About Notre Dame


The University of Notre Dame was founded in November 1842 by Edward F. Sorin, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, a French missionary order.  It is located adjacent to South Bend, Indiana, the center of a metropolitan area with a population of more than 300,000.  Chartered by the State of Indiana in 1844, the University was governed by the Holy Cross priests until 1967, when governance was transferred to a two-tiered, mixed board of lay and religious trustees and fellows.

Notre Dame has grown from the vision of Father Sorin, who sought to establish a great Catholic university in America, and has remained faithful to both its religious and intellectual traditions. Over the years, Notre Dame has been a place where the Catholic Church could do its thinking. The first national study of Catholic elementary and secondary education was done at Notre Dame, as was the most extensive study of Catholic parish life and a landmark historical study of the Hispanic Catholic Community in the United States.

One of America’s leading undergraduate teaching institutions, Notre Dame also has been at the forefront of research and scholarship. The aerodynamics of glider flight, the transmission of wireless messages, and the formulae for synthetic rubber were pioneered at the University.  Today researchers are achieving breakthroughs in astrophysics, radiation chemistry, environmental sciences, tropical disease transmission, peace studies, cancer, robotics, and nanoelectronics.

An on-campus residential experience is central to Notre Dame’s educational mission for its undergraduate students, and the University provides on-campus housing for nearly 80% of its undergraduates. Students come to Notre Dame to learn not only how to think but also how to live in community with their peers. Often their experiences living in residence halls at Notre Dame remain vivid over a lifetime.  The University has always attracted scholars who are interested in both teaching and scholarship, men and women who know that a Notre Dame education is more than what is taught in classrooms and laboratories.

Notre Dame has a unique spirit.  It is traditional, yet open to change. It is dedicated to religious belief no less than scientific knowledge.  It has always stood for values in a world of facts.  It has kept the faith with Father Sorin’s vision.


  • Undergraduate:                     8,530

  • Graduate:                             3,863

  • Total:                                   12,393

For additional information, please go to the University website.