Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Select Page

Every foundation begins by laying the first brick.

For Notre Dame College, its foundation commenced with a letter from Mother Mary Cecilia Romen to Bishop Joseph Schrembs on March 26, 1922, asking authorization for the Sisters of Notre Dame to start a college for women in Cleveland.

On Holy Saturday, April 15, 1922, Bishop Schrembs approved the request.

Mother Cecilia’s initiative in recognizing and addressing the need for higher education opportunities for women has paved the way for 100 years of quality liberal arts education for diverse populations in Northeast Ohio and across the nation. Today, more than 90 percent of Notre Dame students receive institutional financial aid to make their higher education accessible.

“The Sisters of Notre Dame and those of us who have been pleased to work here have been laying foundation stones ever since,” said Notre Dame President J. Michael Pressimone, Ed.D. “This place continues to be an institution of access, opportunity and empowerment for students in the Greater Cleveland area and around the world.”

Now celebrating its Centennial in 2022-2023, the College is calling for its extended family and friends to make these foundational moments possible for the next generations. Notre Dame’s goal is 1,922 donations of $1,922.00, which will amount to more than $3.5 million in scholarship funds. Gifts can be made online now.

“Perhaps you have had your own foundational moment here. Perhaps you would like to be a part of laying foundation stones for future generations of students, so we come to you seeking financial support for students,” Pressimone added.

From the founding minute to the present moment, every brick, stone, piece, pledge in support of the mission of Notre Dame makes the College’s formation and fortitude even stronger beyond 100.

“Support scholarships for students in this Centennial year to help them create their foundational moments, Pressimone said. “Each brick, each block makes us stronger so that we can continue to be transformative in the lives of our students.”

View a video about the campaign online.

Celebrate the Centennial like it’s 1922

Grab your closest friends and compere a celebration to raise $1,922.00 or more for the College’s Centennial Founding Moments campaign. Notre Dame supporters across the country are hosting individual “Roaring ‘20s” parties over the weekend of Friday, April 14, and Saturday, April 15. Contact Ann Coakley at 216.373.6532 or to request a “party in a box” kit to create a new foundational moment, a gift with impact and a night to remember.

Contribute to the Foundation Moments Mosaic

Be a part of a custom art piece that commemorates foundational moments at Notre Dame. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the College can contribute up to 10 photos from their times on campus and in the spirit of the Sisters to be included in a centennial photo montage. Submit images online now or contact Colleen Wilson at 216.373.5316 or

Communicate the History of the Founding Moment

In 1878, the Sisters of Notre Dame from Coesfeld, Germany, established Notre Dame Academy in Cleveland for 14 students. After several relocations, in 1915 a new provincial house and academy were built on Ansel Road. After 1920, the female students and their families appealed for a college, so they could continue their education with the Sisters.

In April 1921, the Sisters of Notre Dame in Cleveland sent a letter to Mother Mary Cecilia Romen in Germany, asking that they offer “work of college grade.” In response, the Mother General of the Sisters of Notre Dame decided to visit the Cleveland Diocese, where the Sisters now operated one academy, seven high schools and 25 parochial schools.

Following her time with the Sisters, Mother Mary Cecilia wrote a letter to the bishop of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, and the rest his history.

Under the guidance of Mother Mary Cecilia, the College opened its doors to 13 women and 11 novices on September 18, 1922.

In June 1923, the Sisters leased 39 acres from the Jordan Family along Green Road in South Euclid. A year later they purchased 15 more acres. Construction of the current College campus began in the fall of 1926. On September 17, 1928, 13 seniors, 16 juniors, 21 sophomores and 32 freshmen began classes in the new Notre Dame Administration Building.

Continue to Commemorate the Centennial

Notre Dame is celebrating 100 years of foundational moments and educational excellence from September 2022 to September 2023.

The College opened in its current location on South Green Road in South Euclid in September 1922, and its articles of incorporation were signed and filed with the State of Ohio in March 1923.

The College honored the first graduates of its two-year teacher training program in 1925 and its first graduating class of four-year degree students in 1926. Notre Dame continues to mark its Centennial with events throughout 2022-2023.

Details of the Centennial celebration and Notre Dame beyond 100 are available online.

March 2023

About Notre Dame College

Notre Dame College is a private, Catholic, liberal arts college in South Euclid, Ohio, committed to teaching students how to make a good living and live a good life. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. For more information, visit