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Notre Dame of Maryland to go coeducational in 2023

Notre Dame of Maryland University will become coeducational and enroll men into its traditional undergraduate program beginning in fall 2023, ending its more than 125-year history as an exclusively women’s school.

The school’s board of trustees voted at its Monday meeting to make the change.

“By going coed, 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, the university’s president.

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, the school said.

Nationally, enrollment at women’s colleges has steadily declined. Data show that less than 2% 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, the school said. Nationally, male students graduate from college at lower rates than female students.

“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, chair of the university’s board. “NDMU will continue to educate women and men together to make a difference in the world.”

The university had 2,184students — 807 undergraduates and 1,377 graduate and professional degree students — in the fall of 2021, the most recently available enrollment data.

Since its founding in 1895 as the first Catholic college to award a four-year degree to women, Notre Dame 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. In 2021, Notre Dame was the first private college in Maryland approved to offer a master’s degree program in physician assistant studies, set to launch in the fall 2023 semester.

Notre Dame officials say that its new high-demand, undergraduate and graduate degree programs will help the university establish itself as an educational leader in STEM, K-12 teacher preparation and health care.

The university’s founders, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, support the decision to become co-ed, the school said. The university will continue to promote the advancement of women by offering its IMPRINT leadership development program and the Women’s Leadership Institute of Baltimore.