First commemorated by the University of Notre Dame community in the early 1840s, Founders’ Day was an annual celebration tied to the Feast of Edward the Confessor, Patron Saint of Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C. Each year on October 13, students, faculty, and staff would make the celebration a way to honor Father Sorin and the founding of Notre Dame du Lac. Over the years, other traditions such as the Opening of the Academic Year Mass, came to replace Founders’ Day.
The University is reviving the celebration of Founders’ Day, seizing this opportunity to celebrate the founding of the University by taking a deeper look at our own history so as to understand our present – and to reimagine our future.
Rev. John A. Zahm, C.S.C.
In 2021 Founders' Day events will explore the legacy of Rev. John A. Zahm, C.S.C. on the 100th anniversary of his passing. A person ahead of his time, Father Zahm wanted to show academia, and the world at large, “that there is nothing in evolution, properly understood, which is contrary to Church Doctrine.”
"Embodying the heart of the Congregation of Holy Cross mission to educate the mind, body, and spirit, Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., set forth from his native France for the Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana, with a missionary zeal to establish schools and educate young Americans in religion, business, and the needs of daily life.
In November 1842, Father Sorin and seven Holy Cross brothers trekked from Vincennes more than 300 miles north in the frigid early winter to a swath of land beside a snow-covered lake. From the humble architecture of a log chapel, he foresaw a great university that would develop on a large scale to become one of the most powerful means for good in this country. And so Father Sorin built the University of Notre Dame and its iconic Golden Dome crowned by a statue of Our Lady."