Notre Dame de Namur University announced it would remain open beyond the spring semester of 2021 and continue its transition into a primarily graduate and online university with potential undergraduate degree completion programs.

The Board of Trustees of the university agreed to continue operations based on a high degree of confidence that financial arrangements to sell land on the campus to a compatible organization will provide the operational funding needed for long-term sustainability, the school said in a press release. Notre Dame de Namur University, or NDNU, said the board’s endorsement reflects its confidence and vision for the university’s future while being realistic and financially responsible.

The board met in December and took its first step toward securing its future when it unanimously approved recommending to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to continue operations, which the sisters approved. The board’s decision depended on financial steps it reviewed over the past month. NDNU will continue to admit new graduate and teaching credential students for the summer and fall of 2021.

Board of Trustees Chair Sr. Jean Stoner said via the news release, “The board and the administrative team greatly appreciate the support from the entire community during this past year which has helped to make this new plan for a future possible. Being able to find a sustainable pathway to a transformed university has required the dedication and resourcefulness of the board and the many supporters of NDNU over many years.”

President Dan Carey said in a statement: "We arrive at this day ready to embrace a new vision and direction for NDNU based on the values and hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. I am personally grateful for the hard work and collaboration of so many faculty, staff and administrators who remain determined to continue to build pathways for the future of NDNU.”

The Catholic, nonprofit university based in Belmont was established in 1851 by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. It is the third-oldest college in California and the first authorized to grant a bachelor’s degree to women. Over the past year, NDNU has looked at rebuilding the university to become sustainable in the future. It cited the need to narrow curricular focus, modify existing programs and develop new programs as a key to its future. NDNU recently entered into partnerships with Dominican University of California, Menlo College and St. Mary’s College of California to ensure the future of several graduate programs.

The university said it would depend on ongoing financial support from donors, alumni and friends and collaboration from local government and community agencies to help rebuild and stabilize the university.

“I am excited to hear the university is going to exist in some way, and I look forward to hearing about their educational plans for the future,” Belmont Mayor Charles Stone said.

NDNU will celebrate its 170th anniversary in 2021.

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