College and University General Interest Magazines: University of Notre Dame - Gold Medal

Category 17: College and University General Interest Magazines
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame Magazine

Contact: Kerry Temple, editor, 538 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556, Phone: (574) 631-5335, e-mail:

Objectives: Notre Dame Magazine was established in 1972 with several goals in mind. The first was to report on campus events and people, trends and developments, student life, and scholarly research. The second was to offer coverage of the school’s alumni association, the alumni and their activities. The third — a somewhat unique mission — was to offer its readers a continuing education component.

The continuing education focus is guided by two major philosophies. First, a Notre Dame education should not end when a student graduates. So the magazine extends the learning process beyond the campus and beyond one’s time on campus. The magazine covers a wide range of topics — as wide ranging as can be found at a university. These issues are addressed, however, in a manner reflective of the institution itself, often dealing with the moral, ethical or spiritual aspects of current affairs, the arts, business, and technology, scientific discoveries, cultural trends, and (because about 90 percent of our readers are Catholic) those issues important to the Catholic church.

The second reason for engaging a wide variety of topics is to further the institution’s mission of being a positive influence in the world. The magazine, as the university’s representative, lends its voice to society’s conversation, connecting its readers, faculty, and authors to other players in this national dialogue.

Each of these components is served, to a greater or lesser degree, in each issue.

Staffing and Use of Resources: The six-member staff includes an editor, a managing editor, two associate editors, an art director, and a business manager. The university’s budget covers the staff salaries and pays for production costs for two issues of the magazine. The other two issues and all professional fees are paid through the voluntary subscription fund.

Audience: The magazine’s audience is composed primarily of Notre Dame alumni, but also includes friends of the university, parents of current and recent students, Catholic religious men and women, and paid subscribers.

Frequency: Quarterly

Average pages per issue: 96

Circulation: 148,000

Total Annual Budget: $700,000

Costs: $150,000 per issue with a $1 per unit cost

Response and/or Results: On the one hand, we are pleased that each year we process a couple of dozen requests to reprint Notre Dame Magazine articles in textbooks, social science publications, Catholic periodicals, and for classroom use throughout the United States. Our articles and essays are also cited in articles and essays found in commercial publications. We have been honored by The Utne Reader for writing excellence and we consistently have pieces cited and published in the annual volume Best American Essays. Last year we received four awards from The Catholic Press Association.

However, good magazines are good because they please their readers, and we are most proud of our reader response. Surveys, letters, e-mails, and phone calls are evidence of enthusiastic support, and we have thousands of “paid subscribers” — people who have not attended Notre Dame, who have no relation to the university, but who send us money in order to receive its magazine. Furthermore, Notre Dame’s 100,000 alumni all receive the magazine for free and yet, when we send a letter to our readers each year and suggest a $25 donation to the magazine, we take in about $500,000 each year. That (and the cards and letters that come with the checks) tell us that the magazine is successful at what it does.