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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

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Fisher's final farewell

Remembering the spirit which cannot be torn down

“Like the plutocrat that he is, the man from Fisher has a distinctive air about him as, books under arm, he casually pushes through the glass doors and steps out across the flagstone entrance. Already he’s developing a superiority complex with adequate reason.”  

It was this excerpt from the 1953 issue of “The Dome Yearbook”  that introduced the campus's newest residence hall in style. Fisher Hall, with its 150 new single rooms for upperclassmen, was hailed as luxurious living near the dining hall, the Rockne Memorial gymnasium and St. Mary’s Lake. With modern amenities such as foam rubber pillows and desks with built-in drawers, the hall was hailed as a place “that St. Ed’s men dream about.” 

After 72 years of serving as a men’s dormitory, it was announced last fall that Fisher Hall would be demolished in the summer of 2024. While the decision came as a surprise to few, residents of Fisher stated that they were heartbroken over the decision and noted that the home that they had known would be gone forever. Beginning in the fall of 2024, the Fisher Hall community will be temporarily moved to Zahm House until the construction of a new South Quad dormitory is complete. 

Although the building was originally meant to serve as temporary housing for students in single rooms, this would not be the case for long. Soon, the walls that separated the rooms were torn down to create doubles, and despite the dorm’s division, a tight-knit community formed. In Fisher Hall, many residents say that “it is the people, not the place.”

However true one may believe this to be, there seems to be a certain magic that has allowed such a distinct community to form in one of the most unlikely of places. 

This semester marks the last time that students will ever reside in Fisher Hall after thousands have called it home. With the slated demolition of such a quintessential piece of Notre Dame history, there will remain a sizable scar on South Quad and the face of this campus. 

As the 20-foot-tall green Fisher “F” that had decorated the hall since the late 1980’s is removed this summer, so too will fall seventy years of history and tradition.

No longer will the steamy Welcome Weekend nights beckon the pounding of freshly painted Fisher paddles on South Quad pavement.

Never again will the whiff of incense wafting up from the chapel linger with the distinct aroma of the furnaces firing up in the late autumn.

No longer will the late-night laughs echo through the building's narrow hallways as the snow silently accumulates outside.

This spring marks the final running of the Fisher Hall Regatta and it may be the final time that makeshift boats race across St. Mary’s Lake in support of St. Adalbert Catholic School.

Many may see the green block “F” and think of the Fisher Regatta, the Car Smash or the community’s work with St. Adalbert Catholic School. However, the spirit of Fisher is best seen in the quiet moments. These moments are best shared after the 85-pace pilgrimage to the Fisher table in South Dining Hall, which sits third from the wall on the right-hand side.

Here, the community comes together to regale each other with the tales from the night before and plans for the days to come. Whether it is battling it out to use the third floor’s coveted golden shower head or weathering water that flows with the smell of rotten eggs, the spirit of Fisher Hall is the stuff of legends. It is marked by a certain tenacity that motivates men to run an Iron Man and come together in light of their shared struggle.

While this summer does not mark the end for the Fisher community, it brings with it a challenge as the home in which they have forged these bonds will be torn to the ground. Although the exposed heating pipes may soon be gone, the memories of Fisher names and “Doses and Mimosas”  will long remain. Despite the continual peeling of Fisher’s linoleum floor tiles, the hugs shared at Fisher Mass will never fade. While there will never be another class of students to live in Fisher Hall, the bright-eyed glee of every Fisherman’s first time being welcomed into this family will never die. 

The 25th Annual Fisher Regatta, to be held this Saturday, April 13th, is a celebration of all these things.

It stands as a celebration of what Fisher Hall has been, is now and forever will be. Although the Cadillac of dorms may soon be a ruin of concrete and pipes, the spirit of this place, which truly exemplifies what the Notre Dame community stands for, will live on.

For the final time as Fisher Hall, for the kids of St. Adalberts and for as long as Fisher lives on in the minds of those who were lucky enough to know it, “Ya Gotta Regatta!”

Jack Sirianni is a junior studying political science, journalism and public policy. He is a proud Michigander who appreciates jamming to Pete Seeger, scouring eBay for vintage Notre Dame paraphernalia and collecting stickers from everywhere he goes. On campus, Jack can often be seen by the Founder’s Monument or in the line for Southwest Salad. For your favorite tidbits of knowledge or any other musings, his inbox is always open at jsirian2@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.