History

1851

The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur come to the San Francisco Bay Area from their mission schools in Oregon and establish the College of Notre Dame in San Jose, California.

1868

The College of Notre Dame chartered as the first college in the state of California authorized to grant the baccalaureate degree to women.

1900

The musical performance program begins with the building of a separate Conservatory of Music in San Jose that eventually becomes part of the university.

1922

Ralston Hall
Ralston Hall Mansion

The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur purchase Ralston Hall, the country estate of William Chapman Ralston, San Francisco financier and founder of the Bank of California.

1923

The campus moves from San Jose to Belmont, California, to the site of Ralston’s estate, currently the university’s main campus.

1928

The entire upper campus is devoted to higher education with the completion of a new building for the high school and grammar school.

1951

NDNU begins offering teacher preparation programs that lead to credentials.

1952

The College of Notre Dame begins offering all undergraduate programs as four-year degrees.

1955

The College of Notre Dame starts to offer evening classes.

1962

The university’s chapel and campanile are completed. Currently the chapel is called the Sister Catherine Julie Cunningham Memorial Chapel and features dalle de verre (“slab glass”) windows by celebrated artist Gabriel Loire.

1969

The institution becomes coeducational; three men graduate as part of the class of 1970.

1972

The college expands to include master’s degrees.

1987

The College of Notre Dame introduces evening undergraduate programs.

2001

The college establishes a school structure and changes its name to Notre Dame de Namur University. Current schools/colleges at NDNU are the School of Business and Management, the School of Education and Psychology, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

2009

NDNU graduateThe university begins offering partnerships in specific degree programs with local community colleges, allowing students to complete an NDNU degree on a community college campus.

Notre Dame de Namur University achieves its status as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, meaning its undergraduate population is at least 25% Hispanic.

2010

The university launches the Gen 1 program for first-generation-to-college students.

2012

Online degrees added.

2013

Notre Dame de Namur University establishes the first PhD program in art therapy in the nation, NDNU’s first doctoral program.

2015

The university begins offering evening undergraduate and graduate degree programs at its new location in Tracy, California. First Tracy graduates complete degrees in 2017.