|DeValera at Notre Dame, 1919|
Just three days after DeValera visited campus, the editors of The Scholastic published a letter they had received from an anonymous ND grad who was upset about their use of the term “Fighting Irish” in a recent article about the football team. This individual, who revealed himself only as “An Alumnus and Former Athlete,” claimed that the term was un-American, misrepresentative of Notre Dame, and that those of Irish ancestry did not deserve credit for all of the athletic success at the university:
The editors of the scholastic followed this letter with an open invitation for all Notre Dame students to submit replies that would be published the following week (thus initiating a 1919 version of today’s Viewpoint wars). In doing so, they rightly predicted that current students would not share this particular former student’s sentiments. Consequently, the letter set off a firestorm that may have given the “Fighting Irish” nickname more momentum than even DeValera could have.
- Walter O'Keefe, '21