Sept. 25, 2011; Main building at dusk..Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame
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Morris Inn Chronicles

Looking Back at the History of the Morris Inn

November 3, 2016

It began with a horse. A horse named Dexter that belonged to Ernest M. Morris. In 1902, Notre Dame student Ernest Morris found himself unable to pay tuition (a feeling all we current Notre Dame students can relate to on a deep emotional level). Morris begged the school president, Father John W. Cavanaugh, for two things, and Cavanaugh agreed. One: that he be allowed to pay back the tuition in the future, after he’d received his diploma. Two: that the school take care of his horse, Dexter. Morris graduated and, like a good ND grad should be, was incredibly successful – he founded his own investment firm.

With his days of debt behind him, Morris paid back his tuition and more – a million dollars more! He said he did so in gratitude for the kindness the University showed his horse. And so the Morris Inn was constructed. (To commemorate the oh-so-important horse, there exists a drink in Rohr’s called the Dexter.)

In October of 2012, the Morris Inn was closed down for the first time in 60 years. Less than a year later, the Morris Inn reopened, after millions was invested in renovations and expansions. Just a few of the numerous amenities now include three dining options (Sorin’s, Rohr’s, and the Wind Family Fireside Terrace), 150 guest rooms, including 18 suites (our website calls them “spacious” – I’m thinking that’s an understatement), and a 300 seat ballroom. The Morris Inn has nearly doubled both in square footage and in staff since the expansion (137,500 square feet and nearly 200 staff members are now part of the Morris Inn). The building is LEED Gold certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, which, if I may say so, is incredibly impressive for a building that doesn’t get to control how much water or electricity its residents use.

I could go on to tell you about the lovely color schemes and impressively comfortable lounge furniture, but I’m afraid I’m going to keep those secrets to myself! You’ll just have to come visit to find out more!

-Mary, ND ’17, Morris Inn Chronicler

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