New Mayor, New City

Downtown South Bend, Indiana with Notre Dame campus in the backgroundNotre Dame and South Bend have always been nearby neighbors. Now they're working like close friends. Copyright University of Notre Dame / Photo by Matt Cashore.

Take a drive around South Bend, and you'll quickly realize that the city is no longer the Midwestern industrial powerhouse it once was.  After the last magnificent chrome Studebaker rolled off the South Bend assembly line in 1963, the great company's closure staggered the city's great heartbeat.

But that's not the end of the story.  Take a closer look around South Bend -- at developments near downtown, perhaps, or in the burgeoning 'Renaissance District' in the city's southern quarter, and you'll notice signs of a city muscling its way to its feet.  

South Bend is reinventing itself.

For the first time in decades, South Bend has two strong arms to get itself working again.  One of them is the outstretched hand of Notre Dame, which has dedicated itself to breathing life into the old industrial town with techological innovation and civic investment.  Notre Dame has recently announced that some of its students will conduct surveys for Transpo, South Bend's public transportation system.  Notre Dame researchers have developed local tech companiespartnered with the Indiana Department of Education, and even pioneered a new sewer system that will save South Bend $120 million.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at Mendoza College of BusinessSouth Bend's young mayor has a plan. And a degree from Oxford. Copyright University of Notre Dame / Photo by Matt Cashore.

South Bend is also pulling itself up, and that starts with the quiet willpower and down-to-earth brilliance of South Bend's new mayor, Pete Buttigieg.  A fresh-faced 30-year-old, Buttigieg is a South Bend native, the son of Notre Dame faculty members and a Rhodes Scholar. Buttigieg thinks he has the recipe to raise South Bend to prominence again: investment to start new technology companies on the industry's cutting edge.

NPR's Sonali Glinton writes more about South Bend's strides toward a new city: "A Company Town Reinvents Itself in South Bend, Ind."

For more photos of Notre Dame, South Bend and Mayor Pete, head to