heart, World War I, God Country Notre Dame entrance. (Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)
Basilica of the Sacred Heart, World War I, God Country Notre Dame entrance. (Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)

Arriving in present-day South Bend in the fall of 1842, University of Notre Dame Founder Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., surveyed the snow-covered lakes and grasslands and found them fit for a world-class university. Writing to his superiors back in France, the 28-year-old missionary priest noted, optimistically, “This college cannot fail to succeed. Before long, … it will be one of the most powerful means for good in this country.”

Those words, penned nearly two centuries ago, echo today in the University’s approach to service, which, informed by its Catholic mission and values, seeks to instill in students, faculty and staff a profound sense of human solidarity, along with a genuine concern for the common good.

Throughout the month of November, Notre Dame News will highlight stories that epitomize this approach, with a focus on volunteer efforts, innovative service-learning programs, links to the military and research to improve the lives of others — demonstrating the variety of ways in which the University strives to improve the well-being of people here and around the globe.


Casey Doyle, Maxim Manyak, Ian McMillan and Kevin Lynch pose by a fire truck.

Healing smiles: Notre Dame student-athlete starts nonprofit to help kids battling cancer

Three years ago, 10-year-old Ian McMillan of Granger, Indiana, was battling leukemia at Beacon Children’s Hospital. Today at age 13, he is officially cancer-free. While his diagnosis and years of treatment brought pain and fear into the lives of Ian and his family members, it also revealed some of the best qualities of the human spirit, created enduring and otherwise unlikely friendships, and led to the creation of a nonprofit business designed to help kids like him. Read more here.

Brennernd Afghanistan Crop

Paul Brenner: Building a career of service

Paul Brenner, a ’98 graduate of Notre Dame, joined the Air Force ROTC program at the University while studying engineering as an undergraduate. In his senior year, he had to decide: go active duty or stay in the reserves and continue his education. He chose the latter. Since making that decision 24 years ago, Brenner has served on multiple deployments around the world. From 2008 to 2009 he engineered and built Air Force bases in Afghanistan. When he returned stateside, he helped build Notre Dame’s Center for Research Computing, where he currently serves as senior associate director and professor of the practice. Read more here


Notre Dame student volunteers

Service part of the mission for Notre Dame students

Animated by its Catholic mission and values, the University of Notre Dame encourages and celebrates service as a fundamental aspect of a holistic education, inspiring in students a sense of solidarity with the global community and a genuine concern for the common good. Read more here.


Tiziana Serafini Feature

Through new online class and UN partnership, Notre Dame students teach Italian to African refugees

Tiziana Serafini, a native of Rome and a teaching professor of Italian at the University of Notre Dame, developed new service-learning course that offers a solution for refugees and empowers Notre Dame Italian students to become educators themselves — by teaching basic Italian to African refugees before they relocate to Italy. Read more here.