First Lecture Series


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 to thoughtfully consider a response to two fundamental questions of a life well-lived. While offering a glimpse into their own journeys, these expert scholars will also challenge you to begin to form your own unique response to these questions:

What matters?

What should we do about it?


This Welcome Weekend, engage with your faculty members as they give witness to a passion for discovery, beauty, innovation, justice, and the possibilities of human achievement. In turn, ignite a search for your own answers - a search that might inform your entire undergraduate educational experience.

Registration for the Fall 2022 First Lecture Series is closed.

Beginning July 29, you can browse the First Lecture Series and register for your preferred First Lecture. 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.

Browse Fall 2022 First Lectures below!


  • Accounting for Success

    • Lecturer: John Donovan
    • Mendoza College of Business

    This First Lecture will discuss adjustments to college life and how to think about success at Notre Dame and in a career in business.

  • 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

    This First Lecture will feature advice from an architect's perspective, led by Professor Cusato.

  • Building a Human Rights Dialogue Towards Outcomes: Between Implementation, Advocacy, and Accountability

    • Lecturer: Diane Desierto
    • Keough School of Global Affairs

    Join Diane Desierto to explore how desired human rights outcomes require cultivating the moral courage for sustained, judicious, and human rights-based dialogue in a time of intense polarization and armed conflicts.

  • Connecting the World: Communications and the Internet of Things

    • Lecturer: Robert L. Stevenson
    • College of Engineering

    This First Lecture will cover some of the many cutting-edge developments in communication systems and networks, and lead to a discussion of some of the issues and challenges that come with these technologies.

  • Contributions of Chemical Engineering in Fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic

    • Lecturer: Matthew J. Webber Mark J. McCready
    • College of Engineering

    This talk will outline various details how the unique training and intuition that comes with a chemical engineering education placed us in a central role in responding to the global COVID-19 crisis, including some personal recollections.

  • Got Fakes?

    • Lecturer: Marya Lieberman
    • College of Science

    In this hands-on First Lecture, you will learn how chemistry, paper microfluidics, image analysis, and the power of citizen science create a new technology for solving a real problem in the world.

  • Greater Good in Action, Through the Eyes of a Marketer

    • Lecturer: Yixing Chen
    • Mendoza College of Business

    Join Yixing Chen, Assistant Professor of Marketing, to (1) explore the power of marketing for the greater good, and (2) unleash the power of taking action.

  • Humans, Chimpanzees, and Climate Change: Insights into the Future from a Small Corner of West Africa

    • Lecturer: Catherine Bolten
    • Keough School of Global Affairs

    Join Catherine Bolten to explore how we can use hard science, social science, and environmental humanities together to work towards possible future for all living creatures.

  • Leading Change in a Changing World

    • Lecturer: Christopher Stevens
    • Mendoza College of Business

    Join Christopher Stevens, Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Management & Organization to discuss leadership and your Notre Dame journey

  • March on to Victory: How Planning for your Career after Graduation Now will Set You Up for Success Here at Notre Dame

    • Lecturer: Matthew Morrison
    • College of Engineering

    Matthew Morrison, with assistance from "Eirinn the Golden-Irish Pupfessor", will share insights into career goals, success at ND, and cool stories from NASA.

  • Moral Saints and Moral Burnout: Philosophical advice from Aristotle, Susan Wolf, and Beyonce on striving to become a better person while in college

    • Lecturer: Meghan Sullivan
    • College of Arts and Letters

    In this session, we will debate an age-old question in philosophy: whether good people should try to be as good as possible. And just who has a better life: Mother Theresa or Beyonce?

  • My Path to Becoming an Engineer

    • Lecturer: Diogo Bolster
    • College of Engineering

    This First Lecture will share common experiences and help students identify some of the professional and personal challenges that they might face, as well as the rewarding opportunities that will come their way as undergraduates and after.

  • 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

  • Opportunities for Finance Majors Over the Next Four Years

    • Lecturer: Robert Battalio, Lisa Heming, and Mark Dumich
    • Mendoza College of Business

    Join professors from the Department of Finance in this First Lecture as they explores the opportunities and significance of finance at Notre Dame and beyond

  • Performance, Politics, and Modern China; Or, How to Tell Your Parent(s) that You're Majoring in the Arts

    • Lecturer: Tarryn Li-Min Chun
    • College of Arts and Letters

    This lecture will use the example of contemporary China to show how much fighting against political division and cross-cultural misunderstanding matters today. As for what we should do about it? Simple: make art! 

  • 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 when mathematics gets used in the real world.

  • Representation Matters: How I Became an Expert on Race, Justice, and Popular Culture

    • Lecturer: Jason Ruiz
    • College of Arts and Letters

    Join Jason Ruiz, Chair and Associate Professor within the Department of American Studies, in a First Lecture on race, justice, and popular culture

  • 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 Myth of Abundance: The Origins of My Intellectual Passion for Water

    • Lecturer: Ellis Adjei Adams
    • Keough School of Global Affairs

    Join Ellia Adjei Adam to explore the global water challenge and how his experiences growing up in Ghana continue to inspire him.

  • The Ordinary Business of Life: How I Came to be an Economist

    • Lecturer: Eric Sims
    • College of Arts and Letters

    Join Eric Sims, Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics, as he shares the most pressing macroeconomic issues of the day and what keeps him up at night in his own research.

  • The Possibilities and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence

    • Lecturer: Yong Lee
    • Keough School of Global Affairs

    Join Yong Lee to examine how artificial intelligence is being used and the ethical issues associated with it.

  • 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?

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

    • Lecturer: Nancy Michael
    • College of Science

    Nancy Michael, Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Neuroscience & Behavior Major, will offer a First Lecture that seeks to equip students to thrive during their first year at Notre Dame.