The distinct residential mission of Notre Dame centers upon the capable ministry of the hall rectors. Holy Cross religious, joined by deeply committed lay people and priests, brothers, and sisters of many other religious communities, live side-by-side with our students, modeling an integrated life of intellect, faith, and service. Rectors serve as teachers, counselors, disciplinarians, and friends to the students of their halls. Assistant Rectors, who are typically graduate students, as well as Resident Assistants, who are fourth or fifth year undergraduates, complete the make-up of our hall staffs, and serve very important roles within the life of each hall.
The rich tradition of residential life at Notre Dame began early in the University’s history. The first buildings on campus combined classrooms with living quarters for students, faculty, and staff. Notre Dame further developed a distinct commitment to residential life in the early 1880's when it became the first Catholic university to offer residential halls with private rooms. Generations of students have found residential halls to be a hallmark of life at Notre Dame.
Today, over eighty percent of Notre Dame’s undergraduate students reside on campus in one of the University’s twenty-nine undergraduate residence halls. Most residents stay in the same hall during their years at Notre Dame, helping to develop distinct hall identities and hall unity. This “stay-hall” system contributes to this unusually high percentage of on- campus residents. Life as a Notre Dame undergraduate centers around study, prayer, socializing, and the lasting friendships fostered in the residence halls.