The 2021 shirt commemorates Alma mater | Latest | NDWorks
This year’s design of The Shirt is intended to capture the spirit and tradition of Notre Dame’s alma mater. The shirt committee wanted to use a simple and recognizable alma mater phrase on the front, making the shirt recognizable as the “strong and true” shirt. We have chosen the expression “strong and true” to signify how strong in spirit and faithfulness the Notre Dame family is to our community during times of adversity and prosperity.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of The Shirt 2021’s design process took place virtually above Zoom. This gave the designers of The Shirt a unique opportunity to think about different styles of illustration from the more recent models, which were created digitally. The committee decided to model this year’s jersey in the style of illustration of vintage Notre Dame football programs. The designers worked diligently to physically paint the design on canvas in two days during the winter break. Their goals were to use a painted style to convey a timeless image of Notre Dame football lore and to produce a design that students, alumni and fans can all relate to.
On The Shirt, the front and back designs are linked by the golden helmet held high – a symbol of the Notre Dame football community that recalls moments of victory and strength in Notre Dame football history. Likewise, the football helmet is framed by a shamrock to make the unmistakably Irish simple graphic.
The purpose of The Shirt’s back design is to capture the spirit of the alma mater after every home football game. Whether we win or lose, Notre-Dame students, alumni, supporters and footballers come together, arm in arm and swing toward “Notre Dame Notre Mère”. The alma mater is a fundamental part of Notre Dame football tradition and truly embodies the theme of the ‘strong and true’. To frame the design of the back, we chose to draw on the architecture of the Notre-Dame campus. Using a Gothic arch shape similar to the entrance to the basilica, we commemorate Knute Rockne’s memorial service at the basilica, for which the alma mater was written. As such, the architectural motif of Notre Dame is symbolic of both “the house built by Rockne” and the founding of the Notre Dame football community.
In the drawing on the back, the two football players wear jerseys with the numbers 18 and 87, representing the year of the founding of Notre-Dame football. The jersey committee decided to include the leprechaun with the players to represent the Leprechaun Legion, the official voice of the student body of Irish Athletics. Alongside the football players, the Leprechaun Legion is symbolically unified with the Notre-Dame football team. Although the two players and the leprechaun are the focal point of the back design, the impression of supporters in the stadium has a strong presence in the design, symbolizing the founding of the Notre Dame community. In addition, the committee highlighted a quote from Ara Parseghian as it perfectly expresses the theme of the 2021 jersey. As a national championship-winning coach, Parseghian truly exemplifies the strength of Notre Dame’s football tradition. “As long as there is unity, there is strength” shows how a unified community of Notre-Dame has the strength to overcome everything.
Learn more about the shirt
- The shirt committee is made up of 15 undergraduates who work together on the shirt design.
- There were three designers – Anna Frericks ’22 was the lead designer and worked with Danielle Corbin ’23 and Kyle Rubin ’22 to create this year’s shirt.
- Devin Diggs ’22 is the chairman of The Shirt Committee.
- About 150,000 shirts are sold per year.
- Find the shirt at Hammes Notre Dame bookstore, Fanatics, the LaFortune information desk and student group concession stands, and through alumni clubs across the country.
Proceeds from the sale of The Shirt stand:
- The Shirt Charity Fund, which helps students with unexpected medical expenses
- The Student Enrichment Office, which offers programs and potential resources to members of the Notre-Dame community who identify with the experience of first-generation and / or low-income students.
- Union of Undergraduates, which provides funds to student-run clubs and organizations.