Mission and History
Welcome to Notre Dame College! We are happy to share our mission and history with you. We are proud of our long tradition of excellence and are dedicated to supporting all students who enter our doors in the pursuit of knowledge and growth.
Notre Dame College, a Catholic institution in the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame, educates a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility.
Statement of Purpose
Notre Dame College engages students, staff and the wider community in the educational experience. Those who choose a Notre Dame College education are encouraged to develop these values and skills:
- Thinking logically, analytically and creatively
- Communicating effectively in speech and in writing
- Demonstrating mastery of an academic discipline
- Choosing wisely for health and well-being
- Appreciating the fine arts
- Integrating Judeo-Christian values into their lives
- Pursuing their personal spiritual development
- Sharing talents and gifts in the spirit of friendship and compassion
- Engaging in the lifelong search for truth, beauty and justice
Catholic Identity Statement
Given the saving death and resurrection of Jesus, Notre Dame College sees itself as having a mission within the Church to extend Christ’s loving, saving activity in the world. The Gospel serves as guide and goal.
- We live in a way that communicates that we are confident that life has meaning.
- We believe that in some way each of us is called to serve others and contribute to the “common good” in our immediate relationships and as a participant in the larger global community.
- Each one of us is called in Christ to respond to the fullness of gifts we have been given in the Spirit.
- As we exercise the gifts of the Spirit, we recognize the responsibility to live an honest, ethical and moral life so that our daily circles of influence are consistently marked in sometimes subtle or dramatic ways by the Notre Dame College mission.
Notre Dame College understands the unique role a Catholic College plays in the 21st century American culture. Committed to our Catholic faith tradition of belief in God’s creating, saving and sustaining love, we strive to daily live out the distinctive characteristics of a Catholic University identified by John Paul II.
- We give evidence of Christian inspiration and commitment as individuals and as a college community by daily celebration of liturgy, active participation in Christian and ecumenical prayer and through the renewal and refurbishing of our worship space, Christ the King Chapel.
- In both formal and informal settings, faculty and students conduct their academic work and reflection in light of the Catholic faith with due regard for academic freedom and the conscience of every individual. All undergraduates are required to take a scripture class, a social justice class and an ethics class in order to graduate.
- Students and faculty are committed to the ideals, principles and teachings of the Catholic Church. Students, staff and faculty are expected to develop and live a personal moral and ethical code that reflects the values of the Catholic tradition.
- The mission of Notre Dame College calls faculty, staff and students to service of others through personal, professional and global responsibility. Students are involved in annual outreach including: Habitat for Humanity, Stretch Your Heart and summer service projects. Both faculty and students make individual commitments to some local or national service project.
As a Catholic college, Notre Dame College was founded upon and continues to teach in light of our rich Catholic tradition and Catholic principles.
- Relying on our expansive intellectual heritage. Catholic intellectual life relies on a breath-taking body of works and treatises stretching from Justin to Augustine to Lonergan, from Origen to Anselm to Teilhard, from Aquinas to Newman to Küng.
- Affirming the sacramental principle that the natural world as well as human culture can serve to mediate God’s grace. This principle, as well as those that undergird our responsibility to educate for justice, reminds us of our call to participate in the transformation of the world in light of the human dignity of all persons.
- Prizing pluralism. The Catholic faith consistently confirms its universality and catholicity as it embraces all people: young or old, believer or non-believer, from every nationality or social class with special gifts or specific challenges.
The Sisters of Notre Dame founded Notre Dame College as a Catholic, four-year, liberal arts institution for women in 1922. After fleeing Coesfeld, Germany during Bismarck’s Kulturkampf in the 1870s, many had come to Cleveland at the request of the church for German-speaking teachers for the area.
In 1878, the Sisters established Notre Dame Academy in Cleveland for 14 students. On March 26, 1922, Mother Mary Cecilia Romen wrote a letter to Cleveland Bishop Joseph Schrembs asking for permission to open a college for women. Less than a month later, the bishop granted permission.
Under the guidance of Mother Mary Cecilia Romen, the College opened its doors to 13 women and 11 novices on Sept. 18, 1922; the articles of incorporation for Notre Dame College were signed and filed with the State of Ohio on March 30, 1923. Mother Mary Evarista Harks became the first president of NDC; Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche was appointed the first dean.