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Notre Dame of Maryland University to become fully co-ed for first time in more than 125 years

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BALTIMORE -- Notre Dame of Maryland University will become a fully co-ed institution in fall 2023, admitting men to its undergraduate programs for the first time in more than 125 years, the school said.

The Catholic university's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the change a year after launching an Enrollment Task Force studying admission trends.

"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, chair of the Board of Trustees. "NDMU will continue to educate women and men together to make a difference in the world."

Notre Dame of Maryland was founded in 1873 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame as the Notre Dame of Maryland Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies and Preparatory School for Little Girls.

In 1895, the school received approval from the state to offer four-year degrees. 

About 2,200 students are enrolled in the university, which boasts Schools of Arts, Sciences, and Business; Education; Nursing; and Pharmacy at its 60-acre campus in Baltimore's Homeland neighborhood.

According to a news release from the institution, enrollment at women's colleges has steadily declined across the country.

And there are fewer schools altogether. The Women's College Coalition includes 34 member universities, down from 230 in 1960, according to NDMU.

"By going co-ed, Notre Dame of Maryland University is uniquely positioned to deliver on its mission and strategic goal 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.

Notre Dame has educated men before. In 1975, the school started a Weekend College for adult students that accepted male enrollees, and in 1984, men were admitted into graduate programs at the institution.

And the school has already started accepting male transfer students to its undergraduate nursing program to help address a shortage in Maryland.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame, a Catholic organization started in America in 1847 to help educate the growing number of German immigrants, still operates schools in the U.S. as well as Canada, Japan, England, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

The group said it supports the decision to go co-ed.

"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, provincial leader of the organization's Atlantic-Midwest Province.

Male students will be housed on separate floors in residence halls. The school said Meletia Hall will stay all-female "for the next few years."

A Division III school, Notre Dame of Maryland University will add men's sports teams staring in the 2023-24 academic year.

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