From the President

Dear friends of Notre Dame College,

On March 26, 1922, Mother Mary Cecilia Romen, the Mother General of the Sisters of Notre Dame, wrote a letter to Cleveland Bishop Joseph Schrembs asking permission to open a college for women.

“May I most respectfully submit to your Lordship my reasons for so urgently requesting your gracious permission to found in Cleveland a College under the direction of the Sisters of Notre Dame,” Mother Mary Cecilia wrote.

Dr. Andrew P. RothOn the next four pages, the Mother General made a compelling case why the bishop should grant her wish. She listed statistics summarizing the Sisters’ “extensive and laborious work” in grade and high school education over the previous 50 years, stressed the need for another Catholic college in the diocese, and promised the Sisters would enter the venture at their own financial risk.

“Surely good Saint Joseph will not permit us to plead in vain. This is the firm conviction of your most humble and obedient Servant in Christ,” Mother Mary Cecilia concluded.

She was right. Less than a month later, the bishop granted permission. The rest, as they say, is history.

Ninety years to the day of Mother Mary Cecilia sending that letter, we began a year-long celebration of the College's anniversary. During my opening remarks in the Regina Auditorium, I told our students, alumni, employees and friends about those individuals who had the courage to take on the challenge of building our College and those who helped it flourish over the years.

I told them about Mother Mary Evarista Harks, our first president, who had the courage to build a College; Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche, our first dean, who built the academic and student life of the College; Sr. Mary Odila Miller, our first treasurer, who steered the College through the Great Depression; Dr. Frances Quinlivan, a longtime English professor, whose name is applauded by graduates to this day; and Helen Foose Petersen ’38, who donated $1.19 million to the College in 2001.

To most students these are just names on buildings or awards, but they are much more than that. They are individuals who had the courage to do what ought to be done during times when it was difficult to accomplish them. Without them, the College as we know it today would not exist.

As we celebrate our 90th birthday, we are highlighting those individuals who have shaped Notre Dame and/or are exemplars of living the College’s mission of personal, professional and global responsibility. Our “90 Stories” series features administrators, alumni, faculty, staff, students, trustees and others, who have helped make NDC the mosaic that it is today.

In this special anniversary edition of Notre Dame Today, you will read the story of Sr. Eileen Quinlan ’74, this year’s President’s Lecturer; you will read about how the College came to be and what it has become over the past nine decades; and you will be able to take a stroll through time with a selection of 90 photos from the College’s archives. 

Our 90th anniversary celebration will continue with Founders Week in September, Homecoming and Alumni Reunion Weekend in October, and a Christmas gala in December. We will end our year-long festivities with a closing celebration in March 2013, exactly 90 years after the College’s Articles of Incorporation were signed and filed with the State of Ohio.

I hope you can join us for these events. In the meantime, visit our 90th anniversary website at for event information and coverage, to watch a video that illustrates what brings people to Notre Dame and keeps them here, and to share your favorite NDC anecdotes. After all, your personal stories are what make Notre Dame College a special place.


Andrew P. Roth, Ph.D.

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E.g., 06/23/19