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Notre Dame College officially called new students to participate in its community of learners during an outdoor Opening Academic Convocation ceremony.

Notre Dame’s new president J. Michael Pressimone, Ed.D., gave a keynote address to the more than 300 traditional-aged first-year Falcons in the Class of 2024 and several of their faculty, parents, family and friends in attendance. Convocation takes place during Notre Dame’s welcome weekend each fall and is followed by a campus-wide picnic on the College commons.

The ceremony features an official acceptance of admission to the Class of 2022 by the president and an invitation to join the community of learners from the chair of Notre Dame’s Faculty Senate. In addition, the chair of each academic division at the College spoke to students this year. Notre Dame, which educates diverse students in the liberal arts, has five branches: arts and humanities, business, mathematics and science, nursing and professional education.

Students receive a medallion of the College seal at Convocation as a reminder of their commitment to the Notre Dame mission.

“It describes what we expect of ourselves and each other as members of the Notre Dame College family. We all strive to live our mission,” said Sandy Grassman, M.B.A., interim dean of academic programs and associate professor of Management Information Systems at the College.

Student Experiences

Two upper-class student speakers share their experiences as part of the Notre Dame family with first-year students as another feature of Convocation.

This year, senior Selena Carter and junior Logan Reedy encouraged the new students to connect with classmates, take advantage of personal attention from faculty and explore their interests through College academic and co-curricular activities.

Both students stressed the warm, welcoming atmosphere of the caring, diverse College community as essential to their progress in academic and social endeavors.

“The first moment I stepped foot on this campus, I felt at home,” said Reedy, who is a member of the Falcons bowling team and the performing arts color guard.

Carter is a member of the lacrosse team, the Student Athletic Council Committee and the First Generation, or FirstGen, Center on campus. She also is the president of the Notre Dame Black Student Union.

“Never think your voice is too small to make a difference,” she said to the first-year students. “Start using it now to make a positive change in the world and on this campus.”

Presidential Address

In his address, the new president referred to himself as a “first-year Falcon” and noted the unexpected nature of attending college in a COVID-19 pandemic. The students wore masks and socially distanced throughout the ceremony and will continue to do so during classes on campus this semester.

“Your presence gives energy and purpose to my world,” Pressimone said.

The president also discussed the responsibility of students to themselves, the community and the world, not just to stay safe and prevent the spread of the virus that has been so prevalent in the U.S. but also to address racial and other forms of inequality that continues to plague America.

“COVID-19 is not the only infection in the country at this time,” Pressimone said. “We must change the hearts of people.”

He called for “thoughtful civil discourse about racism” to deepen the understanding and respect for all people, members of the College, the country and world family.

“I expect you to learn from one another,” Pressimone said. “This is a learning environment. Take advantage of it.”

August 2020

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, 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. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or pr@ndc.edu.