Video: Student perspectives on Catholic intellectual life and the liberal arts education at Notre Dame

Author: Jon Hendricks

For students at the University of Notre Dame, the unparalleled liberal arts education they receive is grounded in and enhanced by the Catholic intellectual life fostered on campus. 

Catholicism serves as a foundation for all fields of study — from analyzing the consequences of poverty in an economics class to studying Dante to using graphic design for social good. And it extends beyond the classroom to the development of the whole person, and serving those in need, and being a powerful force for good in the world.

University founder, Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C, described it as “the cultivation of the heart as well as the mind.” 

“If you're a practicing Catholic, if you're not a practicing Catholic, you know that spirit here at Notre Dame is all about love, generosity, kindness,” said economics major Mac Ryan ’22. “And it just trickles through every outlet of the campus.”

That includes classes and labs. Psychology major Lily Brouder ’22 said the questions that professors and students ask and the problems they address often focus on how to make things better for people in need.

For neuroscience and behavior major Devin Diggs ’22, Notre Dame’s Catholic education is “about being in solidarity with our neighbors, regardless of their background” and showing up for people on a day-to-day basis.

MyKayla Geary ’23 said standing in solidarity with marginalized communities has made her fall more in love with her Catholic faith. “This isn't something that only happens on Sunday,” said the economics major. “We have a great understanding of why we're here, why we're learning the things we're learning, and how we should use that in order to make our world better.

And for Matheo Vidal ’22, being at Notre Dame encouraged him to grow in his faith and challenge him in his faith. 

“It has made me critically think about why I believe what I believe,” said the political science and Latino studies major. “When I showed up at Notre Dame, I was Catholic by default, but I'm leaving Notre Dame with the ability to live that Catholic faith every day.”