University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


See "Father Dujarie" . . . . competition and prizes.

"I am very anxious to see the use of crosses and prizes established in all our schools to arouse a spirit of competition among the children" F. Moreau, p. 9, 1837

"It was decided that, considering the insignificant number of pupils, and the various classical revolutions of the year, the number of premiums should be reduced." Council of Professors, February 21, 1845

"Another circumstance related by Mr. Keegan (Philadelphia Catholic Herald, August 28, 1845) seems even still more incongrous with what we have known -- the crowns of honor given to the successful students. Crowns seem most appropriate honors when bestowed upon young ladies in white on their commencement day; but boys have not since, as we believe, received such honors." HOWARD, p. 67, 1845

"Premiums represented winners from Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Lockport, N.Y., Fort Wayne, Niles, Lafayette, Bertrand, Terre Haute, Philadelphia, Ireland, Louisiana, Michigan City, France" August 4, 1846

"Brother Gatian shall also count the votes of the apprentices in order to ascertain who must have the premium for industry and application." July 1

"Brother Gatian read the report of the pupil's votes as examined and counted by Mr. L'Etourneau and himself. He stated that there was evident proofs of a cabal: (1st) because they had agreed beforehand to vote for Lewis Hitz and had really done it: (2nd) because the votes of six or seven were perfectly alike, which could not have well happened by chance; (3rd) because if they had concientiously voted they would not have left Mr. L'Etourneau altogether out of the question as a third of the boys had done; (4th) because many had written their votes before the manner of doing it had been explained."

"Ultimately, the Council resolved that in future the votes for the premiums of honor should be taken when the pupils would not think of it, for instance, a month sooner" COUNCIL OF PROFESSORS, July 24, 1846

"Father Sorin will take the votes of the boys for the Premium of Honor" Council of Professors, May 12, 1848

"It was proposed that the Distribution of premiums should take place in the barn. Some objected, fearing the barn might be burnt on that occasion. Still the proposal was adopted." Local Council, May 22, 1848

(Moreau's Visit -- 1857) "At the end of his visit, Father Moreau suggested the giving of notes as a means of emulation among the apprentices."

Tableau of Honor: "At the north end of the dining room we will pause awhile before the Tableau of Honor, for in this lies the epitome and secret for the success of the institution, or at least such is the claim of the president and faculty, and I see no reason for disputing it. But one name is inscribed on it yearly -- one name stands peerless -- a star of the first magnitude, undimmed by the intervention of the least filmy cloudet. Is not the honor worth the continued struggle to gain? And beneath this point there is such a regular and systematic graduation of honorable distinction, that very many entertain to the systematic gradation of honorable distinction, that very many entertain to the end of the year a certain healthy hope, which alone commands sufficiently the most ernest exertions, to secure this laudable record of their names.

"And it will not be hard for you to conceive, stranger, how the praiseworthy emulation of a dozen of the best students would wield over the rest of them a most salutary and inspiring influence. Here are fifteen names written in golden characters on the wall itself, and set conspicuously among the charming frescoes in a frame of gold, that all visitors to the place may not fail to observe them. Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio have their honorable representatives.

"By a little reflection you may discover that here is embodied in delicate abridgement the discipline of Notre Dame. Kindness and love are the elements they wish to bring to bear most prominently in the government, feeling that,

'A talisman sent down from heaven,

A golden link to mortals flung,

They cannot slight a boon thus given'. This impels them to act on the noble feelings of the heart in preference to exciting the degrading sentiments of fear of punishments. Under this disciplinary regimen young gentlemen are brought to feel that it is strictly incumbent on them to support the true dignity of manhood:

"The extreme punishment next to expulsion borrows its sharpness from the same principle of emulation. It consists of taking a meal seated on a stool in the center of the room, at what is called the TABLE OF SHAME" "A Guide to Notre Dame du Lac", Baltimore, 1859

Again we must not overlook the Tableau of Honor. The design is wrought in colors of chenille and gold, and has this additional interest of containing the names of those students that are entirely worthy of commendation." GUIDE TO NOTRE DAME DU LAC, 1859

See: "Grades, 1871, Competition"

"Competitions, Honorable Mention, 1868"


"Tables of Honor"

"Dujarie -- (Moreau's Life)"



"The emulation of the pupils will be excited by every gentle means, and their success rewarded by an annual distribution of premiums" See "Premiums", 1865

" . . . . those who deserved the disapprobation of all their professors are also proclaimed and inscribed on the list of shame; on the Wednesday which follows the exhibition, the students whose conduct has been blameless during the preceeding month, are allowed to visit their parents or friends, if so deserved by the latter."

"Students find in their collegiate life here, not only powerful means of emulation, but pure and heartfelt enjoyments, which will fill their minds with the most agreeable recollections and their hearts with the sweetest emotions. Among these we will mention the weekly notes of the professors, the monthly examination, and exhibitions, at which rebands [ribbons], medals and honorable mention are given to every one according to his merit. These exhibitions take place on the first Tuesday of each month, and the public are invited, for the months of November, January, March, and May. The names of those who deserved the approbation of all the Faculty are proclaimed, and the remained displayed in the exhibition Hall during the following month of the Wed. of which follows the exhibition, the students whose conduct has been blameless during the previous month, are allowed to visit with their parents or friends, if so desired by the latter." SCHOLASTIC, 19:274, 1850

"Archbishop Riordan, of San Francisco, still tells with glee how the prizes were given in his time at Notre Dame. One, two, or three volumes answered for Notre Dame, thus: When the prize had been given in one class, it was cheerfully surrendered to another class, and so on; and when Notre Dame had thus bestowed its true and enduring laurels, the books were taken over to St. Mary's and given, in the same manner to the best scholars in the Academy. When all was over, the First Second and Third prize winners gladly drew lots for the final possession of the books. Can we not see (the Archbishop does) how the dross of emulation was thus eliminated, and the like of the Greek crown of wild olive awarded to the victor, the honor of merit was esteemed beyond the prize itself?" Elizabeth Allen Starr, in the N.Y. "Freeman's Journal". Quoted in the Scholastic, April 2, 1887

"It was decided that $275 should be expended for premium book for the ensuing exhibition" Local Council, 1865

"The only distinction I ever attained while attending this institution was to have had the privilege of being placed by his (Corby) side at the talbe of honor, as I think we used to call it, and which I felt to be the proudest occasion of my life." Bishop Maurice Burke, St. Joseph, Missouri. SCHOLASTIC, 31:609

"In the refectory of the Senior Department, and also in that of the Juniors, conspicuous to the eyes of visitors, may be seen the "Tables of Honor" presided over, respectively by the Vice-President and the Prefect of Discipline. At these are seated 22 of the students whose conduct has been most exemplary during the preceeding week. They are elected by the unanimous vote of the Professors and Prefects" UNIVERSITY BULLETIN, 1869

Tables of Honor -- Dec. 9, 1871. Senior Department: J.M. Glynn, To. O. Mahoney, J. Kinney, T.A. Phillips, E. Sweeney, J. Cramer, D. Maloney, T. Renshaw, J. Zimmer, J. Crummey -- Junior Department: G. Cross, N. Keley, P. Cooney, E. Ottenville, B. Luhn, W. Meyer, F. Egan, J. Caren, W. Kelly, P. Reilly.

(Father T.E. Walsh- Sorin- 1889- Provincial Archives) "We have decided not to give book premiums this year except in the minim department. The new departure is an experiment, and it will take time to show whether it will give satisfaction or not. My own impression is that equal satisfaction will be given and that several hundred dollars will be saved" 1889

See under: "Premiums" in Large File.

See under: "Table of Honor".

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›