The Alma Mater Debut

As this website celebrates “Strong and True” moments in Notre Dame’s 125-year football history, it’s only fitting to recognize the song which that phrase comes from. In 1930, the alma mater, “Notre Dame, Our Mother” debuted at halftime of the Notre Dame Stadium dedication game. The song was composed by band director Joseph Casasanta (‘23) and the lyrics were written by University President Rev. Charles O’Donnell, C.S.C. (‘06). Today, the song is played at the conclusion of many campus events, including commencement, Mass at the Basilica, and of course, football games. Look back at the alma mater’s debut through images from the University of Notre Dame Archives and an audio clip by Guy Lombardo And His Royal Canadians, one of the song’s earliest known recordings.

Notre Dame, our Mother
Tender, strong and true
Proudly in the heavens,
Gleams thy gold and blue.
Glory’s mantle cloaks thee
Golden is thy fame,
And our hearts forever,
Praise thee, Notre Dame.
And our hearts forever,
Love thee, Notre Dame.

Joseph Casasanta

Band director Joseph Casasanta (’23) wrote the music to “Notre Dame, Our Mother.”


Rev. Charles O'Donnell, CSC

University President Rev. Charles O’Donnell, C.S.C. (’06) wrote the lyrics.


ND alma mater performance

The Notre Dame band, orchestra and glee club performed “Notre Dame, Our Mother” at the premiere of “The Spirit of Notre Dame” on Oct. 7, 1931 at the Palace Theater in South Bend.


The Spirit of Notre Dame

Locker room scene from “The Spirit of Notre Dame” featuring former Irish football players.


2012 Pittsburgh alma mater

The Irish celebrate after defeating Pittsburgh 29-26 in triple overtime on Nov. 3, 2012. (Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)


2012 Wake Forest alma mater

Prince Shembo, Manti Te’o and Robby Toma sing the alma mater after Notre Dame’s 38-0 victory on Senior Day on Nov. 17, 2012. (Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)