The University of Notre Dame du Lac, known simply as Notre Dame (/ˌnoʊtərˈdeɪm/ NOH-tər-DAYM) or ND, is a private Catholic research university in Notre Dame, Indiana, outside the city of South Bend. French priest Edward Sorin founded the school in 1842. The main campus covers 1,261 acres (510 ha) in a suburban setting and contains landmarks such as the Golden Dome, the Word of Life mural (commonly known as Touchdown Jesus), Notre Dame Stadium, and the Basilica.
Notre Dame has been recognized as one of the top universities in the United States. The university is organized into seven schools and colleges. Notre Dame’s graduate program includes more than 50 master, doctoral and professional degrees offered by the six schools, including the Notre Dame Law School and an MD–PhD program offered in combination with the Indiana University School of Medicine. The School of Architecture is known for teaching New Classical Architecture and for awarding the annual Driehaus Architecture Prize. The university offers more than 50 year-long study programs abroad and over 15 summer programs. It maintains a system of libraries, cultural venues, artistic and scientific museums, including the Hesburgh Library and the Snite Museum of Art. Most of the university’s 8,000 undergraduates live on campus in one of 33 residence halls, each with its own traditions, legacies, events, and intramural sports teams. The university’s approximately 134,000 alumni constitute one of the strongest college alumni networks in the U.S.
The university’s athletic teams are members of the NCAA Division I and are known collectively as the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is noted for its football team, which contributed to its rise to prominence on the national stage in the early 20th century; the team, an Independent with no conference affiliation, has accumulated 11 consensus national championships, seven Heisman Trophy winners, 62 members of the College Football Hall of Fame, and 13 of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Notre Dame teams in other sports, chiefly in the Atlantic Coast Conference, have accumulated 17 national championships. The “Victory March” is one of the most famous and recognizable collegiate fight songs.
Notre Dame’s profile grew in the early 20th century, aided by the success of its football team under coach Knute Rockne. Major improvements to the university occurred during Theodore Hesburgh‘s administration between 1952 and 1987. His administration increased the university’s resources, academic programs, and its reputation. The university first enrolled women undergraduates in 1972. Since then, the university has seen steady growth, and under the leadership of the next two presidents, Edward Malloy and John I. Jenkins, many infrastructure and research expansions have been completed. Notre Dame’s growth has continued in the 21st century; at the end of the fiscal year 2021, its endowment was valued at $18.07 billion, one of the largest among U.S. universities.