University of Notre Dame – Eck Visitors and Alumni Center

Over the past couple of weeks we have written about some of our experiences visiting the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana and attending a home football game.

You can find all of the articles we have written over the past two years over on our Notre Dame web page.

Now, today’s article is about the Eck Visitors Center. It is directly across the Hammes Bookstore. As stated on the Notre Dame interactive map:

“The Visitors’ Center stands close to the Notre Dame Avenue entrance to campus. The building opened in 1998 to serve as a first stop for visitors. The Eck Center houses a 150-seat auditorium and presents an introductory video about Notre Dame.

A wealth of other information is also offered, and the center is the launching point for regularly scheduled campus tours. It is also the headquarters for the Alumni Association.”

It is more than that. If you are interested at all in history, Notre Dame football or otherwise, plan on spending at least a few minutes inside.

They have wonderful historic displays, some of which are the subject of this article.

 University of Notre Dame   Eck Visitors and Alumni Center

First, do you recognize this fellow? No, not the one on the right but the one within the sketch inside the display cabinet. Here is a closeup.

original fighting irish leprechaun sketch University of Notre Dame   Eck Visitors and Alumni Center

This is the original sketch of the Notre Dame Leprechaun back in 1964 by the late Ted Drake. Go anywhere, literally anywhere in the world, and sooner or later you are bound to see this sketch on a ball cap, T-Shirt, hoodie, and so forth. Yes, this is the original.

 University of Notre Dame   Eck Visitors and Alumni Center

It is part of a very nice display, shown in the picture above, which includes includes the Four Horsemen, Knute Rockne and more.

On the other side of the visitors area of the Eck Center (there is also an Alumni Association area too!) are two other displays which grabbed my attention.

 University of Notre Dame   Eck Visitors and Alumni Center

First, in the above picture you can see a Cross which was made out of the steel from the Twin Towers in New York City after 9/11. It is part of a larger display as shown in the picture below.

 University of Notre Dame   Eck Visitors and Alumni Center

Next, the picture below shows many artifacts related to Father Corby of whom the Fair Catch Corby statue resides on the campus.

 University of Notre Dame   Eck Visitors and Alumni Center

Most of the artifacts relate to the Civil War and Father Corby, a past President of the University of Notre Dame. I was told that the sword on the left is still used today at least once a year in an ROTC annual ceremony.

There are two artifacts in this display case which, while relating to US military history, do not relate to Father Corby. If you do not spend some time looking closely at the contents of the display case you will surely miss them.

The first is the small picture in the lower right area of the flag raising on Iwo Jima. The second is hidden beneath this picture by Father Corby’s Prayer Book.

 University of Notre Dame   Eck Visitors and Alumni Center

This is soil taken from Iwo Jima by a graduate of Notre Dame who was part of the World War Two battle.

Near the Hammes Bookstore side entrance of the Eck center was this wonderful sculpture of the Four Horsemen, yes Thee Four Horsemen made famous by Grantland Rice in his article about the 1924 Notre Dame football game vs Army. This one is very detailed, including each player holding a football.

 University of Notre Dame   Eck Visitors and Alumni Center

And, there are other displays throughout such as the various trophies given to the winner of the football game between the Fighting Irish and many of its traditional opponents, samples of the different pieces of stone used in the construction of Christ The Teacher mural, commonly referred to as Touch Down Jesus, on the south wall of the Hesburgh Library, and other pictures and memorabilia relating to Notre Dame Football players and games.

There is also a wonderful 15 minute or so video about the history of the University which should not be missed.

So, the next time you are visiting the campus of the University of Notre Dame, plan on spending some time in the Eck Visitors Center for more than simply using the ‘facilities’ icon wink University of Notre Dame   Eck Visitors and Alumni Center or waiting for the campus tour. It is an attraction all on its own.

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