Historic Notre Dame College in Ohio to Close This Spring After 100 years

NDC, which was established in South Euclid, Ohio, in 1922, was a women’s college until 2001.

A view of the Notre Dame College administration building from the south, including its tower.
A view of the Notre Dame College administration building from the south, including its tower. (photo: Josephgg216 / Wikimedia Commons)

After more than 100 years in Ohio, Notre Dame College (NDC) will shut its doors this year, joining a growing list of small Catholic colleges that have closed in recent years.

Though the school has been struggling with debt for the past few years, the announcement was sudden, falling just months before the end of the college’s final semester. Rising costs and declining enrollment contributed to the school’s closure.

“Throughout this long process, we evaluated every possible option to continue the mission of Notre Dame College,” said Terri Bradford Eason, the chair of the school’s board of trustees, in a Feb. 29 press release

“Our primary focus has been to ensure our students can successfully continue their education, graduate, and — in the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame — live a life of personal, professional, and global responsibility,” she continued. 

“We are all saddened by the need to make this decision, but rest assured that as we move forward, we are doing everything we can to ensure a smooth transition for our students to continue their education,” Interim President John Smetanka said in the release

NDC, which was established in South Euclid, Ohio, in 1922, was a women’s college until 2001.

Through an agreement with nine colleges and universities, NDC students will be able to complete their college education through a “teach-out” program or as a transfer student. 

“We need to make sure that they’re going to land somewhere, so they can finish their education … and emotionally, to support them too,” Lisa Mobley, a biology laboratory technician at NDC, told local news station WKYC Studios

“This is a big blow to a lot of the students,” she continued. “They were very happy here and now it’s cut out from underneath them.” 

Ursuline College in Cleveland is one of several schools that are taking on NDC students.

“Notre Dame College, its alumni, faculty, staff, and students have been a tremendous asset to Northeast Ohio for more than 100 years,” Sister Christine De Vinne, OSU, Ph.D., president of Ursuline College, said in a Feb. 29 press release

“We mourn the loss of our sister institution and are committed to assisting its students during this challenging time,” Sister De Vinne continued. 

Ursuline will offer a “teach-out” program designed to minimize the impact of the school closure on students by accepting a large amount of the credits that students have already earned at NDC.

“It’s a very labor-intensive process to articulate the programs,” said Kathryn LaFontana, Ursuline’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, in the press release. 

“But we’re happy to help Notre Dame students, especially those close to graduation, finish their degrees, in a similar time frame at a similar cost.”

Students in good standing with more than 60 credits — about two years of classes — will be guaranteed admission to the partnered universities, where all the credits will transfer over and tuition cost will be comparable. Students with fewer credits can transfer to one of the colleges or universities and receive the same benefits as the teach-out program. 

Notre Dame College joins Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts in New Hampshire and Cabrini College in Pennsylvania, both of which announced their closures last year and will graduate their final class in spring 2024. 

Though several Catholic colleges are closing this year, many are thriving, and one STEM-based Catholic university is set to launch this fall. Meanwhile, Catholic trade schools are sprouting up across the country.

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