Notre Dame de Namur University is the only four-year accredited university in San Mateo County. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1851, NDNU is a private, independent, Catholic, co-educational institution. The 50-acre campus is located in the city of Belmont on the San Francisco Peninsula. The University combines a residential and commuter undergraduate program with evening programs for working adults at both undergraduate and graduate levels. NDNU currently enrolls approximately 1,500 students from 26 states and 19 foreign countries.
The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur came to the San Francisco Bay Area from their mission schools in Oregon. While visiting the Bay Area they established an institute of higher learning, College of Notre Dame, in the city of San Jose. Chartered in 1868, it was the first college in the state of California authorized to grant the baccalaureate degree to women.
The College soon outgrew its facility in the South Bay and moved to Belmont in 1923. The College purchased Ralston Hall, the country estate of William Chapman Ralston, San Francisco financier and founder of the Bank of California. The Hall became the center of the campus and in recent years has been designated as a California Historical Landmark.
The College became fully co-educational in 1969, started offering master's degrees in 1972, and began the evening degree completion program in 1988. In 2001, the College reorganized into four schools and adopted the name to Notre Dame de Namur University to better reflect its structure and the mix of undergraduate, graduate, liberal arts, and professional programs offered.
Notre Dame de Namur University is currently celebrating its 157th year of service to the community. From its Gold Rush beginnings, the University has grown into a fully accredited institution that offers a broad range of undergraduate degrees, fifth-year credential programs in education, master's degrees in business, education, psychology, English, and music, and a variety of related certificate programs.