Founded upon the values of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and rooted in the Catholic tradition, Notre Dame de Namur University serves its students and the community by providing excellent professional and liberal arts programs in which community engagement and the values of social justice and global peace are integral to the learning experience. NDNU is a diverse and inclusive learning community that challenges each member to consciously apply values and ethics in his or her personal, professional, and public life.
Notre Dame de Namur University will be recognized in the San Francisco Bay Area as a leader in integrating community engagement into high quality academic programs. NDNU’s programs will be widely known for their innovative synthesis of liberal arts learning, professionally-oriented learning, and core values.
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 1,600 students from 22 states and 24 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 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 159th 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.