Small liberal arts colleges for women are endangered institutions. Yet the tradition is alive and well at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, which recently completed a successful $14 million fund-raising drive. Thanks to the generosity of its donors, the 96-year-old college has established a firm foundation on which to prepare another generation of talented young women to take their place in the world.
Much of the credit for this success goes to the leadership of Sister Kathleen Feeley, Notre Dame's president since 1971. Sister Kathleen, who will retire at the end of this academic year, was a pioneer in connecting the mission of a small Catholic liberal-arts college to the vital concerns of contemporary city life.
Among Notre Dame's proudest achievements have been its co-ed Weekend College, established in 1975, outstanding continuing education and nursing programs, and an English Language Institute for recently arrived foreign nationals. Notre Dame's Women's Institute is one of the area's premier resource centers focusing on women's professional and personal growth issues. Its planned International Center will bring a cosmopolitan flair to the North Charles Street campus.
Notre Dame's steady progress over the years is a reminder of the crucial importance of commitment and leadership. Even in the current recessionary climate, the college has forged ahead through a combination of gritty determination, self-help and, yes, faith on the part of its many friends -- parents, faculty, staff, area businesses and foundations and a dedicated alumnae. All of them can be proud of their contributions to continued excellence in private higher education in Maryland.