Keenan Hall

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Keenan Hall
Residence Hall
Arms of Keenan.svg
Coat of arms of Keenan Hall
Campus quad North
Coordinates 41°42′14″N 86°14′14″W / 41.703959°N 86.237231°W / 41.703959; -86.237231Coordinates: 41°42′14″N 86°14′14″W / 41.703959°N 86.237231°W / 41.703959; -86.237231 ,
Motto Fratres in Christo
Motto in English Brothers in Christ
Established 1957
Named for James Keenan Jr.
Architect Ellerbe Becket
Architectural style Modern architecture, with elements of collegiate gothic
Colors Navy and white          
Gender Male
Rector Noel Terranova
Benefactor James Keenan
Undergraduates 257
Chapel Holy Cross
Mascot Knights
Interhall sports Baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, dodgeball, football, golf, hockey, lacrosse, racquetball, soccer, table tennis, tennis, volleyball
Charities Dismas House, The Great Pumpkin, Habitat for Humanity, Slice of Life
Major events Keenan Revue, Muddy Sunday, Keenan Klassic, Reindeer Roast, Disco Roll
Keenan Hall is located in Notre Dame, Indiana
Keenan Hall
Location in Notre Dame, Indiana

Keenan Hall is one of the 30 residence halls at the University of Notre Dame. It located on North Quad in front of the North Dining hall, between Zahm and Stanford Halls. Keenan Hall shares the building and the chapel of the Holy Cross with its twin dorm Stanford, and it was built in 1957. Its mascot is the Knight, and its colors are blue and white. It leads the Notre Dame halls by number of Hall of the Year titles won, and it hosts a number of the most popular events on campus, such as the Keenan Revue and Muddy Sunday.


The entrance to Keenan, with Stanford in the background

Keenan Hall was built in 1957 and was named after James Keenan, a Notre Dame alumnus from Fort Wayne, in memory of his son James Keenan Jr., who died in 1941 before entering the university. The Keenan family operated a chain of hotels in the Midwest.

Keenan and Stanford are hosted in two wings of the same building, built on the spot that once hosted the toboggan of the University's minims program. They are connected by a lobby and the chapel of the Holy Cross which they share. The building is representative of functionalist architecture with a simple double-L shape plan, a flat roof, and little exterior ornamentation. Until the mid-60s, it was a hall for incoming freshmen. The entrance doors are split in between the two dorms, and traditionally, Keenan residents do not use the Stanford doors and vice versa. The corridors of Keenan are blue and white, reflecting the dorm colors.[1] Each floor is divided into two sections, North and West. [2]

The Holy Cross chapel features a 13-foot crucifix and a wooden carving depicting "Christ as a Young Boy in the Temple" by Ivan Meštrović, former professor and artist in residence at Notre Dame. The chapel also features stained glass windows by Robert Leader, one of the last remaining Iwo Jima veterans who witnessed the famous flag-raising.

The current rector is Noel Terranova, who is pursuing a Doctorate in Theology at the university. He obtained his BA in Theology from the Villanova University, where he also was Associate Director of Campus Ministry.


Keenan Revue[edit]

Main entrance to Keenan Hall, giving on North Quad

Keenan Hall is renowned for its many activities and events, the most prominent of which is the Keenan Revue, a comedy sketch attended annually by more than 4600 students, making it Notre Dame's most popular hall event. The first Revue was organized in 1976 by two Keenan Hall RAs, Thomas Lenz and Richard Thomas. The event was created as an alternative pastime to the campus drinking culture, and was meant to showcase the performance talent of Keenan residents. Lenz was a member of the Glee Club and Thomas had previous experience in theater. The first show, called "New Keenan Revue", opened on November 6 in Washington Hall.[3][4] The first Revue was a variety show, with performances including singing, comedy, violin, poetry, juggling and others. Over time, the Revue evolved mostly into a skit-based comedy show.

In 1979, issues with the electric wiring of Washington, together with the small size of the building, prompted the 1980 show to move to the O'Laughlin Auditorium at Saint Mary's College. The Revue broke even in terms of finances for the first time in 1983, and in 1984 it was taped for the first time. Because the residents wanted to keep the show free of charge as a gift for the community, the Revue was subsidized by Hall Presidents' Council in 1986.

The comedy of the Revue was often based on Notre Dame inside jokes and stereotypes. This led to a long contention with St. Mary's College, which hosted the show, but was also the frequent target of jokes. St. Mary's students started expressing their discontent with the show in 1991, and in 1996 Keenan invited St. Mary's representatives to preview the show's dress rehearsal. Nonetheless, controversy persisted, and many took aim at the Revue for the content of its jokes, sometimes deemed offensive. In 2000 the St. Mary's Board of Governance voted to allow the Revue to remain on campus, but controversy did not cease and in 2004 the editorial board of the student paper The Observer wrote a column to invite students to take the issue less seriously. The show was hosted in the O'Laughlin Auditorium at Saint Mary's College for the last time in 2010, when St. Mary's administration decided to cut ties. [5] Since 2011, it moved to Stepan Center on the campus of Notre Dame.[6]

In recent years, the skits of the show have parodied and made fun mostly of campus life and stereotypes, have been less harsh, and have caused less controversy. The show is the signature event of Keenan Hall. Three shows are offered on consecutive Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in February. [7][8] The show is loved by the student body, and ticket distribution is an event in itself, always drawing large crowds, with tickets running out in minutes. With an attendance of over 4600 (1500 per show), it is the most attended hall event, and one of the most popular and beloved events at Notre Dame.[9][10]

West side of Keenan Hall, facing Zahm Hall, one of its rivals


Another popular event on campus is Muddy Sunday, a volleyball tournament played in mud during the annual spring An Tóstal celebrations. All the profits go to Habitat for Humanity.[11] Other traditions include Disco Roll, a 70s-themed disco dance; Reindeer Roast; Great Pumpkin, a haunted house set up in the basement for the children of South Bend; and Keenan Klassic, a two-against-two charity basketball tournament.[12][13][14][15]

The basement, known as Keenan Kommons, is one of the largest common spaces on campus. It features lounges, ping pong tables, televisions, and study spaces. It was recently renovated and features a 90-inch flat screen.[16] The commons also host a weight room, two kitchens, a laundry room, a music rehearsal space, a library and study room, and a meeting room. The basement hosts a student-run eatery called Zaland, which stands for "Best Pizza in Za-land".[2]

Traditionally, the rival dorm of Keenan has always been the twin dorm Stanford Hall, with whom Keenan shares its chapel. The annual inter-hall football match is called "Battle for the Chapel". Keenan is very active in sports, especially in interhall tackle football.[17] In recent times the main rival of Keenan has been Zahm Hall. Residents of Keenan and Zahm have a long history of pranks and feuds. Keenan has several times won Hall of the Year and Men's Hall of the Year, and currently retains the "Hall of the Year" title.[18]


Hall of the Year:

  • 1996-1997
  • 2001-2002
  • 2013-2014

Men's Hall of the Year:

  • 2003-2004
  • 2005-2006
  • 2007-2008
  • 2010-2011
  • 2014-2015

Notable residents[edit]


External links[edit]