Founded in 1856, the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur is a preeminent all-girls Catholic school located in Villanova. Having educated bright young women for a century and a half, the Academy is now propelling itself into the 21st century and beyond through a new strategic vision and campus master plan. These plans include top-notch athletic fields and new academic facilities. Together, the plans will make the campus more vibrant for its students and the greater community. Here, the Academy’s president, Dr. Judith Dwyer, shares insight into those changes.
Q: What are the key elements in the campus master plan?
A: The campus master plan attempts to achieve several goals. One is to restore our beautiful 19th century estate and many of its features, including the Mansion, which is the heart of the campus. Within this elegant space, we plan to create several new facilities that reflect a 21st century learning environment and teaching methodologies. A vibrant campus speaks to our Catholic mission and the legacy of the Sisters of Notre Dame.
Q: How long will it take to implement?
A: The Board of Trustees envisions the development to take place over a 10-year period. We started in 2014 with Phase One, the restoration of the front of the campus. We installed two, new synthetic turf fields and a new track, renovated space for softball and middle school fields, and upgraded our field house. Phase Two is the restoration of the Mansion, which will address external structural issues and will involve a complete interior refurbishment, including new classrooms and administrative offices on all three floors. We shall also build a new Center for STEM Education. For Phase Three, we envision construction of a new liturgical and performing arts center and student center. Altogether, this process will continue through 2024 or 2025.
Q: How will these changes propel the Academy into the 21st century?
A: Notre Dame has a long tradition of teaching excellence and these changes ensure that commitment. With the new opportunities presented in the strategic vision and campus master plan, we shall continue to infuse our curriculum with innovative, new programming for creative and collaborative learning. For instance, our new Center for Global Leadership links our young women as global citizens to an international learning community of several sister schools around the world, including China and Japan.
Q: What is the goal of the strategic vision?
A: The main goal is to situate Notre Dame as one of the premiere Catholic academies in the United States. In light of our Catholic mission and the legacy of the Sisters of Notre Dame, we are committed to providing our young women with a deep sense of community and an environment in which they’re happy, self-confident, poised young women. We want them to have every opportunity possible so they’re prepared to excel at the university and as leaders in the world ahead of them.
Q: How will this impact the curriculum?
A: Construction of a new Center for STEM Education, for example, will provide our students and faculty with an innovative learning environment – with mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, robotics, environmental science classrooms and laboratories that will inspire and prepare the next generation of women to become confident, creative innovators. We are infusing our education with smart classrooms and other features that will enable our students to be prepared technologically to navigate the real world and future career opportunities, where they will need a sophisticated technological literacy.
Q: How will this impact the community?
A: Notre Dame women are women of faith and integrity. We have a commitment to the sacraments and to prayer. We have a commitment to community itself, and a call to service. We promote a sense of inclusiveness and our community values a sense of hospitality. We welcome our neighbors and look to serve not only our local community, but also the regional, national and international communities. Notre Dame will always remain a community where we celebrate God’s goodness and the goodness within each person. We promote mutual respect and compassionate leadership. These qualities have distinguished Notre Dame since 1856 and are at the core of all that we cherish.
The Academy of Notre Dame de Namur is hosting an Open House for prospective families on Sunday, November 6 from 10:30 am until 1:30 pm. More information is available at ndapa.org/openhouse.
This content is made possible by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the attitude, views, or opinions of the Main Line Today editorial staff.