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Notre Dame de Namur University
Ndnu logo.png
Motto Ora et Labora
Motto in English "Pray and Work"
Established 1851
Type Private
President Judith Maxwell Greig, PhD President
Provost Greg White, PhD
Rector Fr. Tom Splain
Faculty 96
Students 1600
Undergraduates 800
Postgraduates 800
Location Belmont, California, USA
37°31′02″N 122°17′10″W / 37.51722°N 122.28611°W / 37.51722; -122.28611Coordinates: 37°31′02″N 122°17′10″W / 37.51722°N 122.28611°W / 37.51722; -122.28611
Campus Suburban (50 acres/20 ha)
Colors Blue, Gold, White
Nickname Argonauts
Affiliations NCAA D-II; PacWest

Notre Dame de Namur University — formerly the College of Notre Dame — is a private, Catholic University located in Belmont, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is one of two four-year accredited universities in San Mateo County (along with Menlo College), and the fifth-oldest university in California. In addition to offering the traditional undergraduate liberal arts programs, NDNU also offers computer information systems and business administration programs capitalizing on its location in the San Francisco Bay Area between Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Its graduate programs includes Master's degrees, teacher credentials, and certificate programs in education, psychology, art therapy, marriage and family therapy, management, public administration, business administration (MBA), music, and English. In addition to traditional daytime programs, the school offers undergraduate evening degree completion programs for working adults.

There are two schools and one college: College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Management, School of Education and Leadership. Enrollment in the university is approximately 800 undergraduates and 700 graduate students.



Notre Dame de Namur University was founded as College of Notre Dame in 1851 by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in San Jose, California. In 1868, the college was incorporated and chartered as the first women's college in California that was authorized to grant the baccalaureate degree. As the college began to grow, the Sisters sought a new campus, and purchased the Ralston Estate in Belmont, California, located south of San Francisco on the Bay Area peninsula, in 1922. The Ralston Estate was formerly inhabited as a summer home by William Ralston, founder of the Bank of California. Ralston drowned, either due to stroke or suicide, in the San Francisco Bay a day after the Bank of California stock crashed in 1875. Ralston Hall is a California Registered Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. The Sisters moved the college to the current campus in Belmont in 1922.

In 1969, College of Notre Dame opened its doors to men, becoming fully co-educational. The student body is currently approximately 70 percent female and 30 percent male. In 1972, the college began offering master's degrees, and in 1988, an evening degree completion program. College of Notre Dame became Notre Dame de Namur University in 2001 when the university was reorganized into four schools: School of Arts and Humanities, School of Business and Management, School of Sciences, and School of Education and Leadership. The university again reorganized in 2009, and now has two schools and a college: School of Business and Management, School of Education and Leadership, and College of Arts and Sciences.


Notre Dame de Namur University has once again been named to the top tier among western region master’s universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings. NDNU’s ranking increased by two places this year as the University ranked 41st among all master’s universities in the western region.

Mission and Vision

Mission Statement: Founded upon the values of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and rooted in the Catholic tradition, Notre Dame de Namur University serves its students and the community by providing excellent professional and liberal arts programs in which community engagement and the values of social justice and global peace are integral to the learning experience. NDNU is a diverse and inclusive learning community that challenges each member to consciously apply values and ethics in his or her personal, professional, and public life.

Vision Statement: Notre Dame de Namur University will be recognized in the San Francisco Bay Area as a leader in integrating community engagement into high quality academic programs. NDNU’s programs will be widely known for their innovative synthesis of liberal arts learning, professionally-oriented learning, and core values.


NDNU competes at the NCAA Division II-level in the Pacific West Conference, having recently returned there (it was DII until 1998). Previously it competed it the NAIA as a member of the California Pacific Conference.

NDNU's mascot is the Argonaut, and the school colors are blue, gold, and white. The mascot is named for the Argonauts who, in Greek mythology, sailed with Jason on the Argo in search of the golden fleece.

The university offers the following athletic programs:

Men: soccer, cross country, golf, basketball, lacrosse

Women: soccer, cross country, volleyball, basketball, softball, tennis

Performing arts

NDNU offers degree programs in music (instrumental, opera, and musical theatre), theatre, and dance. The Department of Music and Vocal Arts and the Department of Theatre and Dance present a variety of performances throughout the academic year.

Department of Music and Vocal Arts

Students can earn a Bachelor's or Master's of Fine Arts in Musical Performance, as well as a minor, and have the opportunity to perform in a number of performances throughout the academic year. On average, the Department produces two operas, a fully-staged musical, and a musical-in-concert each year, as well as weekly concerts in the Herzo Recital Hall, choir concerts, student ensemble performances, student recitals, and performances by guest artists and faculty members as part of the Ralston Performers Series.

