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Founders’ Week Celebrates History, Mission. Photo: Archives
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Founders’ Week Honors History, Mission

Under the theme “Create, Connect, Celebrate Community,” Notre Dame College will hold its 2010 Founders’ Week from Sept. 26 to 30.

The week is an annual tradition at NDC aimed at educating students, faculty and staff about the legacy of the Sisters of Notre Dame, who founded the College in 1922.

“We look forward to celebrating as a community – celebrating our growth and accomplishments,” said Sr. Carol Ziegler, special assistant to the president for mission effectiveness. “Each of us individually and together represent in a unique way the Notre Dame spirit in our academic and athletic endeavors, as well as in our daily interactions.”

Dr. Andrew P. RothThe week-long celebration highlights the College’s history, its values and mission. Several programs will provide historical information, emphasize social justice, and create opportunities for the community to become closer.

The week will kick off on Sunday, Sept. 26, with Mass at Christ the King Chapel at 8 p.m. followed by a presentation on human trafficking in the Great Room at 8:45 p.m.

On Monday, Dr. Andrew P. Roth, president of Notre Dame College, will give a State of the College Address at Regina Hall at 11:45 a.m. as part of the official opening of Founders’ Week. Students, faculty, staff as well as alumni and neighbors are welcome to attend the event. Following the Dr. Roth’s remarks, students in the College’s SAND (Seniors at Notre Dame) Program will give tours of the Regina building from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Later Monday evening at 9 p.m., students will gather on the Providence front lawn for a bonfire.

On Tuesday, several events will highlight the community spirit at Notre Dame. There will be “Appetizing Apples” in the foyer from 2 to 4 p.m.; painting of the “Spirit Rock” from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.; judging of a residence hall door decorating contest at 5 p.m.; and a women’s volleyball game versus Point Park University at the Keller Center at 7 p.m.

The fun continues on Wednesday with 1920’s pricing on certain food and drink items in the Falcon Café, a scavenger hunt from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a prayer service and spiritual discussion in the Providence chapel at 8 p.m. Later Wednesday evening Dr. Roth will honor John and Stella Hetzer ’59 for their longtime support with the 2010 Fidelia Award, one of the College’s highest honors.

Notre Dame College's teaching philosophy is rooted in the values of the Sisters of Notre Dame.On Thursday, students have the opportunity to meet the founders of the College, when the Sisters of Notre Dame visit the campus. The Sisters will be available to talk about their ongoing outreach in eight different ministries in the foyer from 10 a.m. to noon. They will then join students for lunch in the cafeteria. Founders’ Week will conclude with a fun-filled picnic in the Connelly cafeteria and on the patio at 8 p.m.

“Typically, the Sisters of Notre Dame celebrate Founders’ Day on October 1st,” Sr. Carol said. “On October 1st, 1850, two young German women made a commitment to educate children and commit their lives to God. Notre Dame College carries on that commitment to education and to service a 21st century milieu.”

It was on that fall day that Hilligonda Wolbring and Elisabeth Kűhling founded the SND congregation of Coesfeld, Germany, received their first religious clothing and choose their religious names: Sr. Mary Aloysia Wolbring and Sr. Mary Ignatia Kűhling. The new Sisters adopted the spiritual heritage of St. Julie Billiart and the educational heritage of Bernard Overberg.

The Sisters fled Germany during Bismarck’s Kulturkampf in the 1870s. Many of them came to Cleveland at the request of Bishop Richard Gilmour who sought German-speaking teachers for the parish schools of St. Peter's and St. Stephen’s in Cleveland, and St. Joseph’s in Fremont, Ohio.

Mother Mary Cecilia Romen was instrumental in the founding of Notre Dame College. Photo: ArchivesIn 1877, the Sisters opened Notre Dame Academy in Cleveland. After several relocations, in 1915 a new provincial house and academy were built on Ansel Road. After 1920, boys were no longer enrolled. Soon, the girls and their families clamored for a college where they could continue their education under the Sisters of Notre Dame.

In April 1921, the Sisters in Cleveland sent a letter to Mother Mary Cecilia Romen in Germany, asking that “work of college grade” be offered in the fall of 1921. In response, the Mother General of the Sisters of Notre Dame decided to visit the Cleveland Diocese, where the Sisters now operated one academy, seven high schools and 25 parochial schools.

On March 26, 1922, Mother Mary Cecilia wrote a letter to Cleveland Bishop Joseph Schrembs asking for permission to open a college for women. Less than a month later, the bishop granted permission.

Under the guidance of Mother Mary Cecilia, the catholic, four-year, liberal arts college opened its doors at 1345 Ansel Road to 13 women and 11 novices on Sept. 18, 1922. The articles of incorporation for Notre Dame College were signed and filed with the State of Ohio on March 30, 1923. Mother Mary Evarista Harks became the first president of NDC; Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche was appointed the first dean.

In 1928, the College moved to its current location on Green Road.

By Christian Taske ’07, editor and writer at Notre Dame College.