Notre Dame Magazine editor Kerry Temple (ND ’74) wrote that line in the introduction of his history of Mendoza, “O’Hara’s Heirs:
Business Education at Notre Dame 1921–1991.”
It’s a simple statement, perhaps even obvious. But if you’ve glanced up at the dorm windows, glimpsed a student studying alone at a late hour in the library or witnessed a student kneeling at the Grotto, or any of a thousand scenes on campus, it strikes you deeply that Mendoza’s story is about lives.
It’s awfully easy to lose sight of that truth when planning a momentous commemoration of Mendoza’s 100th anniversary this year. History is often told in terms of “firsts,” which translates to deans, department chairs, programs and buildings. But the preponderance of history is made by people whose names are too often invisible in official records, whose exploits may never reach to the level of founder, leader or pioneer, or whose voices haven’t been heard.
These are the individuals we wanted to include as we commemorate the College’s centennial. We chose the theme of “The Century Mark” to recall that “100” is a hash mark on the timeline, not an endpoint, and that it speaks to the future as much as to the past. Perhaps most importantly, there are hash marks all along that timeline engraved by individuals who attended, taught and worked at the business school at Notre Dame, contributing in very different ways.
In the cover story, we recount some of the momentous events of the past 100 years and its founding vision. As a counterpart to the official history, we included excerpts from a collection of essays called “Make Your Mark.” The essays are our attempt to let history write itself through the people who lived it — the alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the College:
“I arrived at Notre Dame in the ’80s, an international student at a time when there weren’t very many international students.” BERT DE GUZMAN (BBA ’90)
“I’ve relished the opportunities to meet my pioneers, especially the African American men and women who preceded me.” GINA SHROPSHIRE (ND ’83), MENDOZA ASSISTANT ADVISING PROFESSOR
“My EMBA gratefulness originates from my study team colleagues who helped this undereducated math and accounting student . . .” CHUCK ECKENSTAHLER (EMBA ’84)
The essays are individual and highly personal, and they dispel any notion that there exists such a thing as a singular Notre Dame story. Except perhaps in one regard: Almost without exception, these are stories of appreciation, even for the hard times.
In many ways, it is apropos that Mendoza’s 100th anniversary coincided with the pandemic. It’s a disappointment, for sure, that many in-person events will be postponed until 2022. But if there is one thing that the pandemic has made clear, it is the importance of people in our lives — of family, community and connection. For it is in the lives of those around us where we truly make our mark.