NDMU Becomes Co-ed

Caroline and Theresa Halls

Frequently Asked Questions: NDMU Becomes Co-ed

For more than 125 years, Notre Dame of Maryland University has broken barriers to provide high quality higher education to generations of diverse students. NDMU has continuously expanded its reach to create new educational opportunities for underserved populations and build inclusive communities. On Sept. 12, 2022, the NDMU Board of Trustees voted unanimously that the University become co-educational and enroll men into the traditional undergraduate program starting in fall 2023.

The decision came nearly a year after the Board formed an Enrollment Task Force to review the enrollment trends of women’s colleges, as well as undergraduate data nationally and statewide. By becoming co-ed, NDMU is honoring and expanding its historical mission to educate leaders to transform the world. This decision will allow NDMU to provide its distinctive model of inclusive transformational education to more women and men.

“The Board recognized that in order for NDMU to flourish for years to come, we needed to expand our mission to admit women and men who want a co-ed college experience,” said Patricia McLaughlin, SSND ’66, chair of the Board of Trustees. “NDMU will continue to educate women and men together to make a difference in the world.”

Several factors informed the Board’s decision:

NDMU has historically gone where the need is. Since its founding as the first Catholic college to award a four-year degree to women, NDMU has continued to be an innovative university of firsts. In 1975, in response to the growing need for flexible higher education for adult students, the institution became only the nation’s second college to establish a Weekend College for adult undergraduate students, opening enrollment to men for the first time in the college’s history.

In 2018, the University became the first college or university in the state to offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in art therapy. Just last year, NDMU was the first private college in Maryland approved to offer a master’s degree program in physician assistant studies, set to launch in fall 2023. NDMU is offering new high-demand, undergraduate and graduate degree programs, establishing the University as an educational leader in STEM, K-12 teacher preparation, and healthcare. Those new programs include pre-professional bachelor's degree programs in pre-occupational therapy (2021), pre-physician assistant studies (2023), and health sciences (2023), as well as a doctoral program in occupational therapy (2021).

NDMU has an opportunity to expand access to its inclusive and transformational education to more women and men. Nationally, enrollment at women’s colleges has steadily declined. Data show that less than 2 percent of female students enroll in private, nonprofit women’s colleges and universities every year. There is also a growing need to expand higher education opportunities for traditional college-age men. Nationally, male students graduate from college at lower rates than female students.

“By going co-ed, Notre Dame of Maryland University is uniquely positioned to deliver on its mission to advance inclusive and transformational education to more women and men and to equip them to realize their goal of attaining a college degree,” said Dr. Marylou Yam, president of Notre Dame of Maryland University.

NDMU’s foundresses, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, support the decision to become co-ed. NDMU will continue to promote the advancement of women by offering the innovative IMPRINT leadership development program and the Women's Leadership Institute of Baltimore (WLIB).

“The School Sisters of Notre Dame established an enduring legacy that continues to guide Notre Dame of Maryland University into the future. Their future-focused vision and spirit still animate this community of faith, learning, and service,” said Charmaine Krohe, SSND ’75, provincial leader of the SSND Atlantic-Midwest Province.

By becoming co-ed, NDMU has the opportunity to advance the vision of the SSNDs and continue to deliver on its mission.

Established in 1895, Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) is a private, Catholic institution in Baltimore, Maryland, with the mission to educate leaders to transform the world. Notre Dame has been named one of the best "Regional Universities North" by U.S. News & World Report.

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