The Bus Takes a Purposeful Journey

The Inspired Leadership Initiative at Notre Dame welcomed Jerome Bettis on Monday, March 28, as he explored pursuing a new purpose following his successful football career, his return to campus to complete his degree, and his mission to be a force for good as he advocates for asthma education and awareness and dedicates himself to serving the youth in his community. Please enjoy the recording of the live, in-person event on ThinkND.

Subscribe to the ThinkND podcast on Apple, Spotify, or Google.

The second event in the Journey Towards Purpose series on ThinkND featured former Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back, Jerome Bettis with faculty host, Chris Stevens. The discussion focused on Bettis’ decision to return to Notre Dame after a successful football career to finish his degree at Notre Dame and how he is using his Notre Dame education to make a difference in the world.

The conversation begins with some brief information on Notre Dame’s Inspired Leadership Initiative, which empowers individuals from all disciplines who have completed their chosen careers and wish to embark on a process of discovering, discerning and designing who they want to be in the next stage of their lives using Notre Dame’s resources. Bettis is one of many who have decided to return to Notre Dame as they enter new career endeavors. Bettis shared that he promised his mom that he would eventually return to Notre Dame to finish his degree when he decided to play football professionally and the recent pandemic gave him the nudge he needed to return to school. Being a student again has its challenges for Bettis. For instance, the technology available to students is far more than what was available to Bettis when he was an undergraduate, however, Bettis does not regret choosing to go back to school.

Bettis’ football career took many turns. After leaving Notre Dame, Bettis went to play for the St. Louis.Rams, then eventually was traded to the Steelers. He played a great career in the NFL, eventually winning a super bowl in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan and being inducted into the Football Hall of Fame 

Bettis talked about how Lou Holtz had affected the way he practiced and the way he played football, which eventually changed the trajectory of his career. Bettis reminisced Holtz’s three rules he would tell his team during practice at Notre Dame, to do the right thing, be the best person you can be, and show people you care. Holtz’s rules have inspired Bettis as a football player both on and off the field. This inspiration and the experience Bettis has gained from his life led him to found a nonprofit called The Bus Stops Here Foundation. The foundation is a way for him to give back to the community. His nonprofit seeks to offer educational, recreational, development, and financial assistance programs for youth in sports. The programs provide mentorship, guidance, coaching, training,and resources to the underprivileged youth.

The discussion transitioned to a Q/A with the audience surrounding Bettis’ experience being back in a classroom setting. Bettis shared with the audience that he enjoys getting to impart wisdom from his career to young people who are just beginning their career paths. Sometimes, as a young undergraduate, it is hard to recognize the true benefit of your education. Bettis tries to assist his classmates in realizing the meaning and benefit of being a Notre Dame student. As a “super senior learner,” Bettis has enjoyed learning to understand, not to memorize information to do well on the exam. He believes that everything he is learning is tools for his toolbelt that will come in handy later. He is incredibly grateful to have returned to Notre Dame to continue his education and make a bigger impact on the world.

Visit the event page for more.


  • Notre Dame’s Inspired Leadership Initiative, which empowers individuals from all disciplines who have completed their chosen careers and wish to embark on a process of discovering, discerning and designing who they want to be in the next stage of their lives (1:00)
  • Being a student again has its challenges for Bettis. For instance, the technology available to students is far more than what was available to Bettis when he was an undergraduate (4:00)
  • Lou Holtz taught Bettis how to practice with intent, which changed the way he practiced, played, and eventually affected the trajectory of his career (20:00)
  • Bettis shared with the audience that he enjoys getting to impart wisdom from his career to young people who are just beginning their career paths (34:00)

 


  • Lou Holt’s had three rules for his football team,  do the right thing, be the best you can be, and show people that you care” (Chris Stevens, 25:37)
  • I have a unique opportunity to come back and  impart wisdom to these young people about the university and its benefits” (Jerome Bettis, 35:22)
  • “Being a champion is about the process, and it’s about not cheating the process” (Jerome Bettis, 37:14)

Career Development