The History of the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur

In 1854, Bishop John Neumann invited the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to open a school for girls in Philadelphia and on October 15, 1856, Sister Superior Louise opened “The Academy.” The first school opened in the Parish of the Assumption on Spring Garden St. and existed in several locations throughout the Greater Philadelphia area over the years to accommodate its growth. The Academy ultimately landed at its current Villanova campus as the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur in the 1940s at the hands of Sister Superior Julie. 

After officially purchasing the Mansion and surrounding property in 2006, the school became an independent educational institution affiliated with the Sisters of Notre Dame. Since the Academy’s establishment, learning buildings and athletic fields have been added to the campus to address the needs of the Notre Dame community. Still, the Mansion maintains its legacy of being an anchor for the school.

Today, the academy continues to educate young women on “what they need to know for life” while preparing them to be the leaders of tomorrow.