O’Ryan Law Firm, on behalf of our client who is a disabled Notre Dame employee, recently filed a lawsuit against a Cigna subsidiary, Life Insurance Company of North America. The client had been employed as an Academic Program Administrator with the University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame is a private, non-profit Catholic research university in the community of Notre Dame, Indiana, near the city of South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame is consistently recognized as one of the top universities in the world. Notre Dame started as a small all-male institution in 1842 by a French priest and seven other members of the Congregation of Holy Cross on 524 acres in northern Indiana. In April of 1879 a disastrous fire destroyed the main building which housed virtually the entire University; however, 300 laborers, working all summer, rebuilt the structure that still stands today, topped by the gleaming Golden Dome.
In its early days, Notre Dame University enrolled religious novitiates, preparatory and grade school students and manual labor students but its classical collegiate curriculum never maintained more than a dozen students a year in the early decades. Father John Zahm, who accompanied former President Theodore Roosevelt on a South American expedition, became the builder of the science departments at Notre Dame and inspired the University’s first steps in research. Father James Burns, Notre Dame’s great theorist of education, revolutionized Notre Dame University in the 1920s by eliminating the preparatory school and dramatically upgrading the law school.
Beginning in the 1930s Notre Dame University was strengthened by an influx of distinguished European scholars fleeing the Nazis and, drawing on their expertise, Father (later Cardinal) John O’Hara, expanded the graduate school to include programs in biology, physics, philosophy and mathematics. Notre Dame first enrolled women undergraduates in 1972. The school is officially named the University of Notre Dame du Lac (University of Our Lady of the Lake).