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 a deterrent to the mill children of the greater Lowell region. With the endorsement of St. Patrick’s Parish in Lowell, they eagerly began an educational program to address the long-neglected needs of girls in 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 of 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.
Today, the Academy of Notre Dame is a vibrant academic community with 450 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 an 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.