Through the Years
As in the rest of America, the 1960s was a time for change at Notre Dame. Students were establishing a foundation, setting standards, and beginning traditions. There were Freshman Tea Dances and Junior Ring Dances. There were weekly pep rallies and male cheerleaders. The school band marched in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, and Father Capik taught the infamous marriage course. The Notre Dame ladies, called “Colleens,” wore white gloves at graduation. The first theatrical performance was Call me Madam in 1960, and three years later, the football squad beat archrival St. Anthony’s by a score of 63-0. The student newspaper, The Coronet, boasted 6,000 subscriptions, and the Class of ’69 danced to its senior prom theme song, “Unchained Melody,” at Cedar Gardens Restaurant in Hamilton Square.
Father Tracy, ND’s first principal, served until 1966, and was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Coffey (1966-1971).
The 1970’s brought several “firsts” to the Notre Dame community: dreaded midterm exams (1972), the Alumni Children’s Christmas Party (1972), the senior class trip to Florida (1975), rotating class schedules (1976), a varsity girls’ soccer program (1978), and the Koinonia Club (1978). Co-ed gym classes and a bachelor’s cooking course made their debut in the mid-‘70’s, and the Notre Dame Alumni Association, under the leadership of Jack Chebra ’63, was formed. On the sports front, Diane Olech ’77 scored her 1,000th point in 1976, as the girls’ basketball squad won its third consecutive county championship, and in 1979, Jim Mauer ’79 set a Notre Dame wrestling record with 12 pins in one season.
Reverend Joseph Thul (1971-1974) took administrative leadership, and Notre Dame’s legendary chaplain Father Walter Nolan began a decade of service to the school in 1971. Discipline was maintained by a former Philadelphia Phillies player, Al Verdel. Sister Mary Harold was appointed Vice Principal in 1979.
There were more milestones to celebrate as the Notre Dame community entered its third decade, under the leadership of Reverend Joseph Hughes (1974-1988). In 1980, the first carnival was held, the Writing Irish literary magazine published its first issue and the Notre Dame-McCorristin football game was played under the lights on Lawrence Road. In 1982, The Coronet was revived as The Hibernian. In the mid-80’s, a formal alumni and development program was established under the leadership of Robert Bugdal ’65. In 1987, several grads and friends teed off for the 1st Alumni Golf Tournament. Mr. Michael Carr was appointed Principal of Notre Dame in 1988, and was succeeded by Mr. Barry Edward Breen in 1992, Ms. Mary Liz Fitzpatrick '72 Ivins in 2001 and Mrs. Joanna Barlow in 2018.