Building a Legacy, One Step at a Time - Mark and Christie Sever '76

Mark and Christie Sever with their scholarship recipient
Mark and Christie Sever with their Scholarship Recipient Nick DiTommaso

Mark and Christie’s legacy at Notre Dame was constructed incrementally over many years, one piece at a time. The legacy they built together first began with two separate paths that would eventually collide.

Christie’s path to Notre Dame began with a bold move. She had watched her cousins and older brother venture off to Notre Dame, but as an all-men’s school, it wasn’t possible for her to follow in their footsteps. Undeterred, during her junior year of high school, Christie wrote to the Provost at Notre Dame and asked if there was any possibility of admitting women. To her astonishment, she received a response indicating that merger discussions about admitting women were underway. Shortly after applying to Marquette, Christie received the news that Notre Dame would officially welcome women in the upcoming academic year. With joy, she applied and became part of the historic first class of undergraduate women at Notre Dame.

Unlike Christie, Mark did not have deeply rooted aspirations of attending Notre Dame. He hadn't grown up as a lifelong fan and had never visited campus until after he was accepted. However, influential people in his life, including a religious sister who had attended graduate school at Notre Dame, encouraged him to consider the university. Upon learning of his acceptance, Mark met with the admissions office, worried about his ability to afford tuition. To his relief, he was informed that he would receive assistance from the John and Mary Boyle Dailey Memorial scholarship, allowing him to assemble a financial aid package that would make a Notre Dame education feasible.

Mark and Christie’s paths converged during their sophomore year. Their college years together were marked by challenging courses and many unforgettable moments, such as the 1973 Sugar Bowl win (and National Championship) and the men’s basketball win against John Wooden’s historic UCLA team. But most importantly, it was a time of building friendships that would last a lifetime.

When they were introduced to the Sorin Society, it became an easy way for Mark and Christie to give back to the institution that had given them so much. After years of giving in this way, they were introduced to the Notre Dame Charitable Remainder Trust Program. This opportunity struck them as a great way to amplify their legacy, building upon the impact they had already made through the Sorin Society. The Charitable Remainder Trust funded by Mark and Christie will bolster a family scholarship created in 2021 to provide others with the same opportunities that Mark had been given.

Through their years of annual gifts, creation of an endowed scholarship, and funding of a Charitable Remainder Trust, Mark and Christie have established a legacy that will endure for generations.