Sorin is, was, and forever shall be Notre Dame’s first residence hall. Before its construction, students studied and lived in the Main Building. Sorin was the first residence hall at a Catholic college in the U.S. to offer private quarters as opposed to large barracks-style rooms. A few years earlier, the Main Building had reserved a few single rooms for select students who were obliged to remain “above average” in both study and conduct or forfeit them to ones more worthy. The academic performance of those Domers was so good that some priests wondered if they shouldn’t be offered to more. Students loved the idea. As a result, the University began construction on “Collegiate Hall.” On May 27, 1888, Fr. Sorin blessed the cornerstone, and shortly thereafter it was decided to rename the hall after the elderly founder who had insisted that it be built.
In 1969, the Sorin Otters, in protest of the Vietnam War, symbolically seceded from the University, renaming the residence “Sorin College”. Residents look to the name as a symbol of honor and unity, and it is one of the most sacred traditions that an Otter is to never refer to his residence as anything but what it truly is – Sorin College.