Writing the Next Chapter

Author: Erin Hoffmann Harding

Writing the next chapter

From: The Observer

Letter to the Editor | Friday, August 19, 2016

Dear new students,

Like generations who came before, you are embarking on a journey at the University of Notre Dame where you will have an opportunity to advance your knowledge, develop your leadership skills, deepen your faith, learn from others and form lifelong friendships. Whether you are a first-year undergraduate, transfer, professional or graduate student, we are delighted that you have chosen to join our community; and I extend a warm welcome to you as you begin this formative time in your life.

I hope that Notre Dame challenges you in many ways. Your professors, your rector, your advisors and your classmates will encourage you to stretch yourself intellectually and develop on a spiritual and personal level. Take these opportunities to find a passion that matches your talents and allows you to lead a purposeful life. Dare to be different, yet be respectful and welcoming to all. Have a wonderful time, without engaging in behavior that would place you or others at risk. Expect much of yourself, care for those in the community around you and reach out for support when needed. Explore new things, while cherishing the people and traditions that matter. Embrace Notre Dame’s distinctive Catholic mission and enrich your understanding of it through study and reflection. Contribute your own talents to improve the lives of others.

Much of your development at the University can and should occur on your own. At the same time, know that the Division of Student Affairs is available to support you through our residential communities and a variety of student service departments. Rectors and members of our hall staffs across 30 undergraduate communities and two graduate and family residences are dedicated to building Christian communities that are rooted in the Holy Cross tradition. The professionals who serve in Campus Ministry, the Career Center, the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being, the Office of Community Standards, the Gender Relations Center, Graduate Career Services, Graduate Student Life, Multicultural Student Programs and Services, RecSports, Sara Bea Disability Services, the Student Activities Office, the Office of Housing, the University Counseling Center, University Health Services and beyond are trained to provide specialized services and programming that will complement your development. All of us are eager to smooth and enhance the road that you will travel during your time at Notre Dame, and I encourage you to seek our help along the way. I look forward to watching how your presence, energy, and ideas renew and enhance our University. You will lead Notre Dame in new directions based on the paths that you pursue. May we all form a strong community and write the next chapter of this beloved institution together.


With best wishes and prayers for a successful year,


Erin Hoffmann Harding
Vice President of Student Affairs
University of Notre Dame