There are certainly better vantage points from which to see Notre Dame than out my Grace Hall window. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got the fall colors (which are gorgeous, even on this grey day); Hammes-Mowbray Hall in all its collegiate gothic glory; and the Stepan Center… which I kind of like to think of as my own Golden Dome. But even though I can’t actually see all that Notre Dame has to offer, I know it’s there. And I know it’s beautiful.
In much the same way, the character of this place is always present. And I know it’s good.
The casual observer or critic may question this, but if you ask me, they aren’t seeing the whole Notre Dame. Just as I only get a slice of campus out my window, they may only catch a headline or a tweet or a passing remark from a friend. Without really knowing the University, they might be inclined to take what they hear or read at face value. But I believe a deeper look would almost certainly reveal more to the story and an undercurrent of goodness and intelligence that represents the true nature of this place.
In public relations, we’re in a unique position to see first-hand what really happens here in the best and worst of times. We shout our triumphs from the rooftops, give counsel during crises and controversies, and feel real pain when tragedy strikes. And through it all, we get to know the heart and soul of Notre Dame and its leaders. Is it, and are they, perfect? Of course not. It has its flaws, as does any other institution, and the people in charge are human beings who, as smart as they may be, can make mistakes.
But I’ve seen enough to trust in Notre Dame and know that even when times are tough, there’s always more than meets the eye.