The first undergraduate women to attend Notre Dame have inspired the Notre Dame Family since their first steps on campus—an unprecedented decision made by Fr. Hesburgh, who claimed their arrival as one of his proudest achievements.
These women continue to inspire change and celebration. This academic year, three of these female firsts inspired the creation of a commemorative 1972 hat to celebrate the 50th anniversary of coeducation on Notre Dame’s campus.
“As Loyal Daughters of Notre Dame, we wish to expand our legacy by uniting all of us in an effort to benefit future women undergraduates,” they write.
These women generously purchased 1972 hats to be distributed to all current female undergraduate students. On February 6th, with help from the Gender Relations - Title IX and Women's Initiatives Department within Student Government, the Annual Giving team boxed up the hats, put them on golf carts, and distributed them all across campus.
Over 4,500 hats were distributed to female students over the course of four days. The response from the student body has been overwhelmingly positive!
“I am so honored to have been a part of distributing these hats, celebrating and honoring the generosity and legacy of female students at Notre Dame,” said Catherine Kinkopf. “Every time I wear my hat or see its emboldened numbers across the quad on a fellow student, I feel so proud to be united with a community of such strong women.”
“Distribution day was like Christmas on campus. I don't know if I've ever seen the student body this united and excited over something other than football! It's so cool walking into the dining hall and seeing so many of them, even weeks after the initial distribution,” said Nicole Baumann.
“When I got to pick up my 1972 hat, I felt a sense of pride in and awe for the women who blazed the path before me at Notre Dame. Following in their footsteps is an honor, and I love the simple but powerful design of the 1972 on the hat!” said Anna Prest.
“Receiving the hat felt so meaningful—what a wonderful way to celebrate the incredible contributions of women at Notre Dame over the last 50+ years,” Meredith Wilson said. “I have seen female students wearing the hat constantly around campus since they were distributed; it’s clear there is so much pride there.”
“Wherever I wear mine, it's a reminder of those who have come before me, the path they've paved for women in leadership at this university, and a reminder to do the same for those to come. There is so much pride in being a woman at Notre Dame, and I'm so glad that we have a constant symbol of that, something to communicate ‘it is good that you are here.’”