Recent productions include Francis Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites, Cole Porter's Anything Goes, Giacomo Puccini's Suor Angelica, Stephen Schwartz's Children of Eden, and Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld.

Pocket Opera at Notre Dame (POND) is a partnership with Donald Pippin's Pocket Opera, a professional opera company based in San Francisco. This partnership allows undergraduate and graduate students participating in opera to learn in a professional setting from the example of professional singers.

The Department also offers a Music Theatre Conservatory each summer, in partnership with Broadway by the Bay, a professional musical theatre company based in San Francisco. The six-week intensive program prepares performers with a well-rounded curriculum in dance, singing, and acting provided by professionals in "the business".

Department of Theatre and Dance

Students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts, a minor in Theatre, or a minor in Dance, and have the opportunity to perform in a number of performances throughout the year, as well as to work with stage craft and backstage. On average, the Department produces two straight plays a year, as well as two dance concerts, a fall theatre festival, and performances of student-directed one-act plays.

Recent productions include "Misalliance" by George Bernard Shaw Frank Galati's The Grapes of Wrath (based on the Steinbeck novel), Georges Feydeau and Maurice Desavallieres' Hotel Paradiso, and George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's You Can't Take It With You.

The Department is well-known throughout the Bay Area for its annual production of A Christmas Carol, a tradition that has been carried on for more than 20 years. Performances are given free of admission as a gift to the community, and canned food and toy donations are collected for local shelters and soup kitchens. The Department began to use a new score in 2006: Alan Menken's A Christmas Carol.

Community Based Learning

As part of the university's mission of social justice, and the goal of equipping students with "what they need to know for life", NDNU offers close to 20 community based learning (CBL) courses, designed to promote learning through community engagement. These courses involve partnerships within the community, and work for an outcome of affecting positive social change. Many of the academic programs at NDNU offer CBL courses, including psychology, sociology, theatre, communications, Spanish, natural science, and music.

Dorothy Stang Center

The Dorothy Stang Center for Social Justice and Community Engagement (DSC) was established on the NDNU campus in honor of the work of Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN, who was murdered in Brazil due to her efforts to aid the poor farmers and the environment in that country. The Center works to increase awareness around the issues of social and environmental justice, as well as encourage dialogue and activism in these areas. Members of the NDNU and the larger community can work with the DSC to create positive social change, and come to a greater understanding of the issues that affect the community.

Programs offered by the DSC include:

Student Programs:

Bonner leaders: a program in conjunction with the Bonner Foundation that provides scholarships for students who complete a set amount of community service

School of the Americas watch: students working for the closure of the School of the Americas

Alternative Spring Break: an opportunity for students to spend their spring break giving service to others

Faculty programs:

Dorothy Stang Scholars Program: educators informed about and focused on community based learning

Environmental Justice Minor: an academic program formed around environmental justice and sustainability

Community Programs:

Dorothy Stang Center Speaker's Series

Sustained outreach to and relationship building with community partners

Staff of the DSC are Don Stannard-Friel, Ph.D.,Director, Gretchen Wehrle, Ph.D., Associate Director and Stuart "Eli" Latimerlo, M.A., Community Liaison.


  • Judith Maxwell Greig, Ph.D, President
  • Greg White, Ph.D., Interim Provost
  • Alex Kramer, Vice President for Finance and Administration
  • Raymond Jones, Ph.D., Vice President for Campus Life
  • Hernan Bucheli, M.A., Vice President for Enrollment Management
  • David Catherman, Vice President for Advancement
  • Tom Hannon, Interim Dean of the School of Business and Management
  • Joanne Rossi, Ed.D., Dean of the School of Education and Leadership
  • Arnell Etherington, Ph.D., Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Associated Students Notre Dame de Namur University

  • Conrad Clevlen, Student Body President
  • Nick Gamiz, Student Body Vice President
  • Natashia Ram, Student Body Secretary

Past Presidents

  • Dr. John B. Oblak (2000-2007)
  • Dr. Margaret A. Huber (1994-2000)
  • Sr. Veronica Skillin (1980-1994)
  • Sr. Catherine Julie Cunningham (1956-1980)
  • Sr. Teresa Augustine (1955-1956)
  • Sr. Mary Loretto (1953-1955)
  • Sr. Helen Madeline (1951-1953)
  • Sr. Marie Frederica (1949-1951)
  • Sr. Helen Bernadine (1936-1949)
  • Sr. Julia of the Passion (1927-1936)
  • Sr. Julia (1922-1927)
  • Sr. Berchmans Joseph (1921-1922)
  • Sr. Mary Veronica (1913-1921)
  • Sr. Mary Bernadine (1892-1913)
  • Sr. Amelia of St. Joseph (1889-1892)
  • Sr. Marie de St. Denis (1888-1889)
  • Sr. Mary Cornelia (1868-1888)


See also

External links



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