FORMER SUBWAY ALUMNI LEADER REFLECTS ON HIS "NOTRE DAME ODYSSEY"


Herb Juliano
(1922-1998)


In Herb's Archive this month, a story from the August 14, 1886 edition of the Scholastic.




        

I came across a copy of the August 14, 1886, edition of the SCHOLASTIC today, in which a student reporter described a new addition to the campus skyline: "The glistening dome in the light of the orb of day presents a most brilliant spectacle to the travelers on our railroads as they draw near to South Bend, and to the observer everywhere for miles around." A Holy Cross brother and a "capable assistant", the writer continued, had spent the previous summer gilding the "grand dome," undoubtedly unaware that it would become the world's best- known symbol for a university.

That may have been what the University's founder, the Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C., had in mind. In 1879, after a fire destroyed much of the 37-year- old campus of Notre Dame, Sorin vowed to build a dome on the ruins. "If all men fail me, there is one treasure that is always full, that of our most holy lady," he declared. "When this school shall grow a bit more, I shall raise her aloft so that without asking, all men shall know why we have succeeded here. To that lovely lady raised high on a dome, a golden dome, men may look and find the answer."

Not all men agreed with Father Sorin's lofty vision, however, and school administrators balked at this costly infatuation; so much so that Sorin went into seclusion, refusing food or drink, until his wish was granted. I guess you could say Notre Dame got its dome by intestinal fortitude.

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September 1998
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