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Notre Dame Club connects alumni for service, camaraderie
William Dagendesh
/ Categories: Diocesan News, Parish News

Notre Dame Club connects alumni for service, camaraderie

by William J. Dagendesh

(PHOTO) Former Colorado Springs Mayor and University of Notre Dame alumnus John Suthers introduces The Undertones, a 12-man acapella group made up of Notre Dame students, in the Pikes Peak Summit House in January 2023. (Photo courtesy of Michael Ortiz)

COLORADO SPRINGS. The Notre Dame Club of Southern Colorado (NDCSC) exists to connect alumni, parents and friends in Southern Colorado to support the university’s mission to thrive in faith.

The NDCSC serves Notre Dame alumni and fans in southern Colorado. Formed in 1953, the club promotes solidarity and friendship among graduates, students and friends of the university. It does this by preserving the ideas which Notre Dame men and women have been taught to uphold while students there.

Also, the club raises funds for and promotes contributions to the university’s Development Foundation. It establishes scholarships for students and/or prospective university students, and assists worthy and needy students through loans and/or money gifts.

“The club sponsors, directs and participates in activities including charitable, educational, religious, social and athletic, which further the interests of club members and the university of Notre Dame,” said NDCSC President Michael Ortiz.

Six “C” principles govern and support NDCSC and its mission: Camaraderie, Christianity, Community Service, Communications, Continuing Education and Current Student Support. Through these principles, NDCSC promotes spirit of diversity and inclusion through programs and opportunities reflecting the foundational belief in the dignity of men and women.

Currently, 484 alumni, 21 students, 515 parents and 852 “friends,” or “Subway Alumni,” comprise the club. Subway alumni are Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans known for their strict allegiance to the school, despite never having attended or graduated from the school, Ortiz said. 

“The term comes from when New York City residents began traveling to Notre Dame vs. Army football games at Yankee Stadium in the later 1920s by subway train,” Ortiz said. Not surprising, NDCSC is proud of Notre Dame football and of having played against Air Force 30 times since 1964. The last was in October, 2013, when the Irish beat the Falcons 45-10. 

Along with football, NDCSC is proud of its Michael Korbel Scholarship that provides financial assistance to southern Colorado Notre Dame students. The scholarship is named after 1980 graduate Michael Korbel who lost his battle with cancer in 1986.

In the late 1980s, NDCSC partnered with the Notre Dame Center for Social Concerns and the Center for Prevention of Domestic Violence to bring a current Notre Dame students to Colorado Springs for an eight-week summer service project.

“Last year, the club provided $14,000 of financial aid to current students through the Korbel Scholarship Center for Social Concerns Fellowship/Summer Service Project,” Ortiz said.

“This program . . . is now called ND Fellowship and we partner with Forge Evolution (a local youth support program) to continue giving current Notre Dame students the opportunity to make life changing impacts to our community’s most vulnerable or marginalized.”

Similarly, Notre Dame last year established one day where the Notre Dame community performs acts of service worldwide. Titled “Notre Dame Global Day of Service,” the event is held in late April.

“We had six people volunteer at the Marian House (Kitchen). This year we’re looking to grow the number of service projects we are performing for the Global Day of Service initiative. Christmas for Kids . . .  This program supports children and families who have exhausted their DHS benefits and would otherwise not receive presents at Christmas,” Ortiz said.

NDCSC is particularly proud of its connection with the Holy Cross Novitiate in Cascade. This is where men in formation with the Congregation of  Holy Cross (the congregation of priests that founded and lead the university) journey into the Colorado mountains for a year of reflection, discernment and prayer.

In July, the NDCSC will hold a “student send-off” picnic at the novitiate to congratulate novices making their first vows and new students scheduled to journey to South Bend to begin their freshman year at Notre Dame.

“People might not be aware that the Congregation of Holy Cross priests have been serving Sacred Heart Parish, which includes Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Manitou Springs and Holy Rosary in Cascade, for 40 years,” Ortiz said.

Arranging local performances of the Notre Dame Glee Club and a smaller acapella group called “The Undertones” also highlight the club’s list of accomplishments.

Since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, NDCSC has been working to increase event attendance and expand the number of annual club events and opportunities.

“We would like to hold more admissions fairs throughout our club region, especially in the underserved minority areas of our region where first-generation students don’t even know that attending Notre Dame is a possibility,” Ortiz said. 

Currently, there are 266 Notre Dame clubs worldwide, and alumni, parents and friends (subway alumni) are invited to join. Prospective members needn’t practice a particular religion, have a specific grade point average or be a Notre Dame alum. However, the person should be a Notre Dame fan seeking to participate in annual events and services.

The NDCSC is located at 420 N. Nevada Ave. To learn more visit my.nd.edu/topics/1200, Facebook page Notre Dame Club of Southern Colorado, Instagram @ndcosc or contact Ortiz at southerncolorado.president@alumni.nd.edu.

(Past NDCSC Presidents David Brockway and David Johnson, and club members Bruno and Vicky Mediate and Jim Jenista contributed information for this article.)

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