Our Notre Dame Story

Trees Plymouth

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.

When the bishop offered him land in the diocese’s northernmost frontier, Father Sorin seized the opportunity to go and establish the school he had long envisioned. 

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.


Today, 175 years later, Notre Dame is a premier institution of higher learning that attracts students from around the globe.

The Golden Dome shines on as a symbol of success, a beacon of hope for the students who inhabit the campus, learning and growing. As an emblem of Notre Dame herself, it stirs the souls of alumni, friends, family, and passersby, vividly evoking a dream made manifest by generations of faithful and hardworking sons and daughters—to take Notre Dame into the world as a force for good.

In the tradition of Father Sorin’s inspirational journey and intrepid spirit—our Notre Dame spirit—we will retrace his journey from Vincennes to Notre Dame.


We will travel in the footsteps of those who have gone before us: all who have rallied to take on the great challenges of our age, to answer the great questions, to fight for the least among us—with pride in where we have been and emboldened for what is yet to be.

The mission endures, the journey continues, and the work goes on. We will travel the Notre Dame Trail as a collective renewal of our determination, to rededicate ourselves to Notre Dame’s mission to seek God, study the world, and serve humanity—to forge our own trails through the next frontiers of knowledge and innovation, to boldly lead the way into the new chapters of our story.