Murf’s “favors” sometimes register as tough love, especially when he’s trying to protect students from recklessness. “When kids come in on their 21st birthdays asking for shots, I don’t do it. I’ll make them a drink, but I won’t pour them shots.” In Murf’s view, shots are for “getting stupid,” and he won’t allow Notre Dame students to get stupid on his watch.
Mike values Murf’s egalitarian approach to service. “I’ve been in here at nights when there are trustees, and I’ve thought, ‘Well, we’re gonna take a backseat.’ Not the case at all,” he says, shaking his head. “Not the case at all. Murf has made me and all my ministry friends feel like a part of Notre Dame. He would treat us exactly the way he’d treat a trustee.” He handles guests, Mike says, as “a virtuoso handles the different sections of an orchestra.”
The Notre Dame Magazine, the alumni magazine, has this lovely story about Murf, the long-time bartender at the bar inside Morris Inn, Notre Dame’s on-campus hotel.
I grew up watching Cheers and always enjoyed the idea of communal drinking establishments—public houses, beer halls, and the like—places that truly are that “third place” separate from home and work where you socialize, intentionally with friends and randomly with people present.
Notre Dame is a special place because of people like Murf who keep the human side of the institution front-and-center.