Established in 1996, O'Neill became both the first residence hall built on West Quad and the first residence hall constructed for men since Flanner and Grace Halls were built in 1969. The first residents of O'Neill came mostly from Grace Hall, a dorm that contained more than 500 students and spanned 11 floors. When the decision was made to use Grace, along with Flanner, for administrative purposes, the majority of Grace residents went to either O'Neill or Keough. This event is symbolized at the end of the annual section football season, as the best section football teams from O'Neill and Keough play each other for the right to hold the Grace Cup (currently in our possession). Legend has it that the move from Grace is also represented in the O'Neill mascot, the Angry Mob. Supposedly some students were angry about their relocation, and consequently they held a series of bonfires in protest. When the time came to choose a mascot for O'Neill, residents decided to carry on the memory of their former dorm by naming themselves the Angry Mob.
Another symbol of O'Neill is the severed bloody hand. This has been a prominent part of O'Neill family heritage since the 14th century. The new O'Neill crest, which you can see in the top left corner, shows the bloody hand. Click on the crest to learn more about the history behind the O'Neill family, the legend surrounding the bloody hand, and the coat of arms design.
Once established and filled with students, O'Neill quickly became known for its signature event, Mardi Gras. Though no longer around in that form, the event currently lives on in our signature event, the Ms. ND Pageant, in which contestants from each female dorm compete for the title of "Ms. ND." O'Neill has built a strong reputation around campus with some of its other successful events including "Recess" and "Iron Chef", as well as being known for a host of popular activities exclusively for O'Neill residents.
More recently, O'Neill has begun to cement its status as one of the elite men's halls on campus. While O'Neill simply used to be known as "the dorm with air conditioning," it is now THE place to live on campus. After making great improvements to hall government and social activities in the 2003-2004 school year, O'Neill continued its upward trend this past year and was awarded the title of "Men's Hall of the Year" for the first time in our history. The award also marked the first time any West Quad dorm had received either Male or Female Dorm of the Year. Continuing the excellence, the dorm again won "Men's Hall of the Year" in the 2006-2007. In 2010, the Frosh-O Staff brought home the title of "Best Male Frosh-O Staff".