Notre Dame de Namur University plans to sell its Belmont campus to Stanford University following agreement between the two to work toward a purchase agreement that will benefit both in the long term.

“This agreement between NDNU and Stanford gives NDNU the flexibility to grow again in new and exciting ways,” said NDNU President Beth Martin. “We will be able to continue the programs for which we are so well known, and to add new programs directly targeted to changing student needs, including a mix of in-person, hybrid, and fully online programs.”

The Catholic, nonprofit university based in Belmont announced the decision Tuesday afternoon. NDNU is the third oldest college in California and was established in 1851.

NDNU officials in previous years had floated the possibility of permanent closure of the school due to enrollment and financial challenges, with uncertainty about its future in 2020. However, the Board of Trustees in January approved operating beyond the spring semester of 2021 and make the transition based on a high degree of confidence the school could sell campus land to a compatible organization for long-term sustainability. The campus totals 46.3 acres, with more than 320,000 square feet of office and classroom and 24 buildings.

The school recently transitioned away from an undergraduate school into a primarily graduate institution, offering master’s degree programs in business, clinical psychology and education, in addition to teaching credentials.

For Stanford, the university said in a prepared state the campus presents exciting potential opportunities as it pursues its educational mission and long-range vision that includes more purposeful engagement with the region, nation and world. 

The property’s existing use as a residential academic campus was an important consideration for Stanford, as was its location on the Peninsula in proximity to public transit and Stanford’s existing main and Redwood City campuses, according to the statement.

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