Zahm House is one of the University of Notre Dame's 30 undergraduate residence halls. It is situated between Keenan Hall to the north, the North Quad to the east, Cavanaugh Hall to the south, and St. Edward's Hall to the west, near the famous Golden Dome.
Designed by the famous architectural firm Maginnis & Walsh and completed in 1937, Zahm House is home to 174 men who proudly refer to themselves as Zahmbies. Zahm is named for the Holy Cross priest, the Rev. John Augustine Zahm, CSC, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1871.
Zahm was one of the first residences in North Quad at Notre Dame, and since it was erected at (then) the northern end of campus, Zahm was the furthest hall from the center of campus and the majority of academic buildings. In the early days of the University, rooms were picked by students with the highest GPAs first, and Zahm's remote location made it a traditional last pick. For that reason, Zahm became home mostly to students with the lowest GPAs who maintained reputations as the more "social" students on campus. In the 1960s, the University dropped academic requirements for first housing picks, and students were henceforth assigned randomly to residence halls before they arrived on campus their freshman year.
Zahm is well known for its tight-knit community and "open-door" tradition. Few halls have as much spirit or as deep a commitment to loyalty and brotherhood.
The brothers of Zahm always take interhall sports as seriously as the other dorms, and the frequent victories brings great pride.
At varsity sporting events, Zahm residents are easily identified by the signature X they make with their arms during the Celtic Chant. Legend says that a Keenan resident once invented the fist pump routine that replaced the original X done by the student body during this song, and, in protest, Zahmbies continue to hold the X up to this day.
Zahm is also known for its longstanding tradition of community service. The profits from Za (Zahm's pizza parlor) go to charity. Men from the House also volunteer at the Robinson Community Learning Center to provide activities for "Fun Fridays." The men of Zahm host two large service events each year, a Halloween Party for children with severe medical conditions in the Fall and a carnival on North Quad for all local elementary school aged children in the Spring.
On March 29, 2007, the Notre Dame Student Senate finally passed a resolution originally proposed by Zahm veteran Pat Knapp and championed by Zahm senator Luke Derheimer to officially recognize Zahm Hall as "Zahm House," a name applied to Zahm since 2003. March 29th is now celebrated as "Zahm Independence Day" with a re-enactment of the Revolutionary War on North Quad with water balloons, with freshmen acting as the British (administrators) and upperclassmen overwhelming them as Americans (residents of Zahm).
During the summer of 2009, Zahm House underwent a multi-million dollar renovation including much-needed new windows, bathrooms, and new basement furnishings.
On August 26, 2012, (Zahm's 75th aniversary and the 95th year of Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C's life) the members of Zahm House met with Fr. Ted and pledged to commit themselves to making Zahm the most inclusive and welcoming community on campus, among other things, creating the "Hesburgh Challenge." On this day, Fr. Ted became an honorary Zahmbie and a House Fellow.
Ignats the Moose
Ignats the Moose is the official mascot of Zahm. In the late 1970s, a few residents of Zahm House were on a trip to Canada during which time they came across a ski lodge that was in the process of closing down. Ignatius, the owner of the lodge, willingly gave the men a mounted moose's head for free. The guys strapped him to the roof of their car and drove back to University of Notre Dame. The House immediately accepted its new mascot and named it "Ignats" in honor of its former owner. Ignats was mounted in the Lounge of the House's basement and has hung there ever since, keeping watch over various activities. Although Zahm residents are referred to as "Zahmbies," Ignats is the mascot of Zahm. Various likenesses of Ignats can be seen on House t-shirts as a man with a moose head, and in the House's unofficial seal as moose antlers.
Soon after the new mascot arrived, Ignats was brought to Notre Dame's men's basketball games. A pattern developed when Ignats was brought to games: the Irish would win. During one game, however, an usher refused to allow Ignats into the arena and the Irish lost that night. The basketball coach at the time, Digger Phelps, found out about the incident, and made sure from then on that Ignats would be allowed into any basketball game. Today, Ignats is bolted to the basement wall of Zahm so that no hall can steal the House's beloved mascot (although, there was a notorious mishap in the early 2010s, which resulted in the the Seven Plagues of Zahm being unleashed upon Dillon Hall).
Driving from the main/front entrance to Notre Dame (facing the Golden Dome):
Driving from the rear entrance (past Stepan Center):