Notre Dame College to close after over 100 years in operation

A roadside sign welcomes students to Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio.
A roadside sign welcomes students to Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio. | Screenshot: Google Maps

A Catholic college in Ohio is closing its doors after more than 100 years in operation as it prepares its students to continue pursuing their education elsewhere. 

In a statement released on Thursday, Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio, announced that in-person instruction at the Catholic institution will conclude at the end of the Spring 2024 semester. “We are all saddened by the need to make this decision,” said Notre Dame College Interim President John Smetanka. “Rest assured that as we move forward, we are doing everything we can to ensure a smooth transition for our students to continue their education.” 

The college attributed the decision to close to “long-standing challenges related to declining enrollment, a shrinking pool of college-aged students, rising costs and significant debt.” The school’s Board of Trustees reported that “heroic efforts” to keep the college open failed to “close the financial gap in time to satisfy debt obligations and allow the school to continue to operate independently.” 

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Examples of these efforts include “refinancing debt, navigating a down market, strategically using federal and state COVID-19 relief funds to maintain our mission during the pandemic, launching a centennial fundraising campaign, pursuing two potential higher education partners for a possible merger or acquisition; and working closely with major donors and other stakeholders to raise additional revenue.” 

“Throughout this long process, we evaluated every possible option to continue the mission of Notre Dame College,” stated Terri Bradford Eason, chair of Notre Dame College’s Board of Trustees. “Our primary focus has been to ensure our students can successfully continue their education, graduate, and — in the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame — live a life of personal, professional and global responsibility.” 

Notre Dame College has established partnerships with nine colleges and universities in Ohio and Pennsylvania to enable the school’s students to continue the education they started at the Catholic college at another institution of higher education with as little disruption as possible. The partner schools are Baldwin Wallace University, Cleveland State University, Hiram College, John Carroll University, Kent State University, Lake Erie, Ursuline College, Walsh University in Ohio and Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania.

“Current students in good standing with at least 60 completed credits will receive guaranteed admission to pursue their degrees uninterrupted at a partner institution, with comparable net tuition and transfer of all credits,” Notre Dame College added. “They will be able to complete their degree in relatively the same amount as they could as NDC.”

As for students with fewer than 60 credits at Notre Dame College, they “may have the opportunity to transfer to a partner institution and receive the same benefits of the Teach-Out Program.” Faculty and staff will receive human resources support from the school as they seek to find employment elsewhere. 

The Board of Trustees expressed “profound” gratitude to “Notre Dame College students for their endurance; to school leadership, faculty, and staff for their loyal service and commitment; and to the many friends, donors, and partners who have so generously supported this special institution, allowing the college to fulfill its mission for over 100 years.” 

The board of trustees added that, “Notre Dame College’s impact and legacy will live on through the contributions of its more than 5,000 alumni and all members of our college community, past and present.”

According to the Notre Dame College website, the school was founded in 1922 as a “Catholic, four-year liberal arts institution for women.” The institution began admitting men in 2001. Its purpose was to “provide a mission-focused, values-based, private Catholic education to students who might otherwise not have access to such an experience” and to educate “a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility.” 

Statistics compiled by the National Center for Educational Statistics show that Notre Dame College had an undergraduate enrollment of 1,329 students and 115 graduate students in the fall of 2022. Notre Dame College is separate and distinct from Notre Dame University, the much larger and more prominent Catholic institution of higher education in South Bend, Indiana. 

Students hoping to learn more about their options following Notre Dame College’s closure can attend a Partner College/University Fair at Keller Gymnasium on March 13.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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