In the mid- 1800s education was still considered a luxury. However, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) were determined that poverty would not be deterrent to the mill children of the greater Lowell region. With the endorsement of the St. Patrick’s Parish in Lowell, they eagerly began an educational program to address the long-neglected needs of girls of the area. From these humble beginnings in 1854, thanks to the generous philanthropy from many parishioners within the community, the Sisters opened a boarding school in Lowell.
In 1907 the number of day and boarding students had outgrown the physical capacity the SND’s school. It was then that they set about raising critical philanthropic resources to relocate the school. In 1926, thanks to generous benefactors, 194 acres of land was purchased from the Nance O’Neil Estate and ground was broken for the Academy of Notre Dame’s new home in Tyngsboro, MA. The new building contained not only classrooms but also a chapel, gymnasium and residences for boarding students and the religious faculty. Once again, philanthropy had defined the course of the school.
In 1959, the boarding school was closed and as the residential facilities for the faculty was phased out the Academy embarked upon an expansion of program. Again, the community rallied providing philanthropic support for the construction of a new Chapel and auditorium. Thanks to a generous bequest the Blanche Walsh Gymnasium was built in the mid-1970s. With ongoing philanthropic support the school was able to create Upper and Lower School music rooms, science labs and computer science rooms to the existing building while new tennis courts and a playground were added to the campus.
Thanks to a deeply ingrained tradition of philanthropy, the Academy of Notre Dame community came together once again to provide the generous resources to construct a new outdoor athletic complex which included a four lane all-weather track surrounding a multi-season athletic field. In 1998, the new athletic complex was dedicated to long time NDA President, Kathryn Lawrence McGuiggan, SND.
Today, the Academy of Notre Dame is a vibrant academic community with 552 students from more than 30 communities throughout Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire as well as a growing number foreign countries representing a diverse blend of cultures, economic backgrounds and faiths. It now has three buildings on a 196 acre campus and over $2 million in endowment.
A gift to the Academy of Notre Dame is a sound and solid investment in the school’s mission that focuses on educating the whole person for life through a curriculum rooted in spiritual formation and academic excellence. Gifts influence lives in ways a donor might never expect. With a Academy of Notre Dame education as a foundation for success, our students have gone on to excel in fields such as medicine, law, engineering, the performing arts, athletics, journalism, technology, business, education, and public affairs.
As it has been throughout its more than 160 year history, the Academy’s current and future strength is tied to the strong financial support of alumnae, parents and friends. Philanthropic support has and will continue to guide the course of the school’s history.
180 Middlesex Rd.
Tyngsboro, Massachusetts 01879