The trustees of Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont announced Monday that the 152-year-old Catholic university is reducing operations in the wake of a steep decline in enrollment, but a final decision about its fate has not been made.
The Board of Trustees said the university’s top priority is to support current students who have the possibility of earning a degree by the end of spring semester 2021. The university will provide those students “a structured and well-supported pathway” to earn the degrees, the trustees said.
But to conserve resources, the university will not enroll any new students for the summer or fall of 2020.
The trustees said:
“Accepting new students under our current circumstances would be unfair to them.”
The university is working with other local colleges and universities to create transfer opportunities for students who do not expect to finish their degrees by the spring of 2021. Intercollegiate athletic programs will end after the spring 2020 semester.
But the board has not yet made a final decision about the future of the university, the trustees said in their statement.
The statement said:
“The Board of Trustees will continue to look for realistic sources of funds, funded proposals, and partnerships that would allow NDNU to attain a viable structure in a highly turbulent and unpredictable world, especially for smaller tuition-dependent California private universities.”
The College of Notre Dame, as it was then called, was chartered in 1868 as the first institution in California authorized to grant college degrees to women. It was then located in San Jose.
It moved to Belmont in 1923, became coeducational in 1969 and began adding graduate programs in 1972. In 2001, the college changed its name to Notre Dame de Namur University.
In a notice on the university’s website, the trustees and academic leaders said:
“We hope to find a way to remain open in the future, but we cannot make that guarantee.”