In the second edition of our 150th anniversary celebration, I examine one of Scholastic’s familial ties: that of editor-in-chief Mark J. Mitchell, Jr., class of 1939, and his grandson, Mark J. Mitchell IV, class of 1996, who served as managing editor.
The elder Mitchell began writing for the sports section in Scholastic, ultimately ascending to the role of sports editor, before being elected by his peers to the role of editor-in-chief for the 1938- 1939 academic year.
He was friends and classmates with president emeritus Rev. eodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., and enjoyed a friendship and close professional relationship with head football coach Elmer Leyden, one of the Four Horsemen. He covered President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s visit to campus, and witnessed the visit of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli in October 1936. According to his grandson, this same event prompted Mitchell to order a stop to the presses three years later, when Cardinal Pacelli was elected Pope Pius XII.
Mitchell’s Scholastic legacy was passed down through the generations to his grandson, when the younger Mitchell arrived at Notre Dame in 1992 and successfully became news editor as a freshman.
Mitchell covered hazing; campus-wide traditions and events; student life. He was on campus for the lming of Rudy; gained entrance to the inside of the golden dome and was there for the so-called “Game of the Century” in 1993.
A part of Scholastic legend, Mitchell became the Gipper his sophomore year, running
the popular feature “Campus Watch by the Gipper,” which was written anonymously by one Scholastic sta er but involved tips by all of the editors — who received them from across campus. Scholastic’s adventures with the feature became a bit too much during Mitchell’s time, as he recalled certain threats by an administrator to shut Scholastic down if anonymity was not revoked for the Gipper — but all matters were eventually ironed out.
Eventually, Mitchell became managing editor in his junior year. When two of his friends became student body president and vice president in his senior year, he transitioned to government, and became their administration’s chief of sta . “My goal had always been editor-in-chief of Scholastic; but switching over to student government would allow me to get into the action, not just report on the action,” Mitchell wrote to Scholastic. “‘Live like you will die tomorrow,’ says the Scholastic motto — so I made the jump to student government.”
While his junior year marked the end of Mitchell’s o cial involvement in Scholastic, he credits much of what he managed to do in student government to lessons he learned with the publication. His nal project gathered alumni recollections for the 50th anniversary of World War II. Letters, usually handwritten, came in from the alumni themselves, and from wives, sons and friends writing on their behalves. e letters were cataloged and o cially led in the university archives.