Corbett Family Hall strikes a stunning silhouette rising above the east side of Notre Dame Stadium. But for the Departments of Anthropology and Psychology, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Below the club seating, terraces, and press box on the building's top three levels, faculty and students from these two social science departments will come together in the new 289,000-square-foot structure, made possible by a leadership gift from Notre Dame alumnus Richard Corbett.
With classrooms, laboratories, and offices all under one massive roof, research and teaching efforts are united in a way that will bring untold benefits.
"As an archaeologist, I'm really engaged with the effect that space has on people. This move will have an impact in ways we can't even imagine now," said Mark Schurr, acting chair of the Department of Anthropology and a former associate dean in the College of Arts and Letters. "There will be conversations and collaborations that happen that we didn't have opportunity for previously. The gift of this building is going to have a tremendous impact on our department."
The Department of Psychology — home to one of the largest undergraduate programs on campus — will occupy the third, fourth, and fifth floors of Corbett Family Hall. Currently spread across seven buildings on and off campus, the move in summer 2018 will mark the first time in years that the department will call one building home.
More than 30 psychology labs will be housed in the new facility, offering more space and collaborative opportunities for the researchers who study everything from adolescent development to memory to sleep patterns to visual cognition.
“Having everyone in the same building will help to create a greater sense of the department as a whole,” said Lee Anna Clark, chair and the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Professor of Psychology and a world-renowned clinical psychologist studying personality and psychopathology. “Seeing everyone on a more regular basis, sharing common spaces, and the proximity of the labs will lead not only to a greater sense of camaraderie, but a more vibrant intellectual environment.”
The second floor will be the new home for the Department of Anthropology, including several research labs that will relocate from the Reyniers Laboratory on the far north side of campus. A vast skeletal collection — thousands of bones from 1,500-year-old Byzantine monks and 5,000-year-old residents of the Dead Sea region — will make the move, along with freezers containing saliva, hair, and blood samples collected by anthropologists studying humans and monkeys.
“This beautiful lab space — 2.5 times the size of my existing lab — will do so much to enhance opportunities for graduate students and undergraduates,” said Lee Gettler, an assistant professor of anthropology and director of the Hormones, Health, and Human Behavior Laboratory. “I haven’t had the space to hire all the outstanding students who have been interested in assisting with research.”
Bringing together scholars from two distinct social sciences could also spur exciting interdisciplinary research opportunities. Gettler, a bioanthropologist, is currently working with Notre Dame psychologists on two such collaborations — a study of physical and mental changes that occur in men after they become fathers and research into physiological developments that occur as parents and babies interact.
Teaching, tutoring, and research rooms offer a multitude of ways for students and faculty to study and learn outside of the traditional lecture hall. And a seventh-floor space that hosts club-level gatherings on game days can be converted into a dynamic, multimedia learning space that is full of potential.
“This room is full of opportunities to do new types of teaching,” Schurr said. “We’ve never had a room like this at Notre Dame before.”
On the first floor, the Rex and Alice A. Martin Media Center brings together all campus multimedia services, plus provides space for the new Catholic Media Project and teaching space for the Department of Film, Television and Theatre. With its two studios for hosting live and remote productions, teaching, learning, research and scholarship facilities, the Martin Media Center’s cutting edge audio-video production capabilities are some of the best in higher education. The Center will also support faith-based productions and live programming, such as Masses at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, as well as athletics events, performing arts presentations, academic lectures and speeches.
Studio 1 is a 1,700-square-foot, two-story facility built for the flexibility of hosting academic, faith and athletic production sets as well as a green screen for virtual productions. The second studio boasts a 1,000-square-foot teaching studio for Notre Dame classes and academic content.
“The Rex and Alice A. Martin Media Center is a game-changer for Notre Dame,” said Dan Skendzel, executive director of Notre Dame Studios housed in the Martin Media Center. “This state-of-the-art facility is a resource that allows our campus community to engage with the latest in video technology in support of our core teaching, research and faith mission.”
Notre Dame alumnus Richard Corbett made a gift for construction of the new building. The chief executive officer and president of Concorde Companies, a real estate investment firm in Tampa, Florida, Corbett earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Notre Dame and was class president his senior year. After graduation, he worked on the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign and then in the White House. He earned a master of business administration degree from Harvard University and went on to serve as a financial manager for the Kennedy family in New York and business manager of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign. In celebration of the 50th reunion of the Notre Dame Class of 1960, Corbett provided a generous matching gift in 2010 for the class’ scholarship fund. He also made a gift to endow the head football coaching position at the University and has been a supporter of Notre Dame’s Sorin Society and MBA Program.