By Hermoine Riggs
As NDMU celebrates 125 years of learning, the campus community looks back at how Notre Dame has grown and evolved over the years.
Originally called “Notre Dame of Maryland Preparatory School and Collegiate Institute,” NDMU was founded in 1873. The founder, Mother Mary Theresa, brought five sisters to America to educate women. The School Sisters of Notre Dame, or SSNDs, officially established the College of Notre Dame in 1895. Only six women were in the first graduating class and their picture can be seen around campus, such as the main lobby in Gibbons Hall.
The main focus that the SSNDs wanted to bring when they came to America was the focus of empowering women and the importance of educating women. The Institute of Notre Dame, which was the first school that later led to Notre Dame of Maryland University, was the first Roman Catholic, all women’s school in America.
While the SSNDs originally only taught elementary to high school levels of education, they soon realized the importance of furthering women’s education. This desire led to the creation of the College of Notre Dame. This allowed for women to grow and prosper at Notre Dame to transform the world through education which eventually became Notre Dame’s official mission statement, according to the school’s website.
In 1936, Notre Dame approved the Honor Code. This document was made by students and faculty, emphasizing truth and honest academic work. This code continues to be used today be new students. Reciting the Honor Pledge commits students to an honest education, promising to uphold the values of the school.
September 9, 2011, Notre Dame’s 116th anniversary, the college received the title of university.
By achieving the title of university, Notre Dame has continued to empower women through education. Now known as Notre Dame of Maryland University, the school is divided in to four academic schools: art and sciences, education, nursing, and pharmacy.
NDMU is known for the sense of family and community.
Senior biology major, Kiera Mull, is glad to be a part of the NDMU community and feels proud to be a member of the 125 year anniversary graduating class. “Being a part of the 125th graduating class represents so much for not only myself, but also for the advancement of women’s education. This place really has truly empowered me to take on the world and transform it,” she said. “I cannot wait to see not only what I will do, but also the women who come after me.”
As the school continues to learn and grow, students are able to succeed and connect to the community in a variety of ways.
According to the school’s 125 anniversary website, there are several events taking place this year to commemorate the school’s achievement. These include a 125th Exhibit in the Loyola Notre Dame Library, available for viewing through October 20.
The website also advertises a 125th Anniversary Party: New York City and 125th Anniversary Party: Washington, DC, as well as several other events.
In a recent video advertising the school’s 125 year milestone, NDMU president Marylou Yam shared her hopes for the future of the school. “I’m certain that this institution, one founded on the SSND spirit of trusting and daring, will continue on its pioneering path of pursuing the truth and educating compassionate and confident leaders,” she said.
Photo Courtesy ndm.edu