The University of Notre Dame was founded in November 1842 by Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C., a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, a French missionary order. It is located adjacent to South Bend, Indiana, the center of a metropolitan area with a population of more than 300,000. Chartered by the state of Indiana in 1844, the University was governed by the Holy Cross priests until 1967, when governance was transferred to a two-tiered, mixed board of lay and religious trustees and fellows.
Notre Dame has grown from the vision of Father Sorin, who sought to establish a great Catholic university in America, and has remained faithful to both its religious and intellectual traditions. Today, we seek to be an enlightening force for a world deeply in need. Our departments of theology and philosophy are regarded as among the finest in the world while faculty in all departments participate in our mission to ensure that Notre Dame’s Catholic character informs all of our endeavors. From legal scholars who study civil rights and religious liberty, to scientists and engineers who investigate environmental protection, to sociologists who examine religious and ethical practices, Notre Dame continues to be a place where the Church does its thinking.
One of America’s leading undergraduate teaching institutions, Notre Dame also has been at the forefront in research and scholarship. The aerodynamics of glider flight, the transmission of wireless messages, and the formulae for synthetic rubber were pioneered at the University. Today researchers are achieving breakthroughs in astrophysics, radiation chemistry, environmental sciences, tropical disease transmission, peace studies, cancer, robotics, and nanoelectronics.
Notre Dame always has been heavily residential, with about four in five undergraduates living on campus. Students come to Notre Dame to learn not only how to think but also how to live, and often the experiences alumni carry from residence hall communities at Notre Dame remain vivid over a lifetime. The University always has attracted scholars who are interested in teaching and scholarship, men and women who know that a Notre Dame education is more than what is taught in classrooms and laboratories.
Notre Dame has a unique spirit. It is traditional, yet open to change. It is dedicated to religious belief no less than to scientific knowledge. It has always stood for values in a world of facts. It has kept faith with Father Sorin’s vision.