First Lecture Series

2024 First Lecture Logo

The First Lecture Series, a partnership between the Center for University Advising and colleges and schools at Notre Dame, invites first-year students to engage with the scholarly life of our distinct university community, integrating intellectual passion and a keenly developed moral responsibility.

Each Welcome Weekend, Notre Dame faculty join you in your first moments on campus. While offering a glimpse into their own personal and academic journeys, these expert scholars will challenge you to begin to form your unique response to the lectures' animating questions:

What matters?

What should we do about it?

This Welcome Weekend, witness a model of scholarship driven by passion and a desire to serve the Common Good. In turn, ignite your engagement with the Notre Dame scholarly community, imagine your distinct academic journey, and look forward to your entire undergraduate educational experience.

Watch the First Lecture Series Video Overview

Registration will open July 24, 2024

Beginning July 24, you can browse the Fall 2024 First Lecture Series and register for one First Lecture. All lectures take place simultaneously and each lecture is limited according to space capacities. Since registration is on a first-come basis, we encourage you to explore options and register as soon as possible. Registration will close on August 5, 2024.

You will be automatically assigned a First Lecture if you did not register for a First Lecture.

Explore all Lectures

All students can register for any lecture across any college or school. We encourage you to embrace your sense of curiosity and discovery as you step into this new community of scholars. What sparks your interest? What have you never heard of before? How will you best utilize this chance to explore?

Connect with Others

Since the First Lecture Series invites you to register for a preferred lecture based on your curiosity, this registration process is an opportunity for you to connect with classmates of similar academic and intellectual interests. When you register, you may join a GroupMe with other first-year students who register for the same lecture. Here, we hope to help you initiate formative relationships with not only Notre Dame faculty, but with each other.

View last year's First Lecture Series below.


  • Accounting for Success

    • Lecturer: John Donovan
    • Mendoza College of Business

    This First Lecture will discuss adjustments to college life at Notre Dame, and how you define "success" at Notre Dame and in your business career.

  • Art as Evidence

    • Lecturer: Heather Hyde Minor
    • College of Arts and Letters

    How learning to think about art (and more broadly about things made by human beings) can make you a better thinker and a stronger researcher no matter what your academic interests are.

  • Avoiding 'Bullshit,' Burnout, and Alienation: A Philosophical Guide to Purposeful Work

    • Lecturer: Paul Blaschko
    • College of Arts and Letters

    In this lecture, we will shed light on three primary barriers to flourishing at work: "bullshit" tasks, burnout, and alienation.

  • Bandaids on bullet wounds? Providing effective, dignified, and ethical mental health care in conflict-affected settings

    • Lecturer: Laura Miller-Graff
    • Keough School of Global Affairs

    Using examples from our team's work in Egypt, Palestine, and Peru, we will discuss questions regarding the contextual and cultural adaptation of mental health care and next steps towards providing ethical and dignified care for those affected by violence.

  • Become the Architect of Your Own Future: Tips for Designing for Your Academic Career, Professional Interests, and Life in General

    • Lecturer: Marianne Cusato
    • School of Architecture

    Explore and build a plan for your undergraduate experience.

  • Be Good and Do Good: The Role of Marketing in Making a Difference

    • Lecturer: Susan Kleiser
    • Mendoza College of Business

    Join Susan Kleiser, Teaching Professor of Marketing, to discuss making a positive impact on the Notre Dame community, the field of marketing, and beyond.

  • Breaking the Rules to Make the Rules: Poverty, Pragmatism & Legal Compliance in South Asia and Beyond

    • Lecturer: Susan Ostermann
    • Keough School of Global Affairs

    In this lecture, we will consider why we engage in rule-following behavior, both individually and collectively, and see how poverty can complicate this process and think through ways to facilitate legal compliance for the poor.

  • Chemical Engineering Past and Future

    • Lecturer: William Schneider
    • College of Engineering

    Humankind has reached the point of changing our environment on a global scale. How did we get here? How will we (you!) address the consequences?

  • Chemistry and the Opioid Crisis

    • Lecturer: Marya Lieberman
    • College of Science

    During the lecture there will be a hands-on activity where we will use lateral flow immunoassay strips to test samples for fentanyl, and I’ll describe how undergraduates can get involved in research projects and community service.

  • Confronting the Global Ecological Crisis Together at ND

    • Lecturer: Ellis Adams
    • Keough School of Global Affairs

    Learn about the biggest global ecological threats of our time, some of the exciting environmental research at ND, and opportunities for you to grow your passion for sustainability on campus.

  • From Curiosity to Discovery: A Guide to Engaging with the Research Mission of the University

    • Lecturer: Robert Stevenson
    • College of Engineering

    Notre Dame encourages students to contribute to the advancement of knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and make meaningful contributions to your respective fields of interest. So let’s get started down that path.

  • Life as an Engineer

    • Lecturer: Diogo Bolster
    • College of Engineering

    This will be a story of the life an engineer - sharing common experiences and helping students identify some of the professional and personal challenges and opportunities that may come their way.

  • Making a Difference through Social Entrepreneurship

    • Lecturer: Michael Morris
    • Keough School of Global Affairs

    This session will introduce social entrepreneurship as means for producing innovative solutions to big challenges such as poverty, human trafficking, literacy gaps, or environmental degradation.

  • Navigating University Life and How to Make the Most of the Next Four Years

    • Lecturer: Philippe Collon
    • College of Science

    Philippe Collon, Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Physics, will offer a First Lecture on the transition to Notre Dame and the preciousness of this undergraduate opportunity.

  • No Pressure Or Anything . . . But the Future of American Democracy Is In Your Hands: How Young People Can Reinvent Politics As We Know It

    • Lecturer: David Campbell
    • College of Arts and Letters

    The good news is that my time teaching at Notre Dame has shown me that young people--just like you--can help to turn things around. Come and find out how you can be part of the solution.

  • Powerful Means: Finding and living your purpose through academic engagement

    • Lecturer: Wendy Angst
    • Mendoza College of Business

    We will explore what it means to serve as a Powerful Means, by identifying ways you can live your values and purpose through intentional academic engagement, while addressing complex problems facing the world.

  • Question Everything: Paradoxes, Surprises and Counterintuitive Truths

    • Lecturer: David Galvin
    • College of Science

    In this First Lecture, we'll explore some counterintuitive facts - some of which have serious implications. By the end, you should see that it is a wise strategy to take nothing for granted, and to question everything.

  • Set yourself up to change the world for the better through technology, data, and business

    • Lecturer: Nicholas Berente
    • Mendoza College of Business

    Many young people want to make a positive impact on the world, but are not sure how.

  • The Craft of Computing, the Beauty of Physics and the Joy of Music and a Few Other Things I Learned in College

    • Lecturer: Doug Thain
    • College of Engineering

  • To the EXTREMES! What humans pushing their limits in extreme environments can teach us about health and athletic performance

    • Lecturer: Cara Ocobock
    • College of Arts and Letters

    Mount Everest, the Sahara Desert, the Arctic Circle, ultramarathons…outer space - these are just some of the extremes humans experience. But, how do humans cope with such a broad range of environments?

  • Want to Earn Better Grades and Retain Your Learning While Also Having More Free Time?

    • Lecturer: Mike Seelinger
    • College of Engineering

    Earn better grades and learn more effectively while spending less time studying than with your present approach to your classwork.” Sound too good to be true?

  • Welcome to "Knowledge Disney World"

    • Lecturer: Chris Frederick
    • College of Science

    There are as many opportunities for learning and growth here as there are rides at Disney World. In this lecture, we'll collect your fast pass and skip the lines to access these resources and opportunities more expediently.

  • What does Mendoza offer to Undergraduates Interested in Finance?

    • Lecturer: Robert Battalio and Patty Brady
    • Mendoza College of Business

    What does finance have to do with "growing the good?"

  • Witnessing Climate Change

    • Lecturer: Roy Scranton
    • College of Arts and Letters

    How is climate change transforming our lives? How do we live ethically in a world of catastrophe? What is the relationship between nature and faith? How can writing change the world?

  • You've Made it to College... Now What? Navigating Academic Rigor and Staying Whole in the Process

    • Lecturer: Nancy Michael
    • College of Science

    None of us can continually "do more" to "stay ahead"... that strategy is simply not sustainable. You are invited to come explore some common internal challenges many of our students have faced in their transition to university life.