SOUTH BEND -- Telling the story of a local man who provided a place for Notre Dame's founder, Father Edward Sorin, to stay when he arrived to the area in 1842, Notre Dame's current president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, described the beginning of what he said is a longstanding partnership between the university and community.
Reaching back to the early history of the university, Jenkins said this same man offered Father Sorin $500 to help rebuild when fire devastated the campus in 1879.
"It's the partnership we should celebrate," Jenkins told a crowd of more than 500 Wednesday night at a fundraiser for the Center for History.
The center honored Notre Dame for the role it plays in the Michiana area at its annual fundraiser, which took place this year at the Oliver Gardens of Copshaholm.
Jenkins referenced more recent collaborations like the Center for the Homeless and the Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Organization, which helped develop the neighborhood just south of campus.
"The question for all of us tonight and in the future is, what will we do to add to the story of this local community?" Jenkins said.
The Center for History presented to Notre Dame from the people of Michiana a glass, inscribed honor thanking the university for its role in aiding development in the area.
The university celebrates its 170th anniversary this fall.
The event's planning chairs, Christopher J. Murphy III, president and chief executive officer of 1st Source Corp. and 1st Source Bank, and his wife, Carmi, also presented the university with collections of signed testaments of appreciation from local mayors, Gov. Mitch Daniels and the Indiana congressional delegation.
Former Notre Dame presidents the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh and the Rev. Edward Malloy attended the event.
Hesburgh offered a prayer at the beginning of the event.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg also attended, as well as many university executives, local officials and a group of Holy Cross sisters.
The event raised about $500,000 for the center.
Staff writer Madeline Buckley